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.

Duchene trade talks quiet, but Avs will ‘listen to offers’

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To little surprise, not much is going on in the trade market. Just ask Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic.

The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers did just that, and Sakic revealed that he would still consider trading the likes of Matt Duchene … although he didn’t mention him by name.

“I will be listening to offers. Right now it’s quiet on all fronts,” Sakic said. “But I’ll listen to offers on how we can get better. I’ll never name names but I’ll sit there and if something makes sense for the way we want to go, with our team, we’ll really look at that.”

Considering that it’s mid-August, it’s not too surprising that little is happening. One can imagine that several GMs are more interested in finding drinks with umbrellas in them than trying to land Duchene, at least since the Avalanche don’t seem interested in giving him up without some serious haggling.

(And, really, the Avs would be wise to pump up Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog‘s respective trade values, anyway.)

That Denver Post story features a semi-update on Nikita Zadorov. Sakic told Chambers that the two sides agreed that a two-year deal would be best, but the “numbers” aren’t there yet. He didn’t tip his hand about how big the gap was. For what it’s worth, Sakic didn’t sound too worried about the lure of the 2018 Winter Olympics swaying Zadorov to head overseas.

While a lot of the activity circles around what hasn’t happened, the Avalanche did realize that Will Butcher officially won’t sign with them, while Colorado added a college free agent (and former Maple Leafs prospect) Dominic Toninato to their own mix.

At the moment, it doesn’t seem like something big is brewing regarding Duchene and other prominent Avs, but at least Sakic isn’t slamming the door shut on such a possibility.

Logan Couture’s teeth are still sore from horrifying mouth injury

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Still jarring and gross: the image of Logan Couture‘s mouth after taking a puck to the mouth about five months ago.

Still sore: Couture’s mouth.

Yep, the San Jose Sharks star hasn’t totally gotten over that injury, which forced him to have false teeth up top and some painfully sore ones on his bottom row. NBC Sports California’s Kevin Kurz transcribed the unfortunate details Couture shared with NHL Network this week:

“There’s good days and bad days,” Couture said. “My bottom teeth are still my real teeth. They’ve tried to keep them so I don’t lose them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to, they’re still pretty sore. My top teeth are all fake now – my front six, I think. So, it’s different. It just feels different in my mouth.

“But everything else with my face and all that is healed. I’m lucky that it’s an injury that didn’t affect my training, and hopefully won’t affect me going forward.”

As someone who’s endured more than a few unpleasant trips to the dentist, stories like these always lead to queasiness. This classic PHT post about Keith Tkachuk’s agony always comes to mind in situations like these.

Speaking of queasy, this is footage of when things were really bad for Couture. That link is provided because some will inevitably want to look, but treat this like the other gross things on the Internet that you wish you never saw and just move on.

(Seriously, the healing process continues on this end.)

Anyway, about the only bit of good news is that Couture can still train more or less as usual. He endured that injury late in the regular season (March 25), and while he suited up for the Sharks’ first-round series, it sure seemed like both Couture and Joe Thornton were limited in those six games against the Edmonton Oilers.

As much as dental agony seems like a uniquely “hockey” problem, this situation sounds especially rough for Couture.

Sidney Crosby at 30

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This post is part of Penguins Day on PHT…

Much like with Lebron James, Sidney Crosby is at the point in his career where the question is no longer “Will he be one of the all-time greats?” After back-to-back Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe wins, the discussion is shifting to where he ranks among the best of all-time.

And, like, with Lebron, there are a number of factors – including era, which is probably an even tougher nut to crack in hockey – that can twist and turn the debate.

Mere moments after Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins repeated as champs, Mike Sullivan made the case for number 87’s greatness.

” … You know, he’s arguably the best player of his generation, and he’s a guy that just knows how to win,” Sullivan said. “And so he’s done it in all different venues, whether it be the NHL and Stanley Cups to the World Cup to the Olympics. And he’s a player that — and I believe this, what separates him from others is his work ethic and his willingness to do what it takes to be the very best.”

