TJ Oshie, Andy McDonald

St. Louis Blues sale deadline yields multiple offers to purchase franchise

While the Phoenix Coyotes try to get their sale status figured out, the St. Louis Blues’ deadline for purchase offers came and went yesterday. Unlike the Coyotes, the Blues have multiple offers from parties interested in buying the team. Former Phoenix Coyotes suitor Matthew Hulsizer was believed to have interest in buying the Blues after dropping his bid on the Coyotes.

Hulsizer, of course, is the man who wanted to buy the Phoenix Coyotes but was chased off by legal red tape and the Goldwater Institute in Glendale as his offer to purchase the Coyotes required the city to sell $100 million worth of bonds. As Jeremy Rutherford notes on the offers the Blues did get, the CEO of Summit Distributing Tom Stillman, is believed to be one of the guys in the mix.

The Post-Dispatch confirmed through a source Monday that Stillman, who is the owner and CEO of St. Louis-based Summit Distributing, has submitted a second bid. It was not confirmed whether Hulsizer, CEO of the Chicago-based financial services firm PEAK6, made a follow-up bid before the deadline.

Stillman’s original offer in April was approximately $110 million, according to sources. The amount of Stillman’s second bid was not disclosed, but it’s believed to be in the same neighborhood.

That $110 million offer is well below the original $200 million outgoing owner Dave Checketts originally thought he could get for the team and lower than the $180 million they figured they could net during this push for buyers. That shaky market is obviously having its effect even on a team that draws great the way the Blues do. Even without sustained success over the last few years, the Blues continue to fill Scottrade Center with fans.

As for Hulsizer, Rutherford believes that while he may or may not have put in an offer this time around, he’s not out of the picture by any means. Game Plan LLC, the company hired out to find a new owner, could forego this means of bidding for a buyer and end up negotiating with Hulsizer or others directly instead. It’s fun how millionaires and billionaires can just toss money around like that without an issue.

The facts here are that the Blues are eager to get someone new in place and have hopes they can do it before the season starts in October. Whoever is seeking to buy the team is going to have to get a move on things to make it happen before then. This step in the process is a means towards doing just that.

Some tough decisions await the Blues

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Yet again, the St. Louis Blues failed to achieve their ultimate goal.

And boy does it hurt right now.

“We’re all hurting,” coach Ken Hitchcock said last night after getting eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final.

“You don’t want this to be our best opportunity. You want this to be a building block. In this game, in this era, in this cap world, you don’t know where you’re going to be a year from now.”

Indeed, GM Doug Armstrong has some tough decisions to make this offseason.

At the top of the list is whether to bring Hitchcock back. Yes, the Blues did better than 26 other teams, and yes, they finally got past the first round. Still, there are people who believe this will be it for the head coach, that a new voice could help. Overall, Hitchcock has done a great job in St. Louis. But then, so did Todd McLellan in San Jose. Sometimes, change can be good.

Then there are the unrestricted free agents. Both captain David Backes and winger Troy Brouwer need new contracts. The former is 32, the latter 30. The former had seven goals in the playoffs, the latter eight. How much money will they want? How much term? The second question might be the most important.

On the back end, it’s Kevin Shattenkirk that will garner the most attention. He’s signed through next season before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Just 27 years old, and considering the demand for what he does, he’ll be very expensive to keep. And with the emergence of Colton Parayko, trading Shattenkirk could probably be justified, especially if the return is good. A team like the Boston Bruins might be willing to pay up.

Right now, the pain is still fresh for the Blues.

“It’s so hard to win in the league right now,” said Hitchcock. “It’s so hard to win a series. So hard to just get in the playoffs. When you get this far, you get this close, you think you got the opportunity.”

The challenge for Armstrong will be to give his team another opportunity next season. And with the draft less than a month away, all these tough decisions will need to be made very soon.

Goals of the Week get tougher as Cup Final approaches

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The Stanley Cup Final is almost upon us and picking the very best Goals of the Week is a tough task. See how we did on this edition!

Just for Men: Mike Commodore

RALEIGH, NC - JUNE 14:  Mike Commodore #22 of the Carolina Hurricanes warms up before game five of the 2006 NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers on June 14, 2006 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Getty
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Maybe one would argue that time hasn’t been kind to the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes (at least compared to the pedigree of other winners), but Mike Commodore’s incredible red afro and beard rank as one of hockey’s most timeless combinations.

Seriously, just take a step back from your monitor* and bask in the splendor of that carrot-topped Commodore.

Even then-President George W. Bush remarked on Commodore’s bushy hair and beard (or its tragic absence) when the Canes visited the White House:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. Have a seat. It’s a pretty big deal for a guy that doesn’t know how to ice skate — (laughter) — to welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to the White House. We appreciate you coming. You know, I’m not sure what is prettier, the Stanley Cup, or Mike Commodore’s hair. (Laughter.) A little disappointed you got a haircut. (Laughter.) But, welcome.

Good stuff.

And it really is kind of disappointing any time you see Commodore relatively clean-shaven. It’s like Superman without a big “S” on his chest or Metallica with short hair or any number of not-quite-right sights.

* – If you’re doing the Rumsfeld-style “standing at your desk” thing then … kneel for a second maybe?

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

Stanley Cup
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There’s nothing better than a Game 7, especially when a spot in the Stanley Cup Final is up for grabs. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins will battle in a do-or-die game for the right to play the San Jose Sharks with Lord Stanley on the line. You can watch the game via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET)

The television broadcast of Game 7 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the Live Extra app, click here.

Here’s some reading material to get you ready for this one:

Penguins, Lightning prepare for ‘roller coaster’ Game 7

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal