Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has been the target of criticism since he was named a “hardliner” during the NHL lockout. We’ve observed the decline in his prestige, documented some fan protests, and even proffered a scheme to repair relations with the fans. Addressing the media at Thursday’s Caps Fan Appreciation Night at Verizon Center, Leonsis finally had the chance to discuss his role in the lockout, and he amiably rejected the hardliner label ascribed to him.
Regarding the “hardliner” claim, Leonsis laughs it off. He cites an opposing negotiator who called him “Uncle Ted” and says Leonsis was “really nice” during the talks. To Leonsis, the league and the union were the main parties in the discussion, and his role was more as a proxy.
Leonsis states that his main interests in the negotiations were a 50/50 revenue split and a long-term deal. He got both of those things. So… was it worth it?
Leonsis has every right to try to make his business profitable. He says he’s never made “a penny of profit” from owning the team, and that is certainly damn good motivation to make a change.
If this is truly the time for reconciliation, then I guess we have to root for Leonsis to make some money, considering that his business has already brought so much positive externality* to the community.
So I ask again: Bygones?
* And yes, I did just use positive externality in an article about hockey. If I can work in bespoke by the trade deadline, Ian has to buy me Qdoba.