SBD/April 29, 2014/Franchises

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  • Silver Has Options In Punishing Sterling, But Could Risk Inciting Legal Battle

    Silver could suspend Sterling indefinitely for his alleged comments

    NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is likely to hit Clippers Owner Donald Sterling "with a sizable fine and a lengthy suspension, perhaps with the intent of pressuring the real estate magnate into selling the franchise he has owned for 33 years," according to experts cited in a front-page piece by Pfeifer, Bolch & Rainey of the L.A. TIMES. League bylaws give the league the power to "oust owners in limited circumstances," but Silver more likely will cite Article 35 of the constitution that "allows the commissioner to indefinitely suspend owners for 'conduct prejudicial or detrimental to the association.'" L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said that he "welcomed a change in ownership and said that in the short run, at a minimum, the league should suspend Sterling for the remainder of the playoffs." Pfeifer, Bolch & Rainey report evidence emerged yesterday that if Sterling "maintained control of the team, he would face an angry and alienated group of employees." One Clippers player wondered whether he could "get out of his contract by citing Sterling for creating a 'hostile work environment'" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29). CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger predicted Silver will "hand out discipline for actions that are detrimental to the game by imposing an indefinite suspension." The suspension "could be imposed pending the outcome of the committee and full Board of Governors process, which potentially could take weeks or even months." Such action "likely would remove Sterling from his involvement in the day-to-day operations of the team ....while his fellow owners take the time needed to fully examine the issues and take definitive action." But Sterling "could seek an injunction of his own in federal court to block such a suspension" (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/28). 

    COULD STERLING BE STRIPPED OF TEAM? YAHOO SPORTS' Adrian Wojnarowski cited several NBA officials as saying that they believe Silver "has been studying the nuclear option on Sterling: a provision in the NBA's bylaws that would allow Silver to summon a vote of league owners to strip Sterling of his ownership." The NBA would "run the Clippers until the team could be sold." Sterling's estranged wife Shelley "believes she can find a way to control the Clippers," but the league has "no intentions of the team staying in the family's hands." Wojnarowski: "That'll never be a compromise, because Silver and the owners understand the public tenor: The Sterling family must go" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/29). In N.Y., Fred Kerber notes an owner can be "stripped of his NBA team with a three-quarter vote of the other owners," specifically under "severe circumstances such as fraud or gambling" (N.Y. POST, 4/29). In California, Scott Reid cites a source as saying that while several NBA owners "reportedly believe an expected indefinite suspension and heavy fine are not punishment enough, there is division on whether Silver and the owners have the power to strip Sterling of the Clippers." Owners and NBA officials instead are "hopeful a suspension along with mounting pressure from current and former players, corporate sponsors and the media, will lead Sterling to sell the franchise" he purchased in '81 for $12.5M (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/29). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Terlep & Cohen cite a source as saying the league is "unlikely to be able to remove" Sterling unless he "was insolvent or committed a crime." Sources feel a sale of the team "could easily fetch" $700M or more (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/29).

    COLANGELO SAYS "GRAY AREA" EXISTS: Former Suns Owner Jerry Colangelo said it is a "gray area" if the league tries to invoke a morality clause to oust Sterling. Colangelo: "There certainly are parameters in terms of what autonomy the commissioner has in terms of taking action, in terms of a million-dollar fine being the maximum, but more importantly on suspension it could be a day, a week, a month. It could be forever. And when you start talking about a long-term suspension, that kind of forces someone to take stock of where they are, I guess, in terms of ownership." In Phoenix, Bob Young notes Sterling would "likely fight any ouster move in court" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/29). SI's Michael Rosenberg wrote Sterling's ownership of the Clippers is "inviolate" as long as he "pays his bills." Sterling "plays hard" within the legal system. Silver's challenge now is "to show Sterling the door, but he probably can't force him out." Rosenberg: "You can expect Sterling to be suspended for a year, with the likelihood of extending the suspension at the owners' meetings in July. Doing it that way would give Silver cover if Sterling sues and says Silver is abusing his powers. It would also allow Silver to accomplish another objective: setting up an exit for Sterling" (SI.com, 4/28). Meanwhile, NBA.com's David Aldridge wrote Silver can do what former NBA Commissioner David Stern "wouldn't -- dare Sterling to sue the league -- by suspending and fining Sterling within an inch of his life." A source said, "If I am Adam, I make him sue me. The Commissioner has broad powers to protect the game" (NBA.com, 4/28).

