Blackhawks tie Stanley Cup Final at two games apiece, Glendale votes to break arena agreement with the Coyotes and more.
Blackhawks even the Cup Final at two.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Brandon Saad’s third-period goal snapped a 1-1 tie to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 victory in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final, tying the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. Jonathan Toews also scored for the ‘Hawks, while Alex Killorn tallied for the Lightning. Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford had his best game of the series, turning aside 24 shots, several of which came in a tremendous flurry in the game’s final minute. This game was the first in the series in which the Blackhawks never trailed in the scoring.
The Lightning played without starting goalie Ben Bishop, who is now listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Their loss couldn’t be blamed on backup Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 17 saves and couldn’t be faulted for the two goals scored against him. Lightning coach Jon Cooper believes Bishop will return to action at some point in this series, which returns to Tampa Bay for Game Five on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with the Blackhawks in Game Three, the Lightning missed several terrific opportunities to score. So did the ‘Hawks in this one, ringing a couple of shots off the goalpost. The ‘Hawks eked out a gritty win in this game, as they couldn’t afford to fall behind 3-1 in the series heading back to Tampa Bay. Vasilevskij played well for the Bolts, but Bishop’s status (I suspect he has either a knee or groin injury) will remain the hot topic heading toward Game 5.
Coyotes, Glendale to engage in legal showdown over arena lease.
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Once again, the future of the Arizona Coyotes is in doubt following a vote by the Glendale city council to void a 15-year agreement with the club less than two years after the city approved the $225 million deal. Attorneys for the Coyotes are reportedly working on a $200 million lawsuit against the city. “The city’s decision to void the contract hinges on a conflict-of-interest law, common in government contracts, that precludes a person who works on a contract for the city from later representing the other party to the contract.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since the Coyotes’ former ownership declared the club bankrupt in 2009, the franchise has been in a perpetual state of uncertainty over its future in Glendale. Expect the team’s current ownership, supported by the NHL, to fight the city council’s decision to terminate the lease agreement tooth and nail.
This doesn’t mean the Coyotes are relocating. As long as their ownership is willing to fight the city council’s decision in court, the team will remain in their current venue. It’s just another unnecessary distraction for their long-suffering fans. In the meantime, there’s bound to be suggestions from both sides or from outside observers over a solution that avoids legal action. Perhaps one, as suggested by Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic, is for the Coyotes and the NBA’s Phoenix Suns to share the facility.
Other notable NHL news.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Claude Julien, who is confirmed returning as the Bruins’ head coach next season, acknowledges his club must change its style of play.
MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings are pleased with defenseman Kyle Quincey’s recovery from ankle surgery last month.
PHILLY.COM: The Flyers have released their preseason schedule, which begins with split squad games against the New York Islanders.