The latest on Alexander Ovechkin, Justin Abdelkader, Mike Richards, and Alex Burrows, plus up dates on the Lightning, Predators and much in your NHL mid-morning headlines.
Check out last night’s game highlights below, including the Penguins and Oilers winning in overtime, while Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury avoided a potentially serious injury.
Notable NHL Headlines.
USA TODAY: While NHL scoring declines and many of the league’s top offensive stars find goals difficult to come by, Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin continues to tally goals at a pace that seemingly belongs to another era.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin hasn’t won a Stanley Cup championship or Olympic gold, but there’s no question he is the dominant player of this era. Imagine what his numbers would’ve been back in the free-scoring 1980s. The man has six 50-goal seasons on his resume and is currently on pace for his seventh. The record for most 50-goal campaigns is nine, held by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy. I can see him tying that record and perhaps breaking it.
THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings are reportedly close to re-signing winger Justin Abdelkader to a seven-year extension worth over $4 million annually. Abdelkader, 28, is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. **UPDATE** The signing was made official today: seven years, $4.25 million annual cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve heard other reports claiming it’ll be $28 million altogether. While I like the cap hit, I don’t like the term. It’s far too lengthy for a physical player with an injury history like Abdelkader. Given his style of play, he could become a spent force within three years of the deal’s expiration. That could eat up too much valuable cap space down the road. A four or five year deal at most would make more long-term cap sense.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Despite the Lightning sliding below .500 and into ninth overall in the Eastern Conference, GM Steve Yzerman isn’t ready yet to hit the panic button.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s still plenty of time for the 2015 Stanley Cup Finalist to regain their footing. I recall the New York Rangers had a sluggish start last season, which had some in the New York media slagging management and the coaching staff. Then the Rangers turned things around and the media sniping died away. The Lightning have the talent to reverse their currently sluggish fortunes. However, if this slide drags on into December, Yzerman might be forced to shake things up.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators’ blueline corps is once again the league’s most offensively potent. After leading the league last season in goals for defensemen (55), they’re doing so again this season with 13 already.
NBC SPORTS: Former LA Kings center and current UFA Mike Richards is skating with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers.
SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Alex Burrows will meeting with NHL officials on Friday to discuss the allegedly personal remarks he made toward New Jersey Devils forward Jordin Tootoo during a recent game between the two clubs.
TORONTO STAR: NHL players and coaches are divided on the idea of bigger nets to increase scoring.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former NHL referee turned TSN analyst Kerry Fraser has a good idea to increase scoring. Just start calling more penalties for restraining fouls on the non-puck carrier.
NHL Injury Update.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey (ankle surgery) will miss about six weeks.
CSNBAYAREA.COM: San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture (fractured right fibula) is expected to be sidelined much longer than the original projection of four-to-six weeks. He’s been sidelined five weeks now and has yet to resume skating.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins winger David Pastrnak (fractured left foot) is now sidelined indefinitely.