    LONG LEGAL FIGHT COULD AWAIT: In L.A., Ben Bolch cites a league source as saying it is "unlikely the NBA would try to compel Sterling to sell the team" because of the possibility of a "vicious legal battle that could cost the league millions and result in Sterling keeping the team should he prevail, not to mention create a years-long distraction as the litigation plays out." But the league and Sterling’s fellow owners "could certainly pressure him to sell the team by publicly campaigning for change." Another avenue to get Sterling to sell the team would be for his wife to "file divorce papers that would require her husband to pay her 50% of community assets per California law" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29). The NATIONAL JOURNAL's Matt Berman wrote Sterling "will only go away when he's well and ready, and he'll likely do so with a big check in hand" (NATIONALJOURNAL.com, 4/28).

    RIGHT TO PRIVACY?
    Tulane Univ. Sports Law Program Dir Gabe Feldman said suspending Sterling for his comments could be tricky "because they were not made publicly." Feldman said, "That does not excuse the comments, but it does raise the issue of whether owners have empowered the commissioner to punish an owner for comments made in private." Univ. of New Hampshire Sports and Entertainment Law Institute Dir Michael McCann said that the "most effective way for the NBA to extract Sterling from ownership might be to impose a one- or two-year suspension while working with him to sell the team" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29). In Chicago, Rick Morrissey writes Sterling "has the right to say whatever comes to mind, but it doesn’t mean he has a right to be an owner in good standing with the NBA" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/29).

    SILVER'S STERN TEST
    : USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt writes Silver "faces his first true watershed moment" as commissioner (USA TODAY, 4/29). ESPN's Tony Reali said this could be "prove to be a delineating moment" in NBA history. L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said the "integrity of the NBA" is at stake, as well as the "integrity of the player relations with the NBA" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 4/28). NBA TV’s Stu Jackson said this is "one of the biggest decisions surrounding a crisis and damage control for the league." Jackson: "It is unfortunate that Adam has only been on the job for a few months, but this is what you get being the leader of this organization and this business” (“NBA Gametime," NBA TV, 4/28). One longtime NBA exec said: "In moments like this, a commissioner earns whatever his paycheck is. It’s a hard, hard job" (N.Y. POST, 4/29). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes as much as Silver wants to "bring down the hammer" today, it is "unlikely he will have completed his investigation so soon." The power to terminate an owner is "limited to things like gambling and fraud, but it also includes a provision for termination when an owner 'fails to fulfill' a 'contractual obligation' in 'such a way as to affect the (NBA) or its members adversely'" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/29).

    IS SUSPENSION, FINE ENOUGH? N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said Silver imposing a lengthy suspension and fine on Sterling is "not going to be enough." Lupica: "The end game here ... is to get him out of the sport. Whatever is announced today, they want this guy out of the club." NBC's Matt Lauer said, "What's really going to happen here is in the offseason, all the other owners are going to get in a room with Donald Sterling and they're going to make a very strong case for him to get out of the game" ("Today," NBC, 4/29). SPORTS ON EARTH's Shaun Powell writes Silver is "soft-spoken and non-confrontational by nature," but he "must suddenly develop a pitbull mentality." The owners, players and basketball public "want blood" (SPORTS ON EARTH, 4/29). In Boston, Gerry Callahan writes the fans and media "want blood, but they're going to get red tape." They "want justice, but they’re going to get lawyers." The situation is "Silver's headache now, and it's going to get worse" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/29). The GLOBE & MAIL's Margaret Wente writes the NBA is "toothless," and the only people "with real power are the other owners." It is "far from certain what they'll do" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/29).

    MAGIC SAYS HE'S NOT INTERESTED: In Boston, Bob Ryan writes the other owners "must apply pressure" on Sterling to sell (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/29). But NBC's Joe Fryer reports Magic Johnson "says rumors that he wants to buy the Clippers are not true." That is contrary to a Yahoo report yesterday that indicated Johnson and Guggenheim Partners wanted an opportunity to purchase the team from Sterling ("Today," NBC, 4/29). ESPN's Jemele Hill said she hopes a Johnson-led takeover of the Clippers is "eventually what this moves toward," but added, "I have to be a little bit skeptical." Hill: "We're presuming that this is going to be an easy process to get his man to sell his team." L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said Sterling "never does what anybody wants him to do, he never does the right thing." Plaschke: "If he's forced to sell, I'd be very surprised if he'll sell to Magic. He'll do something very strange. That's just him" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 4/28). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said he was told "there were at least five billionaires on the phone" with Silver "within three hours of Sterling's comments" becoming public. Wilbon: "There are going to be a lot of people out there who want to buy the Clippers" ("PTI," ESPN, 4/28).

