Tag:Brian Stubits
Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:07 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 11:47 am
 

Report: Sale to keep Coyotes in Ariz. almost done

By Brian Stubits

Last week there were reports of optimism being up in Phoenix regarding the sale of the Coyotes that has been in the works for about three years. I wondered if perhaps it wasn't a move in response to Seattle's arena announcement.

As the Magic 8-Ball says, sources say no. There was some real substance. And by sources I mean Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal.

The National Hockey League is close to putting the finishing touches on a sale of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey franchise to a group led by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison. That sale would keep the team playing in the Phoenix market.

The deal still has go through final approvals and due diligence as well as through the city of Glendale which owns Jobing.com Arena. But Jamison, the NHL and Glendale are close to a final deal, according to sources familiar with the hockey team.

The NHL is trying to keep the sale price at $170 million in part to help the value of other franchises. The league bought the Coyotes out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 for $140 million.

Now we've been to this point in the past regarding the sale of the Coyotes. Remember how close things were with Matthew Hulsizer at one point? However this is the first time for the group led by Jamison who, with due respect to Hulsizer, appears to have his p's and q's covered a little better.

The other interesting aspect of Sunnucks' report is this little tidbit.

The deal being hatched with Jamison could include some rebates and a fund to help cover the team’s financial losses. The Coyotes lose $20 million to $25 million annually.

That would help explain why somebody would be willing to invest in an organization that bleeds money. However it also brings up the concern that derailed the Hulsizer bid, the watchdog group Goldwater Institute. How many concessions can the city of Glendale give while avoiding their threat of a lawsuit?

At this point, fans in the desert will run with any good news they hear. It's getting down to the wire and this appears to be the most promising point in the negotiations in a long, long time. But hold the celebration (or anger if you're one of those who really wants to see the Coyotes moved) and wait for an official announcement. Too often these deals can fall through and we've already seen it in Phoenix.

But this from Scott Burnside of ESPN.com later on Tuesday is a perfect reminder not to count the chickens before they hatch, particularly with the Phoenix situation.

Everybody has to be glad this is winding down, one way or the other. It's been far too long that the Coyotes have been in this state of limbo but the league has proven at every turn to be hellbent on keeping the team in the desert.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 20, 2012 9:19 pm
 

Wings prospect arrested on sexual assault charge

By Brian Stubits

For the second time this season, a Boston University hockey player was arrested on sexual assault charges. The most recent case involved Sunday's arrest of defenseman Max Nicastro, a third-round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2008.

Here is the story from the Associated Press:

BOSTON (AP) -- Boston University says Max Nicastro, a defenseman on its men's hockey team, has been arrested on a sexual assault charge.

University police arrested Nicastro on Sunday on the Charles River Campus. BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins says his department and the Suffolk County district attorney's office are investigating.

The university says a female student accused Nicastro of sexually assaulting her. Robbins says the encountered happened on campus. Few other details were released.

Nicastro, a junior from Thousand Oaks, Calif., is being held on $25,000 cash bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Brighton District Court.

Athletic director Michael Lynch says Nicastro has been suspended from the hockey team pending the outcome of the investigation.

A university spokesman says he does not know if Nicastro has a lawyer.

Corey Trivino was the first player arrested back in December. The team's leading scorer, Trivino was thrown off the team after the allegations. He is a prospect of the Islanders.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 20, 2012 8:21 pm
 

Finnish goalie scored on after heading to bench

By Brian Stubits

Every time I see a goalie vacate the net for the extra attacker with a penalty looming, there's always a little part in me that is anticipating a puck going in the net. It never seems to happen.

Well I have finally seen it happen thanks to a gaffe in Finland this week. Sort of. Turns out it wasn't actually a delayed penalty, just a confused goalie.

I wish we could see a little of the before action on this video that caused goaltender Tommi Virtanen to bolt for the bench, but he shouldn't get all the blame here. There's nobody on his team or on the bench that's screaming at him to get back in the cage.

I'm just trying to imagine what was going through his head the moment that he saw the other team touch the puck and the play wasn't blown dead. I imagine it was some combination of disbelief and vulgarity. Probably more vulgarity.

H/t to Puck Daddy

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Category: NHL
Posted on: February 19, 2012 10:59 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 11:50 am
 

Clock controvery favors Jackets against Rangers

By Brian Stubits

It's a good thing the Columbus Blue Jackets aren't involved in a playoff race this season or else these clock issues would be killing the NHL.

