'The financially troubled Buffalo Sabres are in jeopardy of folding or leaving the city after this season unless state and local governments help out a pair of prospective buyers, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday.'
Archives for December 20, 2002
If there was ever any doubt that the NHL is playing hardball with Western New York when it comes to the Buffalo Sabres' financial situation, it was removed on Thursday, when Joel Giambra and Tony Masiello were summoned to the throne, er, the office, of Gary Bettman for a lecture on fiscal realities, NHL-style.
'"We've got a lot of jobs, a lot of sales tax, $48 million worth of payroll," Masiello told reporters on his return to Buffalo of the importance of the retaining the hockey team. "You have a major facility in the heart of our economic development in the Inner Harbor."'
'"The more he plays it's usually the better he plays. He wants to play every second shift, and he's got the wheels to do it."'
'The Panthers are unbeaten on the road in regulation since Oct. 24, going 3-0-3-3.'
'One topic of discussion was the team's day-to-day cash flow, which reportedly has gone from bad to worse in recent weeks as the club's spotty play has resulted in poor ticket sales. At the current revenue/expense rate, the team reportedly will run out of cash by the end of January.'
'So what does this all mean? I think Bettman hastily summoned Masiello and Giambra to New York to tell them they have to be the dumbest politicians on the face of the earth.'
'According to Giambra and Masiello, the Commissioner expressed serious concerns about the economic viablity of the franchise in Western New York, citing serious cash flow problems, and the need for public assistance.'
'Erie County Executive Joel Giambra spent Thursday speaking with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in New York. Giambra says Bettman is very concerned about the future of the Sabres…Giambra says, "(Bettman's) not putting a gun to our heads, but we must answer this question sooner than later."'
'They went winless on their four-game homestand (0-2-2), but they rallied in the third of each of the past two to salvage a point. Now, they hit the road for two where they feel the most comfortable. They've earned points in nine straight (3-0-3-3), not losing in regulation since Oct. 24.'