Finally, it’s over.
After four years of up-in-the-air status, bankruptcy court, and numerous failed bids — the Phoenix Coyotes have been sold.
The NHL announced the Board of Governors approval of the sale of the team to the IceArizona group (aka: Renaissance Sports & Entertainment). Commissioner Gary Bettman released this statement about the sale.
“The National Hockey League believes in Arizona as an NHL market and that these new owners can provide the Coyotes the opportunity to secure a stable, long-term future in Glendale,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We thank Mike Nealy, Don Maloney, Dave Tippett, team captain Shane Doan and all the players and staff for consistently going ‘above and beyond’ on behalf of the franchise during this long and complex process. We thank the Coyotes’ devoted fans for their patient, perseverant support. We are extremely pleased that a positive resolution has been achieved for the fans, the city, the Coyotes and the League.”
With the Board of Governors approval, the deal the City of Glendale made with IceArizona goes into effect to help manage Jobing.com Arena and ease the financial stress of purchasing the team.
Of course, that city-approved deal also has a five-year out-clause that allows IceArizona to sell the team if they lose $50 million over that time.
While that might be a story further down the road, for now the Coyotes saga is at an end and for the first time since Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy and attempted to sell the team to Jim Balsillie, they have a real ownership group in place.
Buffalo added some depth for the AHL team in Rochester.
The Sabres announced the signing of forward Jamie Tardif to a one-year, two-way deal. He comes over from the Bruins organization where he made his NHL debut last year playing in two games and going without any points or penalty minutes.
In the AHL, however, Tardif had a big season for the Providence Bruins scoring a career-high 30 goals in 62 games. He’ll likely slot in as a top-six player for the Rochester Americans and get a call from Buffalo when injuries arise. Looking at you, Ville Leino.
The Panthers have added another center to battle for their fourth line job.
The team announced the signing of former Canucks forward Steve Pinizzotto to a one-year, two-way contract. Last season, he made his NHL debut playing in 12 games for Vancouver and earning zero points but 29 penalty minutes. The former R.I.T. Tiger has earned his way through the ECHL and AHL by playing a grinding, hard-nosed brand of hockey.
With Florida’s top three center spots likely being taken up by Aleksander Barkov, Shawn Matthias, and Marcel Goc he’ll be challenging guys like Drew Shore, Nick Bjugstad, and recently signed Scott Gomez for a spot on the fourth line. With that competition being stiff, it’s possible he’ll wind up back in the AHL.
Jarome Iginla has yet to play a game for the Boston Bruins but he’s hoping he can make Boston his home for more than just this year.
Courtesy of Caryn Switaj of the Bruins’ site, Iginla is still speaking glowingly about his new hometown and it’s got him feeling all warm and fuzzy.
“I’ve heard great things about the city and hopefully things go really well and we have a great year as a team and I’d like to play there longer than one year.”
At 36 years-old, Iginla likely isn’t all that itchy to become a journeyman. Joining a Bruins team that’s seen a lot of turnover this summer presents him with the challenge of recapturing his scoring touch for a team that could use the lift. Just two years ago, he scored 32 goals and had 43 the season before that. If he can put up numbers close to that, he won’t have to worry about leaving Boston.
Related: Bruins’ Iginla making sure ‘rust doesn’t build up’
Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman’s decision to buy out longtime captain and Stanley Cup winner Vincent Lecavalier was a hard one for him to make. It was difficult from a financial standpoint as well as one for building their team.
The Lightning have no problems figuring out who plays on their top line. Steven Stamkos slots in at center and Martin St. Louis on the right wing. Cutting loose Lecavalier left a gaping hole at center on the second line. Enter free agent Valtteri Filppula.
The Lightning signed Filppula away from Detroit to the tune of five years and $25 million. You might be thinking he’s not as good as Lecavalier but over the past few seasons, and you might be right.
Going back to the 2010-11 season, Filppula has 48 goals and 74 assists in 193 games over three seasons. In that same span, Lecavalier has played in 168 games with 57 goals with 78 assists. Fewer games played due to injury but more offense overall.
When you add 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Drouin to the mix, you’re adding a guy who comes with tremendous offensive potential and someone who might slide onto either line. That means more points to go around. At least, that’s what coach Jon Cooper is hoping for.
Having to go through their first season without Lecavalier since 1997-98 is going to be hard for many fans in Tampa. If Filppula can’t pick up where Lecavalier left off and he goes on to thrive in Philadelphia, it won’t be the heat or the humidity making things uncomfortable in Florida.