If the Phoenix Coyotes don’t find an owner that’s willing to keep them in the desert, and soon, it’s likely 2011-12 will be their last season at Jobing.com Arena. The City of Glendale simply can’t keep covering the franchise’s losses and the NHL doesn’t want to own a team forever.
It begs the question, if the Coyotes have to move out of Arizona, where would they play next season? Winnipeg’s MTS Centre was always the first choice, until the Thrashers beat them to the punch.
Most of the speculation these days has the club moving to Quebec City, where there are plans to build a new NHL-caliber arena by 2015. Presumably the team would play at the old Colisée until then.
However, Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has another idea – temporarily move the Coyotes to Hamilton, Ont., where they’d play at Copps Coliseum for a couple of season. Then, move them again into the new arena that’s planned for Markham, a suburb of Toronto.
By the time the NHL has to make a decision on Phoenix, at the very least the Markham arena will be under construction, so the league could even award the franchise to Toronto this summer if it chose to do that, then begin playing in the new building for the 2014-15 season.
I’d still wager on the Coyotes moving to Quebec City, but the question of where they’d call home next season is an interesting one.
It might actually be fun to watch a team play at the Colisée. Like taking a time machine to an era before luxury suites and HD video boards. I mean, this is a hockey rink right here:
Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?
While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.
Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.
That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”
The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.
Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.
It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.
One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.
On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.
The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.
“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”
The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”
“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:
Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.
Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.
Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.
Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.