5 Owners Who Could Help End the NHL Lockout

Michael PrunkaCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2012

5 Owners Who Could Help End the NHL Lockout

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    It’s not limited to former players like Mario Lemieux and owners of Original Six teams—there are some NHL owners that have enough influence to make a significant step towards ending the NHL Lockout.

    As with all labor disputes, the core issue is always money. Some owners have more invested in the game than others, though.

    It’s up to those owners that have that something extra invested into our beloved game. They’re the ones who have to fight for a season.

    Which five NHL owners can help end the lockout? Let’s take a look.

Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins)

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    During the last lockout that cancelled the entire 2004-05 season, Mario Lemieux was instrumental in helping the players and the owners reach a new deal. Too bad it happened just after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cancelled the remainder of the season.

    Along with Wayne Gretzky, who was also a part-owner of an NHL team, Lemieux worked hard bringing the two sides together.

    As both a legendary Penguin and now a partial owner of the team, Lemieux can sympathize with both sides of this labor dispute. Hopefully this time, Lemieux can work his magic before we lose the entire season.  

Phillip Anschutz & Edward Roski Jr. (Los Angeles Kings)

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    You can bet Phillip Anschutz, Edward Roski Jr. and everyone else in the Los Angeles Kings organization wants to defend the Stanley Cup this season.

    Why? Forbes ranked the Kings as the NHL’s 10th most valuable in 2011.

    Since then, they’ve welcomed the always-popular pair of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and came from behind to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. Because of their Los Angeles market, the club is bound to expand rapidly over the next few years.

    After all the Stanley Cup festivities this summer, the King’s owners are going to want to see their team defend their hard-earned championship this season.

    And that's not to mention that the Kings will undoubtedly want to defend the franchise's first Stanley Cup out of sheer pride.

Mike Ilitch (Detroit Red Wings)

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    Dec. 11, 2010 set records in the hockey world.

    The Big Chill at the Big House pitted rivals Michigan and Michigan State against one another. The game had a record-breaking attendance of 113,411 people.

    Mike Ilitch and the Red Wings have set their sights on that record.

    The 2013 NHL Winter Classic will see the Red Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Big House. The annual outdoor game has become the NHL’s gold mine. It’s highly unlikely that Ilitch is going to let that game get postponed or cancelled without putting up a fight.

    On top of that, the Red Wings are the NHL’s fourth most valuable team. While some owners are looking for a greater share of the revenue, Detroit is one franchise that doesn’t have to worry about losing money.

Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto Maple Leafs)

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    Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, will want the lockout to end soon for many of the same reasons as Mike Ilitch.

    Obviously, Tanenbaum and the Leafs look forward to participating in the single biggest game of the NHL’s regular season. Beyond that, the Leafs will also be the first Canadian team to participate in the Winter Classic.

    The Leafs are the most valuable franchise in the NHL and arguably Canada’s biggest club. It’s only appropriate that they get a shot at an old rival. The biggest stage of the regular season should be a great stage for the Battle of the Windsor Corridor.

    The Leafs also look promising this season. They have plenty of young players ready to step up and make an impact. There’s no doubt that Tanenbaum wants the team to end this lockout and start rebuilding.

Sharks Entertainment Enterprises (San Jose Sharks)

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    The Sharks aren’t the most valuable team. Their franchise doesn’t have the historical influence that some of the other teams mentioned have.

    They do have an interesting outlook on their financial situation, though. And the NHL Lockout always comes back to money, doesn’t it?

    MercuryNews.com reported that the Sharks were in the red by about $15 million this past season.

    "We're OK with that because that's a decision we've made to stay competitive," said part-owner Kevin Compton about the team’s financial losses.

    The Sharks’ management is committed to pouring resources into the team in an effort to make it successful. They share a drive similar to the players on the ice. Having owners completely invested in the success of the team is one of the biggest components of great team.

    Combine that dedication with the talent found in San Jose and it’s only a matter of time before the team is contending for the Stanley Cup.

    If more owners adapt a similar philosophy—one that emphasizes the team’s success on the ice as much as its success on the financial reports—the two sides would have more common ground and the lockout would be sorted out in a more timely fashion.

    Michael Prunka is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist and Sportswriting Intern. To stay up to date with his WWE and NHL commentary, you can like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter and follow him on Tout.