While the Phoenix Coyotes sale prompts hand-wringing and plenty of awkward Gary Bettman interviews, the Atlanta Thrashers’ situation has been able to slide under the radar a bit. Sure, it might be because most of the issues are isolated to the Atlanta Spirit and the process hasn’t been generating headlines for years, but it seems like the Thrashers haven’t generated the same level of angst.
That doesn’t really reduce the chances of the team moving from Atlanta itself, but there’s some positivity that the team might stay in Georgia.
According to Levenson, the three potential buyers are currently only interested in buying the Thrashers and not the NBA’s Hawks — and all would keep the NHL team in Atlanta.
The preference is to sell to a local buyer, but ownership hasn’t ruled out ultimately selling to someone interested in moving the team. The group has not yet engaged in serous conversations with anyone outside of Atlanta interested in moving the Thrashers.
When will that change?
“When we have exhausted our efforts to find somebody in Atlanta,” Levenson said.
The challenge in finding a local buyer is finding someone willing to lose money for a potential long period, like Hulsizer said he’s willing to do in Phoenix. The Thrashers, despite an improved team, could lose as much as $20 million this season. Ticket revenues remain near the bottom of the league.
Despite this seemingly promising bit of news, it’s tough to imagine that anyone would want to take on the long-term operating cost of possibly losing $20 million per year. It’s been mentioned before that the Thrashers’ uncertain future is one of the negative domino effects of the standstill in Phoenix, which is hard to deny.
The Thrashers are fading from the playoffs, but they still have some interesting pieces in place for the future. It would be a shame to see the team blossom if they move from Atlanta, but that’s quite possible considering the situation at hand. Much like the Coyotes situation, we will keep you up to date as this process unfolds.
Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing
The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?
Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.
Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.
A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:
Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”
He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.
Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.
"I don't think the Kings look at Doughty differently…Muzzin to back down from that fight on 1st shift is an embarrassment." – Keith Jones https://t.co/KI9dx8Rirx
For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.
Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.
OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.
It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.
In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.
It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.
The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?
“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”