NHL Week in Review (June 7-13)

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Once again the desert has taken full focus in the NHL despite the evened series between two teams scrapping for the Stanley Cup.

The Finals have been good so far with both teams have great games and bad games through the first five games.

They are playing an even series where neither team seems to want to give in no matter how the game is going for either team.

Yet this series that is turning out to be a great one was overshadowed this week when the City of Glendale took a vote on the lease of Gila River Arena.

It has been a common theme around this time of year and at a certain point the NHL has to realize that enough is enough.

Glendale has consistently been working against the Arizona Coyotes taking plenty of time to negotiate a new lease and now voting to end the lease early.

The vote passed easily in the city council and now leaves the Coyotes without an arena to play in for next year.

It seems like every year the Coyotes are in trouble in some way and after losing millions of dollars every year, something needs to change.

The NHL is insistent on having a team in Glendale likely for the fact that it is close to one of the biggest TV markets in the USA.

To put a team in a big TV market and yet still lose millions every year just makes no sense. Now the city has made a clear statement that they are not interested in having the team in Glendale any longer.

After all why have they made it so difficult for the team to stay afloat by continuing to begrudgingly negotiating contracts and now cancelling a lease only two years into its 15-year term.

The basis of the cancellation was the fact that provision in the agreement stated that either side could terminate the contract in the first three year’s if someone from one side joined the other side.

That happened when the city fired their attorney who was then hired by the Arizona Coyotes. That gave the city a chance to cancel the lease on the arena and gave them the backing legally to do so.

Essentially it gave the City of Glendale an excuse to cancel a contract that they were not pleased with from the start.

The city has not been happy with the deal and for good reason as they lost $8.1 million this year and is expected to lose $8.7 million next year.

The simple fact is that as bad as it was to cancel a deal already in place the deal was losing money for a city where passionate hockey fans are hard to come by.

Yes there are a handful of very loyal Coyotes fans and season ticket holders, one of which spoke up at city council before the vote, but those are the exceptions not the rule.hockey-sidebar

Arizona is a hockey wasteland and Gary Bettman seems to be the only person that doesn’t see the writing on the wall.

For the simple sake of PR the NHL needs to give up on having a hockey team in the desert.

Every year, Arizona becomes the poster child of why hockey can’t work in the USA and yet hockey is working in the USA, probably better than ever.

Non-traditional markets in California and in Tampa Bay are thriving yet Arizona, as well as the Florida Panthers, continue to be a black eye on a league that otherwise is the strongest it has ever been.

If the NHL could get past losing a battle that they have fought so long for they could remove that black eye and move the Coyote to a more interesting market.

There have been plenty of suitors to get a team in recent years and some make sense to keep the Coyotes in the West.

Seattle has been a very popular place for expansion talk while Kansas City has an NHL ready arena and pre-season games have sold out there in recent years.

Las Vegas has been a target of every major league and with a season ticket campaign already running there is interest, although it might not be smart for the league.

Meanwhile Quebec City and Markham are in the midst of building NHL ready stadiums that might not be great for the Coyotes but could be good for the other black eye in the Panthers.

There are options for the NHL and before they expand in the west to even the conferences they should think of moving their struggling team that is now without an arena.

It is time for the NHL to give up and move on because if they continue to fight for Arizona they will lose and so will hockey in the USA.

Overtime
(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

Bishop in and out
Ben Bishop has been a major reason for the Lightning making it to the Finals but this week he has been a constant source of debate after an injury kept him out of Game 4 although he returned for Game 5 and could stay for the rest of the series

Down with the Beards
The chairman of NBC Sports gave hockey fans some more fodder against their network when he said that players should stop growing playoff beards to be more recognizable and although the point is a good one in a marketing sense it is blasphemy in the hockey world

Chelios behind the bench
Chris Chelios is a Detroit legend and he might be returning to the team this year but it won’t be on the ice or in the executive suite as he is reportedly in talks to become an assistant coach as a member of Jeff Blashill’s staff

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