Sports ownership draws some oddball characters, some of which aren’t always the most … ethical. For every outspoken but ultimately good-for-the-sport rich guy like Mark Cuban there’s an unfortunate case like former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott.
Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli seemed like he was firmly entrenched in that latter group when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended him for 18 months, but Samueli was eventually cleared of the felony charges that prompted his NHL hiatus. Some might hold a grudge for such an embarrassing reprimand, but Samueli told the OC Register that he retains a “great relationship” with Bettman after the ordeal.
With his nearly 18-month suspension from the NHL long behind him, Samueli said he bore no ill will toward Gary Bettman after the league commissioner called the punishment “regrettable” upon lifting it last November.
Bettman reversed field in light of Samueli being cleared of a felony criminal charge of lying to federal investigators in a probe into illegal backdating of stock options at Broadcom Corp., the computer chip-making company he co-founded.
“I fully understood his decision process,” Samueli said. “I have no second thoughts about that at all. The whole event, the way it transpired was as you saw how it did in the newspaper, was pretty bizarre.
“No, I fully understand the reasons why he made his decision.”
This could be a rocky transitional period for the Ducks. With Scott Niedermayer retiring, their blueline is now a barren wasteland compared to the group that won a Stanley Cup not so long ago. Though the team boasts a strong, youthful core with Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Jonas Hiller, the depth positions are a little weak and quite old (don’t expect more than a season or two from aging Finns Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne).
That being said, with Samueli pushing through a tough period and GM Bob Murray showing some solid managerial chops, the future looks pretty solid for the Ducks. I’m not sure if I’m too confident about the team’s chances for making a big impact in 10-11, but it’s not that preposterous in a more wide-open (but still quite competitive) Pacific Division.