Report: New ownership group close to a deal for Phoenix Coyotes

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Thumbnail image for coyotes1.bmpRight when you think things are starting to get dire with the City of Glendale’s search for a new buyer for the Coyotes, something always comes up to reinvigorate chatter. Consider today to be that day. The Phoenix Business Journal reports that, once again, a new and unknown group demanding secrecy to better negotiate with Glendale has come out of nowhere to express serious interest in buying the Coyotes.

An undisclosed wealthy buyer is leading a new ownership group that is interested in buying the Coyotes from the NHL. The league has owned the team since October when it bought the Coyotes via Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Details of the new ownership group are very limited, though Glendale and the NHL could announce details and developments soon, according to sources familiar with the situation. The ownership group has asked for the city and league to keep negotiations private. The new buyer would keep the Coyotes in Glendale and is not a household name. In addition, sources say progress on the purchase is serious and substantial.

If you’ve been keeping up with this agonizing saga all along, you know that Ice Edge Holdings is the current front runner for the team and that they’ve been remarkably quiet all summer long in regard to buying the team. Don’t worry, they know all about this supposed new buyer and Ice Edge CEO Keith McCullough issued this statement:

“We understand another party that we have become acquainted with is in advanced negotiations with Glendale and an announcement could happen soon. If this occurs, we expect to continue to be involved with the Coyotes as an adviser for the foreseeable future.”

As always with news that concerns interested parties in buying the Coyotes stay tuned for further action, or inaction as things go. At least some folks can have some fun with the news, or lack thereof, when it comes to the Coyotes dealings as ESPN’s Scott Burnside had the Tweet of the Day:

No truth to reports out of Gong-dale that ‘mystery’ buyers for Coyotes include Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Dos Equis dude.

Stay thirsty for a new owner, my friends.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

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TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.