Could the Avalanche part ways with Matt Duchene?Is this really Pavel Datsyuk’s final NHL season? Read on for the latest.
Duchene and Roy heading for a divorce in Denver?
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy wasn’t pleased with center Matt Duchene celebrating his 30th goal of the season during a 5-1 blowout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. “The reaction of Dutchy after he scores. It’s a 4-0 (game). Big cheer. Are you kidding me? What is that?”, said Roy in his post-game remarks. The Avs coach also singled out his core players (Duchene being among them) “having a hard time carrying this team.”
Chambers notes Duchene’s achievements this season (30-goal scorer at age 25, the team’s only All-Star, hard-working, professional), but also points out the center was briefly on the trade block earlier this season following a slow start. He calls on Roy to repair the relationship. “Obviously, if GM Joe Sakic takes Roy’s side, Duchene might be gone,” writes Chambers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have a piss-poor defensive record and hold the dubious honor of being this season’s worst puck-possession club. Any other coach in the NHL would be in danger of losing their job. Not Roy, who is like a co-GM with Sakic, his old teammate and friend. If push comes to shove between Roy and Duchene, it’s the latter who’ll pay the price. If Duchene hits the trade block, the Avs better get back a top-two defenseman with shutdown skills. Otherwise, they’ll just be making one of their top offensive players the scapegoat for their defensive sins.
Datsyuk done in Detroit?
THE DETROIT NEWS/DETROIT FREE PRESS/MLIVE.COM: Ted Kulfan cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting a source claiming Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk could return to Russia after this season to finish his playing career. Datsyuk, 37, could speak with the media following practice today. If he does head to Russia, the Wings will still be on the hook for his $7.5 million cap hit for next season because it’s an over-35 contract. The Wings could try shipping that contract to a club hoping to reach next season’s salary-cap minimum, though Kulfan considers that a long shot.
Helene St. James reports Datsyuk’s agent revealed his client will be staging a hockey skills development camp in Detroit this summer for the first time.
In addition to the salary-cap headache Datsyuk’s possible departure could leave the Wings, Ansar Khan points out losing their most creative offensive player hurts a club that had difficulty scoring this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully we’ll get some clarity on this from Datsyuk today. The longer he and Holland decline to comment, the bigger the distraction this story becomes. If Datsyuk does in fact head to the KHL for next season,Holland will almost certainly try to find a team willing take on that contract in order to become cap compliant for 2016-17. For his part, Holland yesterday dismissed the story as just rumors.