Abe Pollin, owner of the Washington Capitals, who has refused to discuss the team's financial problems with the media, apparently has not been talking to his National Hockey League colleagues, either.
Asked today whether there had been a request to transfer ownership of the Washington team, John Ziegler, NHL president, said he was unaware of any difficulties there.
"Abe Pollin has been an excellent owner from the league's standpoint," Ziegler said. "This is the first time I've been asked about it and I have no knowledge of any problem in Washington."
It would take a three-quarters vote of the NHL board of governors to effect a change of ownership.
Ziegler cited record NHL attendance this season and said, "We had a great year despite problems affecting the economy in many cities." He said at least one-third, or 40 percent, of the 21 teams made money. "Probably another one-third broke even or were close to it and another one-third were in the red, with two or three losing substantial money."
The Captials, with losses estimated at more than $1 million, would seem to fall in the last category, although Detroit, Colorado and Los Angeles probably lost more.
Ziegler held an informal news conference after the Stanley Cup luncheon, at which Red Berenson of St. Louis was honored as coach of the year. Blake Dunlop of St. Louis was presented the Masterton Trophy for dedication and perseverence, and Wayne Gretzky of Edmonton received a special player of the year award from Subaru.