Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Josh Cooper of PuckDaddy,
We talked to Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc about the Coyotes. Their future in the desert – either in Glendale or maybe Phoenix – and how he sees the team moving forward, now that the lease stuff is behind them for at least two years.
Q: With all the issues you’ve had with the City of Glendale, can it indeed work there?
LeBlanc: It’s been a difficult summer. It was a tough summer. We’re through it. We’re past it.
I think we’ve come through this fine. There’s the mending of the relationship that needs to happen, but that began on the day of the vote a couple of weeks ago. I do think it works here, but look, it’s only a two-year deal. It would be foolish for us to not listen to expressions of interest of other potential spots in the Valley, but we do believe in Glendale. We always have. We think it’s a tremendous hockey arena. This is a great development. The Westgate development, most people don’t understand unless you’ve been here. It’s a little bit of a drive outside of Scottsdale or Phoenix, but it’s not to the level people think it is. I made a joke yesterday (at an event at Arizona State) that the arena is not on Pluto. It took me 20 minutes to drive from my office in the arena to Arizona State, which is on the other end of the Valley in Tempe. We’re in Glendale. It’s not that far.
People always talk about North Scottsdale and the wealth of North Scottsdale, there’s really no difference in the drive to Glendale vs. downtown Phoenix. It’s just a perception. I’ve said this all along that people look for excuses to not go when the team is not playing particularly well. I experienced this in Ottawa. My house was in downtown Ottawa. There were nights when that drive from downtown Ottawa to the Corel Centre, that drive felt like it took three hours on certain nights when the team wasn’t playing particularly well.
But it zipped by when I was going to playoff games.
Our issues, I really don’t think are geography. It affects us more when we have a season like last season. But when this team plays well, look at that four years ago when the team went to the Western Conference Final. You couldn’t get a seat in the building in the playoffs. Nobody had a problem driving out to Glendale. It’s fodder, it’s stuff people talk about and it is what it is.
via Justin Bourne tweets,
So, the last-in-Metro Hurricanes game plan to make it work next season is more or less "have the same players just like, do better," hey?
They should have about as many lottery balls as anyone next season, I'd guess. Probably AZ/BUF back in that mix too?
(Prepares for the [wrong] "actually I don't think Buffalo will be bad" responses.)
from David Satriano of NHL.com,
Here are four other reasons for optimism in Arizona:
Oliver Ekman-Larsson: The 25-year old established himself as one of the best defenseman in the NHL in the past two seasons. Ekman-Larsson had a career high 23 goals and 43 points, including 20 power-play points, and led NHL defensemen in goals and power-play goals (10) last season. He also scored in the clutch, with seven game-winning goals, including three in overtime.
"He is, in my opinion, one of the best defensemen in the NHL and continuing to grow," general manager Don Maloney said. "I think his game, from an offensive standpoint, he continues to drive our offense. But people don't appreciate even his defending ability because he gets matched up against the best players on every team every night, and he is just growing in front of our eyes.
"I think there's still tremendous upside for Oliver. It's really his intellect, his puck-moving ability and his skating that stand out. He's a cornerstone on our blue line. We need to get another one or two like him back there and then we will be a team to be reckoned with."
Prospects on the rise: The Coyotes may have been thin up front last season, but they're loaded with young talent ready to make the jump to the NHL. Led by 2013 first-round pick Max Domi and 19-year old Anthony Duclair, Arizona should be faster and more skilled.
"Obviously Max Domi is ahead of the pack in regards to we know he's mature, we know he's got a strong body, he has a skill set that we lack," Maloney said. "Anthony Duclair came [to development camp], this was his first time to the Valley and first time on ice in a Coyotes uniform and he just wowed us with the skill and the speed and the execution just in his puck game. We haven't seen that pure speed and talent."
Maloney said forward Nick Merkley (the 30th pick in the 2015 NHL Draft) was one of the most impressive players at development camp in July, and Christian Dvorak (the 58th pick in 2014) was the most ready to compete for an NHL roster spot among the players who have junior eligibility remaining.
from Sarah McLellan of azcentral,
The Coyotes still have a few items left on their wist list -- namely a puck-moving defenseman -- but General Manager Don Maloney doubts any more changes will hit the roster before it is set to debut at training camp in the fall.
"There are still a lot of players out there," Maloney said Thursday. "If anything, I can see maybe some tryouts coming our way. The good thing for us we still have roster flexibility. We have some payroll flexibility, but I'm just adamant not to shore up a roster with any more one-way contracts unless it's a very good deal."
