Updates on the Stanley Cup Finalists, Coyotes arena lease in jeopardy, plus the latest on the Ducks coaches, playoff beards and more.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: It took a few seasons, but Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has arrived as an elite defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hedman has steadily developed since he was selected second overall by the Lightning in the 2009 NHL Draft, but he truly emerged this season among the league’s best blueliners. He’s been outstanding for the Bolts in this year’s playoffs.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk could see more playing time if veteran Johnny Oduya (upper body injury)isn’t ready to play in Game Four.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oduya is expected to play in Game Four, but van Riemsdyk could still see more ice time if the veteran blueliner struggles or aggravates that injury.
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Glendale City Council will consider prematurely ending the city’s arena lease agreement with the Arizona Coyotes. This move comes hours after Coyotes president Anthony Leblanc told reporters the team was in compliance with the agreement. Leblanc was blindsided by the move, releasing a statement accusing the council of trying to renege on the deal. He said the city wanted to renegotiate the agreement but that wasn’t going to happen. Glendale is expected to lose $8.7 million on the arena this fiscal year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the city votes to end the agreement you can bet the Coyotes, and the league, will fight it in court. The vote is slated for tonight.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Bruce Boudreau will return next season as head coach of the Anaheim Ducks, but assistant Brad Lauer was fired. Lauer was in charge of the forwards and the power play. The Ducks finished 28th with the man advantage during the regular season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Boudreau must guide the Ducks to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final or he could also lose his job.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: NBC Sports boss Mark Lazerus would prefer if NHL players didn’t grow beards during the playoffs, believing it hurts player recognition and endorsement deals. Lazerus doesn’t expect the league will take him up on his suggestion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Playoff beards haven’t hurt NBC Sports coverage of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. The ratings have been strong for the Final. There’s no indication the league will take Lazerus up on his suggestion. Given how tradition-bound the NHL is, I doubt the playoff beard is in any danger of being banned.
MLIVE.COM: Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios has emerged as a candidate to become an assistant coach under Detroit Red Wings new bench boss Jeff Blashill.
TSN: The NHLPA is preparing to invest $3 million in an education program for players to return to school and to deal with issues they could face transitioning from their playing careers to retirement.