Author: Mike Halford

PNI Coyotes Deal 0611

Coyotes and Glendale amend arena lease, ‘putting this dispute behind us’


It’s over — for now.

On Thursday, the Coyotes announced they’ve resolved their arena lease dispute with the City of Glendale, agreeing to an amended agreement that will, per Fox Sports Arizona, keep the team at Gila River Arena for at least the next two seasons.

The city will vote on the amendment Friday morning at 9 a.m. MST.

“We have come up with a resolution that works for both sides and is best for the team, our fans, the city and most importantly the taxpayers,” said Arizona co-owner Anthony LeBlanc said in a statement. “Neither side benefits from a long, drawn out legal battle. What’s important is putting this dispute behind us and focusing on growing the Coyotes business and in turn, further growing revenues for the entire Westgate Entertainment District.”

Back in June — on the same night as Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, to be specific — Glendale city officials voted to void the previous 15-year lease agreement. The Coyotes responded by filing suit against the city, getting a temporary restraining order to keep the deal in place, then ordering Glendale to make its quarterly $3.75 million payment to the organization.

With today’s revised amendment, both sides avoid further legal battles — though questions will remain about the Coyotes’ future in Glendale, given this new agreement only goes to 2017.

In the later part of his statement, LeBlanc said the agreement will provide a short-term solution to certain parties, while establishing a longer-term commitment to others… without mentioning Glendale.

“This decision will bring much-needed certainty to our fans and sponsors about our near-term future and an end to the uncertainty brought about through this legal action,” he said. “We know that hockey works in the Valley and we are committed to Arizona for the long-term.

“We thank Coyotes fans and sponsors for their incredible support throughout this process. They have proven that they are among the most loyal and ardent in the NHL.”

Dallas d-man Johns, acquired in Sharp trade, says he’s ready for the NHL

New York Rangers v Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Sharp isn’t the only former Blackhawk looking to make his mark in Dallas.

Defensive prospect Stephen Johns, acquired by the Stars two weeks ago in the Sharp deal, is looking to make his big-league debut next season and challenge for a spot on the blueline.

“I am just going to be like every other guy here, battling for a spot, competing and doing whatever I can,” Johns said, per “Personally, I think I am ready, but it’s not up to me.

“I am going to do the best that I can, play the best hockey I can and try to impress them.”

Johns, 23, was held in high regard by the ‘Hawks, who took him 60th overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He’s big (6-foot-3, 229 pounds), showed good offensive upside in Rockford this year — 21 points in 51 games, missing time to a knee injury — and garnered some consideration as a darkhorse candidate to step in on Chicago’s defense in the playoffs, following Michal Rozsival‘s season-ending ankle fracture in Round 2.

A broken forearm kept Johns from making that leap, but a new opportunity came calling two weeks ago when he and Sharp were flipped to Dallas for Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt.

Dallas’ blueline is hardly set in stone; while the likes of John Klingberg, Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers and Johnny Oduya are all experienced NHLers, Johns should (theoretically) compete with fellow youngsters Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, Jyrki Jokipakka and ’14 first-rounder Julius Honka for minutes.

It also remains to be seen where Jordie Benn, who struggled mightily last season, fits into the grand scheme of things.

Devils to receive 3rd-round pick from Leafs for Lamoriello hire

New Jersey Devils Name New Head Coach

Following today’s blockbuster news of Lou Lamoriello catching on as GM in Toronto, The Record reports that New Jersey will receive a third-round pick as compensation from the Leafs in exchange for losing its team president and longtime architect.

Lamoriello was the NHL’s longest-tenured GM upon relinquishing duties to Ray Shero back in May; he’d spent 28 years on the job and was widely seen as the face of the franchise, famously constructing the group of players that won three Stanley Cups between 1995 and 2003.

(Shortly after news of today’s hire went public, the Devils announced Lamoriello resigned as president.)

Getting a pick back for Lamoriello makes up for the selection lost by hiring John Hynes as head coach. The Devils gave Pittsburgh a third-round pick in 2016 for Hynes, who’d previously been with the Pens’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

New Jersey did not compensate Pittsburgh for the Shero hire.