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)
Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs is sick and tired of being blamed for the Coyotes’ sluggish sale process. And that, for the record, is the exact same lead sentence we used in early December, which should tell you how the sale process has gone since then.
The NHL owns the Phoenix franchise and so far has been unable to find an owner to keep the team in Glendale, where the team plays in the city-owned Jobing.com Arena.
Scruggs reiterated her “it’s not up to us, it’s up to the league” stance today in The Arizona Republic, telling the newspaper, “We are not in control and quite honestly, I’m kind of tired of everybody pointing to us and making comments that the city of Glendale can’t get the job done. We have no control over it and I think probably the NHL is very happy that writers and reporters continue to point to the city of Glendale for not getting the job done because it takes the attention directly off them.”
City council will meet behind closed doors today for an update, though there might not be much of one.
Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs is sick and tired of being blamed for the Coyotes’ sluggish sale process. There’s nothing the city can do about it, she says. It’s up to the NHL to figure out a deal with Greg Jamison, Jerry Reinsdorf or whoever wants to buy the league-owned team.
“The matter really rests in the hands of the NHL,” Scruggs told the Glendale Star. “We’ve made our decision and it’s up to the NHL, and we don’t have anything to talk about until a potential buyer proposes a change.
“We, as a council, have discussed the arrangement with the potential bidders, and we know what would work for us and what won’t work for us. We have reviewed the proposed terms of the agreement, heard the terms of the agreement and considered these. Mr. Jamison is trying to finalize a deal, and he’s extremely serious, and knows what he’s doing. He’s diligently working to put a proposal together, and I have not heard one statement, except from the Canadian press.”
You can’t blame Scruggs for getting testy. This whole thing’s been a humbling experience for Glendale, home to publicly-funded Jobing.com Arena, University of Phoenix Stadium and a MLB spring training complex.
It was only three years ago that the New York Times was quoting an optimistic Scruggs about her sleepy city’s aggressive foray into the sports-facility business.
“In 1999 and 2000, you would have been hard pressed to convince me that government should be getting involved with professional sports and all the hoopla that goes with them, all the glamor and whatever,” Scruggs told the Times. “But I was really wrong.”
Wonder if she’d like a mulligan on that comment.
Lucky for Scruggs the NHL is still working to keep the team at Jobing.com Arena when the league could’ve easily thrown in the towel by now.
“We’re continuing discussions with a couple of potentially interested purchasers,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said this week. “We’re going to continue with that process and, ultimately, the goal continues to be to transition ownership locally in Glendale.”