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Coyotes may have owner soon; NHL has been running franchise

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Coyotes are a step close to having an owner after three years of waiting.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Monday that the league has reached a preliminary agreement to sell the team to a group headed by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison.

Bettman said the league and the group will work toward reaching a formal sales agreement while Jamison negotiates with the city of the Glendale on a new lease for Arena. Bettman said he hopes to have the sale completed in a matter of weeks, not months.

"We didn't have a formal announcement to make; this is more of an update to where things are," Bettman said before Phoenix and Nashville played Game Five of their best-of-seven playoff series, which ended too late for this edition. "But we think things are on track and see light at the end of the tunnel. This is a path, based on everything we know, we're comfortable pursuing."

Monday night provided a dramatic backdrop to such an announcement, with a packed house on hand to watch the upstart Coyotes try to close out their Western Conference semifinal series with the Predators. Phoenix leads the series, 3-1.


Giroux suspended

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Claude Giroux has to watch Philadelphia's attempt at saving its postseason from the press box.

He can only hope he hasn't played his last game of the season.

Giroux was suspended by the NHL on Monday for his illegal check to the head on New Jersey center Dainius Zubrus in Game Four of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The punishment leaves the Flyers without their All-Star forward and leading scorer as they try and rally from a 3-1 deficit.

Giroux will miss tonight's Game Five at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia (7:30 p.m., NBCSN and Ch. 5).

Philadelphia's de facto captain in injured defenseman Chris Pronger's absence, Giroux defended his position with league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for about 15 to 20 minutes on Monday.

It didn't matter. Shanahan slapped Giroux with the first disciplinary action against him in an otherwise clean four-year career. Zubrus was not injured and returned to play.

Shanahan said in a video statement that Giroux deserved the one-game ban because he targeted Zubrus' head.

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