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All Hockey News, Pacific, Phoenix Coyotes

NHL in Seattle gains momentum thanks to new ownership, arena site (Puck Daddy)

Posted on 27 April 2015

“Most people don’t realize how close we were to actually getting an NHL team.”   That was Mike McGinn, former mayor of Seattle, speaking to the Seattle Times last October. One year earlier, the Glendale City Council approved a lease agreement that kept the Phoenix Coyotes from potentially relocating. That potential relocation site? Seattle, according to the Times: Three sources with knowledge of negotiations confirm the Coyotes would have been bought by New York investment banker Ray Bartoszek and his partner Anthony Lanza and moved to Seattle as soon as the following day — playing up to three seasons at KeyArena — had the vote not passed. Two sources with first-hand knowledge have confirmed New York investor Bartoszek had moving trucks on standby to relocate the team to Seattle. They say a Seattle financing specialist had helped Bartoszek line up local investors to own a small piece of the franchise. The Coyotes didn’t move, but both Bartoszek and the National Hockey League didn’t give up their desire to have a team in Seattle. The issue, as always, was the arena: Chris Hansen’s group secured a site and funding from the city for a building that had an NBA tenant first. The deal would have to be amended for hockey. Seeing as how there are no current relocation options in the NBA, which also isn't looking to expand yet, the entire process has stalled.  But what if an arena was built on another site? Craig Custance of ESPN.com reports that Bartoszek’s group , RLB Holdings Sports and Entertainment, is looking at the city of Tukwila near Seattle to build an arena for an NHL expansion team. From ESPN: He has partnered with basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell, former Seattle SuperSonics captain Fred Brown and former MulvannyG2 CEO Jerry Lee -- instrumental in land acquisition -- to bring an arena to the Seattle area." This is the very early stage," Bartoszek said when reached by ESPN.com. "It's a routine request in the early stages of a potential real estate project." … The proposed Tukwila arena site is immediately off Exit 1 of Highway 401, east of the West Valley Highway near the Sounder Station, providing for both highway and light rail access. It's roughly a 10- to 15-minute drive from downtown Seattle and near the Seattle airport. That last bit is vital. After Sunrise, Glendale and Kanata, the NHL’s Board of Governors isn’t keen on arenas that aren’t centrally located within large cities. Hansen’s site would be the preference; but Tukwila could have much less red tape to cut in anticipation of expansion by 2017 or 2018. From Chris Daniels of KING 5, a must follow on this story: I can tell you that Ray Bartoczek has been working on this for MONTHS and thinks site, adjacent to light rail line, is a winner. #NHL — Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) April 27, 2015 RLB Holdings, which is Ray Bartoszek's company, says arena would be built entirely with private funds. #TukwilaArena — Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) April 27, 2015 The six page letter, obtained by KING5, shows RLB has filed a "code interpretation request" with Tukwila that the arena is a permitted use. — Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) April 27, 2015 According to the Seattle Times in 2013, “Bartoszek is a resident of Greenwich, Conn. and graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point in 1986. He made a fortune as an oil trader for Glencore International, a Switzerland-based giant commodities trader. His wife, Lydia, is a Seattle native.” He’s a lifelong New York Mets fan who became part owner of the Yankees in 2011 after they failed to become minority owners of the Mets. The NHL has continued to push behind the scenes to make Seattle work. Ideally, they’ll have two Western Conference expansion teams in Las Vegas and Seattle by the end of the decade. But in both situations, there’s a long road ahead to that end.  Continue Reading

All Hockey News, Central, Detroit Red Wings

Quincey returned with playoffs in mind

Posted on 27 April 2015

DETROIT — Kyle Quincey had a decision to make on July 1. Stay in Detroit with the team that drafted him and where he has played 186 games of his career, or test the waters of NHL free agency. Comfortable with the group and the organization, Qui... Continue Reading

All Hockey News, Atlantic, Philadelphia Flyers

Dallas Eakins emerges as Flyers’ coaching candidate

Posted on 27 April 2015

It’s important to look beyond his won-loss record at talent-starved Edmonton to see his positives. Continue Reading

All Hockey News, Pacific, Phoenix Coyotes

Calgary Philharmonic salutes Flames’ first-round win during encore (Video) (Puck Daddy)

