Report: Columbus primed to land 2013 NHL All-Star Game

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Imagine, for a second, the potential awkwardness of having four different Columbus Blue Jackets on next year’s All-Star rosters.

It’s doubtful that Ohio voters will jam up the voting quite like Ottawa fans did this year, but consider it an amusing possibility if the rumors of Columbus getting the 2013 NHL All-Star Game are true. Trusty Blue Jackets beat writer Aaron Portzline reports that “two sources” claim Columbus might get that news sometime Saturday.

Blue Jackets execs issued the typical rounds of “no comment” answers, but Portzline rolls out some details on how much the event could benefit the struggling market.

The game could generate $15 million to $25 million in revenue for Columbus, based on economic impact studies done by cities that have hosted previously.

This would be an incredible burst of good luck for a franchise and market that has suffered from a paralyzing combination of incompetence and tough breaks. Portzline explains why Columbus hasn’t gotten an All-Star Game before, as well:

In the past, the NHL would not approve Columbus as a host for the game because the area around Nationwide Arena lacked a sufficient number of high-end hotel rooms needed to house sponsors, celebrities, players, etc. But a 500-room Hilton, being built just blocks from Nationwide Arena, is planned for completion by Sept. 2012, a month before the 2012-13 season opens.

Also, the league informed Columbus two years ago that it would not be considered as a host city until it achieved financial stability in the form of a new lease agreement.

The Blue Jackets/Columbus hosted one major NHL-wide event before in the form of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, but an All-Star weekend is another ballgame entirely. Keep in mind this is obviously far from an official report, but Portzline is a reliable source of information.

If this goes through, it would be a great thing for the Blue Jackets, although we might have to steel ourselves to a jaw-dropping hypothetical: Steve Mason, one-time NHL All-Star.

Avalanche reportedly settle with Nieto, avoiding arbitration

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Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.

In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.

Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.

3 KHL players suspended after testing positive for banned substances

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The International Ice Hockey Federation has announced that three KHL players have been suspended after testing positive for banned substances.

Here’s an excerpt from the KHL’s website:

The IIHF has informed the KHL that three players – forward Danis Zaripov (then with Metallurg Magnitogorsk), defenseman Andrei Konev (Admiral Vladivostok) and defenseman Derek Smith (Medvescak Zagreb) – have tested positive for banned substances.

Derek Smith tested positive for a category S6.а stimulant.

Andrei Konev tested positive for a category S6.b stimulant.

Danis Zaripov tested positive for a category S6.b stimulant plus category S5 diuretics and masking agents.

Zapirov, who was part of Team Russia at the 2010 Olympic Games, has been banned from suiting up in “competitive hockey” until May 22, 2019. Konev will be unable to play until Nov. 19, 2017, while Smith, who is Canadian, will be suspended until Sep. 2, 2018.

Smith, 32, played in 94 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

Report: John MacLean could join Tocchet’s coaching staff in Arizona

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The Arizona Coyotes have a new head coach, but Rick Tocchet still has to fill out the rest of his staff.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the ‘Yotes might be looking to add John MacLean to their coaching staff.

MacLean, 52, spent six years as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils (2002-2009) before becoming the head coach of their AHL affiliate. After one year of coaching in the minors, MacLean was promoted to head coach of the Devils. His tenure didn’t last very long, as he was fired after just 33 games (they were 9-22-2 under his watch).

He spent the following three seasons as an assistant in Carolina, but he was let go after the 2014 season.

MacLean hasn’t been back behind an NHL bench since being let go by the ‘Canes. Instead, he’s served as a hockey analyst on various television networks.

Related:

Tocchet wants Coyotes’ young players to be ‘creative’ and ‘calculated’

Tocchet brings lessons from past mistakes (and successes) to Coyotes

Sabres re-sign Robin Lehner to one-year, $4 million deal

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The Buffalo Sabres avoided salary arbitration with goalie Robin Lehner, as they inked him to a one-year, $4 million contract on Tuesday morning.

Lehner and the Sabres were scheduled to have their hearing on July 27, but that obviously won’t be necessary anymore.

The 26-year-old played a career-high 59 games in 2016-17. He finished the year with a 23-26-8 record, a 2.68 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage.

There’s no doubt that he’s a talented netminder, but he’s had his share of struggles when it comes to staying healthy and being consistent. Of course, the team in front of him hasn’t been very good either.

Both of Buffalo’s goalies (Lehner and Chad Johnson) will have something to prove this season because they’re both on one-year contracts. When their deals expire next summer, Lehner will be a restricted free agent again, while Johnson will be free to test the market on July 1st.

The Sabres now have just over $10.9 million in cap space with RFAs Zemgus Girgensons, Nathan Beaulieu and Evan Rodrigues still needing new contracts.

A huge extension for Jack Eichel is also on the horizon, but his new salary won’t count on the cap until 2018-19.