    Print | Tags: Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, Franchises
  • NBA Owners Express Disappointment Over Donald Sterling's Alleged Comments

    Cuban said forcing Sterling to leave the league is a very slippery slope

    Clippers Owner Donald Sterling is part of "the old guard of NBA owners, a group of men who bought teams before the league became a global phenomenon worth billions of dollars," but now the "new guard of owners could help determine" Sterling's fate, according to a front-page piece by Cacciola & Witz of the N.Y. TIMES. SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said that the new owners are "more likely to press" Commissioner Adam Silver to "do whatever he could to make this situation -- and Mr. Sterling -- go away, in part because of their outsize investments in their teams" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/29). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "You cannot have this man in the league." But ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said of the other NBA owners forcing Sterling to sell the team, "You don't know if they want to set a precedent that gets them out of the league if something like this happens (to one of them)" ("PTI," ESPN, 4/28). ESPN's Dan Le Batard added, "The problem is setting a precedent in which the owners give (Silver) an unprecedented power to just throw people around" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 4/28). 

    CUBAN QUANDRY? Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban called Sterling's alleged comments "abhorrent" and said, "I think whatever sanctions are available to Adam, I trust him to take advantage of them and operate under the best interest of the NBA" (USA TODAY, 4/29). But Cuban said forcing Sterling to leave the league "is a very slippery slope." He added, "You've got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do." Cuban: "There's no excuse for anybody to support racism. There's no place for it in our league, but there's a very, very, very slippery slope" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 4/28). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote Cuban is a "big part of the NBA owner's Rich Guy Club." These people "are his friends, making it harder to be so candid about their flaws." It would "appear -- and just that, appear -- that Cuban likes Donald Sterling and simply does not want to bag on his friend" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 4/28).

    ALEXANDER, LEVENSON COME OUT STRONG: Rockets Owner Les Alexander said that he told Silver he "should stab 'a sword' into the heart of Sterling's ownership of the Clippers." Alexander: "I thought that there's got to be a way to disrupt him from owning the team. I gave him the sword to deal with this. I said, 'Let the players become free agents.'" He added, "If you're a player in the NBA you don't want to play for somebody like that'" (CHRON.com, 4/28). Meanwhile, Hawks Managing Partner Bruce Levenson yesterday on Atlanta-based WZGC-FM said if it is proven Sterling is on the recording, he "should be given the maximum penalty for his comments." Levenson: "The league has to have a zero-tolerance policy against racism and discrimination in any form" (USA TODAY, 4/29). He also said that he would "support a vote if one was taken among the NBA's other 29 owners to oust Sterling." But he was "less certain if the commissioner's office has that power" (AJC.com, 4/28). Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman said, “I want to see more owners come out and talk about this and [hear] more reaction from those guys, because they’ve been strangely silent. Even guys who talk a lot have been really quiet” (“Rome,” CBS Sports Network, 4/28).

    WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: Lakers Exec VP/Business Operations Jeanie Buss yesterday in a release called Sterling's alleged comments "reprehensible and disturbing, and certainly are the opposite of how the Lakers feel about the league's players and fans." Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen in a release said the comments "if true, are abhorrent, and not acceptable for the owner of an NBA franchise or anyone in professional sports" (USA TODAY, 4/29). Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert issued "perhaps the most strongly worded statement." He said in the statement it is "shocking that anyone could hold the kind of offensive and feeble-minded views that are being attributed allegedly" to Sterling. Pistons Owner Tom Gores in a statement: "There is no place for prejudice or intolerance in our league, or anywhere else" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 4/28). Pacers Owner Herb Simon said the alleged comments are "appalling, offensive and totally contrary to my core beliefs and everyone in our entire organization" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/29). Suns Owner Robert Sarver: "I would rather not be partners with somebody who has the views that were expressed on those tapes" (AZCENTRAL.com, 4/28). Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis wrote on his blog, "There should be zero tolerance for hatemongering" (TEDSTAKE.com, 4/27). 76ers Owner Josh Harris in a statement said the comments "were hurtful and outrageous, and in no way reflect the values and beliefs of myself, our ownership group of the Philadelphia 76ers organization" (76ers). One unnamed NBA team owner over the weekend said, "I no longer want (Sterling) as a partner" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/29). Meanwhile, in New Orleans, John Reid noted the Pelicans are "taking a wait-and-see approach." Owner Tom Benson yesterday declined to discuss the matter (NOLA.com, 4/28).

