Cam Tucker

Bettman: Quebec City application deferred due to ‘volatility’ of Canadian dollar, ‘geographic imbalance’


Hockey fans hoping for a return of an NHL franchise to Quebec City will have to wait for another time.

Speaking to reporters as the NHL announced its expansion to Las Vegas, commissioner Gary Bettman said the application of Quebec City has been deferred due to two resounding factors — the “volatility” of the Canadian dollar and “geographical imbalance” between the Eastern and Western Conferences.

This decision doesn’t close the door completely on possible future expansion into Quebec City.

In his opening remarks at Wednesday’s press conference, Bettman praised the passion for hockey in Quebec City, the “suitability” of the Videotron Center and the prospective ownership group Quebecor.

Pierre Dion, CEO of Quebecor, was on hand for the press conference.

“These components, the ones within the control of the Quebec City applicant are first-rate and I want to thank former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Pierre Dion of Quebecor for the thoroughness of their application and their cooperation throughout this process,” said Bettman.

Yeah, but . . .

“The decision to defer, however, was based on elements over which Quebec City . . . had no control whatsoever. Significantly, the fluctuation of the Canadian dollar throughout the process, including its decline to a low of 68 cents this year was a factor,” said Bettman.

“Unfortunately the state and volatility of the Canadian dollar undermined the achievement of that objective relative to the Quebec City. Moreover, the league’s geographic imbalance with 16 teams already in the Eastern Conference and 14 — now to be 15 — teams in the Western Conference undermined the achievement of that objective relative to Quebec City’s application, as well.”

It was interesting, prior to the beginning of the press conference, to see Dion as part of the list of speakers at the podium. But any speculation or curiosity about his attendance was quickly put to rest.

He was gracious in congratulating Bill Foley in getting an NHL team in Las Vegas, but said bringing the Nordiques back is a “priority” for Quebecor.

“As you all know, we love the game. We will continue to work with determination to achieve this goal,” he said.

“We look forward to continuing the discussion with the NHL.”

Later on, Bettman said the expansion team in this process needed to be in the West.

Bettman also shot down the idea of relocation to Quebec City. There’s been speculation the Carolina Hurricanes could relocate, however Bettman said at the time, “I don’t see the Hurricanes relocating, period.”

“There are no teams in the NHL that are planning on relocation, so that’s not something that anybody should be counting on or focusing on,” he said.

Related: Mulroney: Quebec City may have to wait for expansion team

Sharks GM: Conversations with Brent Burns about contract extension ‘will take place shortly’

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 09:  Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks speaks to the media after Game Five of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on June 9, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Brent Burns is set to enter the final year of his current contract, and it seems the San Jose Sharks are eager to keep the dynamic defenseman.

Burns, 31, put up 75 points in 82 regular season games, before averaging a point per game in 24 post-season contests for the Sharks this year, as they made it within two wins of the Stanley Cup.

During the regular season, only Erik Karlsson, the Ottawa Senators star blue liner, had more points among NHL defensemen with 82 in 82 games.

Burns has one more year left on his five-year deal with a total value of $28.8 million.

“You know how we feel about Brent. Phenomenal year,” said Sharks GM Doug Wilson, on the subject of a possible contract extension for Burns, as per CSN Bay Area.

“When we acquired him it was a big piece to acquire. There’s no doubt he’s important to us. We want him. I think he loves being here. Those conversations will take place shortly.”

Burns, Karlsson and Drew Doughty were all named as finalists for the Norris Trophy, which will be awarded Wednesday.



‘One of them had to go,’ says Ducks GM after trading Andersen to Toronto

2015 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
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John Gibson is now The Guy in goal for the Anaheim Ducks. There is no disputing it.

Frederik Andersen is now with the Toronto Maple Leafs following Monday’s trade that saw Toronto’s second first-round pick in this year’s draft and a second-round pick next year head back to Anaheim as part of the deal.

Andersen was a pending restricted free agent, but signed a five-year deal with the Maple Leafs shortly after the trade broke.

The Ducks’ goalie conundrum is over.

