Matt Hulsizer is the mystery potential buyer of the Coyotes

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for coyotes1.bmpIf you’ve been wondering just who the super secret interested party is that wants to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, you don’t have to hold your breath waiting to see who it is anymore. Matt Hulsizer, the CEO of PEAK6 Investments is apparently the man on the spot to try and ensure that the Coyotes will stay in Glendale. Hulsizer is based out of Chicago and is a former college hockey player, so he’s got that going for him which is nice.

ESPN’s Scott Burnside tells us about Matt Hulsizer, the latest potential hero to hockey fans in the desert and what he brings to the table as a potential buyer.

Although Hulsizer could not be reached for comment, sources familiar with the businessman and situation in Phoenix believe he may be the answer to the NHL’s search for a viable owner.

In fact a number of sources said he represents the last, best chance to keep this team in Arizona.

“He has an unbelievable financial mind,” one source that has known Hulsizer for years told ESPN.com.

“He’s exactly the kind of guy that the league needs. He’s a legitimate hockey guy with a lot of money.”

Added another source familiar with the situation in Arizona said, “He dwarfs [Jerry] Reinsdorf when it comes to personal net worth. He’s the real deal.”

Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls, was in the running to buy the team but the city refused to meet his demands on a new lease agreement.

If Hulsizer is indeed the real deal then this is a tremendous victory for the City of Glendale and hockey fans in Arizona who have grown to love the Coyotes. The only question that comes to mind now for me is: Where has this guy been since the beginning? After all, if he “dwarfs” Jerry Reinsdorf in net worth that’s a tremendous statement considering that Reinsdorf owns both the Chicago White Sox in Major League Baseball and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA. You can’t exactly be a peddler and own two major sports franchises.

Of course, this is now the third time in the last year that we’ve been told that a new contender to buy the team has risen from out of nowhere so you’ll have to pardon us if we feel a bit reserved in our excitement to crown Matt Hulsizer as the new King of Glendale and hockey and desert friendship.

We saw Jerry Reinsdorf get trotted in as the league-mandated hero to help buy a stay of execution for the Glendale city council when the NHL was ready to start sniffing around to guys like David Thomson in Winnipeg. That time bought with Reinsdorf was able to help unearth Ice Edge Holdings who then managed to not work out a deal with the City of Glendale and they’re now apparently ready to give way to Hulsizer much in the same way. Instead of having me rail about this, Travis Hair at Five For Howling does all the speculating for me instead.

THIS SECTION IS PURE SPECULATION: Doesn’t his story seem awfully similar to that of the guys in Ice Edge? Toss in the statements of some of the principles in the group and suddenly it seems like they’re not just bystanders watching another guy come in and take over. In my purely speculative opinion Ice Edge didn’t have whatever monetary levels the NHL wanted and went looking to guys they knew that might be interested.

Hulsizer may have been interested all on his own too, but with the business circles these parties run in it’s not out of the question that Hulsizer is the deep pockets running the group while Ice Edge takes a small role in running the team. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Anthony LeBlanc running some part of the team while Hulsizer funds it.

There are a lot of similarities here and the similarities all seem to boil down to buying more time for the NHL to supply hope to the fans in Arizona that they’ll be keeping a team there. Meanwhile, time ticks away and it’s the biggest enemy to the City of Glendale because at some point, the NHL is going to get tired of waiting to be paid back on their investment in the team and the city. The NHL isn’t in business to lose money and while the City of Glendale did their part in paying off $25 million to make sure the NHL didn’t eat a loss this year.

While we’re not about to declare Matt Hulsizer the savior, retaining hope is key for the tenuous state of hockey in Glendale. Now the Coyotes have to make sure to keep doing their part on the ice to keep the fan interest high. If things go cold in the standings, things could take a very ugly turn.

Islanders shut out Canadiens for huge road win

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18:  Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders in action against the New Jersey Devils on February 18, 2017 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Islanders 3-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Overall this season the New York Islanders have really struggled away from the Barclays Center, a point of concern when you consider how many road games they have down the stretch as they try to overcome their miserable start to climb back into the playoffs.

