With Coyotes in trouble, Canada gets greedy for more

winnipegjets.gifThe situation with the Phoenix Coyotes is as fluid and absurd as anything any professional sports league has ever seen. The latest update comes from Darren Dreger at TSN saying that the City of Glendale will reach an agreement with Ice Edge to get the Coyotes. As always, there are some stipulations thrown into the mix.

It has been widely speculated one of the main stumbling blocks is a concern over whether or not Glendale will cover losses for next season.  However, what the National Hockey League is looking for is an assurance, if the league foregoes the relocation option for next season, and either the City or new ownership breaches or doesn’t close, Glendale will then assume the risk of losses for next year.

Sources say the NHL is simply looking for an insurance policy and nothing more. 

As expected, the NHL is just making sure they’re not stuck holding the bag and having to scramble around like they did last summer when former Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy and tried to side-step the league rules and sell to Research In Motion guru Jim Balsillie.

What makes this continued circus all the more insane is the potential Winnipeg move for the Coyotes and what it does to Canadians and Canadian reporters in general. If the Jets are to make a return and Canada does, indeed, get to make it seven the Globe and Mail’s Stephen Brunt isn’t content with just seven, he wants a little bit more.

Maybe Jim Balsillie’s problem was that he didn’t think big enough. Make It Seven? Heck, how about Make It Nine?

The rather predictable events in Phoenix over the past 48 hours, coming almost exactly a year after Jerry Moyes took the Coyotes into bankruptcy with the intent of passing the franchise to Balsillie, and to Hamilton, underscore a truth obvious even to the desperate propagandists in the NHL’s head office.

There aren’t a heck of a lot of palatable options around right now for ailing NHL teams that don’t involved relocation to Canada.

Check that: there aren’t any.

Brunt goes on to add that not just Winnipeg is a good choice, mostly thanks to potential Canadian buyer David Thomson’s money, but also another former NHL home in Quebec City (courtesy of former Nordiques owner and current Canadian political figure Marcel Aubut) as well as the big prize in Canada, the greater Toronto area. While the NHL isn’t in a hurry to go scattering other money-losing franchises back across the northern border, leaving markets that are slowly trying to build some respectability with a bad taste in their mouth for the NHL doesn’t do the league any good either.

In the meantime, the NHL getting its house in order with the Coyotes is priority number one and the league’s commitment to Phoenix/Glendale as a market is going to get the biggest test its ever had mainly because the league has more than just its reputation as a league at stake here, they’ve got their credibility as a business at play as well.

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    Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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    Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

    They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

    Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

    Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

    You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

    Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

    Read about that blowout here.

    Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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    Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

    Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

    It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

    The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

    This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

    Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

    On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

    We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

    Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

    Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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    After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

    Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

    The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

    Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

    Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

    Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

    Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

    Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

    Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

    Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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    It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

    After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

    Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

    Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

    The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.