NHL Injury Outlook: Injuries spike this Valentine’s Week
Marc-Andre Fleury and Andrei Vasilevskiy reach goaltending milestones, plus updates on Shea Weber, Mark Giordano, Elias Pettersson, Brent Seabrook and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves in a 7-2 drubbing of the Florida Panthers. Fleury picked up his 460th career victory to move past Henrik Lundqvist into fifth place on the all-time wins list. Mark Stone led the way offensively with two goals and three assists for the Golden Knights (63 points), who moved within two points of the first-place Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division. Max Pacioretty also tallied twice for Vegas.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves backstopping his club over the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2. Vasilevskiy set a club record with a 17-game points streak. Victor Hedman collected three assists for the surging Lightning (73 points), who sit five behind the first-overall Boston Bruins. Bolts blueliner Ryan McDonagh left the game after being struck on the right leg by a shot from Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.
Jeff Petry scored in overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Carey Price made 35 saves for the Habs (59 points), who’ve won six of their last eight games and sit five points behind the Panthers and six out of a wild-card spot. Montreal defenseman Shea Weber missed the game with a lower-body injury. He’s on injured reserve and expected to miss a week.
The Detroit Red Wings edged the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on shootout goals by Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. Larkin also scored twice in regulation. With 54 points, the Sabres’ playoff hopes are fading. They’re 11 points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference and 10 behind the third-place Panthers in the Atlantic Division.
New York Islanders rookie Kieffer Bellows scored the first two goals of his NHL career in a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The Isles overcame a 3-1 deficit with four unanswered goals. They sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 68 points.
MacKenzie Blackwood made 46 saves and picked up his first career NHL assist as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 5-0. Miles Wood tallied twice for the Devils as the Flyers (65 points) slipped out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Colorado Avalanche picked up their fifth win in their last six games by defeating the Ottawa Senators 4-1, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Cale Makar had a goal and an assist for the Avs.
Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho each scored twice to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. With 65 points, the Hurricanes hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Winners of just two of their last 11 contests, the struggling Coyotes (61 points) are clinging to the first Western Conference wild-card spot.
Jusse Saros kicked out 37 shots to give the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames, who are clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 60 points. Nashville captain Roman Josi collected two assists. The Flames were playing without captain Mark Giordano, who’s listed as week-to-week with a hamstring injury. The Predators are now one point behind the Flames.
Andrew Copp tallied the game-winner as the Winnipeg Jets doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2, snapping the Blues 11-game home points streak. With 59 points, the Jets are one behind the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.
The Minnesota Wild kept their playoff hopes alive by downing the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Brad Hunt and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist. The Wild (56 points) are four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Canucks played without leading scorer Elias Pettersson, who missed the game with a lower-body injury.
Timo Meier scored twice and collected an assist as the San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. The Oilers (62 points) are two points behind the first-place Canucks in the Pacific, but only three points ahead of the ninth-overall Predators.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook underwent successful right hip surgery on Thursday. He had surgery on his right shoulder in December and on his left hip last month. He’s expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp in September.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci will be out “for a while” with an ankle injury.
LAS VEGAS SUN: The Golden Knights purchased the American Hockey League team in San Antonio, Texas, and plan to move it to the Las Vegas area next season.
NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA will resume negotiations toward an extension of the collective bargaining agreement. The CBA is due to expire in September 2022.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes are seeking funding to stage an outdoor game at Carter-Finley Stadium in 2021.
Results from the All-Star Game skills competition, the all-decade team, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal upset Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid for the title of the fastest skater at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game skills competition. Barzal’s time was 13.175 seconds.
Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber won the hardest shot competition at 106.5 mph. St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington delighted the hometown crowd by winning the save streak with 10. Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin won the accuracy shooting in 9.505 seconds, while Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane won the shooting stars with 22 points.
In the Elite Women’s 3-on-3 game, Canada edged the United States 2-1 in an exciting, fast-paced contest. Melodie Daoust and Rebecca Johnston scored for Canada while Hilary Knight countered for the U.S.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Tomas Hertl brought some levity to the save streak challenge by wearing a Justin Bieber mask when it was his turn to shoot on Jordan Binnington. Bieber and Binnington have a bet on for a breakaway challenge in which the winner donates $10K to the charity of their choice.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane highlight the NHL’s all-decade First-Team All-Star roster for 2010 to 2019. Defensemen Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury were also selected to the first team.
The Second Team consists of Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlson, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
SPORTSNET: The NHL and the NHL alone will decide if it participates in the 2022 Winter Olympics, according to commissioner Gary Bettman during his state of the league address. He also indicated puck and player tracking will be up and running for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, the league will continue spotlighting the world’s best women’s players, and it’s expected the NHLPA will soon resume collective bargaining discussions.
