When Quebec City made it official Sunday that an NHL-ready rink would be built by 2015, many considered it a sure sign the Phoenix Coyotes would be moving to La Belle Province at the end of the season.
Not so fast, says TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The NHL’s goal remains keeping the Coyotes in Glendale. So stop wondering who Patrick Roy should draft in June. And hold off on the plans for Wilf Paiement appreciation night.
That said, McKenzie acknowledged time’s quickly running out to find an owner that’s willing to keep the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena for the long run.
The NHL cannot possibly wait as long this year as it did last year for the Phoenix situation to resolve itself. Last year, the Coyotes were not locked in for another season in Phoenix until almost mid-May and the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg didn’t take place until the end of May.
The NHL was able to wait as long last year because True North – the owner of the Jets – had an entire hockey and business and arena infrastructure ready, willing and able to accept a franchise at the last minute.
In spite of Sunday’s arena news conference in Quebec City, neither Quebec nor Seattle are as well positioned as Winnipeg. So unless Phoenix is resolved in short order, the league will at the very least have to begin laying some relocation groundwork in the very near future.
Of note, McKenzie wonders if Quebec City is actually the NHL’s first choice for relocation, writing “Seattle may be a more desirable location.”
He also floats the possibility of expanding from 30 to 32 teams in the near future (exactly how near, nobody knows).
Related: NHL set to begin “Plan B” for Coyotes
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?