Could it be another tough summer for the Coyotes to sign free agents? Will Ilya Bryzgalov follow the Coyotes to Winnipeg if they were to move there this summer? Read on for the latest.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen reported Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov said he’d rather return to Russia than move to Winnipeg if the Coyotes are moved there in the off-season. Bryzgalov played in Winnipeg once or twice during his AHL days and apparently wasn’t left with a favorable impression, citing the cold winter climate as well as suggesting the city had a lack of entertainment for families besides hockey. Bryzgalov is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reported re-signing new players and adding others in the off-season is a must for the Coyotes, who haven’t found that easy to do in recent years given the salary limitations due to ownership uncertainty. Whether the Coyotes remain in Glendale or move to Winnipeg, McLellan believes ownership resolution will give management the funds and tools it needs to bolster the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bryzgalov probably won’t bolt for Russia this summer unless he cannot find a lucrative, multi-year deal. His comments however suggest he won’t re-sign with the Coyotes should they relocate to Winnipeg this summer, which would leave the club scrambling to find a suitable replacement. Have to wonder if this could be the start of a potential problem for the Coyotes in luring quality free agents/retaining their best players if they move to Winnipeg? We’ll probably start finding out in just over two months.

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19 Responses to Latest Coyotes Rumors – April 22, 2011.

  1. BigDaddyCool says:

    and russia isn’t cold?

  2. northby9 says:

    lol good point BigDaddy. Also, I feel relatively certain that multimillionaires in pretty much any city in the world can find a way to entertain themselves and their families. Suck it up, princesses!

  3. Habsfan says:

    Forget about the problem being with ‘if’ they move, it is going to be a problem regardless with the real potential that they will move, period. Most players like longer term deals, which few would want to sign if they might have to move to some new city, sight unseen. They may have more luck with short term deals but they would then have to be more lucrative which will be a problem for the ‘Yotes. This is all starting to feel a lot like the death of the Expos in Montreal. Not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’, that just drags on and on and on……..

  4. Sandy says:

    I guess Russia is not cold in the winter.

    How many young men would relish the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of playing NHL hockey… and this prima donna thinks he’s too good to go to Winnipeg.

    Well go to Russia. Your loss only. I think you would find out quickly it’s a different league with players treated a lot different than the NHL. You also have to question the medical staff there considering what happened with Cherapanov (sp?)

  5. DurtMCHurt says:

    I can’t see bryz getting a lucrative multiple year contract after these playoffs. Maybe a short term deal, but I’d say he’s a little risky as a playoff no show.
    Why is the NHL re visiting the Winnipeg idea? Quebec City or Hamilton would have worked so much better.

  6. MJR I says:

    Southern Ontario has something over 10 million Canadians supposedly latched to only the Maple Leafs (and the Sabres or the Red Wings, which I’m sure they’d be happy to stop having to deal with border guards just to see a hockey game). I agree with Hamilton. Players wouldn’t mind living there because it’s driving distance from potential destinations (like Niagara Falls, NY state, and Toronto), and Hamilton would fill the arena every night. Toronto is worried they’ll lose money out of that, but they won’t (it’s a very minor concern considering the money they’re pulling in now).

    But let Bryzgalov and the other guys talk about Winnipeg. Is Edmonton any different? Yet some players still like playing there. These guys in Phoenix just got used to their tans.

  7. Andre Kirchhoff says:

    I was baffled when Bryzgalov said he would prefer Russia because there are no russian people in Winnipeg. Half the city’s population is made up of decendents of Russian, Ukrainian and Polish immigrants. Winnipeg is, of course, not as tropical as Moscow in January. Eesh…

  8. DurtMCHurt says:

    Edmonton has a hard time attracting free agents every year. That’s a bad example.

  9. dbushik says:

    “I guess Russia is not cold in the winter.”

    If you actually read his comments, he basically says if he has to be in the cold, he’d rather be able to speak russian while being cold. But don’t bother trying to go and know what you are talking about before commenting. This is the internet afterall…

  10. George says:

    I agree, it’s hilarious that a Russian of all people would site the weather in Winnipeg as being a deterrent. Having said that it seems as if Manitoba really only has three seasons: winter, floods and mosquitoes! I suspect they will have trouble attracting and keeping players unless they’re willing to overpay. Couple this with a their small population and somewhat undersized arena and I can’t see them maintaining profitability once the bloom is off. Hamilton (or Kitchenor/Waterloo if they had a suitable arena) would make much more sense but MLSE likely isn’t willing to allow that, not to mention Buffalo and Detroit. Best of luck to Winnipeg, I hope my predictions are proven wrong.

  11. Habsfan says:

    Hamilton is too close to both TO and Buffalo, the NHL won’t be going there anytime soon. the arena is also too small. Winnepeg is being touted with Quebec being the next one. CBC HNIC has suggested that after Phoenix Atlanta will be the next team to move. TSN had a whole series on this where they explored all the options from almost all perspectives. Winnipeg and Quebec were the top two. Especially given the fact that the ‘Yotes were once the Jets, to me, makes Winnipeg the poetic/logical choice for them. I also think that Hamilton will be the third option as it does not have a NHL franchise history like the other two (yes it failed in each but there is still a strong base to build on, especially with the CND $ right now).

  12. Innovator says:

    It’s more than being just cold. What I took from the TSN article on it. He feels that if he’s going to play in a crap climate all winter, plus in a place where there is little to do, he might aswell go back to russia and play where he is will Russian people and friends. He’s a UFA this season and he will not sign with the franchise anyway unless the ownership is straightened out and the team stays in Arizona.

