The news around the Devils Tuesday should rightfully be about their Game 7 against the Hurricanes, but Sports Business Journal had other plans. They reported Tuesday morning that the team was looking for a business executive to take over revenue-building duties, stripping those duties from do-everything honcho Lou Lamoriello and allowing him the opportunity to focus solely on the hockey operations side.
Apparently, the league has been bitten for the second day in a row by an erroneous report. After ESPN wrongfully reported Monday one-game suspensions for Capitals Donald Brashear and Mike Green only to redact the report shortly thereafter, Devils chairman/managing partner Jeff Vanderbeek called the Lamoriello report "very inaccurate."
They never talked to me about it," Vanderbeek said.
Vanderbeek said emphatically that "Lou is not being relieved of his duties and Lou and I are both working together on this."
The Devils have retained the services of James and Co., an executive search firm, fueling the rumors. Additional kindling could also have rested in the fact that, while the Devils have been very successful on the ice under Lamoriello's watch, they've suffered on the balance sheet, failing to capitalize on a run between 1995 and 2003 that saw three Stanley Cups with any significant revenue growth or marketing initiatives. Certainly, the team can improve on becoming more visible in a digital community that is ripe with opportunities to build a following and some profit.
Still, Lamoriello will continue his omnipresent role with the team, as Vanderbeek said he won't be losing any powers.
The position the Devils are seeking to fill, according to Vanderbeek, is an "arena business executive" position, which will oversee sponsorships, legal development, and finance/ancillary development around Prudential Center, which will also include working with indoor soccer team NJ Ironmen as well as Seton Hall's basketball team, two squads which also play in The Rock.
Some have bemoaned Lamoriello's expansive role with the team, saying it's detracted from the attention he paid to building a near-dynasty in the mid-90s through earlier this decade, but like it or not Lamoriello is the authority of the New Jersey Devils and, like other towering figures in front offices across professional sports (Al Davis, George Steinbrenner, etc), will likely only give up his duties with his last breath.
Meanwhile, a job has opened up in this economy! Get your rèsumés updated.