Another potential buyer of the Washington Capitals has surfaced, according to Jake Milford, the Vancouver Canucks' general manager.
Milford said by telephone yesterday that he had put "a gentleman in Los Angeles" in touch with the Capitals after the individual expressed interest in buying the team.
"He was interested in the franchise, but wanted me to sort of introduce him to the Capitals," said Milford. "So I put him in touch with (Capitals legal counsel) Peter O'Malley. I don't know whether this party seriously talked about it or what."
Milford would not identify the individual, but added, "He possibly has other people (in this) with him. He's interested, but I don't know more than that. I don't know if he would keep the team in Washington or try to move it."
O'Malley was quoted in a published report yesterday as saying the Capitals faced a self-imposed 30-day deadline for resolution of the situation. He was not available for comment yesterday. According to several Capitals employes, the report of the deadline came as a surprise.
On Tuesday afternoon, O'Malley said that "nothing's changed" since last week. At that time, O'Malley had confirmed owner Abe Pollin might have to accept the idea that buyers for the team might move it from Washington, although Pollin's first preference is for keeping it at Capital Centre.
Asked Tuesday if the team was operating within a specific time frame, O'Malley would only repeat, "Nothing's changed."
Pollin did not return phone calls yesterday.
Art Kaminsky, the New York agent representing a group interested in acquiring the team, said yesterday he has a "certain optimism about my people," although no formal offer has been made.
Commenting on the report that the Capitals have only a month to exist, Kaminsky said, "I have no sense of panic just because a newspaper says something." Kaminsky said his group had not been advised of any such deadline for a sale.
John Ziegler, the NHL's president, has been unavailable for comment on the Washington situation. At the league's meetings in Toronto last week, he said only that no proposal regarding Washington was before the board of governors, but that the subject could be taken up again with 48 hours notice.
Ziegler said last week that Pollin would consider operation of his team in another city, but refused to discuss the potential snarl of details surrounding such a move.
No possible sites for a Capitals shift have been officially mentioned. Milford admits he would like to see another team out in his area, possibly in the 26,000-seat Tacoma (Wash.) Dome that is scheduled to open in May 1983. "I didn't introduce (a buyer) to Washington just to get a team out here," he said. "But I would love to see a team here."
Mike Gebauer, manager of the Dome, said that he has received phone calls from "various parties who would seem to have the finances to procure an NHL franchise," but nothing definite has been presented.
"We have tried withholding (certain dates in) the building to keep it attractive for a prime tenant. And we consider a prime tenant to be an NHL team," he said. "The word is out that we're interested in a hockey team, and now it's just a matter of dollars and cents."
According to Milford, at last week's NHL board of governors meeting, "We (governors) did assume Washington had some people interested. (They) wanted to know if they could move. Without having any idea where they would go or other details, you couldn't give Washington carte blanche to go wherever they please."
The Capitals lost $3 million last season and as much as $20 million during their eight-year existence. Pollin has not divulged an asking price for his team.
Former Capitals Coach Gary Green, reportedly trying to form a group to buy the team, still would not confirm any such effort.