Blog Entry

Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

Posted on: April 5, 2011 3:25 am
The Phoenix Coyotes are a day or two from clinching a berth in the postseason, one that could very well dictate where the team lands up next season. 

The Phoenix Business Journal reported Monday evening that the longer the team remains in the playoffs, the more likely a deal can get done to keep the club in Glendale, Ariz. That’s because more games means more seats, hot dogs and overpriced beer purchased, which would lower the asking price for the financially strapped team. It would also give Glendale officials more time to sell the bonds necessary to allow Chicago investor Matthew Hulsizer to seize control and keep them in the desert. 

Winnipeg and Quebec City -- two of the likeliest places for the Coyotes to land up if a deal can’t get done -- could become huge Los Angeles Kings fans. (That’s who Phoenix would face in the first round if the playoffs began this morning.) Facing the Kings would be fitting since all the drama is fit for a Hollywood script, one that includes bankruptcy, threats of lawsuits, league stewardship and rebuffed efforts by rich Canadians to take the team back to Canada 

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  • Maybe since this has gone on for nearly three years, it’d more fit for a miniseries. How’s “Way North and Sout” sound?

    Of course, there’s little agreement on which NHL-jilted area would be best for the team. (This all remains in the “conjecture” category since the league hasn’t discussed publicly what happens if the Glendale deal falls through.) Coyotes forward Eric Belanger, for one, said he’d prefer Quebec City if the team were to move, comments that still reverberate in Manitoba. 

    “There are reasons why hockey wasn’t working in Winnipeg at the end  . . .  I don’t see how that would have changed,” Belanger told Sun Sports last week.

    In the end, the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix before settling in a new arena in Glendale. 

    Winnipeg Sun columnist Ted Wyman responded to Belanger on Monday: 

    Well, Mr. Belanger, a lot has changed since those days and Winnipeg is more ready for an NHL franchise than any other North American city, including Quebec, at this point.

    Winnipeg has all the ingredients in place for the return of an NHL team and has had for quite some time. It has addressed the biggest issues that forced the team to leave.

    There’s a relatively new downtown arena, built to generate revenue, and there are deep-pocketed owners who want to own a team in Winnipeg.

    All this again obscures the efforts of Phoenix coach Dave Tippett and his players, who about to secure a second consecutive season that ends in the playoffs. (The Coyotes can clinch as early as tonight by getting a point against the Los Angeles Kings.) The franchise hasn't gone to the playoffs in back-to-back seaosn in more than a decade. 

    Now to stay in Arizona, the Coyotes might have to do something they haven’t done since they arrived before the 1996-97 season: get out of the first round. 

    The Phoenix Business Journal, citing sources, reports how crucial that might be:
    Those sources say once the Coyotes are eliminated from title contention, the NHL will have to start looking at its watch in terms of when it might pull the plug on the deal here. That then opens up the team to a sale to a lurking Canadian investment group that’s ready to buy the Coyotes and move them back to Winnipeg.

    The NHL has worked hard to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix despite numerous roadblocks, and will not pull the plug on a deal here until after the Coyotes season ends.

    The league could hold off on a Phoenix decision until the Stanley Cup finals are over — whether or not the underdog Coyotes are in the finals or not.

    Speaking of a Hollywood ending, the Coyotes hoisting the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in their first trip to the final could be something that not even Roland Emmerich would put in one of his disaster flicks. That’s just too unbelievable. Right?

    New York Rangers 5, Boston 3
    San Jose 6, Los Angeles 1 

    -- A.J. Perez
    Since: Dec 2, 2011
    Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:37 pm
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    Since: Aug 19, 2006
    Posted on: April 6, 2011 5:24 pm

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

     The Sabres need to generate their own fanbase, they have the population. It's not even the same country, why should Canadian fans have to cross the border to watch an American team play? It's ridiculous. Hamilton is easily the best option among cities with no NHL team. 

