Tag:Phoenix Coyotes
Posted on: April 20, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 6:21 pm

Another step taken to keep Coyotes in Arizona

The Phoenix Coyotes could be eliminated from the postseason via a sweep by the Detroit Red Wings tonight, but their future in Arizona may not come to quite as an abrupt end. 

The Goldwater Institute -- a public interest group that has threatened a lawsuit to block the sale of $100 million in bonds that would help keep the Coyotes Jobing.com Arena -- has agreed to meet with Glendale officials on Thursday, The Phoenix Business Journal reports. The meeting with Glendale officials, however, won’t be open to the public.

“One way to ensure transparency is to have journalists present, which is an option the city declined,” Goldwater Vice President Starlee Rhoades told the publication. “However, to ensure transparency, we have agreed to have a neutral third-party transcript of the conversation made available to the public and members of the press. We are pleased to be meeting with Glendale in this open manner and look forward to sharing the results of the meeting with you.”

The league -- which has funded or directly run the team for more than two years -- has attempted for months to find a way to keep them in Arizona. A current deal with Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer is contingent on that bond sale. 

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on a Toronto radio station Wednesday that the league won’t be off to “Plan B” -- widely speculated to mean a move back to Winnipeg -- immediately after thhe Coyotes are eliminated (via the Globe and Mail): 
"It's not really a fair question," he said. "And the speculation that we've been holding some announcement waiting for them to stop playing is absolutely wrong. We're still focused on trying to make it work in Phoenix.

"And I hope we're successful. Obviously when the Goldwater Institute killed the deal, it was a huge setback. Nobody expected them to do that. We didn't think it was right that they did it, but the focus is still on making it work.

"Do we have an infinite amount of time? The answer's obviously not. But we haven't been holding an announcement waiting to see when the Coyotes are done playing, I assure you of that."

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 5:09 pm

Preview: No. 3 Detroit vs. No. 6 Phoenix

We’ve been here before, right? The Coyotes, a team that has unanswered ownership issues, against the Red Wings, a team that now reached the playoffs 20 seasons in a row. The first-round series went the distance last season before the Wings cruised to a 6-1 victory in Game 7. The Coyotes' top scorers in that series, Wojtek Wolski, is now with the New York Rangers, but many of the combatants remain the same. The teams split the season series. 

Here’s the breakdown: 

Forwards: Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings’ top-scoring forward (80 points), will miss Game 1 of the series, his third consecutive game on the sideline after he suffered a lower-body injury. There are other veterans --- like Tomas Holmstrom, Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk – who can step in and fill the void. The Coyotes lost the services of Shane Doan in Game 3 of last year’s series to a separated shoulder.  Doan was again the Coyotes’ most reliable scorer, although that’s not saying a lot. He was their only 20-goal scorer and led the team with 60 points. The Coyotes were in the middle of the pack in scoring (14th, 2.76 goals per game). Edge: Detroit. 

Defense: Nicklas Lidstrom is still around, so that just about automatically makes the Wings’ one of the top defensive teams in hockey. But while he’s still garnering some Norris Trophy consideration, Lidstrom, who turns 41 at month’s end, had a negative plus-minus (minus-2) for the first time in his career. The Wings, who allowed the 23rd-most goals per game (2.89), were banged up this season. Brian Rafalksi missed time this season with a knee injury and back spasms and Niklas Kronwall is just getting back from an upper-body injury. The Coyotes are led by defenseman Keith Yandle, who was second on the team in scoring with 59 points, and have veterans Adrian Aucoin and Ed Jovanovski to help anchor a Phoenix defense that allowed 2.68 goals per game (tied for 12th-lowest) this season. Edge: Phoenix. 

Special teams: This could be the biggest difference in these two teams in the series. If the Wings get Zetterberg back, they’ll have one of the league’s most potent scorers on the man advantage. He had 10 goals and 20 points on the power play this season. Holmstrom and Franzen also chipped in 10 goals on a power play that was fifth-best (22.3 percent) in the league. Phoenix’s PK killed off a middling 78.4 percent of changes, 26th overall in the league. The Coyotes’ power play also wasn’t all that impressive. It ranked 23rd in the regular season 15.9 percent, led by Doan (11 goals) and Radim Vrbata (10). Edge: Detroit. 

Goalies: Jimmy Howard will be the man in the crease for the Red Wings again this playoff season. There is no real fallback position for Wings coach Mike Babcock since Chris Osgood is likely done for the season after hernia surgery and Joe MacDonald has no playoff experience. Howard's numbers this regular season (2.79 goals-against average and .908 save percentage) were off from last year’s marks, but you could chalk that up to a an ever-changing defense in front of him because of injuries. Likely because he’s in Phoenix, but Ilya Bryzgalov remains of the most underappreciated goalies. He’s often the reason the Coyotes find themselves in games since they allowed the third-most shots per game (32.6). Edge: Phoenix. 

