The Blackhawks take Game One of the Stanley Cup Final in triple overtime, the latest on the Phoenix Coyotes, the Penguins and Sharks extend their coaches contracts, an update on the Rangers coaching search, and more.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/BOSTON GLOBE: Andrew Shaw finished off a double-deflection game-winning goal as the Chicago Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Boston Bruins 4-3 in triple overtime of Game One of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. It wasn’t the only loss suffered by the Bruins, as winger Nathan Horton suffered a shoulder injury in the first overtime and didn’t return to the game. His status for Game Two is unknown.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was the first time since 1990 the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final went to triple overtime, the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup Final history, and the longest game of this season. It was also a very memorable start, as the game was quite entertaining. Game Two goes Saturday in Chicago at 8 pm ET.
ESPN.COM: Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz claims his club is in better shape financially this year than it was three years ago, and doesn’t expect wholesale changes will be necessary compared to the breakup of the 2010 championship team due to salary cap constraints. Wirtz also claimed the Blackhawks isn’t turning a profit yet on its own but is closing the gap.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Blackhawks still haven’t turned a profit on its own after its recent run of success since 2009, their debt accumulated in the years prior to that must have been substantial. It’s true they won’t have to dismantle the roster this year, but they’re still pressed for cap space, and might be forced to dump one or two high-salaried players (not named Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, and Brent Seabrook) to free up cap space.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly spoke about the status of the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes, saying while they hope to keep the team in Glendale, it’s possible the club could be moved this summer if there’s no deal in place. Four bidders, meanwhile, have submitted proposals to manage Jobing.com arena, the Coyotes home venue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As always, the issue isn’t ownership, it’s the arena lease agreement. If that can’t be sorted out, the Coyotes are goners. I realize we’ve heard this since 2009, but the league cannot carry the team forever, and based on the statements of Bettman and Daly, it appears the league’s patience with this situation is coming to an end. As to where the Coyotes could move, while the automatic assumption is Quebec City, some pundits have suggested Portland, Oregon, or Seattle, Washington. Hopefully, one way or the other, this situation is resolved this summer.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Bettman also expressed optimism in getting an agreement in place soon regarding NHL participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Bettman also claimed concussion injuries were down slightly this season, anticipates league revenues to do well despite the lockout, defended the league’s on-ice officiating, and stated the naming of the new divisions will be announced following the Stanley Cup playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL will participate in the Sochi games. Hopefully the decline in concussion injuries is a trend. No surprise league revenues did well despite losing over half the schedule, nor is it surprising Bettman publicly defends the officiating. As for the new division names, I suspect they could be named after Hall of Fame players, but of course like everyone else, I’ll have to wait and see what they unveil. Probably something unimaginative like regional areas (East, South, Central, West).
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Penguins announced the re-signing of their coaching staff (including head coach Dan Bylsma) to contract extension. Goalie coach Gilles Meloche has stepped down and accepted a scouting role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I commend the Penguins front office for their loyalty to their coaching staff, but I think they’re making a mistake here. Still, it doesn’t matter what we think, does it? They’ve decided to stick with Bylsma and company, and will have to live with the results.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: The Sharks have reportedly re-signed head coach Todd McLellan to a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some feel the Sharks should’ve replaced McLellan, but overall the reaction to his reported re-signing has been positive.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/NEW YORK POST: Pat Leonard suggests the NY Rangers could pursue Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett if he’s not re-signed by the Coyotes by the end of this month, while Larry Brooks reports Rangers management were impressed with former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault in their recent interview. Brooks also claims the Rangers don’t appear in any rush to speak with former Sabres bench boss Lindy Ruff before their meetings conclude tomorrow.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The St. Louis Blues won’t be offering a new contract to veteran forward Jamie Langenbrunner.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed Stephane Veilleux to a two-year, two-way contract.