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.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.