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: April 10, 2011 11:07 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 4:31 pm

NHL Playoffs: Western Conference breakdown

No. 1 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 8 Chicago Blackhawks 

Season series: Chicago 2-2 ; Vancouver 2-1-1

Player to watch: Daniel Sedin, F, Vancouver Canucks. The twin of last year's Hart Trophy winne, Henrik, turned in another stellar regular season, leading the league in points (104) and assists (75). He’s averaged better than a point per game over the last two postseasons. 

X-factor: The Blackhawks’ energy level. The Blackhawks, like any Stanley Cup winner, had the shortest summer in hockey. Celebrations, a day with the Cup and all the ancillary rewards can take their toll. Then you lose a good chunk of the team via salary cap moves and you struggle to remain a contender all season. Chicago eventually needed a Dallas Stars loss Sunday to make it in. Let’s see what they have left. 

Game 1 - Wednesday (10 p.m.) Chicago at Vancouver                
Game 2 - Friday (10 p.m.)  Chicago at Vancouver                
Game 3 - April 17  (8 p.m.) Vancouver at Chicago                
Game 4 - April 19 (8 p.m.) Vancouver at Chicago                            
*Game 5 - April 21 (10 p.m.) Chicago at Vancouver                
*Game 6 - April 24 (8 p.m.) Vancouver at Chicago                
*Game 7 - April 26 (TBD) Chicago at Vancouver                

No. 2 San Jose Sharks vs. No. 7 Los Angeles Kings

Season series: Los Angeles 3-3-0; Jose Sharks 3-1-2

Player to watch: Joe Thornton, F, San Jose Sharks. Thornton took only a couple faceoffs over the last five games of the regular season, although the center said on a conference call with reporters that could change in the playoffs. (As is the case, nobody is calling the move off the faceoff dot was caused by an injury.) He scored his 1000th NHL point earlier this weekend and had 70 points (21 goals and 49 assists) this season. 

X-factor: The Kings’ offense. Los Angeles lost its two top scorers -- Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams -- in closing weeks of the regular season. It’ll be up to Dustin Brown, Ryan Smyth and Dustin Penner to pick up the slack. 

Schedule:   Game 1 - Thursday (10 p.m.) Los Angeles at San Jose                
Game 2 - Saturday (10 p.m.) Los Angeles at San Jose                
Game 3 - April 19 (10:30 p.m.)  San Jose at Los Angeles                
Game 4 - April 21 (10:30 p.m.) San Jose at Los Angeles                
*Game 5 - April 23 (10:30 p.m.) Los Angeles at San Jose                
*Game 6 - April 25 (TBD) San Jose at Los Angeles                
*Game 7 - April 27 (TBD)  Los Angeles at San Jose                

No. 3 Detroit Red Wings vs. No. 6 Phoenix Coyotes

Season series: Detroit, 2-1-1; Phoenix 2-0-2

Player to watch: Shane Doan, F, Phoenix Coyotes. The last Winnipeg Jets player left on the Coyotes missed the final four games with a separated shoulder when these two teams clashed in the first round a season ago. He was the Coyotes’ only 20-goal scorer this season and led the team with 60 points. 

X-factor: Will Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg make it back? He missed the final two regular season games with a lower body injury, and coach Mike Babcock told reporters Sunday that he doesn’t expect him back for the start of the series. He led the Wings with 80 points (24 goals and 56 assists). 

Game 1 - Wednesday (7 p.m.) Phoenix at Detroit                
Game 2 - Saturday (1 p.m.) Phoenix at Detroit                
Game 3 - April 18 (10:30 p.m.)  Detroit at Phoenix                
Game 4 - April 20 (10:30 p.m.) Detroit at Phoenix                
*Game 5 - April 22 (7 p.m.) Phoenix at Detroit                
*Game 6 - April 24 (TBD) Detroit at Phoenix                
*Game 7 - April 27 (TBD) Phoenix at Detroit                                          

No. 4 Anaheim Ducks vs. No. 5 Nashville Predators

Season series: Anaheim 1-3-1;  Nashville 3-1-0

Player to watch: Corey Perry, F, Anaheim Ducks. He’s the only player to reach 50 goals this season. Sure, he plays on arguably the best line in hockey, but he did have to carry things when Ryan Getzlaf was out about a month with a sinus fracture.

