‘Canes facing huge potential fines over arena scheduling conflict

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The Carolina Hurricanes could be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by the NHL because of a scheduling conflict at PNC Arena, president and GM Jim Rutherford told the Charlotte Observer.

The issues stems from a dispute between Gale Force Holdings — which owns the ‘Canes and operates the arena — and North Carolina State University, which will likely not meet a June 1 deadline to free up dates for hockey games.

“We do not have the dates,” Rutheford told the Observer on Friday. “We have to have the dates (to the NHL) by June 1 or we will be fined for each date that we later change.”

The Observer reports the NHL could fine the ‘Canes as much as $100,000 for each date that must be changed. The NHL is set to release its 2013-14 schedule in early July.

Here’s more:

Under its agreement with Gale Force and the Centennial Authority, which oversees the arena, N.C. State has priority on scheduling dates in the arena. The Wolfpack plays its men’s basketball games in the arena, and football games at Carter-Finley Stadium necessitate the use of the shared parking lots.

Rutherford, in a May 14 letter to authority chairman Thomas McCormick, said the university was holding out 129 dates in a 214-day span for 23 basketball and football games. He said the “new restrictions that N.C. State is attempting to impose” severely limits Gale Force’s ability to book events.

Tensions between the two parties have increased over the last few months. Rutherford wrote N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow a letter saying the University’s actions could affect “the viability of hockey in this market.”

N.C. State contends that it has made “significant concessions” to Gale Force already, and making more would put its athletic program at a competitive disadvantage.

Rutherford has recently met with N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson to try and resolve the issue, and said it was a “very good meeting.”

“We’re hoping to reach a reasonable understanding,” he added.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.

Tortorella was irate after Roman Polak boarded Oliver Bjorkstrand

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John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.

Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.

First, take a look at the hit:

Next, behold Tortorella’s anger:

Again, Columbus couldn’t capitalize on its opportunities, so that didn’t make things any better.

Right now, the Maple Leafs lead the Blue Jackets 3-2. If Toronto ends up winning, this will stand as one of the game’s pivotal moments.

It’s far from the only exciting moment, however, with these goals and big hits also standing out.

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.