SBD/12/Franchises

DEVILS' POTENTIAL EXIT NOT CREATING BIG STIR AMONG FANS

     "The relatively subdued response to the Devils' threat to
leave New Jersey is fitting since the response to their presence
for many years was the equivalent of one fan clapping," writes
Mathew Purdy in this morning's N.Y. TIMES.  He notes that it is
ironic that while the Devils' winning has created a "surge in
popularity," their "lure" is peaking as the team is "slouching"
toward Nashville (Mathew Purdy, N.Y. Times, 6/12).  In an
interview with John Dellapina in Sunday's N.Y. DAILY NEWS, Devils
Owner John McMullen says it was a mistake to move the Devils from
Denver to New Jersey.  McMullen: "Then-Governor (Brendan) Byrne
came down to training camp with me with the Astros and he said,
if I could help, he'd be very appreciative if I brought a sports
franchise here.  But I made a mistake.  I shouldn't have done it"
(N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/11).  In Sunday's N.Y. TIMES, Joe Lapointe
compares the Devils' situation to the movie "Slap Shot" (N.Y.
TIMES, 6/11).  Kevin Paul Dupont reports in Sunday's BOSTON GLOBE
that McMullen, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello and NHL Commissioner Gary
Bettman met recently in New York to discuss the move.  Dupont
writes the offer is so good in Nashville, the Devils "have to
take it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/11).  Dave Anderson writes in Sunday's
N.Y. TIMES that McMullen has said a deal is not done yet and that
NJ can still keep the Devils.  McMullen, to the NJSEA: "You know
what Nashville is offering.  Give us a proposal."  McMullen also
notes he won't make any moves until after the Devils' season is
completed (Dave Anderson, N.Y. TIMES, 6/11).  Saturday's
Nashville TENNESSEAN reports that NJ Gov. Christie Whitman asked
the Devils' owners to "put a counteroffer on the table" if they
are serious about wanting to negotiate a new lease with the NJSEA
(TENNESSEAN, 6/10).
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