X-factor: The Ducks’ goalie situation. Dan Ellis, acquired before the deadline from the Tampa Bay Lightning, could be the starter by default. Starter Jonas Hiller returned for one game (March 24) after a 15-game absence due to vertigo and went on to miss the final eight games. Ray Emery suffered a lower body injury in the penultimate game of the season and his status is also not clear for the playoffs. It's certainly not nearly as stable as Nashville, who have a Vezina candidate, Pekka Rinne, healthy in net. 

Game 1 - Wednesday (10:30 p.m.)  Nashville at Anaheim                          
Game 2 - Friday (10:30 p.m.) Nashville at Anaheim                          
Game 3 - April 17 (TBD) Anaheim at Nashville                
Game 4 - April 20 (TBD) Anaheim at Nashville                
*Game 5 - April 22 (10 p.m.) Nashville at Anaheim                
*Game 6 - April 24 (TBD) Anaheim at Nashville                        
*Game 7 - April 26 (TBD) - Nashville at Anaheim   

* - if necessary 

All times Eastern
Posted on: April 9, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: April 9, 2011 2:22 am

Dallas Stars' keep (slim) playoff hopes going

Dallas Stars forward Mike Ribeiro's attempts to make it back to the bench as regulation ticked down spoke enough about the importance of Friday night's game. 

Ribeiro dropped to both knees with 19 seconds left to block a slap shot from the Colorado Avalanche forward Mark Olver. The shot caught him above the knee and after a couple attempts to make it to the bench, he lay face down on the ice as time expired in the Stars' 3-2 victory. 

It was a win the Stars needed to stay alive in their hunt for the playoffs -- and they had to do it in regulation or overtime since the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings, 4-2, earlier in the evening. That means the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference won't be settled until Sunday, the last day of the regular season.

“We have one game left,”  Ribeiro told reporters after the game. “We have to take care of what can control. We can't control what happens to the other games. . . . It's a good thing that we won. We keep the dream alive and keep believing we can still get in there.”

The Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks also won Friday to clinch playoff spots, leaving the path through the 'Hawks as the only one that will lead to the playoffs for the Stars. 

The Blackhawks still can lock down eighth seed and avoid becoming the second reigning Stanley Cup champ over the last 72 years to miss the playoffs by getting at least a point against the Detroit Red Wings. (The game will be on NBC at 12:30 p.m. ET) If the Blackhawks lose in regulation, the Stars then could get that last seed with a victory in regulation or overtime. Both would finish with the same amount of points (97) and they would also be equal in the first tiebreaker, regulation and overtime wins (38). The Stars, however, hold the second tiebreaker, a better head-to-head record. 

Ribeiro gave some flack to Steve Ott, who lost that last faceoff, but it doesn't sound like he could be kept out of Sunday's game. 

“For sure it's not a muscle because I don't have much of those,” smirked Ribeiro, who had a goal and an assist in the game. “I'm sure it going to be a bruise. For the last game, I'll play that one. If I can walk, I can skate.”

-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Associated Press
Posted on: April 5, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 4:00 pm

Playoff Watch: Clinchers all around tonight

WHO CAN CLINCH: The Philadelphia Flyers can clinch the Atlantic Division with a victory over the Ottawa Senators tonight combined with a win by New Jersey Devils, who face the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers can also win the division with an overtime or shootout loss to the Sens coupled with regulation loss by the Penguins. 

The Washington Capitals can clinch the Southeast three different ways:
  • a regulation victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs
  • a point against the Leafs via a shootout/overtime loss and a Tampa Bay Lightning loss to the Buffalo Sabres (in any manner). 
  • a Lightning loss in regulation.

The Montreal Canadiens can secure a playoff berth with any kind of victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

The idle Phoenix Coyotes are in if the Dallas Stars lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets

The Los Angeles Kings, also idle, are also in with a Stars loss, as long as it’s in regulation. 

The Nashville Predators can dance in the land of milk and honey if they beat the Atlanta Thrashers (in regulation, OT or shootout) and the Stars lose in any fashion. The Preds are also in with a shootout/overtime loss and a regulation loss by Dallas. 

ALREADY IN:  Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Washington.     

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Tampa Bay Lightning (44-24-11) at Buffalo Sabres (40-29-10), 7 p.m. ET

The Sabres will again be without goalie Ryan Miller, who will miss his fourth consecutive game with an upper body injury. Of course, with the way rookie Jhonas Enrothm (pictured above) has been playing, he doesn’t exactly have to rush back. Enroth is 2-0-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in Miller’s absence. Enroth has gotten points in his last six starts overall and the Sabres, who enter three points ahead of idle Carolina in the eighth place, would like to see that trend to continue. 

