Jason Brough

AP

Glendale picks AEG to manage Gila River Arena, still hopes to keep Coyotes

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The City of Glendale has not given up on keeping the Coyotes.

That’s the main takeaway of today’s news that the city has selected AEG to manage Gila River Arena.

From azcentral.com:

The Coyotes currently hold the contract to manage the arena. The Coyotes had the option to submit a proposal to the city to continue to manage it, but the team opted not to participate. AEG and two other global management firms submitted proposals.

New Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps said he hasn’t given up on keeping the Coyotes.

AEG executives and city officials plan to meet with team owners in the coming weeks in an attempt to persuade them to stay. “We still think the story is far from written,” Phelps told The Arizona Republic on Wednesday

For the past few months, the Coyotes have been pursuing alternative arena options, while noting there’s a been “strong voicing from our fanbase and from our sponsors that if we had an opportunity they’d really like to see us back in downtown Phoenix or in the east side of the Valley.”

AEG owns 50 percent of the Los Angeles Kings. It also owns the Staples Center, where the Kings play, and manages a number of other NHL arenas.

The Coyotes’ lease in Glendale expires after next season.

Related: Coyotes expect to make arena announcement by end of regular season

Blues send Rattie to AHL, which could signal the return of Schwartz

Jaden Schwartz
AP
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The St. Louis Blues announced today that forward Ty Rattie has been assigned to AHL Chicago, a possible indication that Jaden Schwartz may be ready to play.

The Blues now have an available roster spot for Schwartz, though he has not yet been activated off injured reserve. The 23-year-old winger has been out since October after fracturing his ankle.

How the Blues fare with Schwartz in the lineup will be worth watching. GM Doug Armstrong has said he wants to see how his team looks when healthy, before any decisions are made ahead of the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

St. Louis is comfortably in a playoff spot, but its 24th-ranked offense is an area of concern.

The Blues host San Jose tomorrow.

Update:

These are interesting times for the Ottawa Senators

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) gets the puck behind Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) for a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. The Penguins won 6-5, with Crosby getting three goals. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
AP
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The Ottawa Senators are a bad defensive hockey team.

In fact, out of 30 NHL clubs, only one — the Columbus Blue Jackets — has given up more goals per game than the Sens have (3.08).

For head coach Dave Cameron, it’s a matter of pride.

“All the good teams take pride in their defensive play,” Cameron said, per TSN’s Brent Wallace. “We don’t.”

But for captain Erik Karlsson, there’s another reason to make a bigger commitment to defending.

Money.

“First off, we’re a budget team here,” Karlsson told the Ottawa Citizen last week. “We don’t have the same players as most teams do that are high-skilled and we’re not going to win games from a skill base. We’re not going to win games by scoring fancy goals and stuff like that. We have to realize we’re a grinding team.”

It’s comments like that that have many Sens fans wishing owner Eugene Melnyk would consider selling the team. Recently, Melnyk has been adamant about not doing that, despite the reported interest by the deep-pocketed group in competition with the Sens for building a new arena on LeBreton Flats:

Certainly, the precipitous decline of the Canadian dollar will not help the Sens in the revenue department. However, Melnyk believes that that particular “minefield will work out” in the end. For now, he’s focused on the arena project.

The Sens’ defensive issues were on full display last night in Pittsburgh, where they lost 6-5 while getting outshot 44-23.

With just one win in their last five, the Sens have fallen five points out of a playoff spot. They host the Oilers Thursday.

Report: Canucks ‘working on’ bringing KHL d-man Tryamkin to North America

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The Vancouver Canucks are “working on” bringing Russian defenseman Nikita Tryamkin to North America when his KHL season ends, according to News 1130 Sports.

Tryamkin, 21, was the 66th overall pick in the 2014 draft. His contract with Yekaterinburg Automobilist apparently doesn’t expire until April 30, but with the Gagarin Cup playoffs set to begin in a couple of weeks, the Canucks are hoping he’ll be released as soon as his team is out. He would then report to AHL Utica.

Tryamkin is an intriguing prospect. He’s big (6-6, 220 lbs) and has been described as a late-bloomer. He told the Canucks he patterns himself after Zdeno Chara.

“He’s going to be a player,” an NHL scout told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The Canucks sure hope so, given the blue line is arguably their most glaring weakness, with no blue-chip prospects to speak of.

Related: ‘In a perfect world,’ Canucks would like to take a D-man in first round

Rangers’ Klein out ‘indefinitely’ with fractured thumb

Sidney Crosby, Kevin Klein
AP
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The New York Rangers have lost one of their most dependable defensemen “indefinitely.” The club announced today that Kevin Klein has a fractured thumb. There’s no timetable for his return.

Klein is averaging 20:01 of ice time, second on the team to Ryan McDonagh. The 31-year-old has already missed 12 games this season due to injury.

With Klein sidelined, expect to see more of big rookie Dylan McIlrath. Both players are right shots.

The Rangers host Minnesota Thursday.