SBD/Issue 102/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Source Says Bettman Not Opposed To
Oren Koules Buying Into Another Team
The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts writes the NHL has "probably not seen the last" of Oren Koules, who has agreed to sell his share of the Lightning to Jeff Vinik. An NHL source said that Commissioner Gary Bettman is "not opposed to Koules buying into another franchise." There are "at least half a dozen clubs for sale or looking for investors," and the source said that "a couple of them have shown interest in Koules." Meanwhile, Koules said of his time with the Lightning, "The part that hurts is when we finally got through the circus and got to concentrate on building, we had a pretty good team. Not seeing it to the conclusion is hard. I always dreamed every day of making the playoffs. We have a chance to make the playoffs and that's our goal" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/9).

COMING UP SHORT: ESPN.com's Scott Burnside wrote while Bob Gainey, who yesterday stepped down as Canadiens GM, "never failed to carry himself with impeccable grace and dignity," he "wasn't a particularly good GM." Not when it "came to transforming the Canadiens from a playoff team to a contender." In some markets, "getting to the postseason on a regular basis might have been OK," which the Canadiens did in four of the five seasons after Gainey was named GM, but "not in Montreal" (ESPN.com, 2/8). The GLOBE & MAIL's Roy MacGregor writes Montreal "always seemed to worship its long-time captain and now" GM, but the city "over the past year or so ... began to question its faith." The Canadiens' 100th-anniversary celebrations were "somewhat fouled by a coach's firing and a number of embarrassing situations involving young players" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/9).

SPECIAL GUESTS: In Philadelphia, Frank Seravalli reports the Flyers, "on behalf of Comcast-Spectacor, sent Rocky Balboa and Ben Franklin impersonators" to NHL HQs yesterday to "hand out soft pretzels and officially throw Philadelphia's hat in the ring to host the 2012 or 2013 All-Star Game and entry draft." The "rest of the NHL's event applications arrived in FedEx boxes." A source said that "up to 16 teams have applied for the All-Star Game and draft," and an announcement "could come as soon as the end of the Olympic break." Seravalli notes the NHL in December announced that this year's draft "will take place at the Staples Center" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/9).

NEW PRICING PLAN: The CP's Shi Davidi reported the Blue Jays will "charge more for the cheapest seats" at Rogers Centre while "holding the line on most of their other tickets under a simplified pricing structure for the 2010 season." The structure includes a "modest bump of $2 per ticket for seats in the nosebleed sections," and also "divides tickets into two cost categories (premium and regular) instead of the previous four and reduces the different seating sections at the Rogers Centre from 12 to 10." The new premium prices are the "equivalent of last year's super premium prices while the regular category remains unchanged, except for the 500 level seating in both cases, which goes from $9 or $12, to $11 or $14." Forty-one games on the '10 schedule, "including all weekend matchups and all visits by" the Yankees and Red Sox, "are at the premium pricing level" (CP, 2/8).

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