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Deep Blue Sea: John Chayka leaves the Coyotes

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The Coyotes will head into playoffs with an interim general manager.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 18: General manager John Chayka of the Arizona Coyotes speaks during a press conference to introduce Taylor Hall (not pictured) at Gila River Arena on December 18, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Sunday was a travel day for the NHL teams heading into their respective hub cities. It’s been a long journey for the NHL’s Return to Play Plan, but there’s a pretty good chance they pull this off with only a few hiccups along the way — and ultimately, we’re all hoping that everyone involved in this process of bringing hockey back to us stays safe and healthy in doing so.

I don’t know how I’ll feel about hockey being back until it’s actually on my tv again, and even then ... it’s not the Sharks and it feels unnecessary. I’m just not sure how invested I’ll be in the whole thing. Maybe some baseball fans can chime in with what this weekend has been like for them.

Of course, the travel day was overshadow by much more dramatic news: John Chayka has left the Arizona Coyotes — y’know, one of those teams heading into the NHL bubble? They’re about to make a big playoff push thanks to the acquisitions of Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel? Any other season, sure, but for once the team was actually making good on the promise Chayka had himself as the youngest general manager in the league in 2016.

It’s not just that Chayka left — the organization released a statement that says the GM “quit on a strong and competitive team, a dedicated staff, and the Arizona Coyotes fans, the greatest fans in the NHL.”

Chayka responded to the accusations, telling AZ Coyote Insider’s Craig Morgan, “I love our players, coaches, staff and fans and I very much wish I could be with the team in Edmonton. Sadly, the situation created by ownership made that an impossibility.”

That situation appears to have been an opportunity outside of the organization that the Coyotes would not allow him to entertain and understandably so, as Chayka still has three years on his contract. He won’t be allowed to serve as president or GM of another club until the term of that contract expires.

Assistant general manager Steve Sullivan has been named interim general manager.

Read more on that below.

News & Notes

  • Coyotes accuse Chayka of quitting on team after GM terminates contract [theScore]
  • Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka resigns ahead of postseason [ESPN]
  • San Jose Barracuda re-sign forward Evan Weinger [San Jose Barracuda]
  • NHL Rumours: San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Seattle Kraken [Last Word On Hockey]
  • Sharks’ 20 All-Time Worst Draft Picks [The Hockey Writers]
  • Here are 10 pending free agents the Sharks could be tracking this postseason [The Athletic]
  • NHL return-to-play tournament: The 10 people we’re rooting for in the restart [ESPN]
  • How Seattle’s NHL team became the Kraken [ESPN]