Jason Brough

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Kovalchuk still planning NHL return, says Shero

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There’s nothing new on the Ilya Kovalchuk front, and that’s news in itself.

In an interview with NJ Advance Media, Devils GM Ray Shero called a report that Kovalchuk had decided to stay in Russia false.

Shero based his assertion on conversations with Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman.

“There was some report out of Russia that he might be staying over there, and Jay goes ‘No, that’s not accurate at all,'” Shero said. “He talked to him the day before and nothing’s changed. So if something changes, I’ll hear about it, or Jay will, but nothing’s changed from what Jay’s told me on two occasions now.”

Kovalchuk can’t sign an NHL contract until July 1. The plan is still for him to pick a team, at which point the Devils would orchestrate a sign-and-trade.

“If it’s not New Jersey, he’s going to have a number of teams that he’ll want to talk to, and then those teams can deal with him,” Shero said. “If that’s the place he wants to go and it’s not going to be New Jersey, then we’ll approve it, sign the contract and make a deal with the team.”

Related: Kovalchuk ‘drives the bus’ in return to NHL

Doan’s agent calls Coyotes’ decision a ‘very sad day for Arizona hockey’

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It does not sound like Shane Doan‘s departure from the Arizona Coyotes was wholly amicable.

Doan did not release a statement via the Coyotes when the club broke the news Monday afternoon.

His agent, Terry Bross, then called the team’s decision a “very sad day for Arizona hockey.”

“Shane is ready to enter the free-agent market and see where it goes,” Bross added, per Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports. “Time for him to get a shot at the Cup.”

Doan, of course, didn’t get much of a Stanley Cup shot during his final few years in Arizona. The Coyotes haven’t made the playoffs since 2012, and that was a source of frustration for the captain.

He didn’t love the idea to rebuild.

He didn’t enjoy the annual selloffs at the trade deadline

But he stuck with them anyway, signing a one-year extension in 2016.

It’s possible that today’s decision was partly related to Andrew Barroway’s buyout of his minority partners, which was only completed last week.

According to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, there were “various disputes” between the owners that the buyout would purportedly settle.

Perhaps what to do with Doan was one of those disputes.

Of note, it was Barroway — not GM John Chayka — who released the statement saying a new contract would not be offered to Doan.

Previous management had said that Doan would remain with the Coyotes “as long as he wants to stay with us.”

 

Coyotes part ways with Shane Doan

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Shane Doan‘s Arizona Coyotes career is over.

As first reported by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Coyotes informed Doan over the weekend of their decision to part ways.

Shortly after the report, Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway released the following statement:

“After serious consideration, we have decided to not offer Shane Doan a contract for the upcoming season. The time has come for us to move on and to focus on our young, talented group of players and our very bright future. This was a very difficult decision given what Shane has done for the Coyotes and his unparalleled importance to the organization. With that said, this is necessary to move us forward as a franchise.

“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to sincerely thank Shane for everything he’s done for the Coyotes on and off the ice the past 21 years. Shane is a Valley icon who had an incredible career and was one of the best captains to ever play in the NHL.

“Shane deserves an enormous amount of credit for keeping the Coyotes in the Valley and for growing the game of hockey in Arizona. He is beloved by our fans, corporate partners and the media and has been a tremendous leader for us in the community, and a great role model for kids. We wish him and his family all the best in the future. He will be a member of our Pack forever.”

What happens next for the 40-year-old forward remains to be seen.

Doan has been with the same franchise his entire NHL career. He was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 1995, then moved with the team to Arizona in 1996. Over 21 seasons, he’s appeared in over 1,500 regular-season games, plus 55 more in the playoffs.

Earlier this month, his agent said he was  “leaning toward” playing another year. However, it wasn’t clear if that meant he’d be willing to do so with another team.

This past season, Doan had just six goals in 74 games for the Coyotes.

He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

According to Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports, the Coyotes will name Oliver Ekman-Larsson as their next captain.

Doan has been the captain since 2003.

NHL to reveal 2017-18 schedule on Thursday

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Alex Ovechkin thought the NHL was bluffing about not going to the 2018 Olympics.

“Next year’s schedule is not out there yet,” the Russian superstar said in April after the league announced its intention to finalize the schedule without any break for the Games in South Korea.

After all, four years ago, the NHL delayed the release of the 2013-14 schedule before striking a deal to send NHLers to Sochi.

Alas, the 2017-18 schedule will be out there Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. The reveal will be televised by NHL Network, the league announced today.

It will be hard to strike an Olympic deal after that. All the arenas will be booked, and teams will start planning their trips and reserving their hotels, if they haven’t started already.

In other words, it may really be time for everyone to accept that, for the first time since 1994, the Winter Olympics won’t have NHLers in it.

Related: ‘No possibility’ 2018 All-Star Game will be canceled for Olympics

Evander Kane hopes he’s still in Buffalo next season

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Evander Kane has heard the rumors, and knows he could be traded.

But in an interview Friday with the Vancouver Province, the Buffalo Sabres winger said he isn’t hoping for another change of scenery.

“I’m getting prepared to start another NHL season,” said Kane. “Hopefully it’s in Buffalo.”

Kane has one year left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Still only 25, and coming off a 28-goal season, he won’t be cheap for the Sabres to keep.

On top of that, Kane could be used as a chip to bolster Buffalo’s much-maligned blue line. And with the charges from last summer’s bar incident having been dropped, his trade value may be higher than it’s been in quite some time.

Kane is eligible to sign an extension with the Sabres on July 1. That could be the moment of truth for both sides.

Related: What will the Sabres do with Evander Kane?