News Corp. will not make a bid to buy the Dallas Stars

Thumbnail image for rupertmurdoch.jpgThe bidding for the Dallas Stars is apparently back to just two interested parties. While we reported a while back that News Corp., the company that owns Fox Broadcasting, was interested in purchasing the Dallas Stars, it turns out things have changed. Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News breaks the news on Fox stepping away.

I was filing some e-mails and making some calls today, and I got put in touch with Chris Bellitti, the vice president of communications for all of FSN. He said that Fox will not be bidding for the Stars.

Here is his one-line statement:

“Fox will not be submitting a bid for ownership of the Dallas Stars.”

Bellitti said that he believes Rupert Murdoch has decided to get out of buying sports teams and is instead focused on getting television rights. The Stars television contract with FSN expires after the 2013-14 season, so this is not an immediate issue.

Well that certainly takes the high-profile angle out of this story as Rupert Murdoch’s involvement in NHL ownership would’ve been tantalizing at the very least. The thought of having Murdoch sitting in on a Board of Governor’s meeting and trying to keep up with some of the other owners is something you’d imagine happening in a movie. Instead, the future of the Stars will be in the hands of either Canadian oil man Bill Gallacher or Vancouver investor Tom Gaglardi.

There is still hope for things to get interesting as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who had been rumored to be thinking about getting involved in buying the Stars, has yet to make a comment one way or the other about purchasing the team. If you thought the idea of Rupert Murdoch owning an NHL team was interesting, getting Cuban into the NHL owners club would be startling and incredible from a high-profile perspective. Of course, Cuban has already been turned down once before by the NHL Board of Governors so I wouldn’t hold your breath there even if he made a Balsillie-like bid for the team.

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    Cam Ward delivers an all-time own goal (video)

    Fox Sports Carolinas

    We’ve seen some pretty interesting own goals throughout NHL history, and now Cam Ward has staked his claim for one of the strangest.

    The Carolina Hurricanes goaltender scored on himself in one of the most bizarre plays ever seen in the NHL.

    The puck, as you can see, hops into the skate of an unknowing Ward as the veteran netminder went out to play a puck that was rimmed around the boards.

    Ward, does what he would normally do after trotting out behind his net, and gets back into his crease. Unsure of where the puck is, he drops into the butterfly. The problem is the puck is stuck in his right skate, which goes over the goal line.

    It’s hard to explain, so let’s roll the footage:

    The play-by-play man on Fox Sports Carolinas had a good point: Why wasn’t the play blown dead? Even if the ref has his eye on the puck, there was no way of Ward knowing what he was about to do.

    Is there even a rule for that?

    Either way, one of the strangest goals in recent memory counted in a game few were probably watching to begin with.

    It’s probably safe to assume Ward (and goalies around the NHL) are going to find some way as to not let that happen again.

    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Red Wings’ Mike Green to have neck surgery, ending his season

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    Mike Green‘s neck has done him few favors this season, and now it’s done his season in.

    The All-Star defenseman will undergo cervical spine surgery and will miss the remainder of the 2017-18, the Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday, right before the puck dropped for their game against the Washington Capitals.

    Red Wings fans will recall, and likely bemoan, an earlier neck injury that prevented Green from getting dealt at the trade deadline earlier this season.

    Green, 32, was hurt in a Feb. 15 matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning and missed seven games, returning on March 2 against the Winnipeg Jets. On Wednesday, he aggravated the same injury in practice.

    Green has eight goals and 33 points in 66 games played.

    Per Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press:

    The procedure is scheduled for April 5 at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and will be performed by Dr. Frank Cammisa. A minimum two months of recovery time is expected.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with Green this summer. The aging d-man is headed to free agency this summer and what he will command is up in the air. That number, whatever it is, likely took a blow thanks to this latest revelation on Thursday.

