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I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.
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Bettman to Arizona reps: ‘Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale’

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wrote a letter to Arizona lawmakers pledging support for Arizona Senate Bill 1149, stating his belief that it would be key in “the NHL’s commitment to keeping the Arizona Coyotes in the Greater Phoenix market.”

The juicier stuff comes a few paragraphs later.

” … Let me be abundantly clear: the Coyotes’ current location in Glendale at Gila River Arena is not economically capable of supporting a successful NHL franchise.”

The underline was Bettman’s emphasis, not that of PHT. The letter then puts this portion in bold, and it’s easy to see why:

The simple truth? The Arizona Coyotes must have a new arena location to succeed. The Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale.

Well then.

Sportsnet’s John Shannon caught up with a league source who maybe dulls certain dreams of a more dramatic relocation, or at least delays such thoughts:

If you’ve been following along through the twists and turns of the Coyotes’ arena situation, you know that this is the discordant song that never ends. So it’s no surprise to see a prediction of a solution taking “years.” Many of us are starting to assume that it may span our lifetimes or even generations.

This follows bad news about arena financing back in late February, while Bettman echoes strongly worded messages from ownership to Arizona politicians from back in last May. Beyond that … well, this stuff has been going on forever.

Even if some of this feels like old hat (like a beat-up baseball player’s crusty cap, honestly), it’s startling to see such resoundingly direct language used when dry legalese would normally do.

You can read more about Bettman’s reasoning, including repeated statements about things not working out with Glendale, in the letter.

Fight video: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare vs. Nicolas Deslauriers

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The Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers will need a spark if they hope to make a playoff push. Getting the win would be the best way to do it, but maybe a fight will get things moving?

Either way, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Nicolas Deslauriers engaged in a pretty solid bout during Tuesday’s game on NBCSN. It wasn’t a marathon like Tanner Glass’ recent showcase against Luke Witkowski, yet it’s still worth a watch.

Deslauriers also worked the crowd going afterward:

Bruins’ Ryan Spooner out indefinitely with concussion

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The Boston Bruins announced some unfortunate news on Tuesday: Ryan Spooner is out indefinitely with a concussion.

Spooner had generated 10 points in his last 13 games, even showing some early chemistry on a third line with Frank Vatrano and Drew Stafford. CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty also notes that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy had just spoken glowingly about the Bruins’ good health of late.

“Full health is important this time of year. You want to field your best lineup as much as possible, and to have depth to move guys in and out of the lineup to create some competition, which is good,” Cassidy said. “When guys know they have nobody pushing them to get in the lineup, you would hope they wouldn’t get comfortable, but it’s human nature sometimes.”

Well, uh, they don’t need to worry about getting too comfortable. Here’s a peek at what the Bruins’ lines might look like:

The Bruins promoted Austin Czarnik from the AHL in Spooner’s absence.

WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo Sabres

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It’s been a while since a Buffalo Sabres – Philadelphia Flyers game had this much on the line in early March.

Now, it remains to be seen if either team has a chance to make a genuine playoff push (the odds are stacked especially high against Buffalo), but both squads can at least ponder such a possibility as of Tuesday. Winning this one would be another step in making that dream a more feasible goal.

The Flyers lost their last game while the Sabres have dropped their previous two, so each team also wants to get back on the winning track.

You can watch the game on NBCSN, online and also via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.

Coyotes to host Pat Tillman Military Appreciation Night on March 31

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The Arizona Coyotes and USAA announced that they’ll host Pat Tillman Military Appreciation Night as part of a game against the Washington Capitals on Friday, March 31.

The Coyotes will honor the former Arizona Cardinals player, who left the NFL in 2002 to serve in the military. The Pat Tillman Foundation was created in his honor following his death in Afghanistan in 2004.

Every Coyotes player will wear a no. 42 decal in Tillman’s honor, while the team will do the following to benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation:

The first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a Coyotes camo themed bandana courtesy of USAA and Pepsi. Additionally, $5.42 of every ticket purchased through the following link: Arizonacoyotes.com/Tillman (promo code: TILLMAN) will benefit the Tillman Foundation.

For more information on the event, click here.