James Neal, Loui Eriksson, Brad Richards

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.

Enjoy goalie blunders? Tonight is your night (Video)

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 01:  Goaltender Martin Jones #31 of the San Jose Sharks skates to the bench during a break from the first period of the NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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A national holiday made for some funky start times, at least for a Monday. Perhaps that explains why we enjoyed a pretty hearty helping of goalie gaffes today, then?

Whatever the case may be, if you’re in the mood for a little whimsy, you came to the right place.

Today’s 5-2 win for the San Jose Sharks over the struggling Winnipeg Jets provided a double shot of moments netminders would like to forget, as you can see from the video above.

Michael Hutchinson’s probably in less of a laughing mood about his bad bounce, while Martin Jones tried to score an empty-netter … and instead allowed Mark Scheifele to grab a “gimme” instead.

Finally, the Tampa Bay Lightning can laugh this one off a bit since they ultimately nabbed a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings, but this would be an example fans use when they beg Ben Bishop to handle the puck a little less often:

Hey, at least two out of three goalies eventually got wins out of the deal. Sorry, Hutch.

Video: Oshie’s sweet dish sets up a nice Backstrom goal for Capitals

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There’s time for the Pittsburgh Penguins to flip the scrip, but so far on Monday, it looks like the patterns continue to go the Washington Capitals’ way.

The Caps are aiming for a 10th straight win (and Pittsburgh’s fourth consecutive loss) after taking a 2-0 lead through the first period.

The strong play of Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie stands as one of the reasons why Washington has been blazing such an impressive path, and they combined for a really nice goal to give their team that added cushion. Both Oshie’s pass and Backstrom’s goal are impressive in the clip above.

Also, here’s the Andre Burakovsky goal that began the scoring:

And, just for the heck of it:

Shane Doan isn’t asking to be traded by Coyotes, but isn’t saying no either

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 15:  Shane Doan #19 of the Arizona Coyotes skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 15, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Coyotes defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2 in an overtime shoot-out. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Imagine, for a second, Shane Doan wearing another team’s jersey. Apparently it’s not out of the question.

During the weekend, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Doan would be willing to waive his no-trade clause for the right situation. Despite his 1,500+ games with the Jets/Coyotes, Doan responded mostly in the affirmative to NHL.com, although the rugged forward notes that it would take a “perfect” scenario to make everything work.

(He said that he hasn’t been asked to waive his no-trade clause … but he might be open to suggestion.)

“I’d talk about it with my family and make a decision on that if it was to come up but it would have to be so perfect and so right that it’s pretty hard for it to all line up perfectly,” Doan said. “It would have to be exactly perfect and that just doesn’t happen too often in our sport.”

The 40-year-old interestingly notes that the discussion has come up before, only word hasn’t surfaced in reports. He even said that there were times when he gave his approval, although in most cases, his answer was “No.”

What is perfect?

What’s the perfect situation? That’s where things are fuzzier, as Doan explains that picking a “contender” can be a little trickier when you consider where, say, the Penguins and Sharks were around this time last year.

Doan says family matters, yet he also seems somewhat flexible in that area. After all, it might just be for a few months as a “rental.”

Measuring his value

On the other end, of course, you must also wonder who will want him.

The pluses are easy to see: he’s big, physical and checks off a ton of the “intangibles” boxes. Chances are, a perspective team would weigh his 28 goals from 2015-16 more heavily than his mere 12 points in 42 games this season.

That said, at his age, and considering his numbers this season, there’s the obvious question regarding how much he has left in the tank.

Then again, if the price is reasonable – and the Coyotes certainly are looking to sell off expiring contracts – then it could make for an interesting situation.

If anything happens at all.

WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 11:  Evgeny Kuznetsov #92 of the Washington Capitals and Carl Hagelin #62 of the Pittsburgh Penguins fight in the third period at Verizon Center on January 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Last time, the Washington Capitals were just a little hotter than the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning the game as Alex Ovechkin crossed the 1,000-point threshold.

A week or so later, the Capitals are still red-hot while the Penguins are waddling through some uncertainty. Pittsburgh aims to end a three-game losing streak while the Caps hope to get their 10th win in a row on Monday night.

You can check out the action on NBCSN, watch online and also via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.