Glendale city council approves $25 million payment to NHL to keep Coyotes for another year


For the second straight year, the Glendale City Council is picking up the check to keep the Coyotes in town.

After a 5-2 vote, the city council approved to pay up $25 million to the NHL to help cover losses while they league continues to work out a deal with prospective buyer Matthew Hulsizer or anyone else willing to pony up the money needed to buy the team.

The decision by the city council means the Coyotes aren’t going anywhere next season and will play another season in the desert. For the fans in Glendale and around Phoenix, their team is saved for another year. It’ll make for another year in limbo for the team if they cannot get a deal done with Hulsizer. The NHL and Hulsizer continue to try and haggle out a deal with the City of Glendale over bond issues to help subsidize Hulsizer’s purchase of the team but the opposition from the Goldwater Institute over the use of city tax money to make it happen has made it difficult to get anything done.

That fight will get to continue on unless a different means can be worked out that satisfies Goldwater’s problems with the arrangement. Members of the city council who voted to approve the deal slammed Goldwater claiming they were standing up against the deal to prop up their own agenda.

What this means now is that the very patient group from Winnipeg headed up by David Thomson and True North will either have to sweat out the next year in hopes that the Coyotes can’t get a deal done and then perhaps, finally, get to take back the team that once called Winnipeg home.

Their more likely scenario, however, probably points them in the direction of the moribund Atlanta Thrashers. The Thrashers ownership problems and the team’s lack of a following in Atlanta has drawn the attention of the league. While the Atlanta Spirit group continues to struggle to find local investors willing to keep the team in Georgia, a process that’s gone on now for six years, Thomson could get a “booby prize” in being allowed to purchase the Thrashers and take them north.

That much is all speculative for now but commissioner Gary Bettman knows he’s got a very wealthy potential owner waiting in the wings in Thomson. With two teams feeling the bite to get a new owner and failing financially in two big American cities, the pressure might be on to solve the money drain with at least the Thrashers when there’s a prospective owner with deep pockets ready to step in.

For now, fans in Glendale and Arizona can celebrate keeping their team, but another year living on the edge with a team that can’t break the bank to spend for free agents thanks to the league owning them and an ownership situation that’s still unsolved, reliving the same nightmare over and over again may just start to wear the fans out.

Even the Flames’ struggling power play capitalized against the Blackhawks’ struggling penalty kill

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The Calgary Flames had the league’s worst power play at just four per cent coming into Monday’s game against Chicago.

Yeah. Awful.

The Blackhawks had the league’s worst penalty kill at just 42.9 per cent, which is also awful, although their issues go deeper than that aspect.

So, of course special teams played an important role in this game. Despite their previous struggles with the advantage, the Flames scored twice on the power play, on goals from Sam Bennett and Sean Monahan, taking their turn capitalizing on Chicago’s early-season difficulties short handed.

The Flames finished two-for-five on the power play, giving them three power play goals in 30 opportunities so far. They jumped all the way to 27th in the league in that category (!!) at 10 per cent. The Blackhawks have given up 14 power play goals against on 26 chances.

“We’ve got to get that out of our game,” Jonathan Toews told CSN Chicago. “As I’ve been saying, the penalty kill usually translates from our effort 5-on-5 and if we’re not starting games well, then we’re getting behind. Obviously [we’re] giving up power plays to begin with and we’re not killing the penalty kills that we’re on. Unfortunate to get behind again tonight.”

This is not the company you’d expect the Blackhawks to be keeping.

The Blackhawks did come back to force overtime, but they ultimately lost 3-2 in the shootout.

Former Blackhawk Kris Versteeg scored the only goal in the deciding breakaway contest, giving Calgary the win.

While the Flames power play came alive for this game, the play of goalie Brian Elliott was significant.

He, too, had struggled mightily with three losses in three starts, and a .839 save percentage, prompting his former teammate Jake Allen to say Flames fans shouldn’t be worried about Elliott despite his dreadful start.

Against Chicago, Elliott made 31 saves on 33 shots and then made five saves in the seven-round shootout.

The Habs took a chance signing Radulov and (so far) they’ve been rewarded

MONTREAL, QC - OCTOBER 20:  Alexander Radulov #47 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at the Bell Centre on October 20, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-2.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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The Montreal Canadiens took a chance on Alexander Radulov.

The cost? One year at $5.75 million, which is a significant investment for a 30-year-old player with plenty of talent but past off-ice discipline issues. So far, Radulov has been a welcomed addition to a Habs lineup that needed a skilled forward capable of putting up good numbers and taking a top-six role.

The success — or lack of — for the Habs will always focus around the play and health of goalie Carey Price.

But Radulov is off to a nice start to the season, which should provide some optimism for Canadiens fans after a disappointing 2015-16 season and the tumultuous summer that followed.

He entered Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers with two points in five games, but had solid puck possession numbers. Against the Flyers, he was once again a central figure for the Habs on the attack.

And the production followed.

He had a three-point night, setting up Shea Weber‘s goal in the second period — Weber’s slap shot busted the stick of Brayden Schenn and still had enough to get by goalie Steve Mason — and Brendan Gallagher for the eventual winner late in the third period.

Radulov then secured the win with an empty-net goal, giving him five points in six games. The Habs, following their 3-1 win over the Flyers, remain the only team in the league without a regulation loss.

Radulov entered the season as a potential X-factor for the Habs.

General manager Marc Bergevin received plenty of criticism for trading P.K. Subban. But so far, the returns from signing Radulov have been promising for the Habs.

Video: Shea Weber scores with blistering slap shot that destroyed Schenn’s stick


In case you didn’t know by now, here is more evidence that Shea Weber possesses a devastating slap shot.

The Montreal Canadiens defenseman on Monday scored his second goal of the season, once again deploying his shot from the blue line. This time, he ripped a shot that busted the stick of Brayden Schenn, who was trying to get into the shooting lane, and still had enough behind it to beat Flyers’ goalie Steve Mason.

That gave the Habs the lead.

The Flyers responded later on in the second period on Jakub Voracek‘s third goal of the season.

Christian Ehrhoff signs with Kolner Haie in Germany

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 27: Christian Ehrhoff #10 of Team Europe looks on against Team Canada during the second period during Game One of the World Cup of Hockey final series at Air Canada Centre on September 27, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Christian Ehrhoff is finally under contract for this season, but not in the NHL.

Ehrhoff, 34, signed with Kolner Haie in Germany, the team announced via Twitter on Monday.

Most recently, Ehrhoff was with the Boston Bruins on a professional tryout (PTO) prior to the beginning of the season, but he opted not to sign with that club, instead deciding to return home to Germany.

Ehrhoff also suited up for Team Europe at this fall’s World Cup of Hockey.

In 789 NHL games, the puck-moving defenseman scored 74 goals and 339 points. His most productive seasons came with the Vancouver Canucks, as he helped that team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.