SBD/May 5, 2014/Franchises

Caps, Gretzky Have "Mutual Interest" In HOFer Taking Reins; Patrick Might Cede Some Power

Gretzky could draw from his network of NHL people to restructure the Capitals
If Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis "recognizes the need to restructure the front office of his drifting franchise," then the team's "presidency awaits" Hockey HOFer Wayne Gretzky, according to sources cited by Larry Brooks of the N.Y. POST. Sources said there is "mutual interest" between Leonsis and Gretzky regarding the position of President of Hockey Operations. Brooks noted, however, that is a position which Leonsis "has yet to commit to creating." The Capitals "are in need of a hockey leader with the authority" to catch RW Alex Ovechkin’s attention and "change the culture" in DC. Gretzky is "not interested in becoming" a GM. The Capitals already "have a president in Dick Patrick -- who is part owner and alternate governor." If Leonsis "were to hire Gretzky, Patrick clearly would have to yield a fair amount of his power." A coach reporting to a GM who reports to the president of hockey ops who reports to the president who then reports to the owner "entails one too many levels and creates a power structure in which no one can truly be held accountable." The Capitals -- "or any team, for that matter -- should not hire Gretzky for his name value, or to have him shake hands with the paying customers on the concourse." Leonsis "should not hire him as a PR move." Even if Gretzky has "been away from the game for a while in an official capacity, he has maintained a network of capable people throughout the industry loyal to him and from whom he would draw to restructure the Caps’ operation that clearly needs a new direction" (N.Y. POST, 5/4).
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