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Daily Archives: January 30, 2013

Greg Jamison’s bid to own Phoenix Coyotes ending in failure?

Posted on by Greg Wyshynski in Featured, News | Leave a comment

Getty Images“Who were the money men?”

That’s been the refrain whenever Greg Jamison has spoken about his ownership bid for the Phoenix Coyotes, and whenever the NHL has publicly backed his efforts. Commitment is great. Enthusiasm is great. Navigating the murky local political waters in Glendale is great.

But did Jamison actually have the funding to close this deal, ahead of a Jan. 31 deadline for the current lease agreement?

No, he didn’t, according to multiple reports. Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona cites multiple sources is reporting that Jamison has been “unable to assemble the money and investors” to close the deal, and that his bid to buy the Coyotes could be over when the deadline passes.

Scott Burnside also reports the bid doesn’t have the funding, and that a new group of investors is moving in to salvage the deal:

The new ownership group, which, according to sources, has arranged for financing that would allow for the purchase of the team from the league at a reported price of $170 million, is hoping to discuss parameters for a new lease agreement in the next few days, perhaps as early as Thursday.

The league has established no deadlines in relation to selling the team, although it’s clear a lease agreement between potential buyers and the city is integral to keeping the team in Arizona.

“It’s still a work in progress, and we’ll see how the week plays out,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com on Wednesday morning. If this new group and the city cannot come to an agreement on a lease agreement it likely would be the final act in the long drama that has been the Coyotes’ ownership sage.

And what a drama.

This saga stretches back to May 2009, when owner Jerry Moyes placed the Coyotes into bankruptcy, allowing Research In Motion co-founder Jim Balsillie to purchase the team for $212.5 million and get around the approval of the NHL to make the sale.

A court battle raged through the summer and finally saw Balsillie drop out of the bidding for the team in September after the court rejected both his bid and that of the NHL to own the team. Two months later, the NHL purchased the Coyotes for $140 million at auction.

Then came a parade of potential buyers. Ice Edge Holdings, an investor group that sought to play some Coyotes games in Canada, couldn’t close a deal. Matthew Hulsizer, a Chicago-based businessman, nearly had a deal but local politics in Glendale forced him to pull his bid. The NHL had Jerry Reinsdorf in the mix at several junctures, before Jamison stepped to the plate.

Now … another ownership group steps up.

Meanwhile, Seattle, Quebec City and the folks building an arena in Markham, Ont. watch intently.

Feeling for you, Coyotes fans. This stinks.

Ryan Callahan out up to 2 weeks; Shea Weber speaks; Blackhawks vs. Wild (Puck Previews)

Posted on by Greg Wyshynski in Featured, News | Leave a comment

Back by popular demand, here are your Puck Previews: Spotlighting the key games in NHL action, news and views as well as general frivolity. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

• Oh, nothing, it’s just Tim Stapleton (!!!) going coast to coach for a goal in the KHL.

Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. ET. The Blackhawks try and stay perfect on the season, while the Wild look to build off the momentum of their win against Columbus and thwarting of a 5-game losing skid. Here’s NBC’s setup for the “Rivalry Night” game, which doesn’t mention the irony in two non-rivals participating in said rivalry game.

Preview: Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa Senators, 7 p.m. ET. WE HAVE A PETER BUDAJ SIGHTING! Meanwhile, the Habs aren’t sure when P.K. Subban will be back in the lineup. The Senators are without the injured Jason Spezza and Craig Anderson is expected to start.

Preview: Edmonton Oilers at Phoenix Coyotes, 9:30 p.m. ET. It’ll be Chad Johnson, fresh off his first NHL shutout, facing Edmonton. The Oilers have scored a conference-low four even-strength goals, but that power play is a humdinger: 10 for 28.

Preview: Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET. Roberto Luongo gets the start for the Canucks, either because they inexplicably feel the need to showcase Roberto Luongo to other teams or because they don’t give a toss about your goaltending controversy. No Gabe Landeskog for the Avs. Mile High Hockey with some doom and gloom: “The Avalanche have been outscored 8-1 in the 105 minutes since that hit and have given up 7 (seven!) power play goals. Perhaps losing your two top penalty killers – Jay McClement and Dan Winnik – wasn’t the best idea ever after all?”

Check out previews and updated scores for all of today’s games on the Y! Sports NHL scores and scheds page. For tonight’s starting goalies, check out Left Wing Lock.

Evening Reading

• Today’s Marek Vs. Wyshynski, featuring Ken Campbell and Going Postal. [MvsW]

• New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan will miss 10-14 days with “a shoulder subluxation”, which sounds worse than it is. [NJ.com]

• Shea Weber on his early season struggles: “Everything is magnified right now with the short season,” Weber said. “We even talked about it before the season, that we couldn’t afford a slump or a lull. And obviously it’s happened. We have to try and find a way to correct it quickly.” [ESPN]

• Great stuff: “Trainer saves hockey player ‘two minutes’ from death” [Prep Rally]

• Hey, referees: Never ever call Soo Saint Marie fat. [Buzzing The Net]

Puck Daddy Reader Comment of the Day: On the Boston sausage tossing, via Johnny Appleseed:

A stick tap to the guy who initially said this: “It was probably a Jeremy-Jacobs paid for hot dog, too.”

