Stars of the week, reaction to the Canadiens-Oilers trade, the Blue Jackets leadership problems and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Check out the notable highlights of last night’s NHL action, including the Capitals winning their eighth straight, the Canadiens snapping a lengthy losing skid, while the Kings Tyler Toffoli and the Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon both had hat trick performances.
Notable NHL Headlines.
SPORTSNET: In the wake of shipping winger Zack Kassian to the Edmonton Oilers for goaltender Ben Scrivens, Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin claims the move doesn’t mean sidelined starting goalie Carey Price will be out longer than anticipated. Price (knee injury) is expected back in mid-January. Bergevin also gave a vote of confidence to head coach Michel Therrien, as well as maintaining his belief his current group of players can snap out of their month-long slide.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scrivens will be backing up Mike Condon, who’s filling in for Price as the Habs starter. The former Oiler has a poor record in the AHL this season, so he’ll have to make the most of this opportunity with the Canadiens to get his pro career back on track. Kassian was sent to the Oilers’ AHL farm team, but could be in the Oilers lineup in the coming weeks. Kassian, who’s been through the NHL’s substance abuse program, is likely facing his last chance to salvage his NHL career.
It’s obvious Bergevin has no intention of firing Therrien, placing the onus on the players to improve. I don’t think the Habs GM is done tinkering with his roster, though it appears he’ll likely have to wait until closer to the trade deadline to bolster his struggling offense. For now, Bergevin will wait for Price and Brendan Gallagher to return from injury and hope they can spark a reversal in the slumping Canadiens’ fortunes.
NHL.COM: Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, Dallas Stars goaltender Antti Niemi and Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak are the NHL’s three stars of the week.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres winger Evander Kane, who’s currently the subject of a sex-offense investigation by Buffalo police, issued a statement yesterday during a brief media scrum denying he’d done anything wrong.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella yesterday called out his veteran players for a lack of leadership.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meanwhile, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen is starting to come under fire for how he’s built the roster, which included bringing in some of those underachieving veterans.
PHILLY.COM: With defenseman Mark Streit returning to the lineup on Wednesday, the Flyers must clear roughly $300K in salary-cap space to ensure rookie star Shayne Gostisbehere remains in the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Someone’s either getting traded or demoted to the minors. Though Gostisbehere is waiver exempt, they’ve significantly improved since he joined the lineup back in November. GM Ron Hextall must find a way to keep “The Ghost” on the roster.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have placed defenseman David Rundblad on waivers.
Updated NHL injury report.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins announced defenseman Torey Krug (undisclosed injury) is listed as day-to-day, while center David Krejci (upper body) is week-to-week.
TSN: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler has been sidelined by a sprained knee.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman John Carlson (lower-body injury)missed last night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.