City of Glendale will pony up $25 million again to keep Coyotes for another year

After the City of Glendale paid up their bill to the NHL earlier this week taking the hit for $25 million in operating losses last season, the city is prepared to go to the mat once again to buy more time to save the team from leaving Arizona.

The Glendale City Council is set to meet on Tuesday night and on the docket for discussion is a vote to see whether or not they will approve the same $25 million earmarked to pay the NHL for operating losses. According to Rebekah Sanders of The Arizona Republic, if the council votes to approve that money the team will stay in Arizona for yet another season.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly had this to say about the impending interim deal between the City of Glendale and the NHL to keep the team locked into Jobing.com Arena and the city once again.

“As we have for the past two-plus years, we have been working very closely with the City of Glendale to do everything possible to ensure the Coyotes’ future in Glendale,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told NHL.com. “At the City’s request, we have agreed to pursue another one-year interim arrangement while we jointly pursue a long-term ownership solution. We remain confident that one exists, and we intend to continue to pursue it.”

That makes it all sound easy. The hard part, of course, is justifying a probable cost of $25 million being tossed down the drain once again. The money is ponied up with the expectation that the NHL will get a deal cut with Matthew Hulsizer and his group to sell the Coyotes to him and keep the team in Arizona for good.

After Hulsizer stepped up to be the man, the dealings have run cold and even led to rumors from Forbes today that he was having cold feet about the deal in Glendale and was turning his attention towards St. Louis to invest in. Inside sources have told PHT that those rumors are unfounded and that Hulsizer and his group are continuing to fight for the Coyotes and keep them in Glendale.

Making this situation all the stranger are some of the statements coming from members of the Glendale City Council. The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek heard from city councilor H. Philip Lieberman about what going ahead with this extra $25 million is all about for the City and his thoughts are curious given that there’s one big problem to all this yet to be squared away.

However, Lieberman noted that “we do not have a signed deal with Hulsizer -and there is some discussion as to whether we will ever get one or not get one. I don’t personally want to give him $110-million.

“In my mind, this (proposal) will give us a year to find somebody else who may be willing to buy it and come up with much more money. Real money – instead of city money.”

So let’s chalk all of this up here. The City of Glendale wants to take another $25 million hit to buy another year of negotiations with Hulsizer and fighting the Goldwater Institute to try and carve out a deal, meanwhile the team continues to lose money but the city won’t have a barren arena that they’re still paying off for having it built in the first place.

Got all that?

The situation is a mess and one that makes every part of this deal a gigantic mess. The City of Glendale opting to pony up another heaping amount of taxpayer money is the part that really makes me feel uncomfortable about everything, however. From the deal that Hulsizer is trying to work out with the city, one that’s being challenged vigilantly by the Goldwater Institute, in which the city wants to put up even more taxpayer money so Hulsizer catches a break not having to put up all of his own money to buy the team – nothing at all about this is neither normal nor seems right.

What’s most unfair about this is that it’s the fans stuck holding the bag here. More directly, it’s the citizens of Glendale that are taking the hit. It’s their tax money that’s going to pay for Jobing.com Arena and it’ll be even more of their money that goes to paying the NHL just to buy more time to negotiate a deal with Hulsizer that may see even more tax money put up as collateral so he can just purchase the team.

Nothing about any part of this deal feels right from a civic perspective. Asking a city to keep coughing up this much money to cover for a money pit of a bad original deal cut by the previous owners of the team comes off as a hostage situation. The City of Glendale suffers big time without the Coyotes, but the franchise and the city suffer with a team that continues to sit in limbo. David Ellman, Jerry Moyes, and the NHL have helped make this mess and now they’re doing anything in their power to fix it or cover it up. Here’s to hoping they don’t turn this situation into something out of The Simpsons when Lyle Lanley sold Springfield on the monorail.

End of an era: Coyotes part ways with Tippett days after Doan departure

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The Arizona Coyotes will look different in 2017-18, and not just because longtime captain Shane Doan won’t be back. The team confirmed that they’re parting ways with head coach Dave Tippett late on Thursday.

