Tag:Phoenix Coyotes
Posted on: June 7, 2011 2:30 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 3:54 pm
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Bryzgalov eyeing Flyers, Lightning and Caps?

We're still a few weeks away from free agency beginning and have the draft to come first, but the rumor mill is starting to spin.

Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov could be on his way out of the desert -- especially after the Coyotes just re-signed Jason LaBarbera -- so the question is where will he go? His services will be highly sought after considering he's one of top goalies available.

According to a report from Russia's Sport-Express (thankfully it was translated by a Sports-Exchange reporter on Twitter), the leaders for his services are the usual suspects: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Washington.

The first two have some questions in net, but the Capitals are a little surprising. They seem to have serious promise with three youngsters in Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov and Braden Holtby. The other teams, though, have some issues to solve in net. The Lightning's two goaltenders (Dwayne Roloson and Mike Smith) are both able to hit the free market and the Flyers, well, they have been trying to solve their net issue for a few years. The hope is that Sergei Bobrovsky can be the answer, and he certainly could be, but his stumbles down the stretch raised questions.

The other big name available this offseason in goal is Tomas Vokoun, who is yet to sign an extension with the Florida Panthers. It will be interesting to see which of the two goaltenders will be the first target, setting the way for the other. Both had comparable numbers this last season (Vokoun .922 save percentage/2.55 goals against, Bryzgalov .921/2.48) and figure to have the same suitors and comparable contract offers.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 6:11 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg



NHL hockey is back in Winnipeg.

True North Sports and Entertainment completed a purchase of the Atlanta Thrashers early Tuesday morning and will move the franchise to Manitoba. The transaction still needs to be approved by the NHL Board of Governors, although that could come as early as their next meeting on June 21.

“As we have said repeatedly, we don’t like to move franchises,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a news conference at the MTS Center on Tuesday. “But sometimes we simply have no choice.”

Winnipeg lost the Jets to Phoenix in 1996. The Thrashers are the first NHL team to relocate since the Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997. This is the second time Atlanta has lost an NHL franchise; the Flames moved to Calgary in 1980.

It's not clear yet what the team will be called. True North will pay $170 million to complete the transaction, which includes a $60 million relocation fee that is distributed among the other 29 franchise.

“A name has not been chosen,” said True North Chairman Mark Chipman “We know that subject is of great interest to the community, but we have not fully engaged it yet. It’s obviously one of the first orders of business that we will turn ourselves to now. We will do so very thoughtfully and should have some news on that in the very new future.” 

STUBITS: Who will move in realignment?

True North Sports president Jim Ludlow said the team aims to sell 13,000 tickets by the Board of Governors meeting in three weeks and introduced a website to take the orders. The base price for tickets range from $39 to $129 per game, comparable to ticket prices in Ottawa and Edmonton.

“I think it would be a good idea to tell the Board of Governors as quickly as possible that there is nothing to worry about here,” Bettman said. “The economics or running a franchise, particularly in this building and this market, require the support of having the predictability that season-ticket holders will give you.”

Chipman said while the 13,000-seat, season-ticket threshold hasn’t been imposed by the NHL, “it’s an objective we both think is necessary and achievable”

Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levenson said an agreement to sell and move the team isn’t ideal, but was the only path after an ownership group willing to keep the team in Atlanta could not be found.

“Our objective was always to find a solution to keep the team in Atlanta, and we spent a considerable amount of time, effort and resources trying to do so,” Levenson said in a news release. “This is not the outcome we wanted and it’s extremely disappointing that a buyer or significant investor did not come forward that would enable us to keep the team in Atlanta.”

Times are much different now -- not only for downtown Winnipeg, but the league --- than they were when the NHL left town.

“We were extraordinarily unhappy when we left in ’96,” Bettman said. “We had no choice. That’s why with the celebration here there is obviously regret what’s happening in Atlanta. To be able to come back to place we know loves NHL hockey (and) to be able to do it in a city that has changed, a collective-bargaining agreement that has leveled the playing surface, with this building and this ownership. These were factors that didn’t exist in ’96. To be able to come back and right a wrong is an extraordinary thing.”

A couple Tharshers players took to Twitter to thank Atlanta Tuesday afternoon. 

"Thanks again. I will miss the great people and city of Atlanta," wrote Thrashers left winger Evander Kane.

"Our time was short Atlanta but thanks to all the fans and their support," Thrasher right winger Blake Wheeler wrote.

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Associated Press
Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:42 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 3:25 am
 

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers



The Thrashers aren’t headed to Winnipeg -- at least just yet.

Multiple sources told CBSSports.com Thursday night a report that a deal is in place to sell and move Atlanta’s NHL franchise to Winnipeg is at best premature. One source with knowledge of the negotiations said talks between Thrashers ownership group, Atlanta Spirit, and Winnipeg’s True North Sports and Entertainment have progressed, but not to the point where both sides had an agreement in place.