For the second time in a month, the Jackets were involved in a last-second clock controversy in their game against the Rangers in New York. But this time the call went in their favor.

With the second period winding down, Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto beat Jackets goalie Steve Mason and it was originally called a goal. We'll let the Fox Sports Ohio broadcast crew take it from here.

Just in case that video's not working for you, the replays show the puck going in with either 0.1 or 0.2 seconds left. Yet the ruling was no goal, it came after the period had ended. Huh?

That's right, the clock that you see on TV and at games isn't the official clock. As disorienting as that is, the video replay booth is staring at the actual game clock on their feed and in this case, the MSG clock was just a touch behind the actual one, leading to this discrepancy.

Pretty amazing that here we are in 2012 and we still can't have the actual game time on the broadcasts or in the arena. It makes for some unnecessary controversies like this one.

Not to mention it only lends the league to strong criticisms and opens up opportunities for people to start conspiracy theories. This was a makeup call for the Jackets for the blown call in Los Angeles. See how easy that was? There's your conspiracy. Now have fun with it.

The NHL has been looking at the clocks since the infamous situation in L.A. that introduced coulombs and Dean Lombardi's brilliance to everybody. Colin Campbell told Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times that the league is fixing this.

“We will find a way to bleed the clock feed into the overheads now. We have implemented a few other items into the clock process as well to make sure there can be no burps.”

Obviously that hasn't been taken care of yet.

In the end, this turned out to be more or less insignificant. The Jackets did tie the game -- on a Rick Nash goal, no less -- and take it to overtime before losing. So the Rangers still got their two points and the Jackets got one that they likely wouldn't have picked up, but they're so far behind the other 29 teams it doesn't much matter. The only way the controversy will hear its read is if the Rangers fall into a tie situation and regulation wins are taken into account.

It's just something that needs to be fixed and ASAP. It's hard to keep having situations like this from an image standpoint.

H/t to Puck Daddy for the video

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 19, 2012 7:38 pm
 

Video: Canadiens honor Gary Carter before game

By Brian Stubits

The Montreal Expos might be gone, but there are still plenty of memories for the baseball team that became the Washington Nationals. None of their players were more recognizable as an Expo than Gary Carter, the first Expo inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame with the old M on his hat.

The Canadiens, always Montreal's biggest and most popular team, have taken to honoring the Expos since they left town last decade. They raised a banner to the crowded rafters for the Expos and even adopted their mascot Youppi! as the franchise's first.

So when the news came out this week of Carter's death to cancer, the Canadiens and Montreal decided to honor Carter at Sunday's game against the New Jersey Devils. The team took to the ice in warmups each wearing a No. 8 with the name Carter displayed on the back.

They also honored the legendary Expo with a moving video tribute on the screen before the game.

There aren't a lot of players who are identified so strongly with the Expos and Montreal baseball, so it was natural for the Habs to honor a memorable athlete from the city's otherwise hockey-filled past.

Carter played 19 seasons, mostly with the Expos and New York Mets and had 324 home runs in his career with a .262 career batting average, pretty dog gone good numbers for a catcher.

For more on Carter's death, see the Eye on Baseball blog with some great tributes to the Hall of Famer.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 19, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 8:43 pm
 

Wild give Brodziak three-year contract extension

Brodziak is on his way to a career high in goals this season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

It was a good day in Minnesota all around.

The Wild celebrated Hockey Day in America with a big shutout win over the Boston Bruins in NBC's marquee game. It was the first time since 1975 Minnesota had a regular-season game broadcast nationally on network television. Both goals were actually scored by Minnesotans and Niklas Backstrom was oustanding with 49 saves.

They kept the good vibes going after the game by announcing a three-year contract extension for center Kyle Brodziak. Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the contract is for $2.83 million per season.

"I’m really happy," Brodziak said. "Just happy it’s done with and now I can concentrate more on playing hockey.

"My goal as a player is to keep getting better every year. There’s definite belief in this organization. I want to be part of building it into a winning team. The culture is changing around here and I just want to be part of the future and helping to turn this around into a winning club."

This season Brodziak has 15 goals and 14 assists in 58 games. He's one shy of his career high in goals. One of the great things about Brodziak if you're going to make a three-year investment is that he's very durable. In his four previous full seasons he has played in 79 or more games each season.

Not too bad for a seventh-round draft pick by the Oilers back in 2003.