Their current nine-game road trip is off to a promising start with wins in the first two games, including a 3-0 shutout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night to improve their record to 12-4-2 under new coach Doug Weight.

The Islanders received goals from Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee and John Tavares in the win, while Thomas Greiss stopped all 24 shots he faced to record his third shutout of the season.

With the win the Islanders hold sole possession of the second wild card spot in the East for the time being, two points ahead of Florida and Boston (the Bruins are in action right now) and continue their stunning second half turnaround.

But while things are going great for the Islanders right now, the struggles in Montreal continue.

With their loss on Thursday they failed to put any extra distance between themselves and the rest of the Atlantic Division that has suddenly closed the gap on them. They remain just two points up on Ottawa and only four points ahead of Toronto. The loss also continues what has been a particularly brutal stretch over the past couple of months that has seen the team win just seven of its past 20 games.

It’s probably too early to start fully panicking in Montreal, but given the way the end of last season went this can’t be a promising development for Canadiens fans.

Blackhawks’ Hjalmarsson leaves game against Coyotes

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22:  Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks to pass against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center on January 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Canucks 4-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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After taking just four shifts in in the first period of Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson had to leave Thursday’s game with an unspecified injury.

The Blackhawks did not offer any update on what forced Hjalmarsson out of the game, only to say he would be out for the remainder of the evening.

Fortunately for the Blackhawks they dressed seven defensemen for the game when Michal Rozsival drew back into the lineup, so they still have a full lineup of defenders to finish the game. Surprisingly, Rozsival scored his first goal of the season just two minutes into the second period, breaking what had been a 3-3 tie following a wild first period that saw the teams combine for six goals.

In 59 games this season Hjalmarsson had five goals and nine assists while playing more than 20 minutes per night, mostly on a pairing with Duncan Keith.

Blackhawks and Coyotes combine for six goals in wild first period

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 18:  Nick Schmaltz #8 of the Chicago Blackhawks moves against the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center on February 18, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Oilers defeated the Blackhawks 3-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The first period of Thursday’s Blackhawks-Coyotes game had just a little bit of excitement as the two teams combined for six goals, including two by the Coyotes in the final three minutes of the period to erase what had been a two-goal deficit.

All of the action started just 37 seconds into the game when Nick Schmaltz, playing on his 21st birthday, scored his sixth goal of the season (shown above) on a feed from a still white hot Jonathan Toews.

Seven minutes later, Coyotes rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun scored his second goal in his as many games to get things even at one.

That is when the chaos started to break out. The Blackhawks quickly struck for two more goals when Ryan Hartman and Patrick Kane scored six minutes apart to give the Blackhawks what would end up being a very short-lived 3-1 lead. Just one minute after Kane’s goal Ryan White netted his seventh of the season to bring the Coyotes back to within one, a goal that was followed by Radim Vrbata‘s 13th of the season just one minute after that.

Here are the two Coyotes goals that tied it.

Chicago came into the game on Thursday on a goal scoring tear, scoring at least four goals in seven of their past eight games. They are off to a great start when it comes to reaching that mark again on Thursday.

Trouble is, they can not seem to keep the puck out of their net on Thursday.

WATCH LIVE: Arizona Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 07:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates with the puck against the Oliver Ekman-Larsson #23 of the Phoenix Coyotes in the second period at Jobing.com Arena on February 7, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Winners of seven of their past eight, the Chicago Blackhawks are back home on Thursday night to take on the Arizona Coyotes.

The Blackhawks have been on a roll lately, especially offensively, scoring 34 goals in their past eight games. They have scored at least four goals in seven of those games. Captain Jonathan Toews has been doing a lot of the work offensively lately and is having a huge second half after a disappointing start to the season offensively.

On Thursday they host a Coyotes team that has shown a lot of improvement in recent weeks, putting together an 8-4-1 record since Jan. 20.

Puck drop for Thursday is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET and you can catch all off the action on NBCSN or on our Live Stream.

Click here for the Live Stream

Preview: Jonathan Toews looks to stay hot against Coyotes