In Detroit, Vince Ellis notes Pistons President of Basketball Operations and coach Stan Van Gundy yesterday introduced his "right-hand man," new GM Jeff Bower. Van Gundy: "This was our first big project together, for me and the ownership group. And to see how well everyone worked together, the level of support there was going both ways, really gave me a great feeling that this was going to be a collaboration that will have great success." Ellis notes Pistons ownership was "heavily involved during the search." Platinum Equity Partners Bob Wentworth and Phil Norment "interviewed candidates, and when Van Gundy picked Bower, it came with organizational consensus" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/5).
JERSEY BOYS: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday said that he "decided to give the Devils back a first-round pick" in the '14 NHL Draft "because of new owners" Josh Harris and David Blitzer, as well as the departure of former NHLer Ilya Kovalchuk, but he emphasized that the topic "was not part of their negotiations to purchase the club." Bettman: "If it weren't for the fact that there were new owners, I wouldn't have done it. The fact that there were changed circumstances and new owners made me comfortable doing it." The Devils had forfeited their first-round pick as part of their penalty for "trying to circumvent the salary cap when they signed Kovalchuk" in '10. Kovalchuk opted to "'retire' last summer" and play in the KHL, with 12 years left on his contract with the Devils (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/5).
OH, CANADA: CFL Ottawa RedBlacks President Jeff Hunt said that the expansion franchise has "hit the 16,000 mark in season tickets -- 4,000 more than the high-water mark for the failed Ottawa Renegades franchise" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 6/5).