Mark Cuban continues to stick around the Dallas Stars ownership situation

When Tom Hicks announced that he was looking for potential buyers for the Dallas Stars, one of the first names to be speculated was Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. He had money, shared the building with the Stars, and always came off in public interviews as a complete sports fan. As far as initial names go, it seemed within the scope of feasibility. A year later and his name is still being bounced around the rumor mill to purchase the Stars—but he’s still not about to buy the entire team from the Hicks Sports Group.

Possibly the most important reason why he’ll continue to be in the rumors is that he wants to own the beautiful downtown Dallas American Airlines Center. Back when the AAC was built in 2001, the Stars and Mavericks funded 50% of the arena with public funding covering the other 50%. Accordingly, both the Mavericks and Stars own the lease on the arena—Cuban shares ownership with the Hicks Sports Group.

It’s the lease more than the hockey franchise that has Cuban even mildly interested. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News caught up with Cuban and asked him where he stood with the Dallas Stars and their impending sale.

“Nothing’s changed,” Cuban said before Friday’s game. “I’ll help anybody who gives me a better shot at the rest of the arena.”

Asked if he would do it himself, he said he would not.

“I’m going to let someone else do the work,” he said.

For the record, Cuban has stood firm on his stance. There was a report a few weeks ago that Allen Americans owner Douglas Miller was interested in buying the Dallas Stars and Cuban said he’d only be interested in playing a small role in the purchase when the Hicks Sports Group announced they were looking for a new owner. Thirteen months later he’s sticking to the same story. Whether he likes it or not, his name is going to continue to keep coming up in the discussions until the Stars are finally sold and the ink is dry on a contract. Until then, people will keep connecting the dots between his big personality, large bank account, and interest in owning the Mavericks’ home.

As always, we’ll update as details become available.

Rangers punch playoff ticket to wrap up night of clinched spots

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The New York Rangers weren’t ecstatic that Chris Tierney‘s 4-4 goal sent their game to overtime against the San Jose Sharks, but either way, getting beyond regulation punched their ticket to the playoffs on Tuesday night.

For the seventh season in a row, the Rangers are in the NHL’s postseason. They fell to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime, so they haven’t locked down the first wild-card spot in the East … yet. It seems like a matter of time, however.

The Rangers have now made the playoffs in 11 of their last 12 tries, a far cry from the barren stretch when they failed to make the playoffs from 1997-98 through 2003-04 (with the lockout season punctuating the end of that incompetent era).

New York has pivoted from the John Tortorella days to the Vigneault era, and this season has been especially interesting as they reacted to a 2016 first-round loss to the Penguins by instituting a more attacking style. The Metropolitan Division’s greatness has overshadowed, to some extent, how dramatic the improvement has been.

This result seems like a tidy way to discuss Tuesday’s other events.

The drama ends up being low for the Rangers going forward, and while there might be a shortage of life-or-death playoff struggles, the battles for seeding look to be fierce.

Oilers end NHL’s longest playoff drought; Sharks, Ducks also clinch

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There’s something beautiful about the symmetry on Tuesday … unless you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, maybe.

On the same night that the longest active NHL playoff streak ended at 25 for Detroit, the longest playoff drought concluded when the Edmonton Oilers clinched a postseason spot by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.

The Oilers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2005-06, when Chris Pronger lifted them to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

In doing so, other dominoes fell. Both the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also punched their tickets to the postseason.

The Sharks, of course, hope to exceed last season’s surprising run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks continue their run of strong regular seasons, even as memories of their Cup win start to fade into the distance. All three teams are currently vying for the Pacific Division title.

The Western Conference’s eight teams are dangerously close to being locked into place, as the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues are all close to looking down their spots as well.

Want the East perspective? Check out this summary of Tuesday’s events from the perspective of the other conference.

Craig Anderson took his blunder hard – probably too hard – in Sens loss

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Members of the Ottawa Senators were quick to defend Craig Anderson following his blunder (see above) in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s not just about his personal struggles, either. When Anderson’s managed to play, he’s been flat-out phenomenal, generating a .927 save percentage that ranks near a Vezina-type level (if he managed to play more than 35 games).

Goaltending has been a huge reason why Ottawa has at least a shot of winning the Atlantic or at least grabbing a round of home-ice advantage, so unlike certain instances where teams shield a goalie’s failures, the defenses are absolutely justified.

Anderson, on the other hand, was very hard on himself.

You have to admire Anderson for taking the blame, even if in very much “hockey player” fashion, he’s not exactly demanding the same sort of credit for his great work this season.

It’s official: Red Wings’ playoff streak ends at 25 seasons

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When we look back at the 2016-17 season for the Detroit Red Wings, it will be remembered for some sad endings.

It began without Pavel Datsyuk. We knew that their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season would be their last ever. And now we know that Joe Louis Arena won’t be home to another playoff run.

After 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs – quite often managing deep runs – the Red Wings were officially eliminated on Tuesday night. In getting this far, they enjoyed one of the greatest runs of longevity in NHL history:

Tonight revolves largely around East teams winning and teams clinching bids – the Edmonton Oilers could very well end the league’s longest playoff drought this evening – but this story is more solemn.

EA Sports tweeted out a great infographic:

“Right now it’s hard to talk about it, because you’re a big reason why it’s not continuing,” Henrik Zetterberg said in an NHL.com report absolutely worth your time.

Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena here: