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Search for Tampa Bay Lightning CEO must be done right, not quickly

The Lightning's search for a chief executive officer is ongoing, but indications are it is more important for new owner Jeff Vinik to get it right than get it done quickly.

From the standpoint of team business, it seems that as long as a CEO is in place with enough time to decide by the June draft if a change at general manager is necessary, Vinik will be satisfied.

That timetable makes sense.

The draft is not just about picking players. And considering how well last year went, with selections such as defenseman Victor Hedman, forwards Carter Ashton, Alex Hutchings and Richard Panik and goaltender Jaroslav Janus, there doesn't seem to be a need for an upheaval in the scouting department.

The draft also is about trades, and a GM, if there is to be a new one, will by then need to know the players and budget considerations. And let's face it, until GM Brian Lawton gets a new contract (his expires June 30), there will be speculation about his future.

The CEO search, spearheaded by financial adviser and Wild governor Jac Sperling, who walked Vinik through the purchase process, already has options.

Former Senators CEO Roy Mlakar has stated his interest, and while former Stars president Jim Lites did not specifically throw his hat in the ring, he did not deny he would consider it.

Former Lightning president Ron Campbell and former Lightning chief operating officer Sean Henry could be in the mix. The name of Tod Leiweke, CEO of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, has been whispered, though he is considered a long shot because he is so entrenched in Seattle, and perhaps prohibitively expensive.

The point is, Vinik wants choices. Getting them takes time. Finding the right ones adds time. But we're still in March, so time is on his side.

Search for Tampa Bay Lightning CEO must be done right, not quickly 03/27/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 27, 2010 8:48pm]
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