Bold Prediction: Toews scores two goals, the Blackhawks move to 7-0-0.

Chicago Blackhawks’ penalty kill is killin’ it during undefeated start

Posted on by Greg Wyshynski in Featured, News | Leave a comment

Getty ImagesThere are currently three teams in the NHL that have given up one power-play goal through six games this season.

The Boston Bruins are one, in 28 times shorthanded (49:53). The New York Islanders are another, in 20 times shorthanded (39:04). The third are the Chicago Blackhawks, who having been shorthanded 23 times (39:28).

The Blackhawks are 6-0 entering their game at the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night, and thus far their PK has done a ‘180’ from last season, when it was 27th in the NHL with 51 goals allowed in 233 times shorthanded (78.1 percent).

The Blackhawks’ shorthanded unit winning them games. It was the reason the Blackhawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night, blanking the Wings on six power plays in the first two periods.

We haven’t seen a glorious kill in Chicago like this since De Niro and the baseball bat in “The Untouchables.” So what’s gotten into the Blackhawks’ special teams?

Corey Crawford Is In Beast Mode. The Hawks’ goalie has been good in every situation, but he boasts a .957 save percentage on the kill, best in the NHL for goalies with four or more games played. He’s also playing behind a pretty darn good blue line; Roto Arcade calls Crawford the quintessential “ordinary goalie in a super environment.”

Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik. Take two players primarily known for their offense, drop them down the lineup and put them on the penalty kill, and what do you get? Two really, really effective special teams players, apparently.

Kruger (3:17 TOISH/G) and Frolik (3:10) have been the Blackhawks’ primary forwards on the PK.

The Chicago Sun-Times chronicled the duo’s effectiveness, and the story behind their stellar play:

“We just try to outwork them as hard as we can,’’ Kruger said. ‘‘We take pride in doing the preparation before the game and [learning] everything about their power play. That’s an ongoing process all year, so we have to keep building on that.’’

With only five days of training camp and hardly any in-season practice time, Kruger and Frolik have spent extra hours watching video and talking with each other, hashing out the best ways to attack opposing power-play units.

“He’s a smart player, and we try to talk a lot on the ice and off the ice and try to get better every night,’’ said Frolik, who indicated their European backgrounds — Kruger is from Sweden and Frolik from the Czech Republic — has helped their chemistry. ‘‘We don’t have much time to practice those things, so we have to make sure we talk and do all those things.’’

Last year’s leaders on the PK among forwards, Jonathan Toews and Dave Bolland, are on second-unit duty this far this season.

How About That Jamie Kompon? Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Kompon was hired last July to replace the fired Mike Haviland and work with Mike Kitchen. He coached with Joel Quenneville in St. Louis. He earned praise for his work with the Los Angeles Kings penalty kill, a unit that allowed just six goals on 76 chances in their run to the Stanley Cup.

Apparently some of that playoff magic traveled East to the Blackhawks’ special teams – how long can it last?

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis concerned with Alex Ovechkin’s start: ‘He needs to play better’

Posted on by Greg Wyshynski in Featured, News | Leave a comment

Getty ImagesNo matter where Alex Ovechkin has played, he’s been underwhelming this season for the Washington Capitals.

Stick him with Nicklas Backstrom, and watch the top line unable to generate sustained offense with Ovechkin on the left or the right side. Stick him with Joey Crabb and Jay Beagle and … well, it’s not exactly like skating with the Sedins.

So Ovechkin has one goal and one assist on the season, playing to a minus-2. This has led to some concern from Caps fans.

Among them: Ted Leonsis, Washington’s owner.

“We’re concerned too,” he told WTOP Radio on Wednesday. “And I’m not sure scoring is going to be an issue, but it has been to date. Alex is off to a slow start, and I’m surprised because he did go play in the KHL. But he’s having to get integrated into this new system. We put him on the right side, and now he’s back on the left side.

“He needs to play better. I don’t have the answers, obviously; I’m not running the hockey operations. But if I did, if I knew what to do, I would go see Adam and George.”

Leonsis said Ovechkin was concerned about the transition between the KHL rinks back to the NHL ice after the lockout ended. Ovechkin had 40 points in 31 games for Dynamo.

“They have bigger ice. And when I saw Alex for those six days [of training camp], I mostly talked to him about his engagement, but I asked him what his biggest concern was and he said, ‘The KHL is different; the big ice to the smaller ice, I’m going to have to get adapted to, because you don’t have room to operate,’” said Leonsis.

So what’s wrong with the player that Leonsis has signed through 2021 and is scheduled to make $79 million over the next eight seasons?

“You know, he gets double-teamed all the time. He has to keep moving. That’s the one thing I’ve noticed when he doesn’t have a good game – he seems to be more stationary,” said Leonsis.

The Capitals have worked with Ovechkin on that last point, with two video coaches on staff this year: One for systems work, and one for individual players.

At this point, we’re in favor of seeing Ovechkin get time with Mike Ribeiro rather than Backstrom, just to see if that’ll get him going. But the Ribeiro line with Jason Chimera and Joel Ward is one of the units that was going well for Coach Adam Oates.