Marcus Johansson

Johansson on brink of big raise, but his role with Caps might decline

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Marcus Johansson had his arbitration hearing today and whatever ruling gets handed down by Friday afternoon, it’s likely to be a substantial boost from his 2014-15 salary of roughly $2.2 million, but will he earn his next sum?

That’s open for debate and it doesn’t have as much to do with Johansson as it does with the changing makeup of the Capitals as Chuck Gormley argued for CSN Washington:

With Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky slotted as the Caps’ first- and second-line left wings, and T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams slotted as their first- and second-line right wings, Johansson figures to start the season as a third-line left wing with centers Brooks Laich or Jay Beagle and right wing Tom Wilson.

His power-play time (2:55 per game last season, fourth on the club) could also dip because of the additions of Oshie and Williams.

And yet Johansson did record 20 goals and 47 points last season after finishing with 44 points in his previous campaign, so he could very well get somewhat close to his asking price from the arbitrator. Given that, Gormley wondered if the Capitals might end up walking away from Johansson’s contract. They would have the option of doing so provided that the arbitrator’s assigned salary is more than $3.8 million.

Keep in mind that Washington only has about $5 million worth of cap space to begin with and that’s excluding Justin Peters, who will presumably start the 2014-15 campaign in the minors, so the financial flexibility gained from a walk-away would be noteworthy.

At the same time, ending up with nothing in return for Johansson would be a tough pill to swallow. While a contract in the neighbor of $4 million isn’t ideal for someone playing on the third line, he would still have value to Washington in that role.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Johansson and the Capitals can still agree to terms on their own before the arbitrator’s ruling.

Related: Arbitration looms, but Johansson not worried about future with Caps

Mayers returning to ‘Hawks in front office role

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Jamal Mayers, who played in 100 games with Chicago and won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2013, is returning to the Blackhawks in a community liaison role.

“We are proud to welcome Jamal back to the organization in this role,” Blackhawks president John McDonough said in a statement. “We envision him being a strong asset to the Blackhawks as we continue to focus on the growth of youth hockey.

“Jamal’s involvement in our local neighborhoods will help to further ingrain the Blackhawks brand into our community.”

Mayers, 40, wrapped a 15-year playing career following that Cup win and has spent the last two years working in television. All told, he played in over 900 NHL games for the ‘Hawks, Blues, Maple Leafs, Flames and Sharks, and won a gold medal with Canada at the 2007 World Hockey Championships.

Vegas, Quebec confirm expansion bids, Seattle reportedly out

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Las Vegas and Quebec are in.

Seattle’s not.

That’s what we know so far about the NHL expansion bid process — on Monday, both Quebecor and Bill Foley’s Black Knight Sports and Entertainment confirmed they’d officially filed applications for expansion with the league while other rumored bidders, including Seattle’s Ray Bartoszek, have reportedly declined.

Money appeared to be an issue for a number of expansion suitors, as $2 million of the $10M expansion fee is non-refundable.

Despite that, the fact there’s no Seattle-based bids is somewhat surprising, given the three different local groups interested in bringing the NHL to the Pacific Northwest: Bartoszek and his Tukwila arena project, Victor Coleman and his SoDo neighborhood project (who on Friday said they were out) and a third group linked to a team in Bellevue, Seattle’s largest suburb.

(The Star is reporting there remains a possibility that “one more city — perhaps Seattle — may backdoor its way into the process.”)

As for other rumored expansion suitors, Paul Allen’s Portland group said there was “nothing imminent” while Toronto’s Graeme Roustan — who said he would “definitely” apply for a second NHL team in the GTA — appears to have passed on the bid process as well.

The complete expansion picture should be clearer soon. Per the Star, the league is expected to make an announcement later in the week.

Related: Will the battered loonie affect Canadian teams’ budgets?

Ryan O’Reilly charged with impaired driving, failing to remain at scene (Updated)

Colorado Avalanche v Minnesota Wild - Game Three
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Newly acquired Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly has been charged with impaired driving and leaving the scene following an incident at a Tim Horton’s restaurant, according to Ontario’s AM 980 Radio.

More:

OPP [Ontario Provincial Police] announced Monday that O’Reilly, 24, from Bluewater, Ont., had been charged with driving a motor vehicle while ability impaired (alcohol) and care or control over 80 mgs.

He was also charged under the Highway Traffic Act with failing to remain at the scene.

According to Middlesex County OPP, a green Chevrolet pickup struck struck a commercial building on Richmond St. last Thursday morning (July 9) just after 4:00am. An employee of the Lucan Tim Hortons confirmed to AM980 that there had been a motor vehicle incident, but was unaware of the driver’s identity.

After the collision, police say a suspect drove the vehicle southbound on Saintsbury Line, before abandoning it and traveling by foot with another, unnamed, male occupant.

The OPP report says the individuals were later found, with police determining the driver had been drinking alcohol.

The Buffalo News has also since reported the incident.

Two weeks ago, O’Reilly signed a seven-year, $52.5 million deal with the Sabres, after he was acquired from Colorado at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. O’Reilly’s Twitter account appears to be have been deactivated; in a screengrab obtained by News 980, O’Reilly posted an image of a green 1951 Chevrolet truck back in May with the caption “Got my new truck.”

Update: On what appears to be O’Reilly’s Instagram account, the same image appears (Note: PHT has blanked out the comments due to profanity.)

source:

O’Reilly is slated to appear in a London, Ont. court on Aug. 20 to answer charges.

PHT has reached out to the NHL and NHLPA for comment.

UPDATE: The Sabres have released the following statement…

“We are aware of the reports regarding the incident involving Ryan O’Reilly last week. We are currently in the process of gathering more information and will have no further comment until we have spoken with all the parties involved.”

Video: John Oliver takes on publicly funded stadiums, including the new arena for the Red Wings

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Referencing Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch in his rant, HBO’s John Oliver took aim at publicly funded stadiums for pro sports teams during Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight.

“Two years ago, Detroit got approval to spend more than $280 million in taxpayer money on a new arena project for the Red Wings just six days after the city filed for bankruptcy, even though the Red Wings’ owner is Mike Ilitch, the founder of the Little Caesars pizza chain, who’s worth an estimated $5.1 billion,” said Oliver.

“That’s a little hard to swallow. I mean, sure, not as hard to swallow as a Little Caesars Crazy Bread, with an assortment of Caesar dips, but still pretty hard.”

The Red Wings aren’t the only NHL franchise to tap public funds. The Edmonton Oilers have a publicly funded arena under construction, despite owner Daryl Katz having an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion. (Back in 2012, Katz apologized for threatening to move the team, after negotiations with the city went sideways.)

Meanwhile, down the road in Calgary, the Flames are hoping to get a new rink for themselves, with the assurance that “we’re not going to sneak in here and steal money from the city.”

Related: Ground breaks on new Red Wings arena