Sale of the Hurricanes could impact payroll

With Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos on the verge of selling part of the team to a group of minority investors, the talk in Carolina has stepped up a little bit on what the effects of doing so will be on the outlook of the team on the ice as compared to how they look in the bookkeeping office. The Raleigh News & Observer’s Luke DeCock was able to find out just what that could turn out to be.

The sales prospectus prepared by Allen & Co., investment bank Karmanos hired, touts a reduction in expenses in excess of $10 million and possibly as much as $15 million as a step toward consistent profitability. In a meeting with News & Observer editors and reporters, Karmanos confirmed that kind of savings could only come through cutting player salaries by a quarter.

Slashing a quarter of the payroll of a team that had $54 million committed to salary last year is taking an awfully big bite out of what was a bad but injury-laden Hurricanes team last season. Looking at what Carolina has committed to salary for next season, the Hurricanes have almost $42 million already set for 15 players and that’s not counting youngster Zach Boychuk who’s set to earn nearly $1.2 million should he stay with the big club. A lot of that money goes away after next year so Karmanos will get his reduced payroll one way or another, but what about being successful when going low budget? There’s the rub.

The 30 teams that have spent the least since the lockout — the six teams at the bottom 20 percent of the league’s payroll rankings in each of the past five seasons — have made the playoffs nine times. Considering that 16 of the league’s 30 teams make the playoffs each season, those are stiff odds.

Obviously it pays off well to pay up, but it’s always better to pay up wisely – something which the Nashville Predators know a lot about and the New York Rangers do not.

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    Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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    For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

    They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

    • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
    • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
    • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

    Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

    Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

    Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

    Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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    The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

    (Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

    Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

    You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

    It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

    Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

    Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

    Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

    Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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    If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

    You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

    The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

    For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

    (Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

    The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

    Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

    Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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    It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

    The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

    The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

    One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.