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Report: Dallas Stars sale progresses as potential owner Tom Gaglardi agrees to terms

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While the Dallas Stars don’t have the same do-or-die ownership situation as the Phoenix Coyotes, there is at least one reason for urgency: Brad Richards’ pending unrestricted free agent status.

Getting a new owner in place wouldn’t guarantee the return of Richards, but continued uncertainty would almost certainly prompt his departure. As silly as it might be to worry about one player in the complicated scope of ownership situations, Richards was a huge reason the Stars overachieved this season, even if they ended up just short of the playoffs.

The latest news is that potential owner Tom Gaglardi agreed to a price and “most of the terms” to buy the team, according to the Globe & Mail.

Former PHT writer Brandon Worley points out that this isn’t the end of the process, though. The Coyotes situation should be a good example of why these processes aren’t done until the new owner is confirmed. Worley points out that the Stars would probably need to go to bankruptcy court before the process can be completed.

Two very important facts to take note of from this report, if true: This is the closest we’ve been to the sale actually going through since the team was put on the market well over a year ago, and just because Gagliardi has agreed to terms doesn’t mean that the sale is anywhere near final. He still has, apparently, a 30 day window of exclusive negotiating to narrow down the price and terms of the sale and there’s also the very real chance this thing has to go to bankruptcy court first.

While not exactly a certainty, it appears that the sale getting done prior to the unofficial “deadline” of July 1st is getting closer to becoming a very real possibility.

Interestingly enough, the sale would include a 50-percent share of the American Airlines Center, home of the Stars and NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. The NHL is reportedly against the team going to bankruptcy court and only half-confirmed the story, according to the Globe & Mail.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined to clarify the situation. He said in an e-mail message Monday the source’s information is “partially true and partially inaccurate. Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to specify which is which.”

Gaglardi said he was “not at liberty to discuss” the situation.

The winning bidder over two Dallas groups – led by local oil men Doug Miller and Billy Quinn – Gaglardi is chairman of his family’s business, Northland Properties Corp., which counts a hotel chain, restaurants and ski resorts among its holdings.

Gaglardi, who in 2008 lost a court fight with Francesco Aquilini for control of the Vancouver Canucks, also owns the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in partnership with NHL players Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi.

The Stars have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and are in a period of uncertainty after firing head coach Marc Crawford. The Globe & Mail reports that the team probably lost about $15 million in the 2010-11 season, which isn’t a shocking estimate considering their attendance issues.

I doubt that the ownership issues made an impact beyond the team’s most passionate fans, but it couldn’t help being that the team is undergoing a playoff drought and also lost well-known players such as Mike Modano and Marty Turco.

That being said, if the Stars can bring back Richards and add some depth to a top-heavy team, they could be a serious contender next season. Whether it’s Gaglardi or someone else, they’ll need an owner with deep pockets to do so. We’ll keep you updated as the Stars try to beat that July 1st deadline.

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.