Sale getting close?
It is Feb. 1 and given that Lightning owner Palace Sports & Entertainment wanted to have a purchase agreement done with Hollywood producer Oren Koules by Jan. 31 (and even gave him exclusive negotiating rights), it seems appropriate today to see what happened to those rights.
The Lightning was happy to report today, through spokesman Bill Wickett, that talks are going so well, any deadlines for the loss of those exclusive rights were waived. That means they are making progress, folks. Though Bill wouldn't go any farther than that, there is a sense a deal could be struck as soon as next week.
That would be just the first step in what could be a long process. The league has to approve the transfer of ownership (that should be easy given commissioner Gary Bettman greased the skids of this transaction), and then the financial transaction ($200-million for the team, St. Pete Times Forum lease and 5.5 acres near the arena) has to close. With the current credit crunch, who knows how long that will take.
Hard to tell what effect this would have on whatever might happen leading up to the trade deadline. How much input will Koules have? If nothing else, GM Jay Feaster would have to pass any transaction through Palace Sports and Koules.
Will be interesting to see the consequences. But at least it seems steps, though slowly, are being taken to resolve this situation so the franchise can move forward. For the team's sake, it should be sooner rather than later.