More fro Eye on Hockey

Wild's Peters suspended one game

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 19, 2012 4:53 pm
 

Wild's Peters suspended one game for cross check

By Brian Stubits

Warren Peters of the Minnesota Wild was suspended for one game by the NHL and Brendan Shanahan on Sunday for a cross check he delivered to the head of Blues captain David Backes on Saturday.

The check came in a post-play scrum where Backes was surrounded by three Wild players including Peters. It came in apparent retaliation for a Backes hit a moment earlier.

Peters only receives one game for the cross check to the side of Backes' head because not all of Shanny's naughty checklist was met. Backes didn't suffer any apparent injuries as a result and Peters doesn't have a disciplinary history to speak of. So the punishment is just one game.

I think this ruling carries a little bit of a hidden significance, however. It serves as a reminder that the NHL is looking at every game and every play with an eye out for these things. This wasn't a well-publicized incident at all. In fact, when it the suspension came down, I didn't even know what it was about.

In that way it is a small sign that they are serious in Shanny's offices, if that was even in question in the first place.

More NHL Discipline news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 19, 2012 4:38 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 8:48 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: No hating on Wings now

The weekend saw Detroit's home streak go from 21 in a row to 23. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

I took a lot of heat for suggesting last week that the Red Wings' home win streak, as impressive as it is, might be deserving of a little side not in the history books thanks to the shootout.

But even I'll concede now you can forget that. I said if the Wings continued to push out the streak it becomes a non-issue and you are just left in too much awe of what Detroit has done. They've done exactly that.

After failing in their last five regular-season games against the San Jose Sharks, the Wings instead finished off a six-game homestand with another win, a hard-fought 3-2 victory at the Joe. For those counting at home, and I'm sure that's most all of you, that's 23 consecutive home wins, three more than the previous record.

It all underscores a bigger point. Sure, the NHL record is great and all, but that's nothing more than a nice stat to go in the history books. Otherwise it means nothing. However it will mean something if the Red Wings earn the Presidents' Trophy, or at least the top seed in the Western Conference.

You look hard to find holes on this team. At one point you might have said it was the backup goaltending, then Jimmy Howard got hurt, Joey MacDonald was called up and he has proven he is capable of replacing Ty Conklin. More than capable, in fact.

Before the season the hole was glaring on the defense. That's why they brought in some players to help in that regard, although none seemed to be all that significant at the time, at least to me. Oops.

While one of those additions, Mike Commodore, has been sparingly used, you can't say the same for Ian White. Despite pretty solid career numbers, I wasn't too crazy about a guy who played on three different teams last season (Calgary, Carolina and San Jose). Apparently that was a silly worry.

He has been as solid a plug into their blueline group as anybody out there. He chews up more than 23 minutes per game, he contributes some offensively and is on pace to smash his career best plus/minus mark (currently he is plus-29). I know, I know, plus/minus doesn't mean much, but you'd rather have a player who is that far above zero than below it, wouldn't you?

Moreover, they have scoring depth. Who'd a thunk that Drew Miller -- no longer just the brother of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller -- would be on his way to 15 or so goals? He is one of the 10 Red Wings players who are in double digits in goals this season. That means there is little reprieve at any point in a game against the Wings.

More from the weekend
Recaps
Stories
More Eye on Hockey

Obviously you're a good team when you win 23 in a row at home. Clearly no slouch is going to get that done. But the biggest thing about this home streak for me is that it will contribute to them playing a lot more at home. Ironic, I know. But what really matters will be the home games beyond the guaranteed 41.

Philly's problem

This week the Flyers made not one but two trades to get help on the defensive corps. While the help was definitely needed, not a lot is going to get better if the goaltending duo doesn't improve.

A sight that has become all too familiar this season, Ilya Bryzgalov was yanked mid-game after Matt Cooke scored the all-too rare 3-on-5 goal. Sergei Bobrovsky came in and din't perform any better. Eventually it ended in a 6-4 loss for the Flyers to the intrastate rival Penguins.

But evidenced by the downpour of boos from the Wells Fargo Center faithful, this has been a season-long issue for Philadelphia. Heck, it's been a lot longer than this season, but it was supposed to be resolved when they brought in Bryzgalov.

His save percentage has been floating around .900 all season. Right now it's sitting square on that mark, the lowest of his career. His goals against average is up to 2.79. His only worse season was in 2008-09 when he gave up 2.98 per game with the Coyotes.

Needless to say this isn't what the Flyers invested so much into him for. You have to think that with the success the team has had despite the goaltending woes, if either one of the goalies could get it going and start playing up to an acceptable level at minimum, they could make some serious noise in the playoffs.

