2011 NHL Entry Draft - Round One

Katz gives a little; will an arena deal get done in Edmonton?

The good news is that the Edmonton Oilers have an owner. With teams like the Coyotes, Stars, and Blues undergoing ownership issues over the last few months (years), having an owner isn’t something to be taken for granted anymore. Now having a place to play—that’s a different story. For anyone following the arena negotiations in Edmonton, owner Daryl Katz wants to build a new arena downtown to house the Edmonton Oilers. Not only does he want a new downtown arena, he wants the taxpayers to help fund the deal, and he wanted a non-compete clause with the operator of Rexall Place that would send concerts to the new arena as well.

No word if he wants the City of Edmonton to throw in a pony while they’re at it.

After meeting with Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and Gary Bettman in New York this week, it sounds like Katz is willing to limit his demands. He’s publically stated that he’ll take the non-compete clause off the table as he tries to work a deal before October 31. You see, he has until Halloween before he loses the downtown parcel of land that has been reserved for the potential arena. Without the downtown land, there is no downtown arena.

Obviously in negotiations, people don’t make concessions without getting something back in return. From SportsNet:

“In return for taking the clause off the table, the city has agreed to a new ticket tax at Rexall equal to the one proposed for the new arena, said [City manager Simon] Farbrother.

“There would be a level playing field,” he said, adding the city would also stop subsidizing Rexall after the new arena is built.

The debate over a new home for the Oilers to replace Rexall Place, the second-oldest rink the league, has been going for four years.

Although close to a deal, the project’s remaining stumbling block is money. A hefty $100 million is still needed to fund the $450-million arena.

The Katz Group earlier agreed to put up $100 million and tax ticket holders for another $125 million. The city would pony up $125 million.”

As an outsider, it would be great to see the Oilers get a new arena to go with their new team. Rexall Place is the second oldest arena in the league and could definitely use an upgrade. Can you imagine the Oilers taking the next step with all of their young talent—completing in the playoffs with a new sold-out new building in the middle of Edmonton? It sounds like a great idea.

Of course, any time taxpayer funds are being discussed, it opens a political can of worms that has little to do with hockey. Just ask people in Long Island about votes and referendums about new arenas. For the average voter, it comes down to money. More money in the form of taxes means less money in people’s pockets.

The two sides have a little over two weeks to figure this thing out. We’ll keep you updated as the two sides continue to negotiate.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One
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Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.