What if the Tampa Bay Lightning already know who they want?

Let’s review the timeline of this whole CEO/GM search, shall we?

Okay, there’s really nothing to review. And that's a drastic turn from how things had been happening in Lightning Land for the past couple of years. It’s like there’s new ownership…or something.

As John as pointed out before, Jeff Vinik is not a publicity guy. He’s a business man who likes to avoid glare of the public spotlight. And, really, who can blame him? Let the on-ice product be the star, not the owner.

Wow – what a concept there, huh, Len Barrie?

So here’s what I think about this situation. I believe that Vinik already knows what he wants – or who he wants, really – and he’s willing to take the time to get it. He’s not interested in making this process into a reality show, so not a lot has been said about it.

Keep in mind that Vinik is a successful and respected businessman. First, last, and always. And since he’s a successful guy, you’ve got to assume that he’s very good at this hiring business. One doesn’t get too far if the people that work for you aren’t very good, after all. You’ve also got to assume that he usually gets who and what he wants simply because of how successful he really is.

The only facts - actual facts - that we have so far are that the Detroit Red Wings have granted the Lightning permission to talk to Steve Yzerman, Dave Nonis said that he’d been approached and instead took the Toronto Maple Leafs offer, and that Tod Leiweke has acknowledged that there’s a great opportunity there with the Lightning but that he's happy where he's at. There was nothing about Leiweke being interviewed about the CEO position, or him even being approached to discuss it, despite the fact that the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL made a statement about how there’s no truth to the rumors.

That’s it. The rest is just hearsay. The Los Angeles Kings have said that they have not given the Lightning permission to talk to Ron Hextall; there hasn’t been any concrete confirmation that Pierre McGuire has been contacted; Doug Risebrough is interested, as is Mike Santos, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Throughout this whole process, the only names that haven’t gone away are Yzerman and Leiweke – and both were mentioned at the very beginning.

Who knows how things will turn out in the end, of course, but I believe that Vinik is holding out for who he wants: Leiweke as CEO, and Yzerman as GM. For all we know, perhaps one is contingent upon the other. Leiweke might take the CEO job only if Yzerman is willing to be GM, or vice versa. It's hard to say how any potential negotiations are going, after all.

It’s this silence that’s driving people to speculate who the team might be talking to. And that random speculation becomes rumor in a very short time. So don’t believe anything you read unless it’s someone confirming or denying something – the NHL, any team's officials from any sport, the people involved with direct quotes from them about the situation, or Vinik himself.