Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wants the NHL’s Coyotes and NBA’s Suns to be roomies again.
As expected, Stanton called today for the two teams to strike a deal that would allow them to share a new downtown arena.
“Building two new professional arenas in our region simply doesn’t make sense,” he said during his State of the City address.
The Coyotes and Suns used to share what’s known today as Talking Stick Resort Arena. In 2003, the hockey team moved to a new building in suburban Glendale. NHL fans don’t need to be told how things have gone there.
The Coyotes — whose lease in Glendale expires after next season — have been looking at a number of potential arena sites in the East Valley, while the Suns — who concede they’ll need a new building sometime in the next few years — have said they’re fine where they are for the time being.
So, despite Stanton’s wishes, a deal between the two teams is no certainty. The Coyotes are desperate; the Suns, less so.
But at the very least, this should create some dialogue.
Related: Back downtown for the Coyotes?
PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Flyers have condemned the fans who threw promotional bracelets on the ice during a playoff game against the Washington Capitals.
The Flyers also say there were never any plans to issue bracelets again before Game 4 on Wednesday night.
The wristbands were used as part of a pregame lights show. Fans started tossing them onto the ice in the third period as Washington turned the game into a rout, eventually winning 6-1 to take a 3-0 series lead.
Flyers public address announcer Lou Nolan demanded fans “show some class” and warned the Flyers would be hit with a penalty if they kept littering the ice with bracelets and other garbage.
Sure enough, the wristbands kept coming, and the Flyers were whistled for a bench minor for delay of game. Nolan said, “way to go,” and the fans cheered as if they were proud of the penalty.
Team officials say the behavior “cannot be condoned or tolerated.”
In 2014, after San Jose failed to complete the sweep of Los Angeles, Drew Doughty said the Kings could see the fear in the Sharks’ eyes.
“Once we won that first game of the San Jose series, we kind of had a feeling we were going to come back and win that series,” Doughty said. “And you could see it in their eyes and their team and their captains and leaders that they were worried about us coming back.”
Two years later and Doughty believes the Sharks have to be worried about blowing it again.
“You know they’re thinking a little bit about it now, so we’re right where we want to be,” he told reporters after last night’s overtime victory by the Kings that cut the Sharks’ series lead from 2-0 to 2-1.
It’s a savvy bit of gamesmanship from Doughty.
It’s also undoubtedly the truth. The Sharks are probably thinking about it a bit. They may even be thinking about it a lot. As soon as they went into Los Angeles and won the first two games, the big question became, But can they close it out this time?
Granted, the Sharks are still in the driver’s seat. Game 4 is in San Jose, and their opponents are down a key defenseman.
But lose Game 4 and the Kings will have home-ice advantage again.
And win Game 4 and it’s right back to that big question.
Bottom line — however this series ends, it’s going to be fascinating.
Defenseman David Rundblad — after playing more games in Switzerland than in the NHL during the regular season — could suit up for the Chicago Blackhawks tonight in Game 4 of their series with the St. Louis Blues.
“I told [Rundblad] to be ready to get into the series today,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said this morning, per Mark Lazerus of the Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, last played for the ‘Hawks on Dec. 13. He was loaned to the ZSC Lions in January, and proceeded to rack up 15 points (2G, 13A) in 11 games for the Zurich-based club. The ‘Hawks recalled him from AHL Rockford last week.
“He was always fine,” Quenneville told reporters. “He’s got real good play recognition, patience with the puck, he’s positionally fine. It’s in the puck area, defending around the net, that he has to get better at. He’s a good puck mover, has good feel for the game on the offensive point. Around the net, I think he’s made inroads and improvement in that area. He’s come back here, and he looks better.”
Viktor Svedberg is the most likely candidate to be replaced by Rundblad. Svedberg logged just 5:00 of ice time in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Blues.
St. Louis has a 2-1 series lead over the defending champions.
Rundblad in 2015-16 (via hockeydb)
Marc-Andre Fleury will not make his return tonight in New York. He remains “day-to-day,” according to Penguins coach Mike Sullivan.
It remains to be seen who will be in goal for Pittsburgh against the Rangers.
Jeff Zatkoff — the starter in Games 1 and 2 — was the first goalie off the ice this morning, which would typically identify him as the starter.
But rookie Matt Murray reportedly “worked in the starter’s net” during the game-day skate, after which Sullivan said that Murray was an “option” for tonight.
As for defenseman Olli Maatta, it does not sound like he’ll be a healthy scratch for Game 3.
“We believe in him,” said Sullivan. “We know he’s a good player. When you play that many minutes, you are going to make mistakes out there.”
Maatta had a tough outing Saturday in the Penguins’ 4-2 loss, and there was speculation he could be sitting tonight.
The Penguins and Rangers are tied 1-1 in their first-round series.