THE DEVILS WIN THE CUP BUT WHERE WILL IT BE DISPLAYED?
The Devils completed a 4-0 sweep of the Red Wings Saturday
night, making them the first pro team from NJ to win a
championship. However, post-game reaction centered as much
around where the team will play next season as how the Devils'
neutral-zone trap smothered the Wings.
JERSEY CONCERNS: In the wake of the post-Cup hangover,
the Devils should be concerned about their financial ability
to re-sign the core of their team, writes Larry Brooks in
the N.Y. POST. Brooks: "The commissioner's a bottom-line
guy. It's time for him to broker the deal that improves the
Devils' bottom line, in New Jersey" (N.Y. POST, 6/24). NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman: "Keeping the team and having it
emasculated, a la the San Diego Padres, doesn't do it. You
want to keep this team in its current form if it's going to
stay in New Jersey" (WFAN-radio, 6/25). This morning's N.Y.
DAILY NEWS' back-page headline: "WHAT NOW?" with a picture
of the Devils hllding the Cup (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/26).
FIRST FAN: NJ Gov. Christine Todd Whitman rushed to
Devils Owner John McMullen's box after the victory with
congratulations (N.Y. TIMES, 6/26). Whitman indicated later
that "the chances of the Devils staying in New Jersey
improved with the team winning the Stanley Cup." Whitman:
"We can't let them leave, this is their home. This is where
they won the Cup. New Jersey's Cup. ... I'd like to get
this settled" (AP/Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 6/26).
COMMISSIONER'S CORNER: Bettman gave Jersey fans hope
that an agreement between McMullen and the NJSEA could be
reached. Bettman: "I don't think (New Jersey) has to match
(Nashville's offer) dollar for dollar" (WFAN/N.Y. DAILY
NEWS, 6/25). In Sunday's DALLAS MORNING NEWS, Bettman
paints a less-promising picture: "They may move and they
may not move, I don't know. If you put a gun to my head I
couldn't tell you. (But) when you have nine pro teams in
one market, three in one sport, that can present problems.
That doesn't mean you have to move a team. But it means if
you ignore problems, you are ordaining that a team has to
move" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/25). Bettman was verbally
abused by Jersey fans Saturday during an between-periods
interview on Fox. Later, Fox's John Davidson called those
fans "misinformed." Davidson said it was between McMullen
and the state and the NJSEA "to make the agreement work. It
has nothing to do with the Commissioner forcing a move --
he's just trying to do the right thing." The interview was
preempted in at least one Fox market, as DC's WTTG broke
away to local news ("Stanley Cup Finals," Fox, 6/24).
RATINGS WINNER: The Devils scored a 10.6 overnight
rating for Game 4 in New York, compared with the Rangers 4.4
for their Eastern Semifinal matchup with the Flyers May 21.
Game 4's ratings were also up 43% percent in New York from
Fox's 7.4 for Game 1 (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 6/26).