Reports: Progress being made in Dallas Stars sale?

Earlier today, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the outlook for the sale of the Dallas Stars has improved to the point that “all parties involved (including the NHL) have an agreement in price.” Stars beat writer Mike Heika refuted those claims – though not necessarily the overall hint of optimism regarding the sale – writing that one source said that the rumor of an agreed-upon price “just isn’t true.”

While the lack of a concrete price might be a disappointment to Stars fans amid the team’s slump and the worries of losing crucial offensive catalyst Brad Richards to free agency, it’s important to again note that Heika’s report was still positive.

Heika passed along information from unnamed sources who said that “activity around the sale of the team is high” and “the buyers are getting much more serious about the price that the lenders are seeking, but that a deal is not close at this time.”

He then goes on to explain how the Stars sale could be similar and different from how the Texas Rangers’ situation was handled.

If you study the Texas Rangers sale, I just think the lenders will eventually try to create an auction situation. They can’t do that in an organized bankruptcy (like they did with the Rangers), because the NHL doesn’t want to go into bankruptcy court, and because the split ownership of American Airlines Center with the Mavericks creates all sorts of complications in bankruptcy. However, there are several buyers who have put a lot of time and due diligence into this process, and they all want their shot in the end to at least be considered serious buyers.

The lenders’ strategy in this process has been that the economy would improve and that the ability to get more money would increase, and that appears to be what is happening. But as old buyers and new buyers get more serious, it would seem logical that the lenders will want those buyers to battle for the right to get the team. Now, could this backfire and all buyers back off (as they did earlier)? Sure. Just as easily, one buyer could put up a big number right now and keep an auction from ever getting started. In the end, the lenders would rather not fund losses for the rest of this season.

Putting aside their recent hiccups, the Stars have been surprisingly successful this season. It’s been a shame to watch a winning (and far more offensively aggressive) team play in front of such paltry crowds during most Dallas home games. Hopefully the team will settle its ownership situation, make a run for the playoffs and manage to retain Richards for the future.

Even most non-Stars fans should be able to admit that it would be a shame to see the Richards-Loui Eriksson-James Neal line split up at its peak, so hopefully the team can sort out its behind the scenes issues in time.

Devils sign d-man Michael Kapla

Leave a comment

The New Jersey Devils have signed UMass-Lowell defenseman Michael Kapla to a two-year, entry-level contract.

Kapla, 22, had three goals and 27 assists in 41 games this season. He’ll report to the Devils and likely burn the first year of his ELC by making his NHL debut sometime very soon.

The Devils host the Winning Jets tonight. They’re in Brooklyn Friday to play the Islanders.

Kapla spent four years in college. Per the Devils’ press release, he “most recently captained the River Hawks to the 2017 Hockey East Championship. He also received Hockey East All-Tournament Team honors and was named to the Hockey East Second All-Star Team.”

 

Report: Penn State sophomore Pedrie leaves school, signs with Rangers

Leave a comment

For the second straight day, the Rangers have landed an undrafted college free agent.

Vince Pedrie, a sophomore blueliner that just wrapped his sophomore campaign at Penn State, has reportedly agreed to terms with the Rangers on an entry-level deal, per the Collegian.

Citing a post from Pedrie’s Facebook account confirming the move, the Collegian reports the 23-year-old is the youngest Nittany Lion in program history to leave the team for the professional ranks.

It comes after Pedrie emerged as a “dominant offensive force” for the club last season, racking up 30 points in 39 games while helping Penn State qualify for its first NCAA championship appearance.

As mentioned above, this is the second intriguing prospect to join the Blueshirts in as many days. On Monday, University of Minnesota senior Vinni Lettieri agreed to join the team after an impressive four-year career with the Gophers.

Hjalmarsson says ‘Hawks are ‘too comfortable’ after rough trip through Florida

Getty
1 Comment

When most people take trips to Florida, it’s to get away from the stress and struggle of everyday life. But it’s safe to say that this edition of the Chicago Blackhawks won’t want to remember their visit to the Sunshine State.

The ‘Hawks dropped an embarrassing 7-0 decision to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night before blowing a 4-1 lead in last night’s game against the Bolts (they eventually lost 5-4 in OT).

They still have a comfortable lead atop the Central Division (eight points up on the struggling Wild), but they aren’t satisfied with their play.

“It’s getting close to the end here and we’re getting a little bit too comfortable maybe,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said, per the Chicago Tribune. “As soon as you do that, you’re going to lose games … At the same time I’m glad that we were playing like this before the playoffs so we can make some adjustments.

“Eighty-two games is a long season. It’s a mental grind more than anything. As soon as you’re not there 100 percent, it’s going to show in the scoring.”

As Hjalmarsson said, six games is still enough time to figure things out for Chicago. They just won’t have the luxury of facing easy opponents when they do try to sort out their struggles.

They’ll play the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday before returning home to play Columbus and Boston. They’ll then head back on the road to close out the season in Denver, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

PHT Morning Skate: This season’s top five breakout performers

3 Comments

Jake Allen wore a special U.S. Navy tribute mask during last night’s game against the Coyotes. It’s really a gorgeous mask. “The blue and yellow complements our colors well, and it’s a great tribute to the Blue Angel pilots who have the honor of flying and performing across the country.” (NHL.com/Blues)

–With every NHL season, there are surprises and disappointments. Rather than focus on the negatives, The Hockey News breaks down the top five breakout seasons in 2016-17. At the top of the list is Panthers forward Jonathan Marchesault, who is shockingly closing in on a 30-goal season. Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson and Boston’s David Pastrnak have also made names for themselves. (The Hockey News)

–It’s no secret that NHLers are forced to travel a lot, but each team makes the most of their road trips in different ways. For example, Kevin Shattenkirk and the Capitals enjoy fine dining when they’re away from home.  “It’s so easy to go to the top names or the ones that you hear of all the time, but when you go to a lot of these cities, the food scenes everywhere now are really starting to improve. A lot of my friends naturally are foodies. They bring me to some of their places. Even just a simple Google, most of the times, the first two things that come up are Yelp or TripAdvisor, and I usually go a couple down and look at a local newspaper, if they have the best spots to eat in 2017. I like to focus on those.” (Washington Post)

–The Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves down 4-1 in lasts night’s game against Chicago, but they were able to battle back and win in a thrilling overtime period. You can check out the highlights from that game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Tonight will mark the first time that Jordie and Jamie Benn play against each other since the trade that saw the older Benn head to Montreal. The Canadiens took the opportunity to ask their Benn some questions about what it was like growing up with his brother. Here’s a sample question: “Of the two of you, which one is Peyton and who is Eli?” (NHL.com/Canadiens)

–This year’s rookie class with Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Zach Werenski, Mitch Marner and Matt Murray is one of the best in recent memory, but which other freshmen classes stand out? BarDown takes a look at the top five rookie classes since 2000. (BarDown)

–Capitals forward Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky had some fun during picture day. The two players showed up to the rink with some pretty poofy hair. There’s no point in me trying to explain it when you can see the pictures for yourself. (NHL.com)