    Since: Aug 21, 2006
    Posted on: April 6, 2011 2:15 am

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

    If the Coyotes do have to move, fine. Send them to Winnipeg or Quebec City. Keep them the heck out of Hamilton. Our rival is Buffalo, not Hamilton. I loathe the Sabres, but I don't want to see them go anywhere.

    Since: Apr 5, 2011
    Posted on: April 5, 2011 11:37 pm

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

    Stable ownership, like who are you trying to kid. He wants to buy the team with taxpayers money and isn't prepared to gamble with his own.This whole fiasco isn't about Phoenix being a good city for hockey,for clearly it is not, it's about Glendale politicians who built a whit elephant of an arena out in the sticks and nobody wanting to drive out there  to watch hockey.  The NHL might pull this off and keep the team in Glendale, but you got to worry how long Hulzizer will stick around if he is throwing his own money down the toilet. NO buisnessman with half a brain will risk his money in a deal like this and as long as Glendale will pay the freight he will stick around. Once the gravey train comes to a halt, he will be gone.This deal is just too stupid, the Canadian owners have enough money to buy the whole bloody league if they want. Sorry Phoenix, hockey will be dead in the desert.

    Since: Nov 3, 2010
    Posted on: April 5, 2011 9:41 pm

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

    Can't disagree and most hockey fans would like to see the Coyotes stay in Phoenix and sell our game down there. Certain parts of Canada can certainly sell out 41 games a year but I don't see it happening as long as Bettman is commish. It's really too bad the Coyotes are in such a pickle cause I'd love to see some success for Maloney and Tippet. They've done a fantastic job and it's overshadowed by the ownership mess. One could argue that Slip and Dave are the best GM/Coach tandem by a landslide for the last 2 years.  Good luck in the playoffs.

    Since: Aug 7, 2009
    Posted on: April 5, 2011 5:59 pm

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

    "If" the team does move back to the North, it won't be as the Jets or the Nordiques. The league will rename the team to sell more merchandise. If Canada has the hockey fans you claim, and I am not disputing that, the NHL won't want them pulling their old sweaters out and going to games. They would want you to buy new.

    Since: Aug 7, 2009
    Posted on: April 5, 2011 5:52 pm

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

    Attendence here in the desert has sucked the last couple of years, but with 4 major sports to choose from, great weather year round, but most importantly ownership issues for the past couple of years who could blame the fans. Why throw money and your heart into a team if you don't know they are going to be around? Face it, with a stable ownership group and enough transplants in the Valley, hockey can make it. Attendence was good until the strike year, a guy by the name of Gretzky and a lousy businessman ruined the franchise.

    Keep dreaming Canada. The Coyotes are staying in the desert for many years to come!

    Since: Nov 3, 2010
    Posted on: April 5, 2011 4:20 pm

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

    The one reason Quebec would warrant a team is to enjoy watching the Habs get their asses handed to them by an inter-provincial rivalry. So many years watching the Habs get physically owned by the likes of Moller, Mann, Gillis, Wilf P, Gordy Donnelly and the list goes on and on. Granted, they lost many games to the Habs but kicked the piss out of them every time they played. Boston is doing a nice job now of embarrassing the Habs but it stung that much more from a Nordique. I wish the league would go back to 21 teams but know that ain't gonna happen any time soon.

    Since: Nov 3, 2010
    Posted on: April 5, 2011 4:09 pm

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

    Great call! Agreed on all accounts. I played for 2 years in Peterborough and 20+ years scattered across Canada and Northeast US, and can safely say there aren't too many places that love and intimately know their hockey like Peterborough. Honourable mention to Kingston, The Soo, Toronto and my first Junior B city Lindsay, home of the defunct Bears.

    Since: Aug 19, 2006
    Posted on: April 5, 2011 3:47 pm

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

     Winnipeg and Quebec both had their shot at a team, are we really at the point where we have to start recycling old cities? Bettman should grow some balls (which he won't obviously) and tell Toronto to suck it up and put a decent team on the ice if you want to keep your fanbase. Hamilton would give them an incentive to actually not suck.And Buffalo needs to attract fans from their own country and not rely on Canadians.

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