Author: Jason Brough


Report: Stars not interested in Patrick Sharp


It doesn’t sound like Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp will be traded to the Dallas Stars.

“He’s a great player, but he’s not what we need right now,” a Stars official told the Dallas Morning News. “It’s that simple.”

Chicago was reportedly eyeing 25-year-old winger Antoine Roussel in return for Sharp, 33, who has two years remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $5.9 million.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers have also reportedly shown interest in Sharp.

Related: A holdover from the ‘dark days,’ does Sharp have a future in Chicago?

Quebecor will submit application for expansion team

Nordiques Rally Hockey

From a press release following yesterday’s confirmation by Gary Bettamn that the NHL would begin a “formal expansion review process” in July:

Quebecor has consistently stated that its objective is to establish an NHL franchise in Québec City and it intends to make every effort to achieve that goal. Out of respect for NHL authorities and the process that has been established, Quebecor will maintain its policy of discretion as it proceeds.

Quebecor will be the manager of the Videotron Centre for the next 25 years. The state-of-the-art facility in Québec City, which seats 18,259 for hockey, is set to officially open in September 2015. It was designed to meet NHL standards.

TVA Sports, owned by Quebecor, has been the NHL’s official French-language broadcaster since the beginning of the 2014-15 season under a 12-year agreement.

Unlike Las Vegas or Seattle, nobody doubts Quebec City’s interest in hockey. But while Quebecor CEO Pierre Dion says the company has “all the ingredients” for expansion, what may keep the Nordiques from returning is:

— Geography. The NHL already has an imbalance with 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and only 14 in the West. That’s why Las Vegas and Seattle are considered the favorites to get expansion teams.
— Ownership. From the Canadian Press: “On the issue of Pierre-Karl Peladeau, Quebecor’s former president and CEO and leader of the separatist Parti Quebecois, [NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly] said the political affiliation of a potential owner would not dissuade the league for exploring an expansion agreement.” But that’s not what others have said. At the very least, there’s some uncertainty here.
— The Canadian dollar. Currently worth around $0.81 USD, thanks to the oil crash. A couple of years ago (when we wrote this), it was around par. Remember that currency disparity was a big reason the Nordiques left for Colorado in 1995. And there are people who believe the loonie will fall even lower in the future.

Related: That didn’t take long: Roustan will ‘definitely’ apply for second NHL team in Toronto

That didn’t take long: Roustan will ‘definitely’ apply for second NHL team in Toronto


Remember Graeme Roustan? He was the guy who tried to build an NHL-caliber arena in the Toronto suburb of Markham.

Long story short, it didn’t happen.

But Roustan never gave up on his dream of owning an NHL team. And today’s news that the league will begin a “formal expansion review process” has him vowing to be part of that process.

“I will definitely be making an application on behalf of the [Greater Toronto Area],” Roustan told the Hockey News. “I’ve always believed that a second NHL team in Toronto would flourish and I’ve been preparing since 2010 for this possibility.”

More from the Hockey News:

Roustan said he will look at all possibilities in the GTA for an arena, including revisiting the possibility of going to Markham. When asked if that would include the possibility of playing out of the Air Canada Centre, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, perhaps as a temporary measure, Roustan said, “We’re going to look at every opportunity to have a franchise in the GTA and if that means a possible temporary location, so be it.”

The NHL has always insisted that the Leafs have no veto on a second Toronto team.

“They can be dead-set against it, but that doesn’t mean they can stop the league from putting a franchise here if the league thinks it makes sense,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in 2009. “It’s a majority vote.”

While it’s possible the Leafs could receive an indemnification payment should the league expand into the GTA, it’s not clear how much would satisfy Leafs ownership, or if that compensation would be on top of the $500 million expansion fee that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hinted at today.

A source told the Hockey News that the “indemnification fee would come out of the expansion fee, not be in addition to it.”

If you were one of the other 29 owners, what would you think of that? Personally, I’d rather the Leafs negotiated their own separate fee, not take a chunk out of my cut. Though I guess if I felt Toronto was the best untapped market, I could live with it. It beats propping up bad markets.

Bottom line: it’s not out of the question that, one day, there will be a second team in Toronto. Certainly, the market could support one.

But let’s face it — Las Vegas is probably getting an expansion team. And if anyone in Seattle can figure out a way to build an arena, that city will probably get one too. Surely the NHL wouldn’t grant three new franchises.

It may be that Toronto’s best chance — and the same goes for Quebec City — is relocation.

Just don’t tell Bettman that.

He doesn’t like when people say that.