Could Steve Yzerman be the Lightning's GM? NFL's Seahawks say Leiweke won't be the CEO
Despite saying on April 10 that he is not a candidate for the Tampa Bay Lightning's CEO job, Tod Leiweke's name keeps popping up. On Wednesday, the web site for Canada's TSN, said the Lightning and Leiweke, the CEO of the NFL's Seahawks, were close to finalizing a deal. But Seahawks spokesman Dave Pearson said there is "no truth" to the report.
TSN also said Tampa Bay has received permission from the Red Wings to talk to vice president Steve Yzerman about the general manager position. Neither the Lightning nor the Red Wings would comment. Former Wild GM Doug Risebrough already has stated his interest and likely has had preliminary talks. There also is speculation Maple Leafs assistant GM Dave Nonis could be in the mix. Nonis did not return a phone call.
So, the only person on the record in all of this was Pearson, who was blunt in dismissing the report about Leiweke.
Leiweke, 50, loves hockey. Before joining the Seahawks, he was president and CEO of the Wild. Leiweke also has a connection to Jac Sperling, the former Wild alternate governor who also is the financial advisor who led new Lightning owner Jeff Vinik through the purchase process. But Leiweke also has a seemingly sweet gig in Seattle, where he is CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment with responsibility for all aspects of the Seahawks and the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, both of which are owned by Paul Allen. That's not to say Tampa Bay hasn't spoken to Leiweke.
The Lightning has kept a very tight lid on whom it is considering for the job.
Roy Mlakar, former Senators CEO, is still interested. Other whispered names include former Lightning chief operating officer Sean Henry, who has been working closely with the team on marketing issues, and former Lightning president Ron Campbell. Former Stars president Jim Lites said the job sounded intriguing, but he is now part of a group trying to buy the Stars.
One thing to note: Vinik, on April 12, after firing GM Brian Lawton and coach Rick Tocchet, said he wanted a CEO and GM hired in 30 to 60 days. Did that mean some of those on his short list are on teams still in the playoffs?