Report: The Atlanta Spirit are still selling tickets to Atlanta Thrashers games

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While many fans will criticize the Atlanta market for the very likely relocation of its second NHL franchise, people with more intimate knowledge blame ownership. Ultimately, the Atlanta Spirit never really did what was necessary to put a strong Atlanta Thrashers team on the ice. The team only made the playoffs once and failed to earn a single postseason win in that trip.

(It’s not like the Atlanta Spirit have been particularly outstanding at running the Atlanta Hawks, either. Joe Johnson is a talented basketball player no doubt, but giving him a $100 million contract is baffling.)

Still, one could give the Atlanta Spirit a break if they handled things with a bit more class. Instead, there are reports that they continue to sell tickets amid all the writing-on-the-wall rumors.

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports the Thrashers are still selling season tickets today, with one being sold. (I guess that person or business group doesn’t follow the news very closely, do they?) The Atlanta-Journal constitution also runs a regular “Ice Man” column that provides a fan’s perspective via Ben Tiller, who wrote this about the team continuing to run their regular “Select-a-Seat” promotion on Saturday.

Finally, to the members of the AS, LLC I make this challenge. If the reports are true and you have been plotting and scheming for months to rip this franchise from this community, then cancel the Select A Seat event scheduled for tomorrow. Do not continue this ruse…this deception…this scam …this tease one day longer. Do not accept a single dollar for tickets to games for a season you know will not happen in Atlanta.

In short, do the decent, honorable and upright thing…for once…and let the fans know today the truth of the situation. Don’t give an eager media looking to depict the turnout misrepresent the reality of the situation.

That way, you can at least say you were up-front and honest with us if even just this once in your disastrous seven years as owners…and Saturday afternoon can be a time of support, remembering and good-byes for those who plan on gathering at the Gulch.

Somehow, given the history, I’m not holding my breath …”

As Tiller pointed out earlier in his column, that Select-a-Seat event would likely attract local media members to document a moment that would make the Atlanta Spirit look rather silly. Thrashers fans are planning a rally to save the team for tomorrow, but with last night’s rumors and word that ownership is trying to squeeze every last buck out of the situation, it’s tough to imagine that rally being particularly spirited on Saturday.

Video: Calls go Penguins’ way early in Game 1; own goal plagues Predators

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However you feel about the context of each call, it’s tough to deny that some big decisions ended up going favorably early for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

To start, a would-be 1-0 goal by P.K. Subban was waved off thanks to Filip Forsberg being deemed offside. More on that here.

In a rare span, the Predators were whistled for two penalties during the same sequence in the first period, giving the Penguins a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes. Pittsburgh started off the advantage a little rocky, but then Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0. (Video of that tally in the headline above.)

The controversy comes as Sidney Crosby seemed to get away with interference/elbow shortly before that goal was scored. That sequence will feed a conspiracy theory or two.

The Predators have managed to avoid tough stretches for much of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but things seemed to really escalate from there. The Penguins managed three goals in a staggering 4:11 of game time, with Nick Bonino putting a puck off Mattias Ekholm for a painful own goal, making it 3-0 as the first period concluded.

The Penguins seemed to take control of the game after that disallowed goal, adding to the argument that some combination of the decision and the slowdown helped turn the tide.

How will the Predators respond to this adversity in Game 1? Find out on NBC and via the stream below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Subban goal waved off hours after Bettman defends offside challenges

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The Nashville Predators were controlling the play early in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, showing little concern for the big stage of Game 1. It looked like that early edge would come with the reward of a P.K. Subban 1-0 goal.

(Subban had to feel that much more satisfied as he was being booed early and often by Penguins fans in Pittsburgh.)

But, alas, the dreaded goal review negated such a goal, as it was determined that Filip Forsberg was offside. You can watch the process in the video above, while this is a GIF of the moment in question.

As a reminder, Gary Bettman said all the right things about reviews working “exactly as they are intended to” mere hours ago, even as snarky folks make snarky jokes about a rapid contest being interrupted by replays that … might not entertain everyone.

Whether the NHL likes it or not, this will be a talking point for many.

Updated Stanley Cup Final lineups: Carl Hagelin, Colin Wilson out in Game 1

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PHT provided early looks at what the Nashville Predators’ and Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineups might look like, and those viewpoints ended up being mostly correct.

That’s especially true when it comes to the Penguins. As expected, Carl Hagelin will not suit up for the Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Patric Hornqvist indeed returns while Jake Guentzel avoids a healthy scratch.

Here’s the lines that Pittsburgh listed on Twitter:

The Predators provide a surprise, however, as Colin Wilson is not in the mix. Instead, the Predators will have Craig Smith and Mike Fisher in the lineup.

Game 1 is just minutes from beginning. Check it out on NBC or stream it via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Daly addresses Voynov potentially returning to Kings

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An interesting development on Monday, prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final — following Gary Bettman’s state of the league address, deputy commissioner Bill Daly was asked about the possibility of former Kings d-man Slava Voynov returning to the NHL.

Voynov hasn’t played in L.A. since the ’14-15 campaign, when he was suspended indefinitely while facing domestic violence charges.

“If that was ever something that was proposed, we’re on record as saying that would require a proceeding before the commissioner,” Daly said, when asked about Voynov’s possible return.

When asked if Voynov had “served his time,” Daly offered the following:

“Ultimately that’s not my decision, that’ll be Gary’s decision.

“I don’t want to speculate either on what that might be. I’ve heard from time to time that he might have an interest in coming back to the National Hockey League, but that hasn’t advanced in any material way to this point.

“So let’s wait and see if it happens.”

The Voynov topic arose when a reporter asked Daly about the league’s stance, on the understanding that “at one point, the Kings were considering trying to bring [Voynov] back.”

That came on the heels of a report from John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor, who said Kings management and scouts had seen Voynov play “multiple times” this season.

In July of 2015, Voynov pleaded no contest to a reduced misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Months later, he returned to his native Russia and signed a three-year pact with SKA Saint Petersburg.

The move freed L.A. from Voynov’s $4.16 million average annual cap hit. Per The OC Register, Voynov’s decision to “self-depart” the U.S. may have kept the door open for a return to North America at some point in the future.

In October, Team Russia tried to include Voynov on its active roster for the World Cup of Hockey, claiming it was in negotiations with the league on the matter. The NHL eventually ruled him ineligible — “our position was the NHL suspension disqualified him,” Daly explained — and he was eventually replaced by Bolts blueliner Nikita Nesterov.