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Columnist wonders which owners might be getting nervous

Mike Ilitch, Gary Bettman

Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, left and National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman walk on the field after announcing the NHL Winter Classic hockey game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012. The Toronto Maple Leafs will play the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


The act of fining of Detroit Red Wings exec Jim Devellano will probably keep dissenting opinions underground, yet Bruce Garrioch caught up with an anonymous “insider” who believes a big chunk of the NHL’s owners are becoming uneasy about the lockout.

“My guess is you’ve got about 10 teams that are pretty nervous right now,” The insider said. “But (Bettman) has the power of the executive committee behind him.”

Pivoting from that point, Garrioch focused on some of the ownership groups that lose the most from a work stoppage.

  • He starts with New York Rangers owner James Dolan, who takes advantage of a “license to print money” at Madison Square Garden. (Also, there’s the story of the lawsuit between the Rangers and the league, which agent Allan Walsh would love to elaborate on.)
  • Garrioch describes Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson a “dove,” yet also points out that his interests will experience a double-whammy because of lost games and lost opportunities to sell beer.*
  • Also, richer ownership groups/big markets such as the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers.

Even so, this quote summarizes the situation - at least for the moment.

“The dissenters are being quiet and waiting to see how far (Bettman) can (make) Fehr go,” The insider said.

And so the game of chicken continues.

* - No mention of people imbibing because of the lockout, though.