Is this long saga in the desert at an end? Perhaps it is after the Glendale City Council voted 4-2 in favor of the city’s 20-year, $320 million lease agreement for prospective Phoenix Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison.
The agreement will help the team stay in Jobing.com Arena and hand over duties of managing the facility to Jamison. The one catch here is he’ll have until January 31, 2013 to close on the sale of the team or else the process, with a newly voted in city council, will begin all over again.
“I don’t want to turn off the lights in Glendale,”Scruggs said, suggesting the hockey and concert arena could attract other events that would keep visitors at Westgate City Center, the nearby shopping and restaurant complex.
Of course, other members of the government have differing opinions on what’s best for the financially struggling city.
What Scruggs appears to be worried about is losing other municipal functions in favor of keeping the hockey team. In other words, it’s the same debate that’s raged on since the team went into bankruptcy.
Series at a glance: Phoenix-Chicago playoff preview
Thursday April 12 in Phoenix @ 10 p.m. (NBC Sports Network, TSN)
Saturday April 14 in Phoenix @ 10 p.m. (NBC Sports Network, TSN)
Tuesday April 17 in Chicago @ 9 p.m. (CNBC, TSN)
Thursday April 19 in Chicago @ 8 p.m. (CNBC, TSN)
*Saturday April 21 in Phoenix @ 10 p.m. (NBC Sports Network, TSN)
*Monday April 23 in Chicago @ TBD (TBD)
*Wednesday April 25 in Phoenix @ TBD (TBD)
Three storylines to follow
1. Is this it for the Phoenix Coyotes? It’s not the first time the Coyotes have appeared to be on the brink of leaving Glendale, but things might be different this time. Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs has expressed extreme frustration over the long-lingering situation and the city’s financial support is one of the reasons the Coyotes have stayed in Glendale this long. This could be their final chance to shine before leaving town. Though again, we’ve heard that before.
2. The health of Jonathan Toews. Will Captain Serious be able to return from a concussion in time to play against the Coyotes? If he does, what sort of impact will he have after missing roughly two months? Toews is a huge part of the Blackhawks’ core and has averaged a point per game in 46 career playoff games.
3. Not-so-special teams. The Coyotes and Blackhawks were each in the bottom five of the league in terms of their power-play percentages. Chicago was also the fourth-worst squad in the NHL with a 78.1 penalty killing percentage. In that regard, the Coyotes were clearly superior after killing 85.5 percent of their penalties.
Phoenix: 42-27-13, 97 points (1st in Pacific; 3rd in Western Conference) | Chicago: 45-26-11, 101 points (4th in Central; 6th in Western Conference)
Phoenix: Ray Whitney (24G-53A-77PTS) | Marian Hossa (29G-48A-77PTS)
Phoenix: Mike Smith (38-18-10, 2.21 GAA) | Chicago: Corey Crawford (30-17-7, 2.72 GAA)
Phoenix won series 3-1
Oct. 18: Chicago 5, at Phoenix 2
Nov. 29: Phoenix 4, at Chicago 1
Dec. 5: Phoenix 4, at Chicago 3, SO
Feb. 11: At Phoenix 3, Chicago 0
Last 10 games
Phoenix: 7-1-2 | Chicago: 6-1-3
Phoenix: Lost to Detroit 4-0 (Western Conference quarterfinals) | Chicago: Lost to Vancouver 4-3 (Western Conference quarterfinals)