    NOT ACTIVE IN OWNER'S RANKS: Should Sterling part ways with the Clippers, he likely will not be missed at the owner’s committee level, as a source said Sterling is not a member of any of the NBA’s various owner’s committees. While a source said that in the past, Sterling was a hard-liner during CBA negotiations, he has not been directly involved in any of the league’s current committee dealings despite being the league’s longest-tenured owner (John Lombardo, Staff Writer).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA
  • Editorial Boards, Columnists Place Blame On NBA, Other Owners For Enabling Sterling

    Several editorials questioned Sterling's ownership even before his alleged comments

    Two themes emerge from today's coverage of Clippers Owner Donald Sterling -- major market editorials weigh in and a sense the NBA is largely to blame for not acting sooner on his ownership. The following is a sampling:

    FROM THE EDIT PAGES: The L.A. TIMES states Sterling "must sell the team" if it turns out that the recordings in which he allegedly makes racist comments have not been doctored or misrepresented.  If Sterling "doesn't do so on his own, the NBA should apply whatever pressure it can" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29). The SACRAMENTO BEE states Sterling has "been an embarrassment to the NBA and the organization he owns." The NBA for decades "turned a blind eye while the notoriously litigious Sterling freely tarnished the league's brand." But it is a "new world, and the NBA has a new brand, one that is global and multicultural and inclusive" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/29). The CHICAGO TRIBUNE states the "heartening thing about this whole ugly episode is that those reprehensible comments have been roundly and loudly denounced" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/29). The N.Y. TIMES runs with the header, "Why Did The NBA Long Tolerate Sterling?" The league's top leadership "tolerated and sheltered Mr. Sterling for much too long." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "needs to make clear that there's no place in the league for owners with plantation attitudes, whether or not they're caught expressing them on tape" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/29). A USA TODAY editorial runs under the header, "NBA Owners Can't Afford To Stay Silent On Sterling." Team owners so far "have found it too easy to be silent" (USA TODAY, 4/29). An L.A. DAILY NEWS editorial states, "Thousands of empty seats would send a loud message that, in the weeks and months ahead, L.A. won't support an owner with such backward views of much of the city's population." But a "smarter view is that staying home, in an effort to hasten Sterling's departure, is a way to support Clippers players and coaches" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/29).

    IT'S ABOUT TIME
    : In N.Y., Juliet Macur writes it "looks as if the NBA and its team owners have finally had enough of Sterling." It "only took the league 33 years" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/29). In DC, Jason Reid writes NBA officials and owners "have justifiably come under fire for looking the other way for decades" regarding Sterling. If they had "acted long ago ... perhaps the current powder-keg situation could have been averted." But the NBA players "deserve some" blame. Although the recording "is potentially the first inconvertible audio proof that Sterling is a dunderhead racist, many players were aware of his wrongheaded views." High-profile players throughout the years "refused to challenge owners on their lack of action against Sterling" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/29). BUSINESS INSIDER's Tony Manfred writes the league has "ignored Sterling for decades, tolerating him in the hopes that he'd never do something to embarrass the league on a mainstream level." Now the league has "only itself to blame" (BUSINESSINSIDER.com, 4/29). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes it is the owners "who should be leading the charge." They have "let this go on long enough." Brennan: "Where are the owners? They are Silver's bosses, not the other way around" (USA TODAY, 4/29). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence writes NBA owners "had never once called Sterling out for his bigoted ways." They were "always perfectly fine with him being part of their club." Now the owners are "finally starting to speak up against Sterling." But it is what the "most powerful men and women in the sport did not say that was most distressing." They need to "say that Sterling isn't welcomed in their club anymore" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/29).

