Len Barrie was around for the Lightning's trip through th Tri State Area this weekend and Erik Erlendsson got to ask him several questions regarding the team, the franchise, and the upcoming season.

Rumors of financial trouble?

All year you hear this stuff because we are not billionaires when we bought the team. But we made every payroll, every bonus this year, and the players will be the first ones to say they didn't get paid. It's just the old thing that people want to see us fail instead of succeed. We've always said we'd like to get equity partners and put all the rumors to rest. But we are still here and moving forward.

EDIT: I'd like to include a more in-depth piece on the financial situation with the Lightning that Damian had in today's St. Petersburg Times, it sheds more light on the franchise.

How about the team's collapse?

[...] we had high expectations. [...] It was a tough start with the coaching change. To be within eight points of the playoffs at one point when both goalies and top two defensemen go down, and you are not a deep organization, you are going to struggle. But I really like the pieces we have now compared to last year at this time. Now we just have to go build around it and go back to try to win the division next year.

Compared to where we were this time last season?  Am I the only one who reads this as his vendetta against former Lightning defensiveman Dan Boyle?

There's more aobut Barrie's Bear Mountain Resort in British Columbia amid the softballs tossed to him.  But I did find it interesting that he, like General Manager Brian Lawton, made it a point to play up the return of Vincent Lecavalier next season.  This after all the rumors that have swarmed for months on end because of team-initiated trade talks:

There are some really good pieces to build around. Stammer Steven Stamkos is going to be there, Vinny is going to come back 100 percent healthy with five months to train and we'll go from there.

Take that for what you will...