The Globe and Mail reported that an agreement had been reached by the two sides Thursday. Winnipeg --- which lost the Jets to Phoenix in 1996 --- would again be home to NHL hockey. The newspaper reported that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman “is expected to travel to Winnipeg to make the news official.”

Scott Brown, a spokesman for True North, said in an e-mail that the report "is not accurate."

The Thrashers, however, remain on the block and it doesn’t look like a viable ownership group willing to keep the team in Atlanta has emerged. Atlanta Spirit and True North have been in talks for several days and it looks like the Winnipeg group looks to be the frontrunner.

True North had sought to acquire the Phoenix Coyotes, but Glendale (Ariz.) officials opted to pay the league as much as $25 million to cover the operating costs for the 2011-12 season. The group’s attention then reportedly turned to the Thrashers.

Bettman said in a radio interview Wednesday that he was “not aware” of any imminent deal to sell the Thrashers.

"There has been so much speculation,” Bettman said during the first intermission of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on TEAM 1040-AM on Wednesday night. “How many people in your line of work were reporting the Coyotes were going to Winnipeg? Where is that coming from? It’s made up. It didn’t happen. The minute the Coyotes made it clear it clear they’re staying, we’re on to Atlanta.”

On his weekly radio show Thursday night, The Associated Press reports Bettman reiterated no deal has been made to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg, saying "I can tell you that with certainty."
 

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: May 18, 2011 11:23 pm
 

Gary Bettman says don't buy into Winnipeg hype

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he is “not aware” of any looming deal that would see the Atlanta Thrashers move to Winnipeg.

“There has been so much speculation,” Bettman said during the first intermission of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on TEAM 1040-AM on Wednesday night. “How many people in your line of work were reporting the Coyotes were going to Winnipeg? Where is that coming from? It’s made up. It didn’t happen. The minute the Coyotes made it clear it clear they’re staying, we’re on to Atlanta.”

There reports out of Atlanta aren’t figments of our imagination. The Thrashers’ ownership group, Atlanta Spirit, has suffered tumult for several months the parties appear very motivated to sell both the Thrashers and possibly the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. True North, an ownership group based in Winnipeg, has worked with the league for a couple years in attempt to get a team back to that market and reportedly is in talks with Atlanta Spirit of acquiring the Thrashers.

“True North is going about their business and they’re taking a businesslike approach,” Bettman said. “We are pleased with that, but there’s nothing to report. . . . I never say never about anything. There is no deal right now.”


-- A,J. Perez
Posted on: May 16, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 11:23 pm
 

Reports: Winnipeg group in talks with Thrashers

It appears Atlanta is close to losing its second NHL team.

The Thrashers owner Atlanta Spirit are in negotiations on a deal with True North Sports and Entertainment, , The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore reports citing a person familiar with the process. The deal would include relocation to Winnipeg, which lost out on the Phoenix Coyotes after Glendale (Ariz.) agreed to pay the NHL as much as $25 million to cover expenses for the 2011-12 season.

Here’s more from Vivlamore:

A deal has not been completed and it is also not known how long the two sides have been negotiating. However, the fact that talks are on-going negotiations could mean the Thrashers would relocate to Manitoba perhaps as soon as next season.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, reach via e-mail, said there was "nothing I'm prepared to say at this point." A True North Sports and Entertainment spokesperson had no comment.

Technically, NHL owners do not have to seek league approval to sell a franchise. However they would have to get permission to negotiate with a party interested in relocation. Once an agreement in principle has been reached, the NHL’s Board of Governors would be asked to judge the acceptability of the new ownership.

Negotiations began after a buyer willing to purchase the Thrashers and keep the team in Atlanta could not be found.

It's been a messy ownership situation for years since a fraction grew within the controlling group. We chronicled some of the attempts to keep the team a few weeks ago. There was also talk that former Braves pitcher Tom Glavine was interested in buying the team. Those fronts have been quiet of late.

This is almost exactly what happened three decades ago. The Flames’ ownership group in financial straits announced in May 1980 that it was headed to Calgary after no ownership group could be found locally.

This stands to be the first NHL franchise to relocate since the Hartford Whalers, who left Connecticut for North Carolina and became the Hurricanes, in 1997.

Since getting a new arena built -- the lack of one was the impetus for the exodus from Winnipeg in 1996 -- the fans in the former NHL city have been dying to get the big leagues back in town. Relocation has been a very popular topic across the league in recent years, with the Coyotes having been rumored to be on the move for a couple of years now, starting with Blackberry owner Jim Balsillie, who was denied in his attempt to move the franchise to Hamilton, Ontario. Southern markets like these two at hand and others with lower attendances have long been the targets for those hoping to get back into more traditional markets.

True North is expected to have to pay as much as a $60 million relocation fee.

