Author: Jason Brough

Coyotes fans

Glendale votes to cancel agreement with Coyotes, who threaten to sue for $200 million


With most of the hockey world focused on Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, a drama of a different kind was unfolding in Arizona, where the City of Glendale voted to cancel its arena-management agreement with the Arizona Coyotes.

The decision by city council once again throws the future of the Coyotes in Glendale up in the air.

“We are disappointed with the city’s decision to violate its obligations under the agreement that was entered into and duly approved only two years ago,” said Coyotes co-owner, president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc in a release. “We will exhaust any and all legal remedies against the city of Glendale for this blatant violation of its contractual obligations to us.”

TSN business reporter Rick Westhead was following the proceedings, and writes here about the crux of the city’s position:

The departure of former city attorney Craig Tindall’s from his position more than two years ago was central to the argument to cancel the agreement.

Tindall was asked to resign as city attorney in February 2013 by Weiers. Tindall left his position on April 1, 2013, but accepted six months of severance, meaning he was on the city payroll through Oct. 1, 2013.

The city and Coyotes reached their arena management deal on July 2, 2013, when Tindall, who had gone to work for the Coyotes, was still being paid by the city. 

The city in its vote Wednesday relied on state statute 38-511. That statute, which is included in the arena management deal, says that the state can cancel a contract within three years if anyone involved in negotiating or drafting the contract for the state or any public department, is an employee of any party to the contract (the Coyotes).

Prior to the vote, Coyotes lawyer Nick Wood threatened litigation:

Meanwhile, on Hockey Night in Canada, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated: “I’m not concerned about the Coyotes. If I lived in Glendale, I’d be concerned about my government.”

Where this goes from now is uncertain. But what’s clear is that significantly more damage to the Coyotes’ already-tenuous relationship with the city has been done.

Oh, and one other thing that’s clear?

The lawyers will be busy.

Update: Here’s video of LeBlanc’s reaction, courtesy the Coyotes website…

Update 2: 

The Coyotes and Glendale described Monday’s meeting pretty differently


To help understand the disconnect between the Arizona Coyotes and the City of Glendale, consider two descriptions of the meeting that took place Monday between team majority owner Andrew Barroway and city officials.

First, via the Arizona Republic, here’s Barroway: “I’m glad we did it, and we want to find ways to work together and do what’s best for the team and do what’s best for Glendale.”

Sounds promising, right?

Now here’s vice mayor Ian Hugh, to “We asked if they would consider renegotiating the arena management contract. They said no. There wasn’t a lot to say after that.”


Hence, tonight’s special meeting where city council will discuss “possible action to direct the city manager and city attorney to cancel the professional management services and lease agreement” between the city and the hockey club.

Also hence? The Coyotes’ anger, as expressed by co-owner, president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc: “This action by the City of Glendale is completely ludicrous, especially in light of the fact that myself and Andrew Barroway visited with the City yesterday and the particulars of this were never raised.”

Meanwhile, one Phoenix (not Glendale) city councilman is apparently pushing to bring the Coyotes back downtown where they’d share a new arena with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and one unnamed former NHL owner apparently thinks the Coyotes should approach the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale about building a rink there.

No change in Bishop’s status

Ben Bishop, Antoine Vermette

CHICAGO — And now with your daily Ben Bishop update, here’s Lightning coach Jon Cooper:

“I think we’re in the same holding pattern as we were 48 hours ago.”

Cooper wouldn’t confirm it, but expect Bishop to start tonight in Game 4.

Unless Bishop doesn’t start, in which case expect Andrei Vasilevskiy to start.

So, that clears that up.

Related: Lightning heap praise on ‘warrior’ Bishop

Major goaltending decisions looming for Stars

Kari Lehtonen

Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill has some big decisions to make when it comes to his team’s goaltending.

Does he try and trade Kari Lehtonen?

If yes, who will be the starter?

If yes or no, who will be the backup?

According to the Dallas Morning News, Nill is in the process of answering those questions.

Only the Edmonton Oilers had a lower team save percentage than the Stars did in 2014-15. Goaltending was a major reason that Dallas missed the playoffs.

As we wrote last week, there’s no shortage of options for teams in need of a goalie.

All that supply may hurt the Stars’ chances of trading Lehtonen, a 31-year-old who comes with a cap hit of $5.9 million for three more seasons.

Perhaps partly because of that, Nill seems to be preparing for Lehtonen to remain with the Stars.

“What’s impressed me is the fact Kari feels he didn’t do a good enough job and he wants to do everything he can to fix it,” Nill said. “So we have to look at how he prepares himself and how we support him, and how he can be better, and how we can help him be better.”

A better backup would be a good start.

Related: Stars’ Jussi Rynnas to sign in the KHL, per report

Julien agrees with Sweeney, says ‘adjustments’ required for Bruins’ ‘transition game’

Claude Julien

Claude Julien is on the same page with his general manager.

Julien spoke to reporters today for the first time since new GM Don Sweeney confirmed the Bruins’ coach would be back next season. And like Sweeney, Julien believes there are things the B’s can do to get the puck moving a bit quicker out of their end.

“Teams’ forechecking has changed a lot, so there are things we feel we can do with our transition game that we feel we can do a lot better with creating some speed,” said Julien, per the Boston Herald. “We had already kind of addressed that and we’re going to introduce that into camp like we do every year. To me, those aren’t changes. Those are adjustments like we do every year.”

The Bruins finished 2014-15 with the 22nd-ranked offense, their lack of goal-scoring a big reason they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Of course, it should be noted that, in 2013-14, the B’s had the third-ranked offense. So some of the drop-off in scoring has to be attributed to personnel. Boston lost both Jarome Iginla (to free agency) and Johnny Boychuk (via trade), while David Krejci missed almost half the season due to injury.

Julien also said today that he understands why Sweeney’s decision to retain his services took a bit longer than some felt was necessary.

“He’s got to feel comfortable, too,” said Julien.

Related: Sweeney vows to return ‘aggressiveness’ to Bruins