Is Seattle right back in the race to get an NHL team?


Trust us, there’s an NHL story in here somewhere. Just be patient because the first stuff is important.

Yesterday in Utah, NBA commissioner David Stern said he was “more hopeful than I am confident right now” that Sacramento can salvage its plan to build a new arena and keep the Kings in town. (If you want to know why the arena plan has moved onto thin ice, read this.)

Suffice to say Stern’s statement represented a downgrade from the optimism of late February after a handshake agreement with the city, the Kings’ owners, and the NBA was reached to build a new arena and keep the team in town.

That handshake agreement also appeared to hurt Seattle’s chances of landing an NBA team, as the Kings and the league-owned New Orleans Hornets were the two main relocation candidates. The Hornets still don’t have a new owner, but Stern has indicated a sale could be announced soon. Which sort of sounds familiar and appropriately leads us into the NHL stuff.

If Seattle can snag an NBA team – let’s say it’s the Kings (if they don’t go to Anaheim) – there are already plans in place to build a new arena. However, it’s possible that new arena will only be built should it be guaranteed a second tenant, that being an NHL team.

In other words, if Seattle can snag an NBA team, Seattle greatly improves it chances of getting an NHL team like, say – gee, I dunno – the Phoenix Coyotes.

Your head swimming yet?

PS — No truth to the rumor Quebec City has plans to build Sacramento a new arena.

PPS — Coyotes CEO Mike Nealy is confident the team will be staying in Glendale.

PPPS — Seattle Islanders?

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”



Oilers place Scrivens on waivers

Jordan Martinook, Ben Scrivens
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The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.

Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.

It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.

Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.

He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.

Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.

If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.

The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.

The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.