    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings

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    Washington Capitals

    Alex Ovechkin / Nicklas Backstrom / Tom Wilson

    Andre Burakovsky / Lars Eller / T.J. Oshie

    Brett Connolly / Travis Boyd / Jakub Vrana

    Chandler Stephenson / Jay Beagle / Devante Smith-Pelly

    Dmitry Orlov / Matt Niskanen

    Michal Kempny / John Carlson

    Christian Djoos / Brooks Orpik

    Starting goalie: Philipp Grubauer

    [Capitals – Red Wings preview]

    Detroit Red Wings

    Tyler Bertuzzi / Henrik Zetterberg / Gustav Nyquist

    Darren Helm / Dylan Larkin / Anthony Mantha

    Justin Abdelkader / Frans Nielsen / Andreas Athanasiou

    Evgeny Svechnikov / Luke Glendening / Martin Frk

    Niklas Kronwall / Mike Green

    Jonathan Ericsson / Trevor Daley

    Danny DeKeyser / Nick Jensen

    Starting goalie: Jimmy Howard

    One reason for Dallas Stars’ struggles? Shaky drafting

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    The narrative is becoming almost as much of a trope as the Capitals suffering playoff heartbreak or the Hurricanes not even getting to the postseason. Year after year, the Dallas Stars “win” the off-season, yet they frustrate as much as they titillate when the pucks drop.

    For years, mediocre-to-putrid goaltending has been tabbed as the culprit. There’s no denying that there have been disappointments in that area, especially since they keep spending big bucks hoping to cure those ills.

    [Once again, Stars’ hope hinge on Kari Lehtonen.]

    Checking all the boxes

    The thing with success in the NHL is that there is no “magic bullet.”

    Sure, the Penguins lucked out in being putrid at the right times to land Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and other key players with lottery picks. Even so, they’ve also unearthed some gems later in drafts (Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel) and made shrewd trades (Phil Kessel is the gift that keeps giving). They’ve also had a keen eye when it comes to who to keep or not keep in free agency, generally speaking.

    In other words, the best teams may stumble here or there, but they’re generally good-to-great in just about every area.

    The Stars hit a grand slam in the Tyler Seguin trade, made a shrewd signing in Alex Radulov, and enjoyed some nice wins in other moves. You can nitpick the style elements of bringing back Ken Hitchcock, but there are pluses to adding the Hall of Famer’s beautiful hockey mind.

    Beyond goaltending, the Stars’ struggles in drafting and/or developing players really seems to be holding them back.

    Not feeling the draft

    Now, that’s not to say that they never find nice players on draft weekend. After all, they unearthed Jamie Benn in the fifth round (129th overall) in 2007 and poached John Klingberg with a fifth-rounder, too (131st pick in 2010).

    Still, first-round picks have not been friendly to this franchise. When they’ve managed to make contact, they’ve managed some base hits, but no real homers. (Sorry, Radek Faksa.)

    The Athletic’s James Gordon (sub required) ranked the Stars at 28th of 30 NHL teams who’ve drafted from 2011-15, furthering the point:

    Imagine how great the Stars would be — what with Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov — had they managed to get another core piece or two with one of their many mid-first and second-round picks. Instead, they’ve nabbed mostly role players who don’t move the needle much.

    Actually, it’s quite staggering just how far back the Stars’ struggles with first-rounders really goes. Ignoring 2017 first-rounder Miro Heiskanen (third overall) and 2016 first-rounder Riley Tufte (25th) as they’re particularly early in their development curves, take a look at the Stars’ run of first-rounders:

    2015: Denis Gurianov, 12th overall, 1 NHL game
    2014: Julius Honka, 14th, 53 GP
    2013: Valeri Nichushkin, 10th, 166 GP; Jason Dickinson, 29th, 35 GP
    2012: Radek Faksa, 13th, 196 GP
    2011: Jamie Oleksiak, 14th, 179 GP
    2010: Jack Campbell, 11th, 6 GP
    2009: Scott Glennie, 8th, 1 GP
    2008: No first
    2007: No first
    2006: Ivan Vishnevskiy, 27th, 5 GP
    2005: Matt Niskanen, 28th, 792 GP

    Yikes. Even if Gurianov and Honka come along, that group leaves … a lot to be desired. (And those struggles go back past 2014 and beyond, honestly.)

    Blame scouting, development, or both, but the Stars aren’t supplementing high-end talent with the depth that often separates great from merely good.

    This isn’t a call for perfection, either. Even a team with some high-profile whiffs can also get big breaks. Sure, the Boston Bruins passed on Mathew Barzal three times, but they also got steals in Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak.



    If the Stars want to break through as more than a fringe playoff team, “winning the off-season” will need to start in late June instead of early July.

    And, hey, what better time to do that than when they’re hosting the next draft?

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.