Coyotes moving to Winnipeg? Not so fast.


Yesterday it was brought to my attention that there was a ‘report’
published that stated emphatically that the Phoenix Coyotes would be
returning to Winnipeg. Even though we here at Pro Hockey Talk are
technically not averse to posting rumors from around the league, I was
hesitant on this one.

This is fairly big story if true, and I wanted to wait until there
were some other, more trustworthy sources out there that either
completely debunked this report or actually gave it credence. My
hesitation was the result of a number of factors: I have no idea how
trustworthy this blogger is (who covers the Vancouver Canucks), he
starts of saying it’s a done deal then says in the story there’s still
some details to be work out, and this comes from a website that is known
for for a making a living on unsubstantiated rumors. First, here’s
an excerpt from the original story:

Well here it is: the scoop. The one that matters and the one you
heard first. The Coyotes are coming not the Thrashers and yes, Mr.
David Thomson is involved. The team will be moving to Winnipeg for
next season and the thank god. At least this team has a fighting
chance versus the previous rumoured option of Atlanta.

What he’s talking about is a slew of rumors from earlier in the
season that the Thrashers would be moving to Winnipeg. I don’t know how
grounded those rumors were in reality, but I’ve heard nothing about it
since. Now, it seems everyone (well, at least this guy is) is convinced
it’s the Coyotes that are moving. Well, not so fast there, killer.

to Jim Gintinio’s Ice Chips blog on
, he doesn’t
believe the team is moving and approaches the report with a bit of

Wonder if he was talking to the same driver
who trucked Robert Irsay and the Colts out of Baltimore.

I do
not believe the Coyotes are going anywhere – except to the playoffs in
about a month.

If this ends up being true, then
I’ll apologize to the original author. But the article is so filled with
hearsay, generalities and then mixed with emphatic declarations it’s
tough to take it seriously.

(H/T to Kukla’s)

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”