Tampa Bay enters on a five-game win streak. Captain Vincent Lecavalier, who took a high-stick to the eye in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, will play in tonight’s game, according to The St. Petersburg Times. He had been listed as day-to-day since he received stitches and was examined by an eye doctor. 

ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Washington Capitals (46-22-11) at Toronto Maple Leafs (37-32-10), 7 p.m. ET
The Caps don’t need a victory to clinch the Southeast for a fourth consecutive season, but the Leafs do need one to stay alive in the playoff picture. Of course, even that may not be enough to keep the Leafs from missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season (see below).

GOLF WATCH:  The Toronto Maple Leafs will be eliminated if they lose (in any form) to the Capitals in regulation or overtime. Toronto is also out if the Sabres manage to get one point tonight. Atlanta, New Jersey, Minnesota Columbus, Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Columbus, Colorado and Edmonton are already mathematically eliminated.  

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: April 5, 2011 3:25 am

Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

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 

Line Changes
  • Eye on Hockey: Janssen aims to raise funds
  • Eye on Hockey: Lecavalier has eye scare
  • San Jose clinches division title
  • CBSSports.com playoff tracker

  • 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
    Posted on: March 29, 2011 2:55 pm

    Playoff Watch: 'Canes look for win No.1 over Caps

    WHO CAN CLINCH: The Tampa Bay Lightning can lock down a playoff spot if they beat the Ottawa Senators and the Carolina Hurricanes lose to the Washington Capitals in regulation. The Vancouver Canucks can win the Western Conference by earning at least one point against the Nashville Predators tonight. 

    ALREADY IN: Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.  

    GAME OF THE NIGHT: Carolina Hurricanes (35-30-10) at Washington Capitals (44-22-10), 7 p.m. ET
    The ‘Canes enter five points in back of the Buffalo Sabres, who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Carolina has lost each of the first five meetings between these Southeast Division rivals and the ‘Canes are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. 

    The Capitals could get forwards Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott back in the lineup tonight. (Both have been sidelined with undisclosed injuries.) Washington coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t disclose to reporters at the morning skate if either will see action, but both skated with the team again. The Caps are returning from a season-long six-game trip where they posted a 4-2-0 record. For the month of March, Washington is 11-2-0. 

    Carolina forwards Eric Staal, Cory Stillman and Erik Cole each enter with four-game points streaks.

    ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Dallas Stars (38-26-10) at Phoenix Coyotes (41-25-11), 10 p.m. ET

    The Stars enter the night four points out of eighth, making this final regular season meeting between these Pacific Division rivals crucial. Phoenix has won three of the first five meetings and the last three contests were decided by a goal. Dallas enters 1-3-2 over the last five games, a skid that has seen the Stars drop from fourth to 10th in the West. 

    GOLF WATCH: No new teams will be eliminated today. Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Colorado and Edmonton have already mathematically out of it.
    Posted on: March 18, 2011 3:34 pm
    Edited on: March 18, 2011 3:41 pm

    Playoff Watch: Devils face another roadblock

    WHO CAN CLINCH:  The idle Philadelphia Flyers could clinch a playoff berth if the Carolina Hurricanes lose in regulation and the New Jersey Devils lose in any form. The Washington Capitals would get in by beating the Devils combined with a Carolina loss in regulation. 

    GAME OF THE NIGHT: Washington Capitals (41-21-10) at New Jersey Devils (33-33-4), 7 p.m. ET

    The Devils didn't help their playoff push by losing 3-1 to the last-place Ottawa Senators on Thursday. The task gets just slightly more difficult tonight as New Jersey plays host to Washington. The Capitals are 9-1-0 over their last 10 and are primed to challenge the Flyers for the top spot in the East. 

    The Devils, who have won 23 of the last 29 games, enter six points out of the eighth and final spot in the East. With only 11 games remaining after tonight, the Devils are running out of time to complete their improbable comeback. This game will mark the first time David Steckel will play his former club and could have seen the return of Jason Arnott. But Arnott, swapped for Steckel before the deadline, has an undisclosed injury and the Caps say he’s week-to-week. 

    ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Phoenix Coyotes (38-23-11) at Vancouver Canucks (47-16-9), 10 p.m. ET 

    The road team has won each of the first three meetings between these two clubs. While the Canucks have already clinched a playoff berth, the Coyotes could move to within a point of the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks with a victory. 

    GOLF WATCH: Edmonton Oilers have been mathematically eliminated.   
    The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com