SBD/23/Franchises

DEVILS SHUT OUT WINGS, BUT WILL THEY SHUT OUT THEIR FANS?

     ESPN's Jimmy Roberts reported on the Devils' possible move
to Nashville and the fan base that the team has cultivated in NJ.
While famed columnist Jimmy Breslin says, "I've never heard of
them," NJ Gov. Christine Todd Whitman argues:  "It's a pride
issue of having them with us and we really do support the team
and the fans love the team."  Whitman, who sees herself as one of
the team's biggest fans, may be in a complex situation, according
to Roberts.  N.Y. POST columnist Larry Brooks:  "There is
certainly an obligation to fiscal responsibility on behalf of a
governor who gained office by promising to cut taxes.  It's going
to be very difficult for her to turn around and say, 'We are
spending millions of your dollars to keep a hockey team here'"
("SportsCenter," 6/22).  In his column yesterday, Brooks
speculated that the NHL would "broker a deal" that would send
Wayne Gretzky to the Nashville Devils to help "sell the sport in
the virgin market" (N.Y. POST, 6/22).  In Nashville, columnist
David Climer writes that a problem with the city's chances of
landing the Devils is they have no "sports image" (Nashville
TENNESSEAN, 6/21).
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