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.

Varlamov steps up with ‘phenomenal’ performance versus Red Wings

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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DETROIT (AP) Semyon Varlamov lifted his team to a win on a night when the rest of the Colorado Avalanche were outplayed thoroughly.

Varlamov made 43 saves and Blake Comeau scored in both the third period and the shootout to help the Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night. It was the highest save total of the season for Varlamov.

“He was phenomenal for us,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. “We had back-to-back games and got in late last night. Not trying to find an excuse, but they’re a good puck-possession team. Our goalie needed to be our best player for us to win and he was.”

Matt Duchene also scored for the Avalanche, who won despite being outshot 45-21. Colorado has won nine of its last 12 road games.

Jonathan Ericsson and Pavel Datsyuk scored for Detroit, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

“I thought we played really good,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought our energy level was great, I thought we won tons of puck races and puck battles in the `O’ zone, I thought we shot the puck well, we had net presence. … What you can really control is your process and I thought our process was great.”

The Avalanche, who won at Ottawa on Thursday, improved to 6-2 on the season in the second game of back-to-backs. The shootout went four rounds, and Comeau ended it by beating Petr Mrazek with a wrist shot to the glove side.

Datsyuk scored Detroit’s only goal of the shootout. Varlamov denied Dylan Larkin, Brad Richards and Gustav Nyquist.

Nathan MacKinnon had Colorado’s first goal of the shootout on the third attempt by the Avalanche – Detroit would have won if Mrazek had stopped him.

“We play a team game. A goalie can’t win a game by himself,” Varlamov said. “We scored two nice goals, and then in the shootout a nice goal by Nate saved us and then Blake scored on a nice shot.”

Duchene opened the scoring in the first period after the Red Wings were sloppy with the puck in their own zone. Colorado’s Mikhail Grigorenko backhanded a pass to Duchene, who scored from around the edge of the crease.

Detroit evened it up in the second when Ericsson’s wrist shot from the point deflected off Duchene and then skipped off the ice surface and past Varlamov.

Comeau put Colorado ahead in the third with a shot from the slot, but the Red Wings answered on a power play when Datsyuk backhanded the puck past Varlamov from in close with 10:09 remaining in regulation.

The Avalanche had 25 blocked shots to Detroit’s four, underscoring just how much of the game was played in Colorado’s zone, but the Red Wings came away with just the one point for the shootout loss. Nyquist had a great chance in overtime when he swooped in alone on Varlamov, but his backhander was stopped.

Detroit’s Darren Helm had a career-high nine shots on goal.

“He’s shooting from everywhere,” Detroit’s Luke Glendening said. “I was hoping one would go in for him, but I think it’s a good sign that he’s getting a lot of chances.”

NOTE: Detroit D Mike Green returned after missing two games with a sore groin, and D Danny DeKeyser played after leaving Detroit’s win over Ottawa on Wednesday during the third period because of a bruised right leg. … The Red Wings were short-handed for the final 92 seconds of overtime, but managed to kill the penalty.

 

Doan makes Jets/Coyotes franchise history

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The Arizona Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise has a new leader in career points.

Shane Doan set the new mark at 931 points, taking over the franchise lead from Dale Hawerchuk thanks to a three-point night in a 4-1 Coyotes win over the Calgary Flames on Friday.

He scored twice — his first goal of the night tied Hawerchuk’s record — and added an assist. At 39 years of age, Doan has 21 goals this season and is on pace for his best season in that department since he scored 31 in 2008-09.

In fact, at his age and this stage in his NHL career, he could set a new personal best for goals in a single season.

Despite all the off-ice turmoil the Coyotes have gone through, and the speculation of that franchise possibly uprooting from the desert, Doan has hung in there.

That’s not to say he hasn’t spoken out at times about the constant controversies that have come up between the organization, the city of Glendale and the NHL.

In September of 2012, prior to the lockout, he had the choice to sign elsewhere. He narrowed his options down to Vancouver and Phoenix, eventually deciding to stick with the Coyotes.

No regrets.

Kopitar dominates with a hat trick to help Kings defeat Rangers in OT

St Louis Blues v Los Angeles Kings
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Anze Kopitar received high praise from L.A. Kings coach Darryl Sutter following Friday’s win over the New York Rangers.

All Kopitar did was score three goals on four shots on goal. He was also credited with five hits while winning 65 per cent of his faceoffs. His third goal of the evening with 30 seconds remaining in regulation pushed this game into overtime, where Tanner Pearson scored the winner for L.A. in a 5-4 victory.

“It was Kopi’s best game of the season, that’s for sure,” said Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.

“Not just because he scored three goals, but it was his best game all around in terms of using his whole package. I mean, he was a pretty dominant player.”

L.A. maintains an eight-point lead on the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division lead.

The Kings’ victory came at a cost. Marian Gaborik left the game in the first period after being involved in an awkward collision. He did not return, and Sutter didn’t have an update on the veteran forward when the game ended.

Video: P.K. Subban tossed after on-ice outburst toward officials

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P.K. Subban was given a game misconduct on Friday after an outburst directed at officials in the final minute against the Buffalo Sabres.

Subban was furious after the puck got caught up in the skates of the linesman in the neutral zone before Evander Kane then picked it up and scored into the open net. That put the Sabres up by two goals with 55 seconds remaining in regulation and ended any hopes of a Montreal comeback.

Subban had some choice words for officials but his argument ultimately landed him with an early exit from this game. The Habs lost by a final score of 6-4.

“I looked around to see if he was going to blow [the whistle,]” said Subban, as per Sportsnet. “The puck is coming out of the zone. It hits the linesman. He’s standing there and sees the puck coming. It goes back to the player and he puts it in the open net. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

“Are we supposed to smile and be happy after that and say, ‘Thank you’ to the linesman? I don’t think so. I’m a little bit disappointed about that, because I felt there was a minute left in the game [and] we still had a chance to score.”

The Sabres scored four straight goals between the first and second periods, chasing Ben Scrivens from the net 1:28 into the second period.