In The End, Neither Barrie Nor Koules Standing with Lightning

So, when the dust settles, it looks like neither Lightning owner will win. One will be gone entirely. The other almost entirely diluted. The mistake the league made in allowing Koules and Barrie into the club that isn’t good enough for Balsillie will, once again have ridden itself of mistakes from a previous day.

There really are two scenarios left in this mess. the first is that Palace Sports & Entertainment will be left holding the bag to the team that their deceased owner, Bill Davidson bought years ago. The other, is that one of these guys will find a partner to bail them out. Saving enough to remain in name only. Yes, they will be at the press conference. Yes they will have a stake. Somewhere down the line, they will be gone though as the person with the money will find they have no use for them anymore.

Tonight, Damien Cristodero, of the St. Pete Times has an excellent story on the next chapter of the Bolts which is about to unfold. Oren Koules, it appears has found a much better financier than Len Barrie has:

“When it comes to his attempt to buy a majority interest of the Lightning, Jeff Greene is nothing if not confident.

“I don’t need financing,” the Los Angeles real estate investor said Monday. “I have the funds available to do this transaction.”

He also said, “If everything falls into place, there’s a very good chance we have a deal.”

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed Greene, working with Oren Koules to buy out co-owner Len Barrie, filed a league ownership application. The NHL has not said the same about Anthony Sansone, the St. Louis real estate developer working with Barrie to buy out Koules.

In fact, Daly said it is “premature” to consider Sansone a serious candidate to gain control of the team.

With that, Greene and Koules emerged as the apparent front-runners in the race to bring stability to a franchise that has known little since June 2008, when OK Hockey took control from Palace Sports & Entertainment.” My favorite part of the story is when Koules says how happy he is to have someone like Greene interested. That and the part where Greene says this is simply a business deal. Come on, who in the year 2009 buys a hockey team in Tampa Bay strictly for business? What Koules means is he can’t believe someone with a lot of money who appears to be totally credible would want to keep him in some small part as part of the group. Classic. All that remains is for Doug MacLean to become an advisor.

And there you have it. Another Gary Bettman mess. Stay tuned. There will be more.

Damien’s article is here

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