Tom Glavine

Former Braves pitcher Tom Glavine wants to help save the Thrashers

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While we’ve been focused with the ongoing saga of the Phoenix Coyotes, let’s not forget that the Atlanta Thrashers have an ownership boondoggle of their own. With the Atlanta Spirit group caught up in all sorts of legal wrangling and causing problems with their tenuous situation in the front office, the instability up top is causing similar problems with the Thrashers as it is the Coyotes.

Luckily for Atlanta they’ve got a guy who’s made a name for himself in pro sports in the city and is a legend in his own right (with a hockey background to boot) that wants to help make sure the team stays in Atlanta. That man, of course, is none other than former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine.

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution catches up with the future Baseball Hall of Famer to find out that while he doesn’t want to buy the team, he wants to make sure that hockey keeps a home in Atlanta.

Glavine said his main interest is in keeping the Thrashers in Atlanta. And he is willing to do whatever he can — perhaps even becoming a partial investor — to help ensure the city does not lose an NHL franchise for a second time.

“I have a huge interest in hockey and the Thrashers,” Glavine said. “I would hate to see them leave. My kids play hockey. It’s a big part of our lives. We want to be able to keep going to games.

“I’m trying to do whatever I can do to keep the team here. Whether that is putting together a group locally or finding someone from outside the area. Any way my involvement will help, I am willing to do it.”

In case you didn’t know, Glavine has a strong history in hockey. In 1984 he was a fourth round pick of the Los Angeles Kings as a center out of Billerica High School in Massachusetts. He was chosen ahead of Hockey Hall of Famers Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille. Instead of hockey, Glavine made an equally solid choice to play baseball and finish his career with a World Series title and 305 career wins.

The important part of Glavine’s interest in helping the Thrashers is it helps put a face to the problems the Thrashers are facing. You can argue about the Thrashers’ popularity in Atlanta and likely make the right assumption that of the four major sports teams in the city they’re the least popular.

Getting a guy who brought the Braves a title and will forever be remembered there as one of the aces of their pitching staff to lead the public cause to save the hockey team is huge. While Atlanta sports fans may not know Evander Kane or Dustin Byfuglien, they sure as hell know who Tom Glavine is.

Will it be enough to keep the relocation wolves at bay? Depends on how successful Glavine is as a salesman to help rally support for the cause. If it bottoms out, the whispers about moving the team to any number of places (Kansas City, Las Vegas, Quebec City, Winnipeg) will continue to grow louder, especially if the Coyotes don’t end up leaving Phoenix.

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”