Cliff Viner named sole managing partner of Florida Panthers

The Panthers have decided to play some more executive office shuffleboard today and have cleared up the delegation of power amongst ownership. Today, the team announced that Cliff Viner becomes the General Partner, Chairman & CEO of the franchise.

Viner had occupied the role of Chairman and Co-General Partner with Stu Siegel since Nov. 2009, but Siegel will now return to his former role as Limited Partner, remain as Chairman of the Florida Panthers Foundation and assume the role of NHL Alternate Governor, while also focusing on other business opportunities.

“First of all I would like to thank Stu for his contributions in reshaping the business strategy of SSE during the recent transition period,” Viner said. “As Stu turns his focus to other business opportunities, I am confident that the decisions we have made over the last eight months have put us in position to reach our goals and achieve success. With General Manager Dale Tallon leading our franchise, and President & COO Michael Yormark at the helm of our business operations and entertainment offerings, I am extremely excited about the future of this organization.”

Since November 2009, Viner has led a major organizational shift that includes the hiring of renowned General Manager Dale Tallon, reengagement of the Panthers history through the Den of Honor and alumni involvement, a focus on “Accountability, Accessibility and Winning Culture”, and the unveiling of SSE’s Pledge and Contract With The Community.

With Dale Tallon now the general manager of the team, the shuffling of deck chairs on what was starting to resemble the Titanic might be complete and the ship might not actually sink. There’s intriguing youth on the Panthers with David Booth, Michael Frolik and Stephen Weiss. Add in Erik Gudbranson along the blue line and, hey look, there’s a useful, youthful core of players to build around. With Tallon’s smarts and eye for talent, perhaps the team from Sunrise, Florida is headed in the right direction.

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    Blues have ‘wiggle room’ after locking up Parayko

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    The St. Louis Blues didn’t break the bank to keep Colton Parayko for five more years, and that’s important since they don’t believe the NHL’s salary cap will rise significantly in the next little while.

    Parayko’s cap hit came in at a manageable $5.5 million, as the two sides narrowly avoided an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for today.

    “You like to have as much wiggle room as possible,” GM Doug Armstrong said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Now we view the cap will stay flat for the foreseeable future. We’re content with the space we have. We’ll move forward and get ready for training camp.”

    The Blues now have a number of key players locked up long term, including Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz, Patrik Berglund, and Jake Allen.

    For Armstrong, the next big decision could involve Paul Stastny, the 31-year-old center who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

    But a decision on Stastny doesn’t need to be made now, or even before the season starts. It’s the trade deadline that could be the real pressure point, akin to the Kevin Shattenkirk situation this past year.

    Per CapFriendly, the Blues have just over $3 million in cap space, with one roster spot left to fill.

    ‘Highly unlikely’ Suns will pursue shared arena with Coyotes

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    The Arizona Coyotes appear to be on their own in pursuit of a new arena in the Phoenix area.

    That’s because Robert Sarver, the owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, says it’s “highly unlikely” he’ll pursue a shared arena with the Coyotes.

    Instead, Sarver is focused on upgrading the Suns’ current home (and Coyotes’ old home) in downtown Phoenix, Talking Stick Resort Arena.

    From the Arizona Republic:

    Sarver said building a new arena would have “maybe made more sense” four or five years ago when the cost estimate was $450 million to $500 million. The costs now, Sarver said, are “significantly higher.” Thus his focus on upgrading Talking Stick, which soon will be the second-oldest arena in the NBA.

    “I think it’s the most economically viable alternative for the city and us,” he said. “I like downtown Phoenix. That’s my first preference. I think the NBA is more of an urban game. That’s our demographic.”

    Talking Stick Resort Arena, formerly called America West Arena when the Coyotes played there, was designed for basketball and isn’t ideal for hockey. In that way, it’s a lot like Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which hasn’t been a great fit for the Islanders.

    The Coyotes recently hired a new president and CEO, Steve Patterson, whose top priority is finding the team a new home in the Phoenix area.

    Crosby to celebrate 30th birthday with Stanley Cup in Nova Scotia

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    HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) Sidney Crosby will mark his 30th birthday by once again parading the Stanley Cup in his province.

    In tweets sent out by the Sidney Crosby Hockey School, Crosby said he would hoist the trophy in the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth as part of an annual civic parade.

    “Get ready, the Stanley cup is coming to town!” Crosby confirmed in the tweet sent late Tuesday night. “I will be taking Lord Stanley to the streets Monday August 7th in the Halifax-Dartmouth Natal Day parade.”

    The parade, part of annual events that celebrate Halifax’s birthday, also happens to fall on the Pittsburgh Penguins captain’s 30th birthday.

    Natal Day chairman Greg Hayward said he expects another 25,000 people will be lining the parade route on top of the roughly 40,000 usual attendees.

    “It’s extremely exciting to think that we’re going to have Sid and the Cup in our Natal Day parade,” Hayward said Wednesday.

    Crosby has shown off the Stanley Cup twice before in his hometown of Cole Harbour, just outside Dartmouth, in 2009 and 2016.

    Last July, Crosby carried the Cup in the back of a pickup that made its way to an arena in Cole Harbour as thousands of cheering fans looked on in sweltering heat.

    Arbitration hearing looming for Arvidsson, who broke out in big way last year

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    Viktor Arvidsson wants a one-year deal worth $4.5 million, while the Nashville Predators are countering with a two-year deal worth $5.5 million ($2.75 million AAV).

    That’s the situation with an arbitration hearing scheduled for Saturday, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

    The two sides could still reach a deal before each case is heard.

    Arvidsson, 24, broke out in a big way last year, scoring 31 goals during the regular season, then helping the Preds to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

    But Nashville needs to be careful with its cap situation, because Ryan Johansen also needs a new contract, and he won’t be cheap to re-sign.

    Arvidsson just wrapped up his entry-level contract.