Author: Joe Yerdon

Gary Bettman

Bettman waiting on Glendale, says Coyotes could move


The NHL Board of Governors meeting wrapped this afternoon with nothing coming from it concerning the state of the Phoenix Coyotes.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke with reporters following the meeting and spelled things out rather clearly.

“No board action is required at this point,” Bettman said. “We’re anticipating, or hoping, the Glendale City Council passes the deal with the Renaissance Group. If the council doesn’t approve it… I don’t think the Coyotes will be playing there anymore.”

Bettman set the target date for July 2 for a decision, the same day the City of Glendale is set to vote on their latest proposal.

That proposal is the whopper of one the city presented this afternoon that sees the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment group get $15 million a year from the city to run Arena and a five-year out-clause to leave the city if the losses amount to $50 million or more in that time.

If things fall apart with Glendale, is there time to move the team elsewhere? Bettman is confident there is.

To add to this, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says the league has no issues with Key Arena in Seattle if the Coyotes are to move there.

This is it though. The Coyotes saga is going to end one way or another next week.

Mark Messier leaves Rangers organization

Mark Messier

Mark Messier isn’t going to be the next coach of the New York Rangers and now he’s not even going to be with the organization anymore.

The team announced Messier was leaving the Rangers to pursue another interest in the New York City area. Messier’s statement painted out what his new job will entail.

“I would like to thank the New York Rangers and particularly Glen Sather for giving me the opportunity over the last four years to work with the Rangers.  I am resigning my position with the Team to pursue an opportunity to expand the game of hockey in the New York area by developing the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.  Although some will perceive this as a reaction to the coaching decision, nothing could be further from the truth.  I completely respect the decision that was made and for all the reasons it was made.  I harbor no hard feelings toward Glen or the Rangers.  This is a personal choice I am making to create a program in the New York area that will give our children more choices and opportunities in the future.  I wish the Rangers nothing but the best in the future.”

Messier beat us to the punch. The former Rangers captain was “very disappointed” at not being named coach of the Rangers. It is rather convenient, however, that Messier has this opportunity to work with the Kingsbridge National Ice Center in spite of being in the hunt for the Rangers head coaching job that he was passed over in favor of Alain Vigneault.

Rangers GM Glen Sather had a statement on this as well.

“Mark Messier will always be a part of the New York Rangers family.  As a player and then as part of the management team, he brought incomparable passion and dedication to the organization.  We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Lecavalier caught off guard by buyout, ready for a new challenge

Vincent Lecavalier

Vincent Lecavalier doesn’t have any hard feelings about being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On his conference call to speak about what went down this morning, the former Lightning captain says a buyout was something he knew could happen but still caught him off guard.

“I was at the table with the family having breakfast and my phone rang and it was Steve (Yzerman),” he said. “It turned out they were buying me out… It’s tough. It’s tough when you’ve been at it for so long and you’ve been through so much in one place and where this organization is going. It’s very hard.”

That’s a good way to spoil your bacon and eggs. Getting paid $32 million to move on to another city is a better way to feel OK with that. Lecavalier welcomes the challenge.

“It’s a tough day but at the same time, I know I’m going to be somewhere else it’s going to be a different challenge but I’m so motivated to go somewhere else and prove I can play at a high level. I believe in myself, I believe in what I can bring to a team. I want to win.”

As for where that next challenge will be, he says he’s ready for anything. When asked about the possibility of playing in Detroit, he had an awkward confession to make.

“It’s actually a team I grew up idolizing. Them and Montreal were my favorite teams. Ironically, Steve Yzerman was my favorite hockey player,” he said.

“My door is open to everybody. I haven’t really made a list yet. I’m really open to anything. I haven’t pinpointed anywhere I wanted to go. It’s been five hours (since the buyout) and I’m still not there yet.”

The line forms to the left for 29 other GMs looking for a guy who’s been a consistent scorer throughout his career.

Related: Timeline: The Lecavalier Era in Tampa Bay

Glendale’s proposal to keep Coyotes is a doozy Arena

The City of Glendale posted the details of their offer to Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (RSE) to help keep the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena. As you might expect from this ordeal, the details are dizzying.

The agreement has the Coyotes staying at Arena for the next 15 years as the arena’s anchor tenant with Glendale paying RSE $15 million a year to run the arena. There’s a catch to all this, however.

According to Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal, RSE has a five-year out-clause to move the team if they pile up $50 million (or more) in losses over that time frame. The City of Glendale has a lot of “unresolved serious concerns” with the deal. Those are:

  • The city bears all the risk if the revenue projected by Renaissance is not realized.
  • The deal requires a $15 million management fee to Renaissance. The city has budgeted $6 million to pay for part of the $15 million arena management fee and Renaissance has projected shared revenue streams to help bridge the gap. Should those projections not be realized, and the city does not receive the projected revenues, then the city would need to make up that loss.
  • The proposed agreement is for 15 years and does not allow for the city to terminate the deal if  revenue projections are not met as long as the Coyotes play in the arena.
  • The proposed contract can be terminated by Renaissance if their cumulative losses reach $50 million, and, in any event, after five years.

The plan is to have the proposal voted on on July 2. Should this deal not pass, the NHL could seek to move the team to Seattle immediately. Next Tuesday will be decision day one way or the other.

Bickell says he’d take hometown discount to stay in Chicago

Bryan Bickell, Michal Handzus

Bryan Bickell’s huge postseason is the kind of thing an unrestricted free agent-to-be loves to have happen. After all it means a big payday from a team in need of physical scoring.

Bickell, however, says he might want to stick around in Chicago as he told the press today and do so with a hometown discount. As for what that “discount” might entail, that’s up for debate.

Bickell is coming off a three-year contract that paid him $1.625 million total. After putting up nine goals and eight assists in the postseason after having 9-14-23 in the regular season, he’d be poised to cash in in a big way.

That said, going from a cap hit that was in the neighborhood of league minimum to one, likely, in the multi-millions doesn’t strike many as a discount. If he’s willing to ignore big money offers from other teams to just stay in Chicago, that’s more like staying loyal than offering a discount.

For what it’s worth, the gang at laid even-odds that Bickell would land with the Detroit Red Wings in free agency. Might be time to throw a few bucks on the Blackhawks.