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Lightning co-owner Len Barrie says NHL is 'satisfied' with his $10 million letter of credit

The word around the NHL's New York offices on Friday was "satisfied."

Lightning co-owner Len Barrie said the league is "satisfied" with a presumed $10 million letter of credit. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is "satisfied where things stand."

During a two-hour meeting, Barrie met a league deadline by presenting commissioner Gary Bettman with the irrevocable letter of credit to ensure Barrie could cover his portion of the team's projected losses for the fiscal year that began July 1 and provide an additional financial cushion.

No word on which financial institution provided the letter, and all Barrie would say is, "The league is satisfied, and things are progressing nicely."

For now, things apparently are status quo inside the organization and between the owners who are bickering over financial and philosophical differences on how to build the team.

Co-owner Oren Koules, who through team spokesman Bill Wickett declined comment, is CEO and governor and, with general manager Brian Lawton, handles most of the day-to-day running of the team and the St. Pete Times Forum. Barrie has the right to sign off on all "major" player transactions.

It has been a good week for Barrie. The majority owner of Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa in Victoria, British Columbia, announced a $350 million sale of parts of his property through an investment firm in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates.

Jonathan Strum, Siraj Capital's general counsel, said the firm will act like an investment bank as it tries to sell bonds to back the sale.

There are more hurdles and challenges for the squabbling owners. Barrie's next deadline is Aug. 1, when he must deliver $3 million to repay a cash call he missed last season that Koules apparently covered. And Bettman still is wading through papers and briefs filed by both sides as the contest for control of the team continues.

When, or how, the soap opera ends is unclear.

But the process that began last month when Bettman called the owners to New York and demanded they begin settling their differences seems to have some momentum.

"We had the meeting," Daly said in an e-mail.

"We're satisfied with where things stand. … Things are moving forward."

Devils sign Murphy

NEWARK, N.J. — Defenseman Cory Murphy, who spent part of last season with the Lightning, signed a two-way contract with the Devils. Terms were not disclosed.

After starting the season with the Panthers, Murphy was claimed off waivers by the Lightning in January. In 25 games for it, he had five goals (four on the power play) and 10 assists.

Jurisprudence: A shoplifting charge against former player Chris Nilan was dismissed. Police in Braintree, Mass., said Nilan and another man were arrested Wednesday at a mall after Lord & Taylor security guards accused Nilan of walking out with a bathing suit under his clothes. Police said Nilan denied stealing and scuffled with the guards. The case was dismissed after Nilan agreed to stay out of the store and pay $100 in court costs. Nilan, 51, had 3,043 penalty minutes, ninth all-time, in 13 seasons with the Canadiens, Rangers and Bruins.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report. Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Lightning co-owner Len Barrie says NHL is 'satisfied' with his $10 million letter of credit 07/17/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 17, 2009 10:11pm]
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