Coyotes versus Blackhawks at Jobing.com Arena

Coyotes get golden opportunity to show Phoenix is a hockey town

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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.”

Report: 2017 NHL Draft will be held in Chicago

The NHL hockey draft board is complete at the end of the first round at Prudential Center, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Associated Press
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It looks like the city of Chicago will be hosting the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The team and the league are expected to confirm the news during an official press conference later today.

The draft has never been held in the Windy City.

It may be a little early to project which team will pick first in 2017, but it certainly doesn’t look like it’ll be the ‘Hawks.

The last time they drafted first overall, they took this guy:

This also marks the first time since 2011 (Minnesota) that a Western Conference team will play host to the draft.

Last year’s draft was held in Sunrise, Florida while this year’s edition will be held in Buffalo.

Hockey reporters everywhere will be thrilled about an additional work assignment in Chicago.

Here’s what some of them are saying:

 

PHT Morning Skate: Jagr doesn’t understand why Peyton Manning would retire after winning the Super Bowl

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Jaromir Jagr doesn’t believe Peyton Manning should retire. (ESPN)

Victor Hedman wrote about “How We Play Hockey in Sweden” for The Players’ Tribune.

–Did the Senators make a smart move by acquiring Dion Phaneuf? (Sportsnet)

–And if you have a Maple Leafs jersey with Phaneuf’s name on the back, the Sens want to dispose of it:

–Watch the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Rangers and Penguins. (Top of the page)

–A Zoolander tribute to Coyotes center Martin Hanzal. (Puck Daddy)

Steven Stamkos had a run-in with the paparazzi in Montreal. (Bardown)

Sidney Crosby‘s confidence could be dangerous for the rest of the league:

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
Getty Images
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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

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 9.02.42 PM
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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.