Bruins, Canucks won’t blame jet lag in Game 3 after history-making trek

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As we discussed before the start of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, the Boston Bruins-Vancouver Canucks series will require the most travel of any modern finals round and the second most in NHL history. Along with worries of turning off media members with limited travel opportunities, the concern was that one or both of the teams might blame poor performances on the 2,504 mile trip required as the series switches venues.

The Bruins received a nice gap between their Game 7 match against the Tampa Bay Lightning and their trip to Vancouver, likely mitigating most of the jet lag that could have been a problem/excuse if the turnaround time between rounds was shorter. Each squad will face the possible issue in Game 3, however, as they only received the typical 48 window between contests.

Lengthy travel cannot help two teams full of bruised players, but the good news is that both teams dealt with that problem. Neither team seems willing to use the five-hour trip as an excuse if they suffer defeat, either. NHL.com points out that the Canucks might be more used to the rigors of travel considering their playoff experiences (they already were from the Western Conference regular season, in the first place).

Vancouver has already advanced through three long-distances series in the playoffs: Chicago in the first round (nearly 2,200 miles), Nashville in the second round (a little more than 2,500 miles) and San Jose in the Western Conference Finals (about 1,000 miles).

In comparison, the Bruins have had only one series this postseason — the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay — where the journey was more than 1,000 miles.

Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff seemed to brush off the worries, at least from his own perspective.

On Sunday afternoon, after the five-hour plane ride, Ehrhoff said he felt about the same as he would if he didn’t travel that day.

“I don’t think it’s a big factor because both teams go through the same thing,” Ehrhoff said. “The only thing is that we go through it the whole year, we’ve gone through it a bunch of times even in the playoffs, so we know what to expect.”

Bruins coach Claude Julien seemed positive about his players’ ability to deal with jet lag when asked on Sunday.

“No matter what, we’re going to have to battle through it,” Julien said.  “There’s no way around it.  We have to fight through those kind of things. I don’t want to use this as an excuse or disadvantage.  I want us to I guess challenge ourselves to be able to fight through that kind of stuff.”

Despite each team showing a brave face, it wouldn’t be shocking if fans or writers start griping about the travel schedule if one or both seem flat in Game 3. All of those excuses won’t matter once the puck drops around 8 p.m. ET (which you can watch on Versus) tonight, though.

Blues have ‘wiggle room’ after locking up Parayko

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The St. Louis Blues didn’t break the bank to keep Colton Parayko for five more years, and that’s important since they don’t believe the NHL’s salary cap will rise significantly in the next little while.

Parayko’s cap hit came in at a manageable $5.5 million, as the two sides narrowly avoided an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for today.

“You like to have as much wiggle room as possible,” GM Doug Armstrong said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Now we view the cap will stay flat for the foreseeable future. We’re content with the space we have. We’ll move forward and get ready for training camp.”

The Blues now have a number of key players locked up long term, including Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz, Patrik Berglund, and Jake Allen.

For Armstrong, the next big decision could involve Paul Stastny, the 31-year-old center who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

But a decision on Stastny doesn’t need to be made now, or even before the season starts. It’s the trade deadline that could be the real pressure point, akin to the Kevin Shattenkirk situation this past year.

Per CapFriendly, the Blues have just over $3 million in cap space, with one roster spot left to fill.

‘Highly unlikely’ Suns will pursue shared arena with Coyotes

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The Arizona Coyotes appear to be on their own in pursuit of a new arena in the Phoenix area.

That’s because Robert Sarver, the owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, says it’s “highly unlikely” he’ll pursue a shared arena with the Coyotes.

Instead, Sarver is focused on upgrading the Suns’ current home (and Coyotes’ old home) in downtown Phoenix, Talking Stick Resort Arena.

From the Arizona Republic:

Sarver said building a new arena would have “maybe made more sense” four or five years ago when the cost estimate was $450 million to $500 million. The costs now, Sarver said, are “significantly higher.” Thus his focus on upgrading Talking Stick, which soon will be the second-oldest arena in the NBA.

“I think it’s the most economically viable alternative for the city and us,” he said. “I like downtown Phoenix. That’s my first preference. I think the NBA is more of an urban game. That’s our demographic.”

Talking Stick Resort Arena, formerly called America West Arena when the Coyotes played there, was designed for basketball and isn’t ideal for hockey. In that way, it’s a lot like Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which hasn’t been a great fit for the Islanders.

The Coyotes recently hired a new president and CEO, Steve Patterson, whose top priority is finding the team a new home in the Phoenix area.

Crosby to celebrate 30th birthday with Stanley Cup in Nova Scotia

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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) Sidney Crosby will mark his 30th birthday by once again parading the Stanley Cup in his province.

In tweets sent out by the Sidney Crosby Hockey School, Crosby said he would hoist the trophy in the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth as part of an annual civic parade.

“Get ready, the Stanley cup is coming to town!” Crosby confirmed in the tweet sent late Tuesday night. “I will be taking Lord Stanley to the streets Monday August 7th in the Halifax-Dartmouth Natal Day parade.”

The parade, part of annual events that celebrate Halifax’s birthday, also happens to fall on the Pittsburgh Penguins captain’s 30th birthday.

Natal Day chairman Greg Hayward said he expects another 25,000 people will be lining the parade route on top of the roughly 40,000 usual attendees.

“It’s extremely exciting to think that we’re going to have Sid and the Cup in our Natal Day parade,” Hayward said Wednesday.

Crosby has shown off the Stanley Cup twice before in his hometown of Cole Harbour, just outside Dartmouth, in 2009 and 2016.

Last July, Crosby carried the Cup in the back of a pickup that made its way to an arena in Cole Harbour as thousands of cheering fans looked on in sweltering heat.

Arbitration hearing looming for Arvidsson, who broke out in big way last year

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Viktor Arvidsson wants a one-year deal worth $4.5 million, while the Nashville Predators are countering with a two-year deal worth $5.5 million ($2.75 million AAV).

That’s the situation with an arbitration hearing scheduled for Saturday, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The two sides could still reach a deal before each case is heard.

Arvidsson, 24, broke out in a big way last year, scoring 31 goals during the regular season, then helping the Preds to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

But Nashville needs to be careful with its cap situation, because Ryan Johansen also needs a new contract, and he won’t be cheap to re-sign.

Arvidsson just wrapped up his entry-level contract.