“There’s no animosity between the two of them. They both want the net, and both didn’t want the other guy around, but not for personal reasons. We just knew we were getting to that point. I think I said that at the end of last year,” Ducks GM Bob Murray told reporters, adding possible expansion rules would’ve also kept the organization from keeping both Andersen and Gibson.

“We were going to get to a point where one of them wanted to go. One of them had to go. It was coming to this regardless. All during the year, you get Gibby signed, and you’re talking a little bit to Freddie. And then there were injuries involved.”

As for a back-up to Gibson, Murray said the Ducks will be in search of a veteran goalie, one capable of taking on a substantial work load during the season.

“We’ll have to do our homework. A veteran guy that can handle a bunch of games,” said Murray.

“We don’t want to overplay John, yet. He’ll have to be able to play 25 to 30 games. Character and hard-working type of guy. There are a few of them out there.”

Sharks’ Hertl may still need knee surgery

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 24:  Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks awaits a face off against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on February 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Initially, it was reported that San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl wouldn’t need surgery for a knee injury that occurred in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

A few days later, however, it seems surgery may still be a possibility for the 22-year-old Hertl, based on a report from the San Jose Mercury News on Monday.

“We’re doing an extensive evaluation now and we’ll have a determination within the next week on a few players on whether or not they need surgery or if any treatment is needed,” said Sharks GM Doug Wilson, as per the San Jose Mercury News.

“Hopefully that is the case and everybody will be ready come September. But I’ll get a better read on that in the next week to 10 days.”

Hertl scored in the series opener versus Pittsburgh, but was hurt on a hit from Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist in Game 2 and never returned to the series due to the injury.


Panthers GM: Acquiring rights to pending UFA Yandle ‘was a risk worth taking’

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 27:  Keith Yandle #93 of the New York Rangers skates against the Boston Bruins during the third period at TD Garden on November 27, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Rangers 4-3.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Florida Panthers went out Monday and acquired the negotiating rights to defenseman Keith Yandle, a pending unrestricted free agent coming off a 47-point regular season with the New York Rangers.

The move cost them a sixth-round pick this year and a conditional pick in 2017, reported to be a fourth-round pick if Yandle signs in Florida, as per Darren Dreger of TSN.

Panthers GM Tom Rowe said later in a conference call that his assistant general managers Eric Joyce and Steve Werier were, as of Monday evening, negotiating a contract with Yandle’s agent.

“We wouldn’t have made the trade if we weren’t confident we could come to a conclusion and get him into our system,” said Rowe.

“I thought it was a risk worth taking given the ability of the player, the way the game’s going and the way we were able to increase our possession numbers under (head coach Gerard Gallant) was real impressive. And we thought adding a player of Keith’s ability was going to make us that much more a playoff team and a serious contender going forward.”

Having put up three 50-point seasons in the NHL, Yandle’s puck moving ability could be a huge boost to a Panthers team stocked with talented young forwards.

While bringing in the rights of one pending UFA, the Panthers have another blue liner — Brian Campbell — at the end of his current contract and approaching free agency.

Rowe said he believes Campbell, 37, will test free agency, which would reiterate his thoughts from last month.

“We had to go with our next phase of our plan and we felt Keith was a real good target to go after,” said Rowe.

The Panthers are coming off a first-place finish in the Atlantic Division in the regular season, but a first-round playoff loss to the New York Islanders.

By acquiring Yandle, Rowe believes the organization is showing its fan base it is ready to become a contender.

“I think it’s a sign to the fan base that we’re real serious about winning the Stanley Cup,” said Rowe.

“We want to build on the momentum we started last year and continue growing. We want the players to also know we’re real serious about winning and want to be a consistent playoff team.”

Other notes on the Panthers blue line situation:

— Rowe said the Panthers “are not shopping” 25-year-old defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. It was recently reported that the Boston Bruins wanted Kulikov, who has one more year left on his deal with a cap hit of $4,333,333 before he’s a pending unrestricted free agent.

— Prospect defenseman Ian McCoshen, Florida’s second-round pick in 2013, could make the Panthers roster out of training camp, said Rowe. “We like him that much. We think he’s a big, big piece of what we’re trying to do.” McCoshen finished his junior year at Boston College, with six goals and 21 points in 40 games, before recently signing with the Panthers.