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Thrashers announcement probably won’t come by Tuesday, Hawks exclusivity window closes

As Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said, it seems like it will just be a matter of time before we hear an official announcement that the Atlanta Thrashers will relocate to Winnipeg. Earlier today, Joe passed along word that the final potential local owner who could keep the Thrashers in Atlanta is fading from the picture. Here are two more updates on that situation.

  • Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said it’s “safe to say” that an announcement regarding the deal won’t come by Tuesday. True North and the Atlanta Spirit already reportedly agreed to a $170 million price tag (with $60 million going to the NHL as a relocation fee), but there are still a few hurdles to clear. Vivlamore points out that Monday is Queen Victoria Day in Canada, a bank holiday that probably stood in the way of certain elements being completed.

There are still a few things to sort out, perhaps most notably being an affirmative vote by the NHL Board of Governors. Whether an announcement comes Tuesday, later this week or any other time, we’ll keep you updated.

  • As we’ve mentioned before, the chances of a local group keeping the Thrashers in Atlanta keep getting slimmer. There is a small nugget of decent news for people keeping the dream alive, though.

The Atlanta Spirit and San Diego Padres owner John Moores closed their window of exclusivity regarding the sale of the Atlanta Hawks, according to Tim Tucker. The closing of that window opens up the possibility of a buyer gobbling up a package deal that would include the Thrashers, Hawks and the home of both teams: Phillips Arena.

Making such a deal might produce a better chance to produce profits than owning the Thrashers alone, but Tucker reports that the Atlanta Spirit said that a qualified buyer hasn’t emerged to purchase all three entities. (Obviously the entire package deal would be prohibitively expensive and arguably an even bigger risk for an ownership group.)

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The lifting of that exclusivity window can allow people to hope for a last minute miracle, but logic still points to a Thrashers move. Stick with PHT for updates on this situation as it heats up this week (and beyond).

Rangers get good news on McDonagh, bad news on Nash

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Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.

Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.

The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.

McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).

The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.

McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.

The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.

Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.

He’ll miss at least another week.

Video: Blandisi scores great between-the-legs goal vs. Flyers

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What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.

The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.

It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.

Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.

He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).

That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.

Some Twitter reaction to the goal:

Bruins’ Bergeron ruled out for Saturday’s game against Wild

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The Boston Bruins will be without center Patrice Bergeron in Saturday afternoon’s matinee against the Minnesota Wild.

It’s unclear how Bergeron suffered the undisclosed injury, but there’s reason to believe it occurred after he dropped the gloves with Jets forward Blake Wheeler (above).

He’s considered day-to-day at this point.

Losing him for an extended period of time would be devastating for Boston.

“You don’t like seeing your star players (fight), but you also understand that it’s an emotional game and that stuff happens and at one point a player says, ‘Enough is enough and I’m going to stand up for myself,’” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after the game, as per the Boston Herald.

“From what I gathered there was a lot of slashes behind the legs behind the play and stuff like that. He took things upon himself. As much as you don’t like it, you can’t tell him he’s not allowed. He’s a big boy and he can certainly make some decisions on the ice. And it’s not the first time that he’s fought. But I like the fact that he doesn’t fight much.”

After this incident, there’s no doubt that the Bruins will tell Bergeron to keep his gloves on from now on.

Jets will take one more crack at re-signing Andrew Ladd

Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd (16) and Blake Wheeler (26) celebrate Ladd's goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)
Associated Press
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Jets captain Andrew Ladd still doesn’t have a contract for next season and with the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaching, something’s gonna have to give.

According to TSN’s Gary Lawless, the Winnipeg Jets will make one last push to sign the forward before making him available on the trade market.

Ladd doesn’t want to leave and the team wants to keep him, but after Dustin Byfgulien got an extension earlier this month, there may not be enough money to go around.

At one point, the Jets reportedly made Ladd a six-year offer worth $6 million per year, which he obviously didn’t accept.

Can they top that? Time will tell.

Waiting to trade Ladd is probably the smartest decision.

Keeping the captain around would be great, but if the two sides can’t agree to a new contract, there’ll be no shortage of suitors for Ladd’s services.

Lawless mentions the Penguins, Panthers and Blackhawks as potential landing spots for the 30-year-old.

The Kings have also been mentioned as a potential destination for Ladd.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will have to make some crucial decisions over the next few weeks.