Bettman also confirmed the 2021 NHL All-Star Game will be hosted by the Florida Panthers.
Wayne Gretzky is rooting for Alex Ovechkin to break his goal-scoring record. He believes the Capitals captain has “a real, legitimate chance” to surpass his record of 894 career goals. With 692 goals, Ovechkin is 202 goals away. “I’m a big believer that records are made to be broken,” Gretzky told NHL.com. He also feels Ovechkin breaking his goal-scoring record would be good for the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many of Gretzky’s records, such as most assists and points, might never be broken. The goal-scoring record was once considered unassailable. That Ovechkin even has a reasonable shot at reaching it is generating a level of excitement and interest that will surely grow the close he gets to it.
PIT has Andreas Martinsen on unconditional waivers to terminate. If it occurs, will take Penguins down to 47 contracts (of the maximum 50).
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 24, 2020
Latest on the Leafs, Canadiens and Red Wings, plus updates on Chris Kreider, Braden Holtby, and P.K. Subban in today’s NHL rumor mill.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM LATEST TSN “INSIDER TRADING” SEGMENT
TSN: With Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin sidelined, Bob McKenzie reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are getting calls from clubs hoping to take advantage of the situation. He also suspects the Leafs are making their inquiries on the front.
McKenzie believes the idea of trading for a defenseman isn’t entirely out of the question. Replacing Rielly and Muzzin on the left side of their blueline is their short-term need, but their long-term need is on the right side. He wonders if the Leafs would be prepared to part with an affordable young forward like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson or Alex Kerfoot for a defenseman with a similar contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs must also find a reliable backup goaltender for overworked starter Frederik Andersen. Complicating efforts is their limited salary-cap space. Addressing either issue will take a dollar-for-dollar deal.
There are fans and pundits in Montreal calling upon the struggling Canadiens to trade Carey Price and Shea Weber. However, Pierre LeBrun reports Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said he has no intention of moving either guy at the trade deadline. As the roster gets younger, Bergevin feels Price and Weber provide invaluable leadership.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once upon a time, Bergevin also said he had no plans to trade P.K. Subban and we know how that turned out. He could consider moving Price or Weber if a sweetheart offer were presented to him. Nevertheless, I don’t see him trading Price or Weber anytime soon. If such a move were to take place, it would be in the offseason when teams have more cap space and a willingness to spend.
LeBrun also reports the status of Chris Kreider remains front and center in the rumor mill. The New York Rangers winger is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July. There could still be contract negotiations between the two sides, but it’s believed Kreider will be moved before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, with the Blueshirts perhaps absorbing up to half of his $4.625-million contract. LeBrun speculates the St. Louis Blues or Boston Bruins could come calling.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers pick up that much of Kreider’s cap hit, they could seek an extra draft pick or prospect as part of the return. Kreider also carries an 11-team no-trade list. It’s believed Canadian teams aren’t on his list.
LeBrun also weighed in on how Nicklas Backstrom’s new contract could affect Braden Holtby’s future with the Washington Capitals. The Capitals goalie will become a UFA on July 1. Both sides agreed to wait until the end of the season to discuss a contract. LeBrun feels it’ll either be a short-term contract or Holtby goes to market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said he’d have to get creative to find sufficient salary-cap space to re-sign Holtby. The veteran goalie’s ongoing struggles and the promising play of backup Ilya Samsonov could affect those negotiations.
MacLellan must ensure he has sufficient long-term cap room to re-sign Samsonov, Alex Ovechkin, and Jakub Vrana at the end of 2020-21. Even if Holtby agreed to a short-term hometown discount (and that’s not going to happen), the Capitals GM would have to shed salary to make room for him and leave enough long-term cap space for the others.
SUBBAN NOT ASKING TO BE TRADED
NHL.COM: P.K. Subban said he’s not asking the New Jersey Devils to trade him. The 30-year-old defenseman was acquired by the Devils last summer and has two years remaining on his contract. He said he’s never requested a trade and remains focused on helping the Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if Subban asked to be traded, the decline in his performance over the past two years and his hefty $9-million annual average value would make him a tough sell. I’m not saying there wouldn’t be a market for him, but the Devils wouldn’t get a significant return and would probably have to pick up a healthy chunk of his annual salary-cap hit.
UPDATE ON THE RED WINGS
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reports Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman doesn’t intend to be passive as the trade deadline approaches. “I’m looking for ways to build for the future and trying to acquire draft picks or prospects or young players that can come into the organization sooner or later.”
St. James expects the rebuilding Wings to be active at the trade deadline. However, the players they’d like to move (Jimmy Howard, Trevor Daley, Mike Green, and Frans Nielsen) have struggled this season and likely won’t yield much on the trade market.