You just wonder if that's possible at this point, if it's in either goalie with the current situation, from the defense in front of them to the coaching. It's a conversation that continues to linger around the Flyers.

Just check out what the Flyers had to say, including Bryzgalov after Saturday's loss.

Hockey Day in America

So among all the American players playing on Sunday, who'd a thunk that Paul Gaustad would be the first to score on Sunday's Hockey Day in America?

Assuming you don't count Canadian-born Jason Pominville even though he does play for the American natonal team as a dual-citizen, it was his Sabres teammate that scored the first goal by an American. He barely beat Drew Miller in Detroit for that honor.

It was part of a rare breakout for the Sabres. It's been a big struggle for them this season in Buffalo, but they brought out the scoring sticks and pounded the Penguins 6-2. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't do much for Buffalo who is too far out of the playoff picture, but it was perhaps a nice audition for Gaustad in this month of the trade deadline.

He's not going to be as sought after as a lot of the other players, but some team seeking grit and toughness with a side of skill, Gaustad could fit somewhere. Just go back and watch his work on Evgeni Malkin on Sunday to get a sense of that.

Unlucky break of the weekend

Speaking of Hockey Day in America, one of the other big games of the day was the St. Louis Blues visiting the Chicago Blackhawks. It was also a big matchup in the Central Division as well.

As is the case with every Blues game, it was a low-scoring affair that turned with one bad break. This one going against the Blues.

The game-winning goal for the Blackhawks technically went to Dave Bolland, but if they could, it should have gone to the Blues' David Backes, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The centering pass shot off of Backes and he couldn't stop the puck from going in the net in time. The 'Hawks eventually potted an empty-netter for their third straight win after the nine-game skid.

Vancouver love

This year's NHLPA players poll voted the Vancouver Canucks as the league's most overrated team. Don't think I'd agree at all in calling them overrated. They were one game from winning the Cup last season and as we all know, only one team can win the Cup each season. I mean the Canucks have won the games to put them in the positions they've been in each postseason, it's not like it's a fabrication, they earned those points.

In fact, I'd say that this team doesn't get enough credit, at least in the States. They seem to be in the news a bit, but not often for their play. Yet all they do is win as DJ Khaled so eloquently said. This is the team that could take away from that Red Wings home-ice advantage in the West this postseason.

That's because they extended their points streak to 12 games after beating down the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 on Saturday in Vancouver. They are 9-0-3 in that time. They became the second team behind the Wings to reach the 80-point plateau.

Perhaps that overrated label has come from the fact that we expect this now. It might also explain why they are winning so quietly. Or maybe it has been the large amount of overtime and shootout wins, especially lately. But no matter the reason, people should probably pay attention.

Just can't Capitalize

Every time you think the Washington Capitals are going to get it going after a big and impressive win, they fall flat. It happened again this weekend.

They took two points from the division-leading Panthers on Friday night in a dominating effort, outshooting Florida by a wide margin. So how'd they follow that up? By looking like the Caps we've seen for the most of Dale Hunter's tenure ... being outshot and outchanced for the majority of the game and losing a low-scoring affair to the Lightning 2-1.

It seems every step they take forward they take one step back. It's why the Panthers are still sitting in first place in the Southeast with just 65 points. That's the seventh most in the Eastern Conference yet best in the division.

At some point if the Caps are going to make the playoffs they need to start stringing together a couple of these wins in a row instead of missing these chances.

Quote of the weekend

“I haven’t been on a vacation for 15 days,” Boudreau said. ”This is ridiculous. The East has no idea how lucky they are. And I think every team in the West should start with 10 points before the season starts.

“Eight games and 15 days. And I’m sure Pittsburgh goes through it, too. But when you have a four-game road trip in seven days, you’re coming home exhausted. We’re at seven days right now and this is just the halfway point in our trip.

“For a guy that’s played in the East or coach in the East as well, I don’t know how they do it,” he said. ”I really don’t. It’s quite a testament to every team in the West’s character for not griping as much as I’m doing right now about it.

“You don’t even know what hotel room you’re getting into. You forget the hotel rooms and everything during the course of the day on this trip. It’s pretty Wild. But it is what it is. You can’t use it as an excuse and you’ve got to keep going.”

-- Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on the travelling for his Anaheim team. It was technically said on Thursday, but hey, it's worth pointing out, particularly as the Ducks went from New Jersey on Thursday to Carolina on Friday and Florida on Sunday evening.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com