Posted on 27 April 2015

The city of Calgary spent Saturday night celebrating the Flames’ series-clinching win over the Vancouver Canucks. Fans took to the streets with giant cut-out heads of Bob Hartley, Brian Burke and players as the party on the Red Mile went all night. While the celebrations were on-going, The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra had a sold out show of their own minutes away from the Saddledome and congratulated the Flames in their own special way during the encore of Carmina Burana. Via Damian Gillies : Did you ever think in your life you’d hear the names of Deryk Engelland, Josh Jooris or Brandon Bollig during a performance of O Fortuna ? Aside from showing some city pride, a number of the Philharmonic’s musicians and staff are big hockey fans, even competing in an annual playoff pool where Lord Stanley’s Nacho Platter has been handed out every postseason since 1989. We’re looking forward to the Flames eliminating the Anaheim Ducks in Round 2 and wondering how the Calgary Philharmonic can work in a Boring Monahan bit into the William Tell Overture next. Stick-tap Reddit - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:     Continue Reading

All Hockey News, Northwest, Vancouver Canucks

Canucks reassign Baertschi to Comets

Posted on 27 April 2015

Vancouver, B.C. – Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have reassigned forward Sven Baertschi to the AHL Utica Comets. Baertschi, 22, has appeared in two playoff games as well as three regular season g... Continue Reading

All Hockey News, Pacific, Phoenix Coyotes

Canucks pick Jake Virtanen suspended for headshot in WHL playoffs (Buzzing The Net)

Posted on 27 April 2015

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All Hockey News, Northeast, Toronto Maple Leafs

Marcel Pronovost passes away at 84

Posted on 27 April 2015

It is with great sadness the Toronto Maple Leafs learned on Sunday of the passing of Marcel Pronovost. He was 84 years old. Pronovost was born on June 15, 1930 in Lac la Tortue, Que. His family then moved to Shawinigan Falls, Que., where he be... Continue Reading

All Hockey News, Atlantic, Pittsburgh Penguins

Dump Ken Hitchcock or gut the core for St. Louis Blues? (Puck Daddy)

Posted on 27 April 2015

Like spoiled milk, moldy cheese and that Russian dressing that’s been on the fridge door since the Bush administration, Ken Hitchcock has an expiration date.  His first head-coaching job in the NHL remains his longest tenured one: Seven years with the Dallas Stars, 503 games, with a Stanley Cup and two Western Conference titles. Then came four years and 254 games with the Philadelphia Flyers before being fired in 2006. Then came four years and 284 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets before parting ways in 2010. He’s coached the St. Louis Blues for four seasons and 281 games. Time’s up. Look, there’s no denying the effect Hitchcock had on this franchise. His systematic structure produced four straight playoff years – Year 1 had him taking over for Davis Payne after 13 games – with the Blues twice finishing first and twice finishing second. But their six-game bow to the Minnesota Wild is the third straight season that they’re out on their asses in the first round. This year’s loss came at the expense of the best roster, on paper, that GM Doug Armstrong has given his coach. And it wasn’t against the Kings or the Blackhawks. It was against a team they should have beaten. This core hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt that it can succeed, but it’s time to find out if it can with another voice. There’s a reason Hitch hasn’t lasted more than four years in his previous two stops, and it’s because like other coaches from the same mold – that late Pat Burns and the hated Mike Keenan come to mind – there’s a finite amount of time these guys have the players’ attention and motivation. Did you watch the Blues vs. Wild series? Was there anything you saw that would indicate they’re jumping in front of a bullet for their coach? The idea of “message fatigue” is a very valid thing in the NHL. How many times have you seen a gruff coach replaced by a players’ guy, or vice versa? That’s the direction I imagine the Blues go in if they opt not to bring back Hitchcock – please keep in mind any parting of ways would be mutual, as Hitch doesn’t have a contract for next season – but the question is whether they actually go in that direction. There are two paths here for the Blues, and they eerily mimic the decisions that the other stumbling disappointment of dashed expectations in the Western Conference faced last summer – the San Jose Sharks. The Blues have a good coach. He gets results in the regular season. His postseason results? Not so good, especially based on expectations. The Blues have two players at the heart of their lineup who have been there for years – David Backes and T.J. Oshie. They’re beloved by fans. They’re leaders on the team. They’re vital members of the community. They’re really, really good guys. But their playoff numbers, and lack success, could be as scrutinized as those of their coach. (It’s not a perfect parallel, as Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton’s postseason performances far outshine those of Backes and Oshie, but just stick with me here.) Backes had one goal and one assist against the Wild, giving him two goals and four assists in his last 16 playoff games. Oshie … well, let us know when he shows up for the first round. One goal and one assist in six games, and we might have noticed Steve Ott more than him this series. He does have five goals in his last 17 postseason games, but he’s also a minus-10. So the question then becomes whether you save face by changing the face of your team. Backes goes unrestricted next summer and is 31; he’s been with the Blues since 2006. Oshie’s only 28 and has been with the Blues since 2008. If you believe the core is the problem, then you take a melon baller and scoop out these two this summer. They both have enormous value. Maybe it’s just not going to happen in St. Louis. Or maybe it will, with a new voice behind the bench. As I said, the next move would be for a players’ guy. Todd McLellan has been mentioned, as he will be for every job, and once you get past the utter hilarity of the coach of the Western Conference’s OTHER annual heartbreaker taking over the Blues, he’s a good fit. Dan Bylsma probably intrigues me the most. Replacing Hitchcock would be akin to replacing Michel Therrien with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Factor in his history with players like Backes, Oshie, Paul Stastny and Kevin Shattenkirk, and it’s a compelling fit. Former Devils coach Peter DeBoer would fit that bill too. He’s an outstanding coach, with a bit of swagger, and that’s never a bad thing. Look, it’s not an easy decision to move off Hitchcock. Ask the Penguins what it’s like to jettison a successful coach for the sin of playoff underachievement. There are going to be those who point to the Blues’ goaltending as being the culprit this time, as Jake Allen gave up three softies in the series and was pulled in Game 6. As Jeff Gordon wrote: This was the last time this collection of players and coaches will work together. Disaster brings consequences. Change is inevitable, perhaps significant change. “It’s terrible right now,” Allen said. “To get a chance to win a Stanley Cup, it doesn’t happen too often in your career. Especially with a team like this.” So Allen earned his spot on the Pantheon of Blues Goaltending Failures, joining the likes of Ryan Miller, Chris Osgood, Roman Turek, Jon Casey, Curtis Joseph (Keenan Era only) and, of course, Jaroslav Halak’s balky groin muscles — famously fragile body parts that have their own special place in franchise lore. That’s quite a collection. But here’s the thing: Jake Allen could learn from this. Hitchcock said that himself. He’s 24, this was his first rodeo, and maybe he comes back older and wiser and better. Hitchcock has no room to grow. This is the ceiling for himself and the Blues. Jake Allen could have been Jacques Plante in this series and it doesn’t change the fact that, yet again, this group under Hitchcock scored four goals in their four losses. Take out the six-goal explosion in Game 4, and the Blues scored eight goals in five games. So once again, it’s goaltending and a lack of goal scoring. Same crap, different year, and something’s gotta change. We imagine it’ll be behind the bench before it’s anything substantial from the roster Armstrong’s built. Hitchcock will be fine. The Maple Leafs, Sharks and Flyers are three teams that might throw money at him if he's available. And why not: The next expiration date is in 2019... MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY: Continue Reading