Tippett spent eight seasons as head coach of the Coyotes, peaking with a run to the 2012 Western Conference Final. Early on, he distinguished himself as being able to coach a sound enough defense to help the team correct for a low-budget roster.

In recent years, he hasn’t been able to conjure that same magic. The Coyotes missed the playoffs in the last five seasons of Tippett’s tenure.

“On behalf of the entire Coyotes organization, I would like to sincerely thank Tip for all of his hard work and the many contributions he made to our organization,” Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway said. “Tip is a man of high character and we are very grateful for his leadership during his tenure as our head coach. Ultimately, we have some philosophical differences on how to build our team. Therefore, we mutually agreed that it is in everyone’s best interest to have a coaching change in order to move our franchise forward.”

Along with Doan and Tippett, Mike Smith is also out of town, and the ownership situation has come into focus. Former GM Don Maloney was fired last summer, so this franchise has been making big changes for some time, even ignoring the perennial arena drama.

The Coyotes announced that a new coaching search would kick into gear “immediately.” They might not have scored points with potential candidates considering the last week or so …

It’s a true changing of the guard out in the desert. This is also a time of stability heading into Friday, the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft.

More on the changes

Coyotes receive criticism for the way they handled Doan’s departure.

Mike Smith traded to Calgary, “no consolation prize” for Flames.

Oilers reportedly might spend Eberle savings on signing Russell

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Optimistic Edmonton Oilers fans who didn’t like the Jordan Eberle trade could at least rationalize the savings, as Ryan Strome comes at a $3.5 million salary-cap discount. Surely that money will be focused squarely on locking up the future – aka sorting things out with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid – right?

After all, that was the spin from GM Peter Chiarelli: moving Eberle for Strome was all about “long-term thinking.”

Well, about that …

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Oilers are nearing a deal with defenseman Kris Russell that could carry approximately a $4 million cap hit over a four-year term. The dollar amount can change, but that would put the shot-blocking defenseman’s cost at around $16 million overall. (There are rumblings that it might be $18M with a no-movement clause.)

Now, before we criticize (er, discuss) the move, do note that McKenzie reports that it isn’t a done deal. If it happens, it might not be announced until Friday, anyway.

If it does go through, the move inspires comparisons to last summer. To refresh your memory, the Oilers made a polarizing (but money-saving) move by sending Taylor Hall to the Devils for Adam Larsson. Shortly after that trade, the Oilers essentially used those savings to sign Milan Lucic.

Results were … mixed, and Lucic’s contract seemingly stands as a barrier to accrue other assets.

Could the same thing happen here? Russell has his proponents, yet his possession stats indicate that his stature has been inflated, at times, around the NHL. One thing that’s undeniable is Russell’s age: he’s 30.

Will a 30-year-old defenseman fall apart during a four-year deal? Not necessarily, although his shot-blocking tendencies inspire some concern; just look at how Dan Girardi aged in New York.

Either way, it’s difficult to defend giving Russell about $4 million a year when you’re trying to sign Leon Draisaitl (RFA this summer) and Connor McDavid (RFA next summer, but eligible for an extension as early as July).

Recent rumblings don’t inspire a ton of confidence, either. For one thing, Chiarelli made a strange semi-challenge regarding Draisaitl and offer sheets.

There are also rumors about McDavid’s potential contract demands.

Again, the parameters of a Russell deal could change; the Oilers might not even bring him back at all. TSN’s Darren Dreger also notes that McDavid wouldn’t necessarily receive that big payday he’d possibly ask for.

Still, Oilers fans have experienced the worst-case scenario far more often than not in recent years, and these developments could inspire some doom and gloom … even if all three players are kept in the fold.

Report: Vegas isn’t interested in trading defensemen Theodore, Schmidt

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The Vegas Golden Knights enjoyed another busy day on Thursday, moving the likes of David Schlemko and Trevor van Riemsdyk. That doesn’t mean that all their defensemen are necessarily for sale, even with some pressure to trade away a few more.

