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NHL notes: Plenty of interest in Coyotes, Bettman says

Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle (3) celebrates his 2nd period goal against the Los Angeles...

Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle (3) celebrates his 2nd period goal against the Los Angeles Kings during Game 5 of the NHL Western Conference hockey finals in Glendale, Ariz., May 22, 2012. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:52 PM ET

The For Sale sign attached to the Phoenix Coyotes is attracting plenty of attention.

So says NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who insinuated during a press event to announce the 2014 Winter Classic that the league has interested buyers and had no plans "as we stand here today" to move the Coyotes out of Phoenix.

"There seems to be more interest at this particular point in time than we've seen throughout the process," Bettman said Sunday. "This is a work in progress, and it remains such. We're continuing to work on it, and there are a number of things that are in play.

"We haven't been exploring the alternatives. We are exploring everything we can do to work this out, and there seems to be considerable interest. There seems to be now, in the calm of the moment, a lot more interest than we've ever seen."

A number of groups have been interested in buying the franchise from the NHL but so far no transaction has been completed. The latest report indicated that Canadians George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc have submitted a bit while Greg Jamison is still in the mix.

EUROPEAN GAMES GONE

The NHL will scrap the season-opening games in Europe next year, according to the New York Post.

The Premiere Games, which featured NHL teams opening the season in European cities for five years before the lockout, will be done away with as the NHL looks to broaden its international scope in other ways, the report says.

"Planning discussions with the NHLPA (will be held) in the near future," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to the Post.

Included in the talks will be the possibility of reviving the World Cup of Hockey as a mid-season tournament held every four years.

ERAT NOT CONCUSSED

Apparently the injury isn't between Martin Erat's ears, it's a little lower than that.

The Washington Capitals forward didn't sustain a concussion when he was pushed from behind into the boards by Florida Panthers defenceman Erik Gudbranson Saturday night but he was hurt enough -- it's a lower-body injury, the team says -- to miss Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Erat has played just two games since being acquired from the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.

"Marty felt way better than he anticipated, so I don't think it's going to be too long," Capitals coach Adam Oates told the Washington Times.

The Caps were also missing forward Brooks Laich with a lower-body injury. Laich missed the first 28 games of the season with a groin problem.

ISLES INCHING CLOSER

After years of wandering in the non-playoff wilderness, the New York Islanders might finally be able to find a way into the post-season.

The possibility of making the playoffs this season -- they were two points behind Winnipeg for eighth place in the Eastern Conference after Saturday's games -- has the Islanders, and their fans, pumped. A chant of "We want playoffs" went up at Nassau Coliseum during the Isles' 4-2 win over Tampa Bay Saturday.

"The coaching staff from the beginning said they think we have a playoff team and we know we do," Islanders winger Matt Martin said. "We just got to keep on rolling. We control our own destiny here. We're not looking at teams below us, we're looking at teams ahead of us, and we're trying to catch them."


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