Game recaps, injury updates, Tkachuk suspended and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 36 shots while Zach Werenski and Artemi Panarin scored the only goals as the Columbus Blue Jackets shut out the New York Rangers 2-0. It’s the first time in five games the Jackets scored more than once in regulation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have suffered a significant power outage so far this season. In 2016-17, they were sixth in goals for per game (3.01) and 12th in power-play percentage (19.0). They’re currently 18th in goals for per game (2.85) and have the league’s worst PP percentage (10.5). If not for Bobrovsky’s stellar goaltending over the last five games, the Jackets probably wouldn’t have won their last three games.
Third-period goals by Tomas Tatar and Dylan Larkin gave the Detroit Red Wings a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings and Sabres are two rebuilding club heading in different directions right now. The Wings have won six of their last 10 games and hold third place in the Atlantic Division, while the Sabres have won only three of their last 10 and sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
USA TODAY: Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk received a one-game suspension for his role in a line brawl during his club’s recent game against the Red Wings.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Good news for the Vegas Golden Knights’ goaltending depth, as Malcolm Subban has been activated off injured reserve. Subban could get the start in Vegas’ game on Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings.
OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Chris Wideman will be sidelined for weeks with a ripped hamstring.
TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs re-signed winger Josh Leivo to a one-year, $925K contract extension.
SPORTSNET: With the cities of Houston and Seattle expressing interest in acquiring NHL franchises, and with the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators in need of new arenas, league commissioner Gary Bettman subtly raised the heat on Calgary and Ottawa to get those venues built.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flames and Senators agree to pick up a healthy portion of the construction costs, the cities of Calgary and Ottawa will certainly do their part to help those arenas get built. The problem, as always, is the ownership of those respective franchises want, or will want, the cities to pick up most of the tab. Recently re-elected Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi has already made it clear that’s not something he supports, while the Ottawa city council wants to ensure its taxpayers aren’t overburdened by an arena deal.
THE ATHLETIC: The effects of the changes in the coach’s challenge rule and the crackdown on slashing were among the items discussed during yesterday’s meeting of NHL general managers in Montreal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The general managers met in the same hotel where, 100 years ago, the NHL was born. Apart from the photo op commemorating that event, it doesn’t appear as though very much was accomplished in yesterday’s meeting.
KUKLA’S KORNER: presents an interesting breakdown, from data provided by the NHL, of the coach’s challenges thus far this season.
Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand has taken over the NHL goal-scoring lead.
Game recaps, Anisimov out a month, Wideman ban rejected & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Brad Marchand scored his league-leading 36th goal and David Pastrnak scored twice as the Boston Bruins downed the Calgary Flames 5-2, ending the latter’s 10-game winning streak. The win moves the Bruins to within four points of the Atlantic Division leading Montreal Canadiens.
Rickard Rakell tallied his 30th goal of the season and Ryan Getzlaf also scored as the Anaheim Ducks held on for a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Blues remain four-point up on the Los Angeles Kings for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
Steve Mason has a 23-save shutout performance and Wayne Simmonds tallied his 200th career NHL goal as the Philadelphia Flyers blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0. The Flyers sit five points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
J.T. Compher’s first career NHL goal was also the game winner to give the Colorado Avalanche a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Matt Duchene also scored to get his first point in 12 