Jason Brough

CALGARY, AB - MAY 5: Fans of the Calgary Flames pass around a large flag prior to Game Three against the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on May 5, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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Flames ‘remain committed’ to arena plan, which city report called ‘not feasible’

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The owners of the Calgary Flames have an ambitious plan to replace aging Scotiabank Saddledome, and they’ve promised not to “steal money from the city” to get the new arena built.

Yesterday, the city essentially told them to go back to the drawing board.

From the Calgary Herald:

The Calgary Flames’ ambitious vision to build a professional and amateur sports complex in the West Village hit a major roadblock Wednesday following the release of a city analysis showing CalgaryNEXT could cost ultimately about $1.8 billion and have taxpayers pay up to two-thirds of the tab.  

“CalgaryNEXT,” administration concludes, “is not feasible in its present form or location.”

Despite the report, the Flames have said they “remain committed to the concept” and are intent on “coming back with a comprehensive response.”

But these are not easy economic times in Alberta, as the oil crash has created serious financial challenges for the province. On top of that, Calgary’s mayor has never been too enthusiastic about “spending very scarce public money on a professional sports arena.”

So this won’t be an easy deal for the Flames to get done, just like it wasn’t easy for the Edmonton Oilers to get theirs done.

On that note, perhaps the Flames will have to take a trip to Seattle at some point.

You know, just to take a look around.

Related: Calgary mayor jousts with Gary Bettman on topic of new arena

Stalberg says he ‘hasn’t heard’ from Letang, who said yesterday that he apologized for high stick

Letang
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OK, here’s what Kris Letang said yesterday, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“When he was skating by the bench I said sorry. I didn’t know if I hit him or I hit Dominic (Moore) behind me. I got hit, and I went off balance and I was leaning forward. I just said sorry to the guy.”

And here’s what Viktor Stalberg said today, per the Tribune-Review:

“No, that’s not (true). I haven’t heard from him. Obviously I couldn’t care less if I did or not.”

So, what gives?

Well, it could be that Stalberg thought Letang had said he’d sent a text message. That’s sometimes how apologies are delivered in the NHL, and it’s consistent with the phrase “heard from him.”

Or, it could be that Stalberg didn’t hear Letang’s apology because he was focused on the three teeth he had just lost.

Or, it could be that one of Letang or Stalberg is a big, fat liar with his pants on fire.

You choose who to believe.

You choose what to believe.

All we know for sure is that Letang was neither penalized nor suspended for catching Stalberg with a high stick on Tuesday.

Oh, and we also know that Game 4 goes tonight at MSG, and that the Penguins lead the Rangers, 2-1.

Related: Shockingly, the Rangers and Penguins didn’t see the Letang slash the same way

‘Timely goal-scoring’ and ‘great goaltending’ have been the keys for St. Louis

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The St. Louis Blues may have a 3-1 lead on the Chicago Blackhawks, but they’ve hardly dominated the series.

In fact, based on Corsi, it’s been the defending Cup champions who’ve controlled most of the five-on-five action. Per war-on-ice.com, the ‘Hawks are at 54.3 percent in that puck-possession statistic.

In Game 4 at United Center, the Blues were outshot, 42-20, but came away with a 4-3 victory. They scored twice on the power play, and Brian Elliott was excellent again in goal.

“Timely goal-scoring never hurts, great goaltending never hurts,” captain David Backes told the Post-Dispatch.

This isn’t to say the Blues don’t deserve the chance to eliminate the ‘Hawks tonight at Scottrade Center. So far, they’ve done what they’ve needed to do. There’s nothing wrong with your goalie being your best player, which Elliott has been. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with burying your scoring chances, a specialty of Vladimir Tarasenko‘s.

Puck possession isn’t everything.

Rather, it’s a long way of saying this series isn’t over. Everyone remembers 2014, when the Blues won the first two games, only for the ‘Hawks to rattle off four in a row.

“We all know that the last one is the hardest one to get,” Jaden Schwartz said. “We’re just hungry to move on and prove ourselves. We had that same belief a couple of years ago. It was a tight series, that one could have gone either way. We’ve got a chance here to try to redeem ourselves.”

Red Wings aiming for some ‘ugly ones’ on the power play

Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) scores on Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) in the second period of Game 3 in a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP
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How different this series might be if the Detroit Red Wings could score on the power play.

After finishing 0-for-4 on Tuesday, they’re now 1-for-21 with the man advantage in four games.

They’re also facing elimination tonight in Tampa, down 3-1 in their series with the Lightning.

“When things don’t go well you overthink stuff,” forward Henrik Zetterberg told MLive. “When everything goes you just do stuff and it works out. Now, especially with our power play, we got a lot of opportunity on it but we haven’t got enough goals and we start over-thinking everything, instead of making the simple first play, which most of the time is the right play.”

The one power-play goal they did score wasn’t exactly a masterpiece. In Game 2, Brad Richards just put it on net:

“For us, it’s getting pucks to the net, that’s the mindset,” said Zetterberg.

“They’re good being in lanes, but it’s up to us to find a way to get it there and go after rebounds and get some ugly ones.”

Related: Coach Cooper would love the Lightning to knock it off with all the penalties

Demko signs with Canucks, foregoing senior year at B.C.

Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko makes a save on a shot by Quinnipiac during the second period of an NCAA Frozen Four semifinal men's college hockey game Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP
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The Vancouver Canucks will not lose Thatcher Demko like the Nashville Predators lost Jimmy Vesey.

Demko today signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Canucks, making the decision to forego his senior year at Boston College.

Prior to today’s announcement, the worry in Vancouver was that the highly touted, 20-year-old goalie would return to school and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Canucks drafted Demko 36th overall in 2014. He was a Hobey Baker finalist this season. 

“He’s going through the process of what he wants to do and he knows how we feel,” Vancouver GM Jim Benning told Postmedia earlier this week.

“We’ve been patient and he’s sorting out some things on his side. I would expect that we’ll know more in the next few days. If he decides he’s going to turn pro, he’s a guy we want to develop and we assured him he would have a spot in Utica.”

Before Demko makes his AHL debut next season, he’ll represent the United States at the world championship in Russia.

Related: Demko focused on winning a title with Boston College, will talk with Canucks this summer