    NBA BEARS SOME BLAME: In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz wrote the NBA "can partly blame itself for all this." Former Commissioner David Stern and the league's owners "enabled Sterling for years" (AJC.com, 4/28). In Phoenix, Bob Young writes Stern had to "know this day would come." He "evidently didn't have the stomach -- or support -- to do anything to stop it" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/29). SNY's Adam Schein said Stern "has to take a hit" over the current situation because "we've seen this before from Donald Sterling." Schein: "David Stern turned a blind eye" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 4/28). In Detroit, John Niyo writes under the header, "NBA Ignored Its Donald Sterling Problem For Too Long" (DETROIT NEWS, 4/29). WIP-FM's Howard Eskin said the NBA "can't be absolved of this problem because they have created it." Eskin: "They are enablers" ("On The Record," Fox News, 4/28). In Phoenix, Paola Boivin writes no one "is more guilty" than the NBA (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/29). GRANTLAND's Charles Pierce wrote the NBA "has a lot to answer for in the career" of Sterling (GRANTLAND.com, 4/28).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA
  • Staples Center Promises Safe Environment For Warriors-Clippers As Protests Planned

    Fan protests are expected outside Staples Center before tonight's game

    Staples Center tonight will host the Clippers' first home game since audio was released of racist comments allegedly made by team Owner Donald Sterling, and the arena is "bracing for whatever fans have in store," according to Janis Carr of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. The arena in a statement yesterday said it is "committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment for everyone" during Warriors-Clippers Game 5 tonight (OCREGISTER.com, 4/28). Clippers coach Doc Rivers said that he is "hopeful the team continues to receive strong fan support" despite Sterling's alleged comments. Rivers: "Fans are in a dilemma as well. We want them to cheer for their players and their team because it's still their players and their team, and it will be their players and their team." He added yesterday that it is possible a player will "address the crowd before the game." Rivers: "That's still being discussed. We're going to continue to discuss it. I don't know which way we'll go with that. We don't know the right answer" (FOXSPORTS.com, 4/28). Rivers added, "We want to do right here. We want to make the right decisions here. We’re doing our very best to try to do that. If we feel like that is something that will help our fans, then it will be done. If we feel like that’s something they don’t need, then we won’t do it" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/29). In California, T.J. Simers writes he "wouldn't be surprised" if Rivers or G Chris Paul addresses the crowd to "re-enforce their connection with the fans" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/29).

    PROTESTS BEING PLANNED: In S.F., Rusty Simmons reports fan protests "are expected before the game," and marching and picketing "have been planned." Online campaigns encouraging fans "to wear all black or boycott the game altogether have taken on great fervor" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/29). Rivers yesterday was asked what fans at the game should do, to which he said, "I hope whatever the fans do is as one. As one group. Just do it and be one. ... I don’t even know if that’s the right thing, but I think it is" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29). NBA TV’s Brent Barry said, “I expect the fans will be great and supportive of exactly what Doc Rivers was talking about. Supportive of their team and their players and the efforts and the hard work that they put in ... to get to this point during the playoffs and having a chance to advance" ("NBA Gametime," NBA TV, 4/28). 

    JACKSON SUGGESTS FAN BOYCOTT: ESPN L.A.'s Ethan Strauss noted Warriors coach Mark Jackson "had a clear message" that fans should "boycott" tonight's game. Jackson said, "If it was me, I wouldn't come to the game. I believe as fans, the loudest statement they could make as far as fans is to not show up to the game. ... I would not come to the game tomorrow, whether I was a Clipper fan or a Warrior fan" (ESPNLA.com, 4/28). But ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "If I was Doc Rivers, I'd tell Mark Jackson to shut up. I'd say, 'You coach your team, you worry about your fans. Don't you tell my fans in my building not to come.' Because that's gamesmanship. That gives a big advantage to the Warriors. I'm not saying Jackson is insincere. I'm saying when you look at the effect of urging Clippers' fans not to go to the game. Are you kidding me with that?" ("PTI," ESPN, 4/28). Meanwhile, R&B artist Tank said that he "won't be singing" at tonight's game as planned as his "way of protesting the racist comments allegedly made" (LATIMES.com, 4/28).

