The NHL has drawn up a buyout plan for feuding Tampa Bay Lightning owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules in order to find a resolution to what the league deems to be an "unsustainable situation," according to a report in the St. Petersburg Times on Sunday.
Barrie and Koules will each get a turn to buy out the other owner. Barrie has the first chance at it in an exclusive 60-day window that apparently runs out in September.
If Barrie can't do it, Koules will get the same chance after.
The purchase price isn't the only thing to consider — according to the report, either one has to prove he can handle the debt obligations handed to the club by former owner Palace Sports & Entertainment.
Palace Sports financed around $70 million US of the $200-million price for the Lightning and lent OK Hockey — headed by Koules — another $30 million.
If neither Koules nor Barrie can buy out the other, the NHL might seek a buyer, leave things as is or give the team back to Palace Sports.
It's at least the third step in NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's plan to bring stability to the Lightning front office, stemming from a June 23 meeting in New York. Bettman demanded that Koules and Barrie work out their differences about how to run the ailing franchise.