GLENDALE, Ariz. — The NHL All-Star Game won’t be coming to the Valley of the Sun any time soon, team and league sources confirmed. There is no timeline for the game’s return to the Valley.
That should come as no surprise after the City Of Glendale voided its 15-year arena lease and management agreement with the Coyotes last summer, putting the team’s whereabouts in doubt after the 2016-17 season. It was simply a question that got lost in the shuffle of yet another quarrel between the city and the team.
The Phoenix area is one of three current NHL markets that has never hosted the All-Star Game. Winnipeg and Anaheim are the others. The Coyotes were supposed to host the 2006 All-Star Game but it was cancelled due to the Winter Olympics.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said as recently as 2013 that the league would honor its commitment to the IceArizona ownership group to bring an All-Star game here, but in the wake of Glendale’s decision, it is impossible to plan the event until the Coyotes know where they will be playing during the 2017-18 season and beyond.
The 2016 All-Star Game will be played Jan. 31 in Nashville, where the Coyotes face the Predators on Tuesday. The 2017 game has not yet been awarded, with Toronto and Los Angeles both possibilities. The Maple Leafs will celebrate their 100th anniversary in the 2017-18 season; the Kings will celebrate their 50th next season, which is also the 50th seasons of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars, who relocated from Minnesota.
Coyotes forward Shane Doan (lower body) made it through a full practice on Monday and will travel with the team on its five-game road trip through Nashville, Detroit, Buffalo, Carolina and St. Louis. Forward Steve Downie (upper body) made it through his first full team practice since suffering the injury and will also travel with the team. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek (illness) also travelled with the team.
Both will be re-evaluated in the morning in Nashville, although Doan sounded frustrated with the state of his injury.
“It is what it is,” he said. “We’ll find a way to get it going again.”
Doan has missed the last three games. He was limited by a lingering groin injury coming out of training camp. Downie has missed nine straight games. AHL call-up Dustin Jeffrey will remain with the club for now.
Tippett said there was no change in the status of forward Joe Vitale, who suffered a fractured orbital bone in a fight with Boston’s Kevan Miller on Oct. 17. His original timeline for return was four to six weeks, but this will be the seventh straight week of action he has missed.
Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson left the ice early on Monday for what Tippett termed maintenance.
Most of the Coyotes had shaved off their November mustaches ahead of the team’s trip on Monday, the final day of the month. The Movember mustaches were grown to promote men’s health. Doan hadn’t shaved his yet.