After watching the talent brewing in the pipeline at the team's prospect development camp earlier this month, team brass is eager to see how many youngsters can legitimately contend for a job in the NHL. If the candidates become slim, the team isn't opposed to exploring outside options at that point.
But the possibility of prospects competing for roster spots is enticing; actually, despite also coveting another winger, Maloney said he'd probably rather add a mobile defenseman instead of a winger because of the exciting youth currently in the team's forward group.
Even so, the Coyotes are still keeping a pulse on the market.
"We're still talking, more kicking tires," Maloney said.
from Darrell Preston and James Nash of Bloomberg,
Hockey was probably always going to be a longshot in the desert. But nobody expected what’s playing out in sunny Glendale, where the city’s done the unthinkable to the Arizona Coyotes.
Tired of doling out $15 million a year in subsidies, the Phoenix suburb last week abruptly cut its payments to the National Hockey League franchise by more than half. The move, pretty much unheard of in professional sports, was the latest blow for the Coyotes, the league’s third-lowest in attendance last season, holder of the worst win-loss record in the western conference and the butt of jokes.
What Glendale did “is almost the exact opposite of what happens in these extortion situations,” said sports economist Victor Matheson of College of the Holy Cross. “Typically the team extorts more payments out of the taxpayers.”
The city canceled its stadium lease contract with the Coyotes in June, done with funneling so much to them as part of the deal even as it was cutting municipal services and raising the sales tax.
from Peter Corbett and Katy Roberts of the Arizona Republic,
Hockey will return to Gila River Arena this fall after the Glendale City Council this morning unanimously approved an amended two-year agreement with the Arizona Coyotes.
The deal, approved on a 7-0 vote, settles a six-week legal dispute between the city and the team. The new agreement cuts Glendale’s up-front cost from $15 million to $6.5 million but also shifts $6 million of ticket and other revenue to the Coyotes.
The amended contract will save Glendale close to $3 million per year, Interim Assistant City Manager Tom Duensing said.
Council members and Coyotes President Anthony LeBlanc said they hope to work out a longer-term deal between the city and the team.
Vice Mayor Ian Hugh encouraged hockey fans to buy season tickets.
“Hockey is here to stay in Glendale,” Hugh said.
GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- The Arizona Coyotes and the City of Glendale announced today that the two parties have agreed on a resolution to their ongoing legal dispute. The City of Glendale will release details of the proposed amendments to the existing arena management agreement this morning on the city’s website, http://www.glendaleaz.com/. The Glendale City Council will vote on the amendments to the agreement on Friday, July 24 at Glendale City Hall. Details of that city council meeting are also posted on the city website.
added 12:45pm, via Morgan tweets,
If Council approves amendments, city & team will reach settlement that will keep Coyotes at Gila River Arena for at least next 2 seasons.
Per terms of deal, Coyotes would collect all hockey-related revenue that previously went to COG (naming rights, tix surcharges, parking rev)
City would pay $6.5M a year to Coyotes to manage arena. Out-clause that was part of the original 15-year, $225M agreement would be removed.
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Arizona Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have signed forward John Scott to a one-year contract. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
The 32-year-old Scott recorded 3-1-4 and 87 penalty minutes (PIM) in 38 games with the San Jose Sharks last season.
The 6-foot-8, 260-pound native of Edmonton, Alberta has totaled 5-5-10 and 517 PIM in 274 career NHL games with the Sharks, Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed right wing Brian McGrattan to a one-year contract through the 2015-16 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
McGrattan, 33 (9/2/81), has appeared in 317 career NHL games with Ottawa, Phoenix, Calgary and Nashville, collecting 10-17=27 points with 609 penalty minutes (PIM). A native of Hamilton, Ontario, McGrattan set numerous career highs with Calgary in 2013-14, including goals (4), assists (4), points (8), shots on net (79) and games played (76). He was originally acquired by Anaheim on Feb. 27, 2011 with defenseman Sean Zimmerman from Boston in exchange for center Stefan Chaput and right wing David Laliberte. McGrattan played 20 games with Anaheim’s primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL) that season, recording 6-4=10 points with an even plus/minus rating and 56 PIM with Syracuse.
Hours after legal depositions in its lawsuit against the city, fans got the chance to grill the Arizona Coyotes management about the team's future.
The team hosted a town hall quad for fans at the Ice Den in Scottsdale Tuesday night.
Many took the opportunity to urge the owners to move the team back to downtown Phoenix.
"Don't fight this golden opportunity, cut your losses, save some money," said one season ticket holder.
Another 'Yotes fan suggested finding an investor to help cut ties with the city of Glendale.
Below, watch a video from the town hall meeting... (if the video doesn't load for you, it is also in the linked article.)
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org