    A RIVERS RUNS THROUGH IT
    : CSNBAYAREA.com's Monte Poole wrote Rivers and Jackson are "uniquely equipped to be in and navigate through the eye of this ongoing storm" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 4/28). SPORTING NEWS' Sean Deveney writes while Sterling has "arisen again as the face of stubborn, old-line American racism, Rivers has held fast as its combatant-in-chief." Deveney: "We’re lucky to have Rivers embracing his new role, trying to guide us through the unexplainable mess made by his boss" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/29). In N.Y., Cacciola & Witz note Sterling has "reached out" to Rivers, but the coach said that he "rebuffed him, and he felt certain" that Sterling made the comments. Rivers said, "I haven't given him his due process. I haven't given him an opportunity to explain himself and quite honestly, right now I don't want him to, to me. I'll wait for that further judgment" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/29). Meanwhile, Clippers Dir of Basketball Administration Eric Miller, who is Sterling's son-in-law, called the comments attributed to Sterling "deplorable and disgusting." Miller is "in his second season with the Clippers" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NBA, Los Angeles Clippers
  • Storm Front: Hurricanes Revamp Front Office As Francis Replaces Longtime GM Rutherford

    Francis said he had no reservations about taking over for Rutherford

    Hurricanes VP/Hockey Operations Ron Francis officially became the team's GM yesterday as President & GM Jim Rutherford "stepped down after 20 years," according to a front-page piece by Chip Alexander of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Francis also will serve as Exec VP. Hurricanes Owner Peter Karmanos Jr. said that Rutherford will "remain as team president but in an advisory role." Karmanos said that Rutherford, who has two years remaining on his contract, will "continue to represent the team at NHL meetings." Meanwhile, Francis said that he had "no reservations about taking over a position he has been groomed for in recent years." Rutherford became President & GM in '94 while the team was still in Hartford and was one of the NHL's "longest-tenured" GMs. He said that the decision to cede his GM duties was "given much thought and not a product of a disappointing season." Alexander notes Francis' "first major move will be in handling the coaching staff" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/29). Alexander notes Karmanos yesterday "casually mentioned" that he "planned to move to Raleigh from Detroit" and oversee the team's business responsibilities. He also said that he "plans to be more actively involved with the team" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/29). The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts writes Rutherford "will be missed." He was "not just an amiable fellow -- he was an important voice at the GMs’ table, a strong advocate for player safety and against fighting." When the GMs were "taking their first hesitant steps toward dealing seriously with the concussions that plague the sport, Rutherford was one of the leaders who pushed for what became Rule 48, outlawing hits to the head" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/29).

    LIGHT MY FIRE: The Flames yesterday named Coyotes VP/Hockey Operations & Assistant GM Brad Treliving GM. He will report directly to President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke. He will be responsible for all team personnel decisions, both players and staff; manage the amateur and pro scouting staffs; as well as other administrative duties. He also is responsible for all player personnel assignments with the Flames' minor league affiliates (Flames). In Calgary, Scott Fisher notes Treliving spent the last seven years with the Coyotes, and Burke said that his work there "was impressive." Burke: "Brad has learned at the knee of a GM I have great respect for, Don Maloney. He has a key mind and a reputation as a hard worker." Treliving said, "I'm a proud western Canadian. My family is excited to be here. I'm ready for this. I know I'm ready for this. I know the expectations and the expectations of this fanbase" (CALGARY SUN, 4/29). Treliving said of Burke, “He is the single most significant factor for me being here. I look forward to working with Brian” (CALGARY HERALD, 4/29). Also in Calgary, Eric Francis writes you would be “hard-pressed to find anyone around the league who doesn't glow about Treliving and his tremendous work ethic," including NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly who "worked closely" with Treliving and Maloney when they ran the Coyotes for the league for three years (CALGARY SUN, 4/29).

    BY GEORGE: In DC, Brian McNally noted former Capitals GM George McPhee learned Saturday his contract with the team “would not be extended.” He said, “That’s the business. Am I disappointed? I was terminated, of course. But it’s not the end of the world. I’ve had worse days in my life.” McNally wrote McPhee and his family are “ready to move on to the next stage of their lives.” Whether that will include another GM job elsewhere in the NHL “remains to be seen,” but at age 55, McPhee’s career is “far from over.” McPhee: "No one’s ever told me I have to be a GM for a living. I signed up for this. There are some dark days, but there are a heck of a lot of good ones. It’s been a fabulous experience. It’s been a fun ride” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/28). Also in DC, Katie Carrera notes McPhee, who is "well-respected around the league ... may not be out of work long and he expressed a desire to jump right back into managing if the right opportunity arises." McPhee's contract "doesn’t expire until July 1, meaning that until then any teams considering bringing him aboard must first obtain permission from Capitals ownership to speak with him" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/29).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NHL
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