Wild Owner Craig Leipold Wants To Play This Season

As the lockout rolls on and the players become more and more worried about the possibility of losing an entire season and all the pay checks that go with it, we learn additional insight as to the owner’s stance on the lockout.  One area in particular that we continue to learn more about is how the owners are divided into three groups; those that want to play, those in the middle and those that are driving the lockout forward, demanding the players cave to the owner’s requests.

All along it was believed that Minnesota Wild owner, Craig Leipold was one of the hard nosed owners that didn’t care if the season was saved.  It appears that was a misconception.

According to Elliotte Friedman of CBC.ca, he sites a few sources as informing him that Leipold wants to play this season.  Meaning he’s not one of the eight that have Gary’s ear, but he’s not willing to concede to the NHLPA’s demands and start the season tomorrow.  Rather he appears to be somewhere in the middle according to Friedman, realizing that he has too much to lose with the momentum he picked up over the summer with his two superstar additions in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

The interesting twist on Friedman’s thoughts is that Leipold is on the negotiating committee for the league, a role that would all but guarantee he would be taking a hart stance on the lockout.  But again we are reminded not to judge a book by it’s cover.

Let’s be clear though, Friedman writes that Leipold wants to play this season, but follows that statement with the word ‘eventually’ signalling that Leipold does have strong beliefs on how the new CBA should represent concessions towards the owners.

Considering the amount of money that Leipold soaked into both Suter and Parise, he knows that playing this year at some point is far more valuable to his organization than losing a full year and having to rebuild the Wild fan base.

Friedman takes an educated guess as to which owners are apart of the elite eight that have Bettman convinced to run this lockout as long as possible and they are: Anaheim, Columbus, Florida, the Islanders, Phoenix, St. Louis, Washington and Dallas.   Ironic that many of the teams just listed are considered small market and are also in areas where the game has struggled to establish itself, especially places like Florida and Phoenix.  It’s no surprise that these owners want more revenue sharing when they are constantly losing money every year.  In the Coyotes case it feels like they have a potential new owner every year.

Friedman notes that the players believe that the Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is the one who is running the lockout, said to have control when it comes to convincing Bettman whether to swing one way or another.  Friedman did not have Jacobs on his educated list as one of the eight owners who appear to be spear heading the lockout.

As the world turns, we learn more about the lockout and it’s hard to choose sides now knowing that Leipold may be on the side of the players in some shape or form.  Let’s all hope that this is enough to at least start the negotiating process again.

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