The Phoenix (soon to be Arizona) Coyotes are coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Glendale City Council 4-3 vote to approve a 15-year lease agreement for Jobing.com Arena that led to the team being bought from the league.
That gave the Coyotes a fighting chance to prove that an NHL franchise can survive in Glendale, but they need the on-ice product to improve first after they fell short of the postseason in back-to-back campaigns. Coyotes GM Don Maloney is looking to the Detroit Red Wings as he attempts to orchestrate that turnaround.
“That’s our model,” Maloney said, per the Detroit Free Press. “They make the playoffs every year, they’re exciting to watch, they sell out their building every night and have a strong history of success.”
Certainly the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks have been better than Detroit over the last five years, but it’s easy to see why a model that puts an emphasis on sustainability would appeal to the Coyotes after years of uncertainty. Detroit undergoes transitional periods like the one it endured in 2013-14 and will continue next season, but the team has managed to avoid traditional rebuilds like the one that the Blackhawks went through en route to establishing the core that’s led them to where they are today.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.