Rose Garden

Add another city to the Coyotes relocation rumormill — Portland, Oregon


Might the man who nearly bought the Dallas Stars have his eyes on the Phoenix Coyotes?

And might that same man have a notion to move the Coyotes to Portland, Oregon?

To answer the first question, we refer you to a report from FOX Sports Arizona that says Calgary oilman Bill Gallacher could be part of a group that’s looking to buy the Coyotes from the NHL on a “fast track” after prospective purchaser Greg Jamison failed to close the deal by yesterday’s deadline.

It’s fairly clear Gallacher is interested in owning an NHL franchise. In addition to making a run at the Stars (they were ultimately bought by Tom Gaglardi), he was also rumored to be interested in buying the Devils before owner Jeff Vanderbeek got his financial house in order.

To answer the second question, well, we have no idea. But we sure can speculate. Gallacher, you see, is the current owner of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. And unlike Seattle — frequently mentioned as a potential relocation/expansion market — Portland already has an NHL-caliber arena in the Rose Garden.

The Portland metro area, with an approximate population of 2.2 million, isn’t as big as Seattle’s (est. 3.5 million); however, it’s larger than current NHL markets like Columbus and Raleigh.

With no NFL or MLB team, Portland also wouldn’t have the same competition for the sports dollar that the NHL would face in Seattle.

Again, this all speculation. Even if Gallacher were to buy the Coyotes, it doesn’t mean he’d move it to Portland, where he already has a successful junior franchise.

He might move it to Las Vegas though!

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.

Leafs claim Corrado from Canucks, waive Panik

Frank Corrado
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The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.

Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.

Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.

With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.

Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.

In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.