Their marriage with Glendale nearing an end, the Arizona Coyotes say they’re making progress towards finding a new home in the Phoenix area.
“I don’t think anything has progressed to a point where it would be prudent to state what options look like but things are moving pretty quickly; in particular with a couple of these options,” Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc told Arizona Sports. “The city of Phoenix has been the most vocal. They have an NBA franchise (Suns) that they are very tied to and they want to ensure there’s no hiccup in regards to that.”
There are other local options besides Phoenix. Click on the story to read about those. (ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun also reported on them last week.)
But barring an unexpected reconciliation with the city of Glendale, it definitely sounds like Gila River Arena, where they’re not even bothering to upgrade the WiFi anymore, won’t be home for much longer.
“At some point you have to make a decision that you can’t continue to talk to a wall,” LeBlanc said. “You have to accept reality and look at what your alternatives are.”
Related: Back downtown for Coyotes?
It doesn’t sound like the Anaheim Ducks will have a new head coach Sunday at home versus Nashville.
In a statement to reporters (including Eric Stephens of the O.C. Register), GM Bob Murray didn’t hide his disappointment with his team’s performance; however, he expects Bruce Boudreau to turn the 1-7-2 group around.
“I really don’t like commenting on rumors but I will say this,” said Murray. “We were one game away from the final just five months ago. So while this has been a terrible start, I’m not inclined to make rash changes. I’m going to be patient.
“That said, we are severely under-performing as a group. I can’t recall a time where a vast majority of our players have underachieved simultaneously, and I fully expect a turnaround.”
Murray has decent reason to believe things will get better for the Ducks, who aren’t going to score on just 3.6 percent of their shots all season. Anaheim is also lucky enough to be in the Pacific Division, by far the worst division in the league.
Still, this is a team that many were picking to win it all this year, and now it’s already trailing badly in the race to make the playoffs.
The Ducks play six of their next seven at home. If things haven’t turned around by the end of that stretch, it’s hard to see Murray’s patience lasting.
The Vancouver Canucks announced today that winger Brandon Prust will be out 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury.
Prust rolled his ankle Tuesday against Montreal. To that point, the 31-year-old winger had been a productive addition for Vancouver, registering five assists in nine games.
To replace Prust, Brendan Gaunce was called up from AHL Utica and made his NHL debut last night in Dallas.
Veteran winger Chris Higgins is also set to return shortly. He’s missed all 10 games with a foot injury.
The Canucks play tonight in Arizona.
Related: Miller finally gets a rest
Ryan Miller will finally get a night off tonight when his Vancouver Canucks take on the Coyotes in Glendale. No other goalie has played a second for the Canucks this season.
Richard Bachman, the No. 3 goalie on Vancouver’s depth chart, confirmed this morning that he’ll start tonight. Miller started the first 10 games, including last night’s 4-3 overtime loss in Dallas. Backup Jacob Markstrom is still hurt.
Bachman was signed on July 1. From the club’s press release:
Bachman played the majority of last season with the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League, finishing with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 23 games. He also played in seven games for the Edmonton Oilers, posting a 2.84 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.
Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury got his first rest of the season last night, making Miller the only starting goalie in the NHL who’d yet to get a rest.
Larry Brooks wasn’t making it up. John Tortorella did tell Ryan Johansen that he wasn’t in shape.
Johansen confirmed today what the New York Post reporter tweeted after Johansen was benched for the final 6:10 of Tortorella’s first game behind the Blue Jackets’ bench on Oct. 22.
“That was something that was said in the room,” the 23-year-old told the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s something that shouldn’t leave the room. You always hear (about) those codes from teams and players around the league: what’s said in the room is said in there, and that’s between us. Whatever me and coach talk about is between me and him.”
Johansen added that he had “no idea” how the leak occurred. He’ll be back in the lineup tonight in Washington, after missing two games with an undisclosed illness.
“We figured it all out; that’s why I’m back 100 percent today,” Johansen said.