Capitals owner Ted Leonsis talked with Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski this week about everything from salary cap circumvention, NHL participation in the 2014 Olympics, new media and the patience of Capitals fans.
Check out an excerpt after the jump. Moving on to the Caps: Does something like getting Tomas Vokoun in for $1.5 million make Ted Leonsis the Fan or Ted Leonsis the Business Man happier? I didn’t think of it at all in a business sense. I saw it as a world-class goaltender with an unbelievable save percentage and plenty of experience becoming available. When free agency started, we didn’t think we had a shot at him. What I felt best about all of that, and I see more and more signs of it: Who would have thought a player of that caliber would reach out to us and say ‘I want to come to Washington. I know how much you can pay me, but I want to come to Washington because I love the fan base and I love the city and I want a chance to win the Stanley Cup?’ As an owner, that’s what you strive to create: an environment that’s one of the “haves.” A place where players want to play. That it is, but do you get a sense that with the team’s playoff struggles that fans are losing patience? Well, fans deserve to lose patience. But winning a Cup is hard. When you say “do I get a sense of it?”, the answer is no. There were 3,000 fans at the end of July who came to watch us in rookie camp. We’re at 98-percent season-ticket renewals. Our waiting list has grown. We just built eight suites, and we sold five of them. Everyone wants us to do well. There’s disappointment when we don’t. But that’s different than losing patience. What are the signs of losing patience? There’s always an implied threat that if you don’t win a Cup, then fans are going to stop coming to the games. If you don’t win a Cup, the media won’t follow you. I sense disappointment is increasing, but no, I don’t see people losing patience with us. But no one is more disappointed than I am.
You can check out the interview in its entirety on Puck Daddy.