All Hockey News, Atlantic, New Jersey Devils

Quenneville’s five-point night fuels Wheat Kings

Posted on 27 April 2015

John Quenneville and the Brandon Wheat Kings couldn’t have asked for a better start to their WHL Eastern Conference Final. Quenneville recorded two power-play goals, three assists and was plus-3 in Friday’s 9-4 rout of the Calgary Hitmen in Ga... Continue Reading

All Hockey News, Boston Bruins, Northeast

Jake Virtanen up in the air for trailing Hitmen: the coast-to-coast (Buzzing The Net)

Posted on 27 April 2015

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All Hockey News, Southeast, Tampa Bay Lightning

Where to watch Lightning-Red Wings Game 6: TV, streaming information

Posted on 27 April 2015

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All Hockey News, Atlantic, New York Rangers

What We Learned: How bad is NHL officiating in Stanley Cup Playoffs? (Puck Daddy)

Posted on 27 April 2015

(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) The big complaint about these playoffs is that a lot of penalties are going uncalled, and how much that's affecting play. Anecdotally, this is happening a lot. Guys get taken out of the play, or even slowed up, by a hook or obstruction in the neutral zone, and what should have been a 3-on-2 that might have resulted in a scoring chance all of a sudden becomes a 2-on-2 that very much doesn't. Now, what isn't mentioned when people complain about this stuff is that this is part of a larger trend that's been going on for a while now. In terms of what is and is not being called, it's become pretty obvious over the last few years that refs are putting the whistles away, to an extent never before seen in the league. We don't have data from earlier than 1962-63 on this kind of stuff, but this year's 3.06 power plays drawn per team per game is the lowest in that time — we're talking 52 years — by a pretty wide margin. Only 1977-78, at 3.19 power plays each comes close. So it's fair to say that refs are letting a lot go to begin with. And as a result, the number of power play goals scored per team per game has slowly slumped as well (the blue line below), while there has been next to no change in teams' ability to score on power plays (the green line is league-wide power play percentage). Continue Reading

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