Pre-game reading: Did Bettman’s letter to Arizona lawmakers backfire?
-- Up top, Bob McKenzie talks about the future of the Coyotes in Arizona. As you probably know by now, the team has been pushing legislation that would help fund the construction of a new arena in the Greater Phoenix area, thus allowing the Desert Dogs to move from their current home in Glendale.
-- Sticking with the Coyotes, did Gary Bettman’s letter this week to Arizona lawmakers hurt more than it helped? That’s what Dan Bickley, a columnist for The Arizona Republic, thinks. Bickley writes: “Nobody that cares about Arizona wants to lose our NHL team or our elite status as a big-league sports market. But few can rationalize another plateful of public funding to build another new arena for a NHL franchise that has one extended playoff run in 21 years.” (Arizona Republic)
Read more: Former Glendale mayor rips NHL, Coyotes in blistering letter
-- What’s the best way for a goalie to get over a bad goal? Here’s what former NHL netminder Brian Boucher says: “The one thing you have to realize as a goaltender is you’re not perfect, you’re not going to be perfect.” But for top athletes who strive for perfection, that’s a lot easier said than done. And those who can’t shake off the bad goals only make things worse in their minds. (Sports Illustrated)
-- With Steven Stamkos still hurt -- and with Valtteri Filppula and Brian Boyle on other teams now -- and with Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov and Cedric Paquette all suffering injuries last night against the Wild -- rookie center Brayden Point just became an even more important player the Tampa Bay Lightning down the stretch. (TSN)
-- On the return of Justin Schultz to Edmonton, where the Penguins defenseman started his NHL career with such high hopes, only to be traded away for a mere third-round draft pick. “I obviously didn’t play well at all when I was here, especially near the end,” said Schultz. “I needed a change in environment.” (Sportsnet)
Read more: With growth of Schultz, a ‘tough call’ looms for Penguins
-- What would PK Subban do if he were the commissioner of the NHL? For one, he’d shorten the schedule. “Let’s play less games. Our game is just, if not more physical, than the NFL. They play 16 games a year. We play 82, plus travel, plus playoffs. ... Jonathan Toews has played over 100 games a year, probably consistently, for the last five or six years. Think about the wear and tear on your body when that happens.” (Yahoo Sports)
Enjoy the games!