Now, it’s plausible that someone merely hasn’t found the right price to entice Golden Knights GM George McPhee, but TSN’s Pierre LeBrun indicates that he’s shooting down offers for especially enticing young defensemen.

Specifically, McPhee gave a hard “No” to at least three teams regarding Shea Theodore and also stonewalled offers for Nate Schmidt, according to LeBrun.

It’s probably not fair to say that McPhee hasn’t been willing to move younger players altogether. After all, Trevor van Riemsdyk is 25, much like Schmidt.

Even so, one could infer that McPhee would be quicker to trade away a veteran whose value may not ever be higher, such as Marc Methot or Alexei Emelin.

For what it’s worth, let’s break down the Golden Knights’ current defensemen in two camps (30-and-under, 30-and-older) along with their contract situations, with help from Cap Friendly.

Under 30

Luca Sbisa, 27, $3.6 million cap hit through 2017-18
Brayden McNabb, 26, $1.7M through 2017-18
Jon Merrill, 25, $1.138M through 2017-18
Colin Miller, 24, $1M through 2017-18
Theodore, 21, $863K through 2017-18
Griffin Reinhart, 23, RFA
Schmidt, 25, RFA

30 and older

Methot, $4.9M through 2018-19
Jason Garrison, $4.6M through 2017-18
Emelin, $4.1M through 2017-18
Clayton Stoner, 32, $3.25M through 2017-18
Deryk Engelland, 35, $1M through 2017-18

Considering the options at hand, it’s still feasible that someone might convince McPhee to ship Schmidt and/or Theodore over, anyway. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been connected to Schmidt and Colin Miller in rumors, though it’s unclear how likely such moves might be. Vegas isn’t tied to many players beyond this coming season, so they have plenty of flexibility to change their minds.

The Golden Knights may also view the trade deadline as a more fruitful time to move a veteran such as Methot.

Even so, it sure sounds like McPhee would at least prefer to build around his youngsters, and Theodore might be the clearest keeper of them all.

NHL may punish failed offside reviews with penalties next season

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It wasn’t a good look for the league, and it wasn’t captivating television, particularly for casual hockey fans intrigued by a fresh Stanley Cup Final matchup.

P.K. Subban seemed to score the first goal of the Penguins – Predators series, only for the 1-0 tally to be overturned after a lengthy offside review. Plenty of people in Nashville were never convinced that the league made the right call, and even if it was correct, Filip Forsberg would have been offside by a tiny margin. The fact that it came mere hours after Gary Bettman praised the process only exacerbated the issue.

(You can watch that agonizingly minute discussion in the video above. Predators fans might not want to re-live it.)

Colin Campbell presented an interesting question for next season on Thursday: would a team like Pittsburgh make such a marginal challenge if a failed review would result in a minor penalty?

It’s something the executive will bring to the competition committee and then the Board of Governors; Campbell believes such a tweak has a strong chance of being instituted in 2017-18.

Previously, a coach would lose his timeout if an offside goal review failed. If this change is implemented, a team would keep that timeout but suffer a minor penalty.

Campbell notes that this tweak would apply to offside challenges, not goalie interference reviews.

Ultimately, for Campbell, it comes down to the spirit of the offside rule. (TSN has video of his full comments.)

Amusingly, the Predators also suffered from an infamous offside goal that would have benefited from an obvious review, as this Matt Duchene goal from 2013 inspired the NHL to admit that a mistake was made.

The logic is pretty simple. If a goal was glaringly offside, then a team will view a challenge as worth the risk of possibly being penalized. If it’s a matter of inches or some other marginal question, a penalty would – ideally – deter a team from making a flimsier challenge. Specifically, Campbell pointed to offside reviews in which goals came long after the infraction had a significant impact on play.

Now, sure, you could make some wise cracks about the idea, especially considering how the NHL’s suffered from a painful roll-out of a change here and there. And perhaps some coaches will still believe that it’s worth the risk to flip that coin.

Still, the league’s heart is in the right place, and it could very well succeed in two goals: getting things right and not boring everyone to tears.

Related

NHL might crack down on slashes, too