But this may not be over. Expect the league to do whatever it can to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta much like it did in Phoenix. The league just signed a 10-year deal with NBC/Comcast worth $2 billion and NBC/Comcast won’t be thrilled to lose a top-10 TV market to Canada.

-- A.J. Perez and Brian Stubits
Posted on: May 11, 2011 2:06 am
Edited on: May 11, 2011 3:08 am
 

Coyotes to remain in Glendale for 2011-12 season

The Phoenix Coyotes will remain in the desert for at least one more season.

The Glendale (Ariz.) City Council voted 5-2 to pay the NHL as much as $25 million as part of an interim deal to keep the franchise around for the 2011-12 season after at a raucous hearing that went late into Tuesday night. The vote clears the way for Glendale officials to continue work on a new lease deal for Jobing.com Arena with Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer.

"This is an important step toward a final resolution and a transition to the permanent ownership the Coyotes need and deserve," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said (via NHL.com). "We set our sights now on finding a financing structure which will accelerate that transition. We are confident that, working with the City of Glendale, we will attain that objective.

"We thank the City of Glendale for its unwavering commitment to the National Hockey League and to the Coyotes. We have the same level of commitment to the City of Glendale and this franchise, as our efforts of the past two years should clearly demonstrate."

There are still plenty of obstacles that remain to keep the Coyotes in Glendale for the long term, but the team won’t be returning to Winnipeg next season. 

Ice Edge Holdings dropped out as a minority partner in the proposed purchase of the Coyotes earlier in the day, which further complicates a process that has stretched on for more than three years. 

A proposed $100 million bond sale by the city to secure its part of the deal with Hulsizer also faces a potential lawsuit from the Goldwater Institute, a conservative watchdog group. 


Before the vote was taken, The Arizona Republic details how contentious it was as nearly 300 people jammed the chamber:

During a meeting break, a resident began shouting about the city's debt burden, which is higher than most cities of the same size.

"This city is bankrupt!" the man shouted.

Coyotes fans immediately silenced him with boos.


The Coyotes were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs, but Daly told the newspaper ticket sales, season ticket renewal rates and revenue were all up this season. 

-- A.J. Perez
Category: NHL
Posted on: April 28, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 2:18 pm
 

Glendale receives $25 million bill from NHL

The struggle goes on in Glendale to keep the Coyotes.

The latest news is that the NHL has sent the city a bill for $25 million to cover the team's losses this season. If you'll remember, the NHL took ownership of the team while it and the city have been looking to land an owner that would keep the team in Arizona.

Now the $25 million won't come as a shock to the city. It promised a year ago that it would have the same amount of money set aside to cover such losses so long as the city was given more time to find an owner. The hope for the city was that it wouldn't have to spend the money set aside, that a new owner would foot the bill.

It looked like Matthew Hulsizer would be that new owner, but the process has hit more than a few snags. After all, nothing about hockey in the desert is easy. A local watchdog group took exception to some of the city's role in the ownership situation, which has been part of the reason the process has been gummed up. However, officials for Glendale are hopeful a new deal is close.

It's unclear how much longer the city will be given to close a deal to keep the team in town. Commissioner Gary Bettman has been patient, rebuking Jim Balsillie's attempt to buy the franchise and move it to Hamilton, Ontario. But many speculated that was more to block a move to put another team in Toronto's footprint. The most recent rumors were that the team would be on its way to Winnipeg at the end of the playoffs.

Stay tuned.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: April 21, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 2:25 pm
 

Bryzgalov not interested in moving to Winnipeg


The minute the Coyotes lost -- OK, well before they lost -- it was rumored a move to Winnipeg would be next for the struggling franchise. That's been the topic of discussion and the fear among Coyotes fans. Apparently it's a fear among some players, too.

Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, a large reason Phoenix has reached the postseason the last couple of seasons, isn't interested in being a Jet.

Courtesy of the Winnipeg Sun

"You don't want to go to Winnipeg, right?" Bryzgalov said after the Coyotes lost to Detroit, Wednesday night. "Not many people live there, not many Russian people there. Plus it's cold. There's no excitement except the hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It's going to be tough life for your family."
It's an interesting take, to say the least. It validates what some say, that, even though the fan support and interest aren't there, some players like playing in Southern markets where it's warm and hockey isn't the only draw in town. You would think a Coyote, who had to listen to his "home" crowd cheer when he surrendered any score to the Red Wings, might like the idea of a fervent fan base behind him.

So if the Coyotes do become the Jets -- or whatever nickname they would take -- what's next for Bryzgalov, a free agent this offseason? His home would be in play.

"I better go to somewhere in Russia, KHL, to be honest. Because KHL is Russian people, it's family, friends. Even as a cold place, I can speak to people in Russian language."
Losing Bryzgalov would be a blow for the franchise, but I don't think the fans in Winnipeg would be taken off their cloud if they get a team back in town. But just know, Coyotes fans, you aren't alone in not wanting the team to leave the desert.

-- Brian Stubits

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