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Without a new arena, Ken King suggests Flames would consider leaving Calgary

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The back-and-forth continues between the Calgary Flames and the City of Calgary as the two sides discuss the prospects of a new facility for that NHL club.

Flames president Ken King has recently taken the discussion to a rather interesting level, first in conversation with Sportsnet Fan 590 and then with the Calgary Herald on Saturday.

Here is what he said to Sportsnet, per CBC:

“There would be no threat to move, we would just move, and it would be over. And I’m trying my level best to make sure that day never comes, frankly,” King said during an interview on Sportsnet Fan 590 in Toronto on Wednesday. 

“If people smarter than us in more powerful positions than ours don’t feel that we’re a critical piece of the social, economic and cultural part of our city, then who are we to argue with that?”

In August of 2015, the Flames unveiled their plans for a new arena — the CalgaryNEXT project originally said to have a cost of $890 million.

However, the city has said the original plan was not “feasible” and mayor Naheed Nenshi has in the past warned that in order for a plan to move forward there needs to be a benefit for the public, considering the reported payment structure for the project unveiled by the Flames included public funding.

Per reports, Nenshi said earlier this week that the Flames’ CalgaryNEXT plan is “dead.”

In an interview with the Calgary Herald, King clarified his remarks made to Sportsnet radio but added that the Flames have no future at the Saddledome — an aging facility that has drawn criticism from Brian Burke and Gary Bettman.

“Our current situation is not viable in the near or long-term,” King told the Calgary Herald. “That’s why we’re having this discussion is about a new facility. So, if we’re successful in that initiative, our near and long-term future is here (in Calgary). If not, we have to decide what the alternatives are … Anyone can connect the dots to how many choices we have left.

“If we don’t get a deal, what are our choices?”

The mayor responded with a statement Saturday afternoon:

“I am confident that a new project that has public benefit for public money exists, and I know both sides are working very hard on that. The owners of the Calgary Flames have repeatedly assured Calgarians that they would not threaten to move the team, and I assume that they have not shifted from that position. I plan to enjoy the playoff run while letting the conversations continue!”

Oh yeah. The Flames are in the playoffs.

More frustration for Bruce Boudreau as Wild lose again

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Another loss for the Minnesota Wild meant more frustration for head coach Bruce Boudreau.

Last weekend, he called his team’s performance “embarrassing” following a loss to the lowly Canucks.

On Saturday, he took issue with his team’s work ethic after a 3-0 loss to the Nashville Predators. Filip Forsberg scored his 31st goal of the season, while Kevin Fiala added another goal just 10 seconds later, and suddenly the Wild were in the hole. P.K. Subban added the insurance marker late in the third period.

That’s a big win for the Predators, who need only a single point tomorrow to secure a playoff spot.

Meanwhile, the Wild continue to struggle. This has been a prolonged period of losing and tumult for a team that was challenging for top spot in the league at the beginning of last month.

Back then, Chicago was five points back of Minnesota.

Now? The Wild are officially out of contention for first in the Central Division.

“First ten minutes we were good, after that we lost battles…they outworked us,” said Boudreau, per the Wild. “We’ve got to come to play every game. We can’t be satisfied with a 5-1 victory once a week.”

That victory Boudreau is referring to came Thursday against the Ottawa Senators. That is one of only four wins for the Wild since the beginning of March.

The Wild have a relatively light schedule to end the season. They play the Colorado Avalanche twice, beginning Sunday, and the Arizona Coyotes to close out the regular season. Their toughest opponent figures to be Carolina, which is 7-0-3 in its last 10 games and still clinging to the slimmest of hopes for a playoff spot in the East.

“We can’t take anybody lightly,” said Boudreau. “We’ve got four games left. We’ve got to play them all hard and hopefully we can be consistent come two weeks from now.”

Pushing for the playoffs: Andersen backstops Leafs in victory over Predators

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews each scored a power-play goal, and Frederik Andersen made 29 saves to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Thursday night.

Connor Brown added an empty-net goal with 58.4 seconds left as the Maple Leafs started a three-game road trip by sweeping the season series with Nashville. They also won their second straight and fifth in six games to remain in third place in the Atlantic Division.

