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Glendale gong show just getting started

No end in sight to desert shenanigans

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The gong show in Glendale, Ariz., has only just begun.

Jerry Reinsdorf is out of the running to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes and Ice Edge, the lone group now at the table, is wondering aloud about its ability to finance a deal. Don't for a moment think the saga in Glendale is anywhere near over.

Both the NHL and the City of Glendale remain committed to keeping the Coyotes in Arizona and if Ice Edge's bid to buy the Coyotes eventually flames out there will likely be a new suitor ready to step forward and take up the cause.

As time passes and next season creeps closer, Glendale will be under increasing pressure to find a buyer willing to keep the team at the city owned Arena.

Expect the terms to get sweeter and new interest to mount. There are many twists and turns to come as a group of ill-prepared civic politicians struggles to prevent a US$180-million building from losing its main tenant. Glendale city council is highly motivated to keep the Coyotes right where they are and that gives any interested parties a major advantage.

Don't be surprised if someone takes these politicians to the cleaners.

WHO MAKES THE CALL? The Manitoba Moose and Vancouver Canucks have collaborated in selecting coaches for the AHL affiliate in the past and it's always interesting to watch that process play out.

The history of Moose coaches has played out as follows: Vancouver selected Stan Smyl, Manitoba picked Randy Carlyle, the Canucks hired Alain Vigneault and Scott Arniel was pretty much a joint decision.

The Moose have final approval on head coaching hires. Expect Manitoba to generate the bulk of names on a search list and to be heavily involved in the final decision.

CANDIDATE CLAUDE: Moose GM Craig Heisinger will have quietly prepared for this moment and his list of coaching candidates will be extensive. Moose assistant coach Keith McCambridge will get some consideration but if former interim Columbus boss Claude Noel decides he's interested it would be tough to imagine a better choice. Noel won a Calder Cup coaching the Milwaukee Admirals in 2004 and is highly regarded in the hockey world. He's a career coach with close to 20 years service including 10 as a bench boss and half a season at the NHL level.

RICHARDS RESURRECTION: The Stanley Cup final has been one of the most watchable in years and it would be a shame for it to end before the seven-game limit. We're looking for Flyers captain and Kenora native Mike Richards to control Game 6 and send the series back to Chicago for Game 7. Richards has lifted his team in key moments during this playoff, Game 7 against the Bruins and Game 5 against the Canadiens, and now is time for him to once again rise to the moment.

KEANE'S FUTURE: Moose captain Mike Keane is working out like he intends to play next season. Heisinger has not made a decision on whether to offer Keane a contract for a sixth season with the club. With Arniel moving on and a new coach needing to be hired, Heisinger and the organization will have to make a call on Keane soon.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 9, 2010 C5

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


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