Bob Nicholson
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Oilers to bid on 2020 World Cup of Hockey

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With NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirming the next World Cup of Hockey will take place in 2020, potential cities are already lining bids to host.

One of the first to publicly declare interest?

Edmonton.

More, from the Journal:

That’s the word from Oilers Entertainment Group CEO Bob Nicholson, who said he has already informed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly of the Oilers’ interest in staging the eight-team event, which is being held this year in Toronto.

“The year will be right in our wheelhouse,” Nicholson said of 2020. “In 2019, the whole Ice District is finished.

“And when you look at what they’re trying to do in Toronto, they’re trying to create a tournament and festival. Well, there is no better festival site than here in Edmonton. With Rogers Place, the top arena in North America, the Winter Garden and Ice District, these types of events are made for this district and the arena.”

The Ice District, as described on the project’s website, is “Canada’s largest mixed-use sports and entertainment district,” currently taking shape in Edmonton. It’s a $2.5 billion project that will feature Rogers Place — soon to be the new home of the Oilers — along with two office towers, condominiums, a movie theater and a hotel.

Spearheaded by Oilers owner Darryl Katz, the Ice District promises to be a massive development for bot the city and organization. Katz’ recent sale of Rexall Health confirmed one of his primary focuses moving forward was the Ice District, and all it entails.

From the Globe:

Katz, 54, has made no secret that his current focus is far away from the world of neighbourhood drugstores and Medicentres, and is laser-trained on the building of Canada’s largest mixed-use sports and entertainment district.

“There’s a change in the focus of his business operations, now that he’s become heavily involved in the real estate development and entertainment component in and around a new arena development here,” says Dan Mason, a University of Alberta professor of sport management, who consulted for the city on the arena project.

“There’s a new landscape for the operations of professional sport franchises, and in many respects, they’re seen as a piece of a bigger puzzle,” he said.

Nicholson said there’s no definitive timeline for the 2020 World Cup bidding process.

Voracek: Flyers’ playoff hopes rest on ‘these next six games’

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According to the website Sports Club Stats, the Philadelphia Flyers still have an 18.1 percent chance of making the playoffs.

But according to winger Jakub Voracek, if they don’t take advantage of their next six games — all of them at home, with most of them against non-playoff opponents — it’ll pretty much be over.

“We’ve got to make at least 10 points out of these next six games,” Voracek said, per NHL.com.

“This is going to define if we’re going to make the playoffs or not; this home stand.”

The Flyers host the Wild tonight, followed by visits from the Coyotes, Flames, Oilers, Blue Jackets and Lightning.

So 5-1-0 is a possibility.

Or maybe it’s 4-0-2.

Adding to the current challenge, however, is the absence of captain Claude Giroux. He’ll miss his third straight game tonight and remains day-to-day with what’s believed to be a concussion.

Obviously, if the Flyers are going to take a run at qualifying for the postseason, it would help to have their leading scorer in the lineup. Because there’s nothing coming in the form of deadline additions; GM Ron Hextall confirmed that yesterday.

To make the playoffs, it’s estimated the Flyers will need to go in the neighborhood of 14-7-2 in their final 23 games.

standings

Therrien insists he has a ‘very good relationship’ with Subban

Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien, right, shares a laugh with P.K. Subban during a practice Monday, April 13, 2015 in Brossard, Quebec. The Canadiens will face the Ottawa Senators in game one of the first round of NHL playoffs on Wednesday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Two days after blaming P.K. Subban for a loss to Colorado, Montreal coach Michel Therrien insisted he has a “very good relationship” with the Canadiens’ star defenseman.

Therrien even called Subban a “lovable guy,” while maintaining that his remarks were never about the player, they were solely about the play.

“I would’ve said that about any player making that play at that time of the game,” Therrien told reporters today, per TSN.ca. “We’re very aware we have an exceptional athlete. We’re happy to have him. It’s our job to continue working with him.”

There does, however, continue to be a disconnect between what the coach thought about the play and what the player thought. Unlike Therrien, Subban did not consider it overly risky.

“I was in a strong position,” he said, per Sportsnet’s Eric Engels. “I wasn’t in a weak position. If I don’t lose my edge there, I think I probably bump the guy and put it down the wall.”

As an outsider, it’s impossible to say what the relationship between Therrien and Subban is really like. Likewise, it’s impossible to say if GM Marc Bergevin would really consider trading the 26-year-old.

But even an outsider can see, quite clearly, that this is a team in crisis. The Canadiens started the season 18-4-2. Since then, they’ve gone 9-23-2 and have fallen eight points out of a playoff spot.

According to Sports Club Stats, the Habs — who are unlikely to get Carey Price back — would need to go in the neighborhood of 16-6-2 in their final 24 games to give themselves a shot at the postseason.

Failing that, well, let’s just say April’s exit interviews could be interesting.

WATCH LIVE: Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings

The New York Islanders and Washington Capitals are near the end of their competitive game, but that won’t end a strong night of hockey on NBCSN.

Nope, you’re getting a doubleheader on Thursday, and it ends with a battle of California as the Los Angeles Kings host the Anaheim Ducks.

You can watch these bitter neighbors on TV and also via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Melnyk says he won’t sell the Senators ‘at any price’

OTTAWA - OCTOBER 8:   Ottawa Senators team owner Eugene Melnyk attends an event before the home opener against the New York Islanders at Scotiabank Place on October 8, 2009 in Ottawa, Canada.  The Ottawa Senators defeated the New York Islanders 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
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In case you didn’t hear him the first time, Eugene Melnyk repeated it yesterday — the Ottawa Senators are not for sale.

“I don’t have any intention of selling the team at any price,” Melnyk said. “I have no intention of moving into anyone else’s place.”

Why does he keep having to say this?

The answer is LeBreton Flats. There are two proposals to develop the Ottawa neighborhood — one backed by the Sens, the other by some very wealthy businessmen from Quebec.

Both proposals include an NHL arena.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

The battle to develop LeBreton Flats is shaping up as a fight between a team with deep roots in Ottawa and an ambitious and creative group bankrolled by wealthy outsiders.

That, at least, was one narrative that emerged Tuesday after the RendezVous LeBreton Group, which includes Senators Sports & Entertainment, and the Devcore Canderel DLS Group, backed by Quebec billionaires André Desmarais and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, unveiled their visions for the long-vacant land just west of Ottawa’s core.

Despite Melnyk’s insistence that 1) the Sens aren’t for sale “at any price” and 2) he has no interest in moving into an arena he doesn’t control, the DCDLS group has not yet been dissuaded.

“Our intention is to have discussions with Mr. Melnyk, whatever those may be, with respect to the Senators moving downtown,” said vice-president Daniel Peritz. “We believe firmly that’s where they should be.”

Click here to watch Peritz suggest that Melnyk is bluffing about his unwillingness to sell the team, which Melnyk quickly denies.

Melnyk, for the record, is no longer involved in horse-racing