Lou Lamoriello,Ilya Kovalchuk,  Jeff Vanderbeek i

Report: Devils ownership split could be settled after $25M deal

A couple weeks ago, the New York Post reported that the New Jersey Devils’ are in serious financial peril, while the team’s ownership group called the story “inaccurate.” Whatever the exact truth may be, the Devils should have a more unified vision after the team’s two majority owners came to a deal that should end what seemed like a growing rift.

The New York Post reports that co-owner Ray Chambers paid $25 million to essentially rid himself of his 47 percent share in the franchise, which would give his (soon-to-be-former?) partner Jeff Vanderbeek a 94 percent share. Rich Chere reports that Peter Simon holds the remaining six percent share of the team. Naturally, the league will have to approve that transfer of power, which Josh Kosman reports “is no sure thing.”

On face value, it seems strange that someone would spend that much money to give away a huge piece of a team, but Chambers would no longer be responsible for helping to pay off the team’s significant debt. Kosman reports that Devils Arena Entertainment – a company that controls the Devils along with running Newark’s Prudential Center – owes about $180 million at this time. Reports indicate that Chambers’ $25 million will help pay some of those bills.

The strange deal highlights both the shaky financial condition of the Newark-based team and the caustic relationship between the two owners.

As the deal is structured, Chambers, who has been looking to exit the mostly money-losing franchise for about a year, appears to feel the equity in the NHL team is worthless.

It also means that the billionaire Chambers, through his Brick City operation, is tired of pumping money into the troubled team.

People close to Chambers said he was never interested in making a profit from his Devils investment — but simply to help re-develop Newark.

While the Devils’ financial picture is still far from clear under the terms of that pending deal, it’s at least a little more straightforward. Considering the team’s issues on account spreadsheets, the future would certainly look a lot brighter if the on-ice product bounces back in the 2011-12 season.

Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.