Coyotes versus Blackhawks at Jobing.com Arena

Coyotes get golden opportunity to show Phoenix is a hockey town

3 Comments

The time is now for Phoenix sports fans to show they can support the Coyotes, writes columnist Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic.

Because if not now, it might be never.

Monday in Chicago, the Coyotes advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since relocating from Winnipeg to the desert in 1996.

Add to the fact the NBA’s Suns failed to qualify for the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, and according to Bickley, a “huge window of opportunity and exposure” has opened for the NHL franchise that’s still desperately in need of a new owner to keep it from relocating.

If I’m a potential owner, I’m watching the turnstiles closely, especially those pricey lower-bowl seats. Hopefully, the results are a revelation, proof that fans are willing to embrace a new era of hockey.

“This is certainly a step forward,” Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said. “It’s exciting … and it’s really a reflection of the ineptitude of the franchise, if you think about it. For 33 years, this is only the third time that we advanced? You almost shake your head about it. But fortunately, we’re where we need to be.”

As reported today by the Phoenix Business Journal, there are still tickets available for Games 1 and 2.

A scan of available seats on Ticketmaster shows more than 800 seats are available for Game 1 Friday in Glendale. More than 900 seats are available for Game 2 on Sunday.

Almost all those seats are in the lower bowl at Jobing.com Arena. Upper level tickets, which range from $54 and $88 per seat, are nearly sold out.

The available seats are in the lower bowl and exclusive club sections at the arena where tickets are more expensive. The Coyotes are charging from $115 to $527 per ticket for lower level and club seats.

The Coyotes sold out all three of their home playoff games against the Blackhawks; however, as Bickley notes, the Nashville Predators “do not have thousands of transplanted fans living the Valley, ready to push ticket sales and infiltrate Jobing.com Arena.”

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

106 Comments

The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

ovicrosbynbcsn
NBCSN screen
17 Comments

Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

16 Comments

Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
3 Comments

Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.