Markham arena vote set for tonight


Markham city councilors are expected to vote tonight on whether to continue with plans to build a 20,000-seat arena that would see the Toronto suburb take out a $325-million to fund construction of the NHL-caliber rink.

Under the controversial proposal, billionaire developer Rudy Bratty (fronted by former Bauer CEO Graeme Roustan) would pay back half the $325 million of the debt, plus interest. The other half would come from residential developers via a levy on new homes.

Should the plan go ahead, there’s no guarantee an NHL team will follow. And that has councilor Valerie Burke concerned.

“It is a big vision,” Burke told the National Post. “But, fundamentally, we were elected by the residents. And we all said in our campaigns that we were going to listen to the residents. And it’s very, very clear that the residents are extremely worried that we could be facing the fallout and a white elephant.

“That’s why we’re there: To listen to the residents. And I don’t have any trouble with this, because I can tell you as a Markham resident myself, it does really worry me that we could be faced with a financial disaster.”

Meanwhile, in Glendale…

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.