Here’s what hockey could look like in Seattle

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The same day the NHL made realignment official — complete with a couple of open spots in the Western Conference! — the man who hopes to bring the NBA back to to Seattle, investor Chris Hansen, released drawings of what a planned new arena in the Pacific Northwest city could look like for a hockey game.

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Wrote Hansen in a blog post:

The bottom line is as good as this is for basketball, it is an even better building for hockey.

As can be seen in the pictures above, as with most NBA/NHL buildings we have designed the seats behind the backboard/goal to retract backwards and the first few rows of courtside seating can be removed to accommodate hockey’s larger playing surface and dasher board. The net result puts hockey fans even closer to the action, including our pocket suites. Given the size of the playing surface and speed of the game, we also think the Sonic Rings will prove to be one of the most unique and valued viewing experiences in the game.

While I know there may have been a few skeptics out there, I have to say I am just as pumped as most of you to see the return of professional hockey to Seattle, and honestly can’t wait to see this building bursting at the seams with crazed Seattle hockey fans.

If Hansen is successful in buying and moving the NBA’s Sacramento Kings — still a big if at this point — Seattle would become a serious NHL relocation/expansion candidate.

While Hansen isn’t interested in owning a hockey team in Seattle, others have said they are.

In a related story, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about the Phoenix Coyotes today on a conference call.

Is Greg Jamison still trying to buy the team from the league?

“I think Jamison may still be in the picture, but there are others who have expressed interest,” said Bettman.

Auston Matthews keeps goal streak alive, gives Leafs 1-0 lead in third

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These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.

Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.

It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.

Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.

Clarke MacArthur, Craig Anderson made Sens win that much more emotional

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It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.

His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.

Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.

He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.

And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.

Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:

As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.