The Red Wings matched the Hurricanes' $38M, six-year
contract offer to Sergei Fedorov yesterday, "just hours
after arbitrator John Sands deemed the ... offer sheet was
valid," according to Cynthia Lambert of the DETROIT NEWS.
The NHL had contested a bonus clause which could pay Fedorov
an additional $12M, on top of the $16M he will earn this
season, if the team he signed with advances to the
conference finals (DETROIT NEWS, 2/27).
NEW ECONOMICS? Fedorov's agent, Mike Barnett, said the
Hurricanes offer could alter future free agent offers: "In
the big picture, an expansion team can throw a monumental
signing bonus at somebody over a long term. They add a
clause that says if they achieve certain postseason success,
the bonus is brought to an immediate payment" (USA TODAY,
2/27). ESPN's Bob Ley called Fedorov's deal a $38M "poison
pill that might very well change the way an entire sport
does business." ESPN's Al Morganti: "It sets a precedent
for front-loading for future free agents" (ESPN, 2/26). In
Montreal, Red Fisher writes that the Hurricanes and Red
Wings "effectively have put yet another massive facelift on
the hockey market. ... How high are payrolls in almost all
of the NHL cities likely to go?" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 2/27).
Steve Schram, the Celtics' Vice Chair for five years,
"will leave the organization to pursue private business
interests" with a SC- and GA-based real estate development
company, according to Peter May of the BOSTON GLOBE. May
adds that Schram, who will retain his 4.4% stake in the
team, will not be replaced (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/27).
HOCKEY: The HOCKEY NEWS named the IHL Chicago Wolves'
logo as the No. 1 logo in minor league pro hockey. Rounding
out the top five: No. 2, AHL Albany River Rats; No. 3, IHL
Manitoba Moose; No. 4, AHL Rochester Americans; and No. 5,
ECHL Johnstown Chiefs (HOCKEY NEWS, 2/27 issue).
NOTES: After missing two deadlines, Marlins President
Don Smiley informed Owner Wayne Huizenga that he expects to
meet the $150M asking price for the team. Smiley "confirmed
Huizenga is under the impression the deal will get done"
(MIAMI HERALD, 2/27)....The Brewers are on pace to surpass a
club record for season-tickets sales, set in the '93 season
with 8,994. Brewers VP/Ticket Sales Bob Voight said that
the club's move to the NL "has been a much-needed shot in
the arm" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL, 2/26).
In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark calls Will Smith and D.J.
Jazzy Jeff wearing Phillies jerseys at the Grammy's on CBS
on Wednesday a "dramatic development," adding, "Literally
millions of people around the world witnessed this Phillies
fashion show." Phillies Promotions Manager John Brazer:
"We've given away a bunch of jerseys over the years ...
hoping this might happen. ... Now this -- and we had nothing
to do with it. It gives me hope, though. I'll be giving
away those jerseys to everyone now" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 2/27).
NEW KID IN TOWN: Phillies President Dave Montgomery is
profiled by Rich Hofmann in the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS.
Hofmann, comparing Montgomery to former team President Bill
Giles: "[H]e parts with newsworthy information about the
club reluctantly. He doesn't do timetables, and he doesn't
do trial balloons. In that way alone, he is the anti-Giles"
(Rich Hofmann, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/27).
Family Golf Centers, a public company which Avalanche
RW Claude Lemieux has a business stake in, is expected to
announce soon an exclusive deal for the Avalanche's
permanent practice home, starting next season, according to
Adrian Dater of the DENVER POST. The center will have two
rinks, both available to the Avs, a nine-hole golf course,
restaurants and other entertainment options. Lemieux: "We
have eight such facilities in use right now, and plan to
have 20 by the end of the year" (DENVER POST, 2/27).
WHILE IN DENVER: Ascent Entertainment CEO Charlie Lyons
said yesterday that the Nuggets are not for sale, but the
POST's Mike Monroe asks, "Why would Lyons not want to rid
himself, and Ascent, of a team that has become the NBA's
worst? ... Somehow, Lyons still believes he can fix things,
for his team and for his company. Pro basketball fans in
Denver appear to have no choice but to hope he is right"
(DENVER POST, 2/27). In Philadelphia, Gwen Florio writes
the Nuggets situation is "[s]o bad that there are empty
seats at courtside. So bad that a scalper hawked second-row
seats for $20 apiece -- and got no takers" (INQUIRER, 2/27).
New York Sports Ventures (NYSV), headed by Steven
Gluckstern and Howard Milstein, formally announced its $195M
purchase of the Islanders yesterday at Nassau Coliseum,
according to John Valenti of NEWSDAY. Milstein: "Today we
make a personal pledge to our fans to create a first-rate
experience, both on the ice and throughout the Coliseum."
With that, the Isles announced the implementation of "Fan
Forum," forums before six home games in March and April that
will allow fans to talk directly to the new owners about the
team. There are also plans to return to the original blue,
orange and white jerseys with the original logo full time,
"perhaps as soon as next season." The team also announced a
staff "shake-up," including the dismissal of two "long-time
members of the communications staff," VP/Communications
Patrick Calabria and Dir of Special Events Maureen Brady.
Team sources said that neither dismissal "was a reflection
of performance and that the positions have been eliminated."
However, NYSV President David Seldin said that his wife,
Judy, will be responsible for managing future community
relations programs, a position similar to the one she held
with the NFL Jaguars (NEWSDAY, 2/27). Two season-ticket
sales account execs were also dismissed (N.Y. POST, 2/27).