The Best NHL Players You Didn’t Know Played for Your Favorite Team: Pacific Division
Updates on Claude Giroux, Mats Zuccarello, Nick Bonino & more in this morning’s NHL headlines.
NBC SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux will be a healthy scratch for Team Canada in their opening game of the World Cup of Hockey tournament. Since 2010-11, Giroux’s 367 points makes him the NHL’s highest-scoring player over that period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Such is the depth on Canada’s roster than a star like Giroux can be a healthy scratch. It’s also worth noting that Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, winner of the 2016 Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie, is also a healthy scratch for Team Canada in their tournament opener.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello didn’t like the fact two of his best friends (Carl Hagelin and Derick Brassard) were traded since last summer. While Zuccarello understands it’s the business of the game, he admits having his buddies traded away was a painful experience.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: When a player is traded, we rarely see or hear about the emotional effect. Zuccarello will suck it up and play his best, of course, and obviously doesn’t begrudge Rangers management for trading his friends. Still, his candor reveals that it’s tough for some players to see their close friends move on.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins center Nick Bonino is hopeful of remaining with the Penguins beyond this season. He’s eligible next July for unrestricted free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bonino maintains the same successful chemistry he had last season with linemates Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin, Penguins management will do all they can to ensure he remains in Pittsburgh beyond this season.
PHILLY.COM: This season is a bittersweet one for the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s the club’s 50th anniversary, but they’re celebrating it without team founder Ed Snider, who passed away earlier this year.
TSN.CA: Stephane Robidas will no longer be skating with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Instead, the defenseman will work with the club as a consultant. He missed all of last season to a leg injury and didn’t pass his training-camp physical. He has a season left on his contract worth a cap hit of $3 million.
MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings hired former NHL center Shawn Horcoff as their director of player development. He replaces Jiri Fischer, who moves into a player evaluation role with the club. The Wings also invited forward Daniel Cleary to training camp on a professional tryout offer.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Senators signed former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a professional tryout contract.
GENERAL FANAGER: Former Edmonton Oilers blueliner Nikita Nikitin has signed a one-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.
WINNIPEG SUN: Hall of Famer Bobby Hull will not be attending his induction into the Winnipeg Jets Hall of Fame for personal reasons.