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Report: NHL ‘Preparing To Take Control’ Of Cash-Strapped Devils

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, owner Jeff Vanderbeek (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, owner Jeff Vanderbeek (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN) – It appears NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman could soon make Newark Mayor Cory Booker a very happy man.

Bettman is reportedly “preparing to take control” of the New Jersey Devils from owner Jeff Vanderbeek, whose public spat with Booker made headlines earlier this year. The league will make a move if the Devils can’t soon refinance $77 million in past-due debt, according to the New York Post.

The commissioner may not wait until the Aug. 14 default deadline, the paper reported, adding he would “likely” muscle Vanderbeek out beforehand “to give suitors enough time to study the team’s financials and make an offer to lenders.”

Bettman said the Devils’ financial situation seemed to be “on track” before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals earlier this month.

“He appears to be fairly confident that he can pull this off in the next few weeks,” Bettman said of Vanderbeek.

A “mystery investor” could be the answer to the cash-strapped franchise’s woes. Vanderbeek is “near a deal to sell a majority stake” to an unknown backer, the Post reported.

Vanderbeek and Booker had some harsh words for each other after a long-running dispute boiled over in April.

Booker, upset over the team’s lease agreement at the Prudential Center, called Vanderbeek a “highfalutin, high-class huckster and hustler.”  The owner later fired back, saying he had some regret over bringing the team to Newark.

Do you think an NHL takeover would be good for the franchise? Be heard in the comments below…