The Washington Capitals' 30-day deadline came and went yesterday, and nothing happened.
Still more than 2,000 season tickets short of their 7,500 goal, the Capitals are trying to satisfy two of the four conditions required for operation in Washington next season.
Owner Abe Pollin had outlined the conditions at a press conference July 20, stating that the franchise had only 30 days to sell 7,500 season tickets, sell out the first 10 home games, get tax relief from Prince George's County and rent reduction on Capital Centre.
The Prince George's County Council will not vote on the Capitals' amusement tax until Tuesday, which now seems a more realistic deadline for deciding the team's future.
Failure to achieve all four goals, Pollin said, meant he would sell and move, merge, or dissolve his hockey club.
If all the specifics were satisfied, Pollin would have new investors to purchase half the team, which reportedly has lost $20 million in eight years.
But only two conditions were fulfilled as of yesterday, a rent decrease and 10 sellouts. Season ticket sales have lagged, reaching 5,351 late yesterday.
So the waiting game continues and the team went nowhere yesterday, except downtown to the Touchdown Club. WTOP Radio broadcast from there between 11 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., urging listeners to buy season tickets.
Pollin was scheduled to appear at yesterday's "Cap-a-thon" but never showed up. Calls to his office were not returned.
Questioned earlier this week about the possibility of a time extension, Pollin was noncommital, saying he was unsure if the would-be investors "feel there is a need to extend. And those other options (merging or disbanding) take time to consider."
Pollin said last Monday chances of moving the team intact were dwindling because of time constraints. The Capitals are scheduled to begin their National Hockey League season Oct. 6 against the New York Rangers.
The decision on the team's future should come Tuesday when the council is expected to decrease the tax from 10 percent to one-half of 1 percent.
Lawrence Hogan, Prince George's County executive, said yesterday he was confident the council would pass the necessary legislation. "It is not a cancellation of the tax, but just a postponement for a few years," he said.
If the change is approved, the tax would gradually be raised again after three years, returning to 10 percent by the sixth year.
Capital Centre rent has been reduced from 15 to 10 percent of the net after taxes. Area companies and chambers of commerce have agreed to guarantee sellouts of the first 10 home games.
The potential investors, Dick Patrick, Jim Lewis and Marty Irving, partners in a Virginia real estate company, and Maryland businessman Albert Turner, are reluctant to discuss the situation unless and until the deal is settled.