Author: Jason Brough

Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes

NHL calls Glendale’s actions ‘extremely disappointing’


The NHL has released a statement on the City of Glendale’s plan to explore ways to cancel its arena-management agreement with the Coyotes.

Said the NHL: “We have been advised by the Coyotes that the City of Glendale’s contentions are without merit and we fully expect the Coyotes to continue to play at the Gila River Arena and for the City to continue to honor its obligations to the Coyotes. After everything that has transpired, it is extremely disappointing that the City of Glendale would do anything that might damage the Club.”

Glendale’s city council will hold a special meeting this evening to 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 Coyotes.

Related: “Glendale is not your cash register,” new mayor tells Coyotes

Quenneville thinks Hossa ‘could be’ the next Jagr or Selanne

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three

CHICAGO — A couple of weeks ago, I took some heat for writing that Marian Hossa’s age would be a challenge for the Blackhawks in the coming years.

In reality, I meant it as a compliment. Hossa is 36. He can’t play forever, because nobody can. It’s the same argument I’ve made when it comes to Zdeno Chara in Boston.

Some players are so important to their teams that when they get to a certain age, it’s only natural (for me at least) to question how much longer they’ve got as elite players.

Well, last night, Hossa showed that he’s still capable of an elite performance. Even if he did miss an open net, the oldest forward on his team played the most of any forward (23:56). He also finished with two assists, including a perfect pass to set up Brandon Saad on a one-timer for the Blackhawks’ second goal.

So, given how he played, and given what I’d written, I asked coach Joel Quenneville today if he thought Hossa could be the next Jaromir Jagr or Teemu Selanne, the rare forward that can play at a high level into his late 30s, or even into his 40s.

“He could be,” said Quenneville. “He loves the game. He does a nice job of taking care of himself, preparing so he can go into games and be great, do the best he can each and every night.

“He had the puck a lot last night. Had an outstanding chance early. Stayed with it. I thought that line was dangerous at times. He was very effective last night.”

For the record, I stand by my argument. Hossa proved last night that he remains a very good player. However, he also remains human. Among active players, only Jagr (202) has appeared in more playoff games than he has (191).

Hossa fans should take it as a compliment when people wonder how long he’s got left as a great player. It means his importance has been appreciated.

Lightning aim to get ‘greedy’ and take two in Chicago


CHICAGO — The best investors will tell you there’s no such thing as playing with house money. Any money you’ve earned is yours, and yours alone. The only thing to do next is earn more.

After winning Game 3 in Chicago to take a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning will try to take that attitude into Game 4, also at the United Center.

“We came here to get a win. Last night we got one,” said veteran forward Brenden Morrow. “We got to get greedy and get another one tomorrow night. That’s our focus.”

Of course, that’s easier said than done. The little voice in the back of your mind that tells you that you’ve already guaranteed a split — and that’s pretty good, isn’t it? — can be tough to ignore.

The Chicago Blackhawks will have something to say about Game 4, too.

“That locker room over there, there’s no panic in their game right now,” said Morrow. “They’ve been here before. They know what it takes.”

For the Lightning, it’s about recognizing what a victory Wednesday night could mean. Going back to Tampa with a 3-1 lead? Which would leave three whole games to get just one win? And two of those games at home?

That’s reason enough to get greedy.

“We’re inching our way along, but we’re not there yet,” warned coach Jon Cooper. “I don’t think anybody’s looking ahead. We’re looking at Game4. That’s it.”

Strong ratings continue for Stanley Cup Final

Nikita Kucherov, Corey Crawford

Last night’s Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final drew the third-best SCF ratings ever for NBCSN, according to the folks at NBC Sports PR.

The strong ratings for Chicago were largely expected; however, the high level of interest in Tampa has been a surprise for some. Given the Lightning are now two wins from a championship, expect that level of interest to only grow.


Tomorrow’s Game 4 is also on NBCSN, before the action shifts back to NBC for the remainder of the series.

Related: Here’s your 2015 Stanley Cup Final schedule

‘It took him a few years, but Victor Hedman’s arrived’

Ben Bishop, Victor Hedman, Marian Hossa

CHICAGO — Those who’ve been watching closely know Victor Hedman’s been among the NHL’s elite defensemen for a little while now.

Those who haven’t been watching closely, well, those people sure know now.

Hedman was brilliant in Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks, on center stage in the Stanley Cup Final.

The 24-year-old’s excellence included a mighty assist on the game’s winning goal, when, with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, he picked up the puck at his own blue line, rushed his giant frame through the neutral zone, went wide on Brent Seabrook and used his reach to sling a perfect pass to Cedric Paquette, who directed it into the Chicago net.

“I said to him after the game, ‘How do you find those plays, man?'” said his defensive partner, Anton Stralman. “He’s very optimistic in that way. Likes to join the rush, usually makes really good reads, when to go, when not to go.”

Hedman was drafted second overall in 2009, right after John Tavares. He jumped into the NHL right away, but not with the spectacular results that some rookies have enjoyed.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is the only player on the current roster that was on that 2009-10 team with Hedman.

“It’s tough to come into the league as an 18-year-old defenseman. I think that’s the toughest position to be put in,” said Stamkos. “Especially in the position that we were in. We weren’t a great team. He was getting some minutes against some quality competition, and our team was struggling. He was kind of thrown into the fire. He’s matured as a player, matured as a person. You see the confidence that he has now. He steps up in all big moments.”

“Hedman, what he’s doing, I mean, this is clearly his coming-out party,” added Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper.

On top of the pass that Hedman made on the winning goal, he also set up Ryan Callahan’s first-period rocket past Corey Crawford, on one of the longest bombs you’ll ever see in a hockey game.

“We were pressured in the zone a little bit and trying to calm the play down a little bit,” Hedman explained. “I wasn’t going to give it to him. I saw their d-man fell. Tried to put it there. He made a good catch on his backhand. It was a hell of a shot. That was obviously a big goal. We probably got a little lucky that their d-man went down.”

Perhaps, but there was no luck in the second period when Hedman made arguably an even better pass, sending the puck high off the glass to give Nikita Kucherov a breakaway.

“Words can’t describe the force that he’s been out there for our team,” said Stamkos. “We’ve known how good he is all along.”

“Just the plays he makes, it’s fun to watch,” said Cooper. “He’s really grown into that role. It took him a few years, but Victor Hedman’s arrived.”

Related: Hanifin feels he has NHL ‘mindset,’ but won’t be ‘mad’ if he goes back to college