  13. Cowtown75 says:

    Those are interesting comments as Canada and Russia have the same climate and are similar in so many ways- even population vs space numbers. I can understand the entertainment comment, but I’m sure there is plenty to do in Winnipeg- at least as much as Russia. Russian players can be so flakey- it is an absolute privillage and many people’s dreams to play in the NHL and I’m getting tired of players saying ” I don’t want to play here or there” or ” I want a no trade clause cause I don’t want to move”. Bunch of whiners – They get paid handsome amounts of money to live their dream and being traded or getting re-located is part of the game, always has, always will- suck it up buttercup. If you don’t want to play in the NHL, then move on and let someone else pursue their dream that they have worked so hard for.

  14. Quiksilver says:

    For everyone out there questioning the reason for Winnipeg as the destination being most discussed, it’s as simple as being the only suitable city with an NHL ready arena.

    Sure, Hamilton has Copps but it would need quite the overhaul before being NHL ready, same with many other cities, Quebec, Halifax, Saskatoon/Regina, Vegas etc. Furthermore, in most American markets being discussed (Vegas, Kansas City) the local populace might require a little more time before they outright come and support the team, but as soon as the team lands in Winnipeg they’re going to be sold out every night.

    There is also strong ownership/business in Winnipeg these days coupled with the expiration of the Manitoba Moose’s contract at the MTS Centre which all points to Winnipeg being the most viable option. But before you get too excited and shred me for my logic, I never said that it would happen, merely that it’s the most viable option. I think we all know Gary Bettman well enough to know he’s not about viability…

  15. chaas says:

    Last I heard, Kansas and Las Vegas had these new and massive arenas lacking a professional team to pull in revenue, so it’s a bit of a stretch to say the only three viable cities for relocation are in Canada. While I get that there are more hockey fans in Canada in general, it’s my understanding that it’s hard to find a night when there’s not hockey on at least one channel during the winter months. Enter Vegas and Kansas, two relatively untapped tv markets, which would generate even more revenue for the NHL than just the ticket prices.

    Given the choice between playing in a new, unknown area with an unattractive climate or playing in a somewhat familiar area with an unattractive climate, I would also pick the latter. So would everyone ready to string Bryzgalov up as a traitor to the Coyotes.

  16. Quiksilver says:

    @Chaas, you must either be Gary Bettman or you’re not a very good listener. I stated reasons BEYOND having a venue as why Winnipeg makes the most sense.

    Do Vegas/KC have strong ownership groups, I mean, are they even PUSHING for a team? (I know they’re looking for a tenant for the Sprint Centre in KC but that’s as much about that as I’ve heard in the past two years)

    Is it smart to push a product on people who generally speaking either aren’t familiar with it or have difficulty relating to it? How well did that work for the people of Phoenix?

    Winnipeg has an already rabid and set fan base, the Canadian dollar/economy is way stronger than the U.S. at the moment and the way the global economy is becoming commodity based, Canada stands to be stronger for the forseeable future.

    Vegas would have bigger problems than Phoenix in that there are a million other things for residents of Vegas and tourists alike to do, not that Phoenix doesn’t have attractions, but could you ever see anyone going to Vegas for the sole purpose of watching a hockey game?

    As for the T.V. markets comment, it is evident that Gary Bettman and his new deal with Versus/NBC will ensure television purgatory for the NHL. Some current American teams REMAIN with untapped tv markets and the NHL doesn’t seem to care too much about that lost revenue.

    In conclusion, your comment was poorly thought out and executed, to argue that there is another more suitable situation for Phoenix to fall into is ridiculous on so many levels. As I stated before though, that doesn’t mean the NHL won’t go the extra mile to place the team in an unprepared locale for next year.

  17. Quiksilver says:

    ***ALSO, at no point did I state that three Canadian cities were viable options, only Winnipeg (I’m from Toronto and I live in Montreal, no particular affiliation with Winnipeg whatsoever). The fact of the matter is, they need a new city and they need it for this upcoming season.

  18. chaas says:

    Quiksilver how about you back off there champ. Ain’t nobody addressing you here. Don’t care what you have to say. If I have a thought on the matter, and as long as Spector doesn’t mind me posting it, I will exercise that ability as I see fit. Sorry if you don’t like it. Sounds like a personal problem, bro.

  19. Kyle says:

    @chaas You are allowed to post your opinion just the same as Quiksilver is allowed to disagree. That’s the point of a comments section. I don’t understand how you think anything Quiksilver said was personal.

    NHL teams need a local fanbase that is dedicated to attending games. Vegas would be the perfect example of a city that wouldn’t work for that reason. As for KC, I have no idea. I checked the local sports section and didn’t see a single article about hockey. Check the Winnipeg Free Press website and tell me how many references to hockey you can find.

    About there being nothing to do in Winnipeg… I think that’s the worst argument you can make. In Winnipeg we experience all 4 seasons like nowhere else. We have cold winters and hot summers. Much hotter than a city like Vancouver for instance. There are 100,000+ fresh water lakes in Manitoba. Cottaging, Camping, Fishing, Boating/Seadooing, etc., etc. are all popular summer (especially FAMILY) activities. In winter you can go snowmobiling (some of the best trails in North America I will add), s snowshoeing, cross country skiing. We even have the longest groomed river skate in the World. People make it sound like there isn’t any bars or clubs either. There’s plenty of that. It’s also one of the most multicultural cities in North America. Some amazing restaurants. There’s big enough shopping malls, an IKEA being built right now, the list goes on. What is it that Bryzgalov wants? If your desire is to spend 1-2 hours commuting to work in the morning or live in a heavily congested and polluted metropolis then go for it. But save the BS about there being nothing to do here. If you’re so lazy that you don’t want to throw on a winter jacket for part of the year then go play for Florida where no one even has a clue who you even are.

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