Canada hockey fans

Study: Canada could support nine NHL teams

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A report by the Conference Board of Canada concludes that the country could support two additional NHL franchises – one in Quebec City, another in Hamilton.

The Conference Board, which describes itself as the “foremost independent, not-for-profit applied research organization in Canada,” broke its feasibility test into four categories:

Population – minimum 750,000 (which just so happens to be the approximate head count in both Quebec City and Hamilton)

Market wealth – i.e. people have to be able to afford NHL tickets.

Personal disposable income per capita in Winnipeg in 2010 was $29,500. This put Winnipeg in 14th place among Canada’s 27 largest census metropolitan areas—but still ahead of Vancouver and Montréal, both of which are home to NHL franchises. What about Québec City and Hamilton? Québec City was ranked 10th in 2010 and Hamilton was ranked 18th—one spot better than Montréal. Therefore, based on market wealth, Québec City and Hamilton are two potential sites for NHL franchises.

(Note: I’m not sure per capita income is the appropriate figure to use in this case, since it doesn’t take into account income inequality. What’s more, Vancouver might have a lower per capita disposable income than Winnipeg, but I guarantee it has more rich people. A better measure might be median income. And I should know, as I took an introductory statistics class in university.)

Corporate presence – Neither Quebec City or Hamilton rank highly in this category, but the board says that “corporations located across the province of Quebec would likely show interest in supporting an NHL franchise in the city” and Hamilton “has the huge benefit of being located near Toronto, where 286 large corporations have their head offices.”

A Level Playing Field – “The Canadian dollar has been at or around parity with the U.S. greenback since 2007,” notes the board. “This is in sharp contrast to 2002, when the Canadian dollar bottomed out at just under US$0.62.”

Related: Columnist: Quebec City should get first crack at Coyotes

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”