Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
Senior elected city officials in Glendale, Arizona, say they are exploring whether legal grounds exist for them to void an arena management contract with the Arizona Coyotes, an agreement that calls for taxpayers to contribute $15 million per year over 15 years to the flagging NHL club.
When the city council in Glendale voted to give the owners of the Coyotes $225 million (all U.S. dollars) over 15 years, the money was supposed to be used by the team to manage the 12-year-old Gila River Arena, where the Coyotes play their home games.
The deal helped narrow the losses of a club that sports investment bankers say is a perpetual money loser, bleeding some $50 million or more per year.
But nearly two years after council approved the controversial pact, city officials claim the money that cash-strapped Glendale is paying to the team's owner IceArizona is instead going directly to Fortress Investment Group, the New York-based asset manager which financed holding company IceArizona's purchase of the Coyotes.
from Sarah McLellan of azsports,
After lagging behind the other 29 NHL teams' resource pools for four years while the franchise was a ward of the league, the Coyotes are striving for equal footing. Actually, they already seem to be ahead of the curve when it comes to technology with this season being the first that each player has had his own iPad to utilize.
"I wish our record reflected that," said video coach Steve Peters. "I wish we were first place in the Pacific (Division) having this conversation saying, 'This was the key,' but I don't know where we'd be if we didn't."
This progress is best-viewed through Peters' eyes. When he started as the team's video guru in 1997, he worked with VHS tapes and notepads. It took him four-to-six hours to analyze one game.
Now, he logs more than 600 events — faceoffs, hits, break outs, etc. — in real-time during each game.
"The amount of information we provide them — it's staggering," Peters said.
No penalty on the play...
Kris Letang just can’t catch a break this season after a big check from Shane Doan caused the Penguins defender to fall awkwardly tail-bone first into the boards.
Blake Comeau may get a call from the Department of Player Safety after a careless check from behind on Andrew Campbell in the first period on Saturday.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
There was an overtime winner scored Thursday night in First Niagara Center that sent tons of folks home happy. It was accompanied by loud cheers with fans leaping out of their seats, many with arms in the air.
One thing was missing: The goal horn. That’s because the goal wasn’t scored by the Sabres.
It came from Arizona’s Sam Gagner and gave the Coyotes a 4-3 win over Buffalo in a game played through what has to rate as one of the most awkward atmospheres in franchise history.
In the bizarro world of Tankapalooza 2015, Thursday’s defeat rates as a major victory in the turtle race for 30th overall in the NHL. The Coyotes moved six points ahead of Buffalo in 29th place. Buffalo has a game in hand but only eight games left, including Monday’s rematch in Glendale, Ariz.
It looks like a huge deficit for Buffalo to overcome. The fact is, however, the masses’ obsession with Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel means they want no part of it getting wiped out.
via Lou Michel of the Buffalo News,
Nick Boynton, a former defenseman with the Boston Bruins and other NHL teams, might be a little delayed in getting to the announcer’s booth to give his commentary of action at Thursday night’s Sabres-Coyotes game at First Niagara Center.
Boynton is accused of causing a disturbance at the Buffalo Creek Casino on Wednesday night and fighting with Buffalo police officers assigned there to provide security.
“He was abusive to the staff at the casino, and when officers tried to take him into custody, he bit one of them on the finger,” a police source said.
Boynton, a 36-year-old native of Nobleton, Ont., was detained by police and will be charged with assault, criminal mischief and harassment.
Boynton joined the Coyotes’ broadcast team prior to this season.
GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- The Arizona Coyotes have issued the following statement regarding Nick Boynton.
"Early this morning, Coyotes radio color analyst Nick Boynton was involved in a situation at a Buffalo casino. A police investigation is underway. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and until the continuing legal process is completed, we will have no further comment. Mr. Boynton has been placed on a leave of absence."
from Amy Moritz of the Buffalo News,
The motivation in the Buffalo Sabres locker room is clear and simple: Avoid finishing last.
That may ruffle the feathers of some in the team’s fan base who actively want the Sabres to finish 30th, thereby guaranteeing them at least the No. 2 overall draft pick. But athletes and coaches are wired to compete and at this point in the Sabres’ season, the most attainable goal they can compete for is 29th place.
“For sure you want to finish as high as you can,” Sabres captain Brian Gionta said Wednesday afternoon after practice in First Niagara Center. “In a season like this you gotta find little things to set your sights on and that’s definitely one of them.”
The stakes for 30th place are high Thursday night as the Sabres host the Arizona Coyotes.
The Coyotes are coming off an overtime win at Detroit, putting them five points ahead of the Sabres. Buffalo has nine games remaining, Arizona eight. They will meet again on Monday night in Arizona.
“Nobody wants to be in the position our two teams are in. Not one player,” Coyotes forward Shane Doan said. “You’re embarrassed. You have to be. Nobody ever wants to be considered the worst. Obviously, both teams are considered the two worst teams in the league. That’s not a good feeling.”
from Sarah McLellan of azcentral,
The Coyotes opened up their books to the City of Glendale Friday, reporting losses from the 2014 fiscal year as approximately $34.8 million. But the actual loss from operating the franchise from the first year of IceArizona's ownership was lower than anticipated.
That loss came in at about $16.5 million, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said, which was a pleasant surprise for the ownership group since it expected its first-year hit to be at $20 million after acquiring the Coyotes in August 2013.
But it's the loss released to Glendale that counts toward the out-clause included in the 15-year, $225 million agreement between the city and the Coyotes. The out-clause can be exercised should losses reach $50 million after five years.
"(The out-clause) is absolutely something, I can't say more emphatically, we have not even talked about," LeBlanc said.
Will these types of hits ever stop?
Check out this dirtiness, as Blackhawks forward Joakim Nordstrom hits Coyotes’ best defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson from behind.
via Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
After the game, Tippett said Ekman-Larsson was day-to-day with a "not-too-serious" upper-body injury and he is hopeful Ekman-Larsson is ready to play Saturday.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Is it to early to conceive of an Arizona Coyotes’ line of Connor McDavid in the middle with fellow world junior teammates Anthony Duclair and Max Domi next season?
Not now, not after the Desert Dogs, who have very little bite left, losers of nine in a row and close to the worst team in the league today, shipped their second-best defenceman, Keith Yandle, Sunday afternoon to the New York Rangers. Glen Sather’s team has no interest in any lottery picks, only the Stanley Cup after getting to the final dance but falling to the Los Angeles Kings last June. So they sacrificed tomorrow for today, giving up gifted young winger Duclair, along with first (2016) and second-round (2015) draft choices.
It’s the biggest close-to-trade deadline deal so far because Yandle is only 28 years old.
Duclair, who plays for the Memorial Cup host Quebec Remparts, and Domi, the MVP of the world junior who plays for Dale Hunter’s London Knights, were starry linemates at the world junior over Christmas.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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