Pre-game reading: Did Bettman’s letter to Arizona lawmakers backfire?


— Up top, Bob McKenzie talks about the future of the Coyotes in Arizona. As you probably know by now, the team has been pushing legislation that would help fund the construction of a new arena in the Greater Phoenix area, thus allowing the Desert Dogs to move from their current home in Glendale.

— Sticking with the Coyotes, did Gary Bettman’s letter this week to Arizona lawmakers hurt more than it helped? That’s what Dan Bickley, a columnist for The Arizona Republic, thinks. Bickley writes: “Nobody that cares about Arizona wants to lose our NHL team or our elite status as a big-league sports market. But few can rationalize another plateful of public funding to build another new arena for a NHL franchise that has one extended playoff run in 21 years.” (Arizona Republic)

Read more: Former Glendale mayor rips NHL, Coyotes in blistering letter

— What’s the best way for a goalie to get over a bad goal? Here’s what former NHL netminder Brian Boucher says: “The one thing you have to realize as a goaltender is you’re not perfect, you’re not going to be perfect.” But for top athletes who strive for perfection, that’s a lot easier said than done. And those who can’t shake off the bad goals only make things worse in their minds. (Sports Illustrated)

— With Steven Stamkos still hurt — and with Valtteri Filppula and Brian Boyle on other teams now — and with Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov and Cedric Paquette all suffering injuries last night against the Wildrookie center Brayden Point just became an even more important player the Tampa Bay Lightning down the stretch. (TSN)

— On the return of Justin Schultz to Edmonton, where the Penguins defenseman started his NHL career with such high hopes, only to be traded away for a mere third-round draft pick. “I obviously didn’t play well at all when I was here, especially near the end,” said Schultz. “I needed a change in environment.” (Sportsnet)

Read more: With growth of Schultz, a ‘tough call’ looms for Penguins

— What would PK Subban do if he were the commissioner of the NHL? For one, he’d shorten the schedule. “Let’s play less games. Our game is just, if not more physical, than the NFL. They play 16 games a year. We play 82, plus travel, plus playoffs. … Jonathan Toews has played over 100 games a year, probably consistently, for the last five or six years. Think about the wear and tear on your body when that happens.” (Yahoo Sports)

Enjoy the games!

Blues name Larry Robinson as new senior consultant to hockey operations

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Larry Robinson has joined the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues made the announcement Thursday, revealing that Robinson has joined the organization as a senior consultant to hockey operations.

Based on the comments of Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, it sounds like Robinson will work closely at times with head coach Mike Yeo. It could also further help the development of an already impressive defenseman in Colton Parayko.

“Bringing someone like Larry in, I just think, helps our hockey operations from top to bottom,” said Armstrong, per the Blues website.

“His ability to talk to Mike Yeo about coaching — that’s one area that we don’t have on our staff is a former head coach. You can think you know what Mike’s going through but I don’t know what Mike’s going through. Larry does. So he’s going to be able to relate to him on a lot of the things that he’s going to go through.

“He’s coming in as a consultant. I can learn a lot from him, our assistant coaches can, Parayko can. There’s not an area of our hockey operations he can’t touch to make us a better group.”

Robinson was most recently the director of player development with the San Jose Sharks, however it was reported in May that he would not return to that organization for this season.

Looks like Matt Duchene will make preseason debut tonight vs. Stars

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According to reports, there is substantial interest from other teams in Matt Duchene. That said, he remains with the Colorado Avalanche for now and will, it appears, make his preseason debut Thursday against the Dallas Stars.

Earlier this week, Darren Dreger reported on TSN that as many as eight teams have interest in Duchene, with the Senators aggressively pursuing the 26-year-old forward.

According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, Duchene will be in the lineup tonight versus the Stars.

Trade speculation has been swirling around Duchene for months now. He reported to training camp last week, and has since said his status with the Avalanche is a “day-by-day” situation.

“I love playing hockey. I want to win,” Duchene told The Denver Post. “That’s the biggest thing on my mind. I’m trying to get better every time I touch the ice right now.”

Habs prospect Juulsen out six weeks with fractured foot

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Tough news for the Montreal Canadiens and prospect defenseman Noah Juulsen on Thursday.

The Habs have announced that the 2015 first-round pick is expected to be sidelined six weeks after suffering a fractured foot on Monday.

The Habs selected Juulsen with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft following his 52-point regular season with the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League.

This past spring, Juulsen appeared in two playoff games for the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. He turned 20 years old in April and it seemed like the Habs were going to give him a serious look to make the NHL club out of training camp.  

“We like the way he skates and his transition game,” said head coach Claude Julien earlier this week, before the injury was revealed. “He’s going to get a chance to make this team and if he doesn’t he’s not going to be too far away.”

Fight Video: Lappin, Puempel land some good shots in preseason tilt

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Who says players don’t care about preseason hockey?

Matt Puempel and Nick Lappin are trying to earn spots on their respective clubs, so they know they may have to do the little things others aren’t willing to do to stick around in the NHL.

On Wednesday night, that involved dropping the gloves against each other. These two seemed to be in mid-season form when it came to throwing punches.

Neither player is considered a tough guy. Lappin had 17 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Devils last season, while Puempel has 28 penalty minutes in 79 career NHL games.

Here’s the video footage of the scrap:

By the way, the Rangers won 4-3 in overtime.