Crosby Doan

Crosby, Doan among attendees at week-long camp in Arizona

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The desert has been a hotbed of hockey activity lately.

On Tuesday, prospective owner Greg Jamison moved one huge, crucial step closer to buying the Phoenix Coyotes and, that same day, a collection of locked-out NHLers descended on Scottsdale for an impromptu camp.

Here’s more, from the Arizona Republic:

The Ice Den in Scottsdale has been the lockout destination for many Coyotes players, but now they’ve recruited some of their peers from around the league to participate in training sessions this week.

About 30 players are practicing and scrimmaging against each other. Only a handful of players will skate on Wednesday, but the entire group — which has been split up into two teams — will be back on the ice Thursday and Friday. Penguins star Sidney Crosby is expected to join the skates at the end of the week.

“Word’s getting out it’s a pretty good spot to be during this time,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan said.

As far as informal skates go, the Scottsdale one is pretty good.

Goalies: Ryan Miller, Mike Smith

Defensemen: Keith Yandle, Zbynek Michalek, Adrian Aucoin, Ryan Whitney, Mike Komisarek

Forwards: Crosby, Doan, Patrick Marleau, Dan Cleary, Steve Ott, Brenden Morrow, Ray Whitney, Steve Sullivan

Of all the players in attendance, Crosby is (unsurprisingly) the one receiving the most attention — though it’s not just due to his star power.

Talks of Crosby possibly jumping to Europe have been rampant, with some suggesting his involvement in the Scottsdale camp is a warmup to playing in Russia or, potentially, the Swiss league.

“Sidney is seriously looking at his options in Europe,” Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “He needs and wants to play hockey. It will be difficult to go all year without playing after what he’s gone through the last two years.

“Over the next few days I’m going to make more calls and continue to explore Sidney’s options.”

Related

Report: Crosby’s agent talking to teams in Russia, Switzerland

Crosby: “The whole process is frustrating”

Crosby: Why change contract rights of “the most competitive league in the world”?

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.