"I'm not going to lie, we had a group in the running for this. We lost to Koules, and we lost to (current owner) Jeff (Vinik). We raised an awful lot of money. We had enough money to buy five franchises. I don't think we got outbid. I think (NHL commissioner Gary) Bettman thought Jeff was the right guy. And so do I.
"We were close (to buying the team). We were really close. We went to New York, met with attorneys and different people. We stopped short of Gary because we wanted to be absolutely sure before we got to him.''
"I didn't want this team to move. I didn't like the way it was going. It was almost like Koules and Barrie were trying to run the team into the ground so they could move it. There was no way I could let that happen, not if there was one possibility I could stop it.''
"The part that hurts is when we finally got through the circus and got to concentrate on building, we had a pretty good team. Not seeing it to the conclusion is hard. I always dreamed every day of making the playoffs. We have a chance to make the playoffs and that’s our goal."
"Please be advised that in order to avoid any confusion over the next couple of weeks, as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning Organization I am the only person authorized to speak on behalf of the team with regard to player transactions."
"No other person is authorized to negotiate player transactions. Any questions, feel free to call."
No one from the league would comment, and neither would Koules nor Barrie. One person with knowledge of the situation begged off by saying he was under a "super gag order." But indications are that the hierarchy remains the same with Koules as CEO and governor and Brian Lawton as general manager and the point man when it comes to hockey operations. The belief is that both Koules and Barrie have to sign off on major player moves brought to them by Lawton, which is how it has been. That means if a potential trade for captain Lecavalier is discussed, it would need the approval of both owners and Barrie has made it clear he wants Lecavalier in the franchise, calling him a "generational" player.