Filip Forsberg scored his 30th of the season for Nashville. The Predators have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak.

Related: Goalie nods: Andersen back for the Leafs

Toronto is trying to hold off Boston, while the Predators needed a win to leapfrog St. Louis into third place in the Central Division. Nashville came in three points shy of its third straight playoff berth under coach Peter Laviolette.

It was the 1,000th game behind the bench for Laviolette, making him the 28th coach overall and just the second born in the United States to reach that mark in the NHL.

A quiet first period ended when Austin Watson took exception to a clean hit on teammate Mattias Ekholm and roughed Maple Leafs forward Matt Martin. That put the NHL’s second-best power play on the man advantage, and Toronto needed only 13 seconds to convert as van Riemsdyk redirected a shot by Nikita Zaitsev past goalie Pekka Rinne at 18:42 for a 1-0 lead.

The Predators had three power plays in the second – a period in which they have outscored opponents by the biggest margin in the NHL (95-63). Yet they couldn’t beat Andersen, who had a nice stop on a backhander by Kevin Fiala just before the third penalty on the Maple Leafs nearly midway through the period.

The Maple Leafs got their second man advantage when Nashville captain Mike Fisher slashed Tyler Bozak, and Toronto scored again. This time, Matthews added to his Toronto rookie record with his 36th goal of the season off a wrister as he skated up the slot just inside the left circle with 1:17 left in the second.

Andersen preserved the shutout with several nice saves in the third, including one in front from Fisher. The goaltender also killed off one last penalty when Roman Polak went in the box for holding – Andersen needed Morgan Rielly‘s help after the puck went off his arm and trickled near the goal line.

Islanders coach Doug Weight sounds off after brutal start, loss to Flyers

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The New York Islanders needed a win.

Instead, what transpired in the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday had Islanders coach Doug Weight fuming afterward. New York surrendered five goals in 20 minutes and then spent the next two periods trying, and ultimately failing, to even the score in a devastating 6-3 loss.

“What do you say? Nothing. It’s just [expletive],” Weight told Long Island Newsday: “They had four scoring chances in the first and it’s 5-0. Four! Do the math. And it’s absolutely floating, not engaged with anything.”

The out-of-town score board provided no favors for the Islanders.

The Boston Bruins won. The Tampa Bay Lightning won. The Carolina Hurricanes won.

With six games remaining on their schedule, the Islanders are now six points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the East. They play the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

“Hopefully playing tomorrow we have that feeling after being embarrassed today and blowing an opportunity to get two points,” said John Tavares, per NHL.com.

The Pacific Division lead is within reach for McDavid and the Oilers

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Forget just making the playoffs.

The Edmonton Oilers have already taken care of a post-season berth, recently ending a frustrating and sometimes embarrassing franchise drought.

But why stop there? Despite giving up 40 shots on goal, the Oilers held on to defeat the San Jose Sharks by a score of 3-2 on Thursday, giving Connor McDavid and Co. a solid 95 points.

Coupled with Anaheim’s overtime loss to Winnipeg, and the Oilers are a single point behind the Ducks for the Pacific Division lead, while the Sharks remain three back.

Should the Oilers win the division, it could set up a potential first-round Battle of Alberta — one of the storied rivalries of the NHL, although it’s been difficult to hype this match-up in recent years because both teams have toiled below the playoff standard in the Western Conference.

McDavid increased his lead in the overall points race. With a goal — another beauty — and an assist, he is now up to 91 points, which is seven ahead of Patrick Kane.

“We made a few mistakes and they’re opportunistic, especially obviously McDavid,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “A couple poor line changes in the first, and [if] he gets any kind of room at all and you make a mistake when he’s on the ice, it’s got a good chance it’ll end up in the back of the net and it did.”

Patrick Maroon scored twice, including the winner.

Playing a large portion of this season — more than 650 minutes at five-on-five, per stats.hockeyanalysis.com — on a line with McDavid, Maroon is now up to 27 goals, which is a massive increase from his previous career best of 12 last season in time spent between Anaheim and Edmonton.

This latest win sets up a massive showdown between the Oilers and Ducks on Saturday. A regulation win for the Oilers would give them top spot in the Pacific Division.

No fooling.