It’s mind-blowing to consider the very real possibility that Crosby will be viewed as the best player to skate for the Penguins, edging Evgeni Malkin, Jaromir Jagr, and even Mario Lemieux.

It’s also mind-blowing that he just turned 30 on Aug. 7.

When it comes to the Mario vs. Sid debate that may eventually pick up steam, Crosby has some advantages. He matched “The Magnificent One” by getting those back-to-back titles and playoff MVP nods, while he already has three Stanley Cup rings to Lemieux’s two (and four Stanley Cup Final appearances to two).

Crosby already has an iconic moment to his name. Along with Paul Henderson’s goal and “Gretzky to Lemieux,” Crosby’s golden goal in the 2010 Winter Olympics will endear him to Canadian hockey fans for ages.

This list of accolades is honestly dizzying:

But, again, things get tougher when you try to really drill down to Crosby vs. The Greats. Most obviously since he’s far from done right now.

Circling back to the debate that might divide Penguins fans in particular, Crosby might also edge Lemieux if you correct for our modern era, which is so tough on scoring. NHL.com’s Rob Vollman explains Crosby’s place among the most impressive runs before 30:

From this perspective, Crosby is no longer in a block of a dozen players but in more select company. He ranks third at age 30 with an era-adjusted 998 points (377 goals, 622 assists), well ahead of Lemieux, who is in fourth with 899 points (365 goals, 534 assists). Gretzky is in first with 1,479 points (495 goals, 984 assists) in 896 games, followed by Jagr with 1,018 points (414 goals, 604 assists) in 858 games. (Adding to the distinction of being in the top four with Gretzky, Jagr and Lemieux: Those are the only three players to win the Art Ross Trophy as the League’s top scorer in the 21 seasons from 1980-81 to 2000-01.)  

Interesting. (This quick document has a bit more to chew on.)

Vollman also makes the point that even the all-timers tend to stop locking down the biggest awards once they turn 30. There’s an obvious barrier in Connor McDavid (just check the Hart Trophy odds) and possibly some other bright young players, so for all we know, most of our peak memories of Crosby may already be in the past.

That said, much like Lemieux, injuries have limited some of the stats Crosby’s been able to put up.

Crosby’s concussion history could conceivably prompt him to retire agonizingly early, but what if he instead gets better luck? We’ve seen cases, such as Patrice Bergeron, in which such issues become less of a concern over time. For all we know, Crosby might defy expectations and actually play until he’s 40.

(Hey, he already emulates Jaromir Jagr in being an inanely good puck protector.)

It’s been a special run already for Crosby, who’s already a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame. At this point, it’s about padding that resume.

Though, to Crosby’s credit, it’s still probably all about winning.

Sabres sign Zemgus Girgensons: two years, $3.2M

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The Buffalo Sabres basically wrapped up their mandatory summer moves by signing RFA Zemgus Girgensons to a two-year, $3.2 million contract on Thursday.

That translates to a cap hit of $1.6M per year; the team confirmed those terms.

The 23-year-old was selected 14th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Sabres. He went two picks after the Sabres selected Mikhail Grigorenko, whose claim to fame is being part of the package that helped them nab Ryan O'Reilly. (Feel free to cringe at who went next, though hindsight seems especially convenient considering how long it takes to get to some of the whoppers.)

In Girgensons’ case, it’s still been a work in progress. His best years actually came early, particularly a sophomore season where he posted career-highs in goals (15) and points (30) despite being limited to 61 games. He enjoyed significantly higher ice time (19:05 per game) during that 2014-15, then came right back down.

If nothing else, Girgensons already has ample NHL experience, as he’s already played in 277 regular-season games.

Buffalo has about $7 million in cap space left, according to Cap Friendly, so there’s theoretically room to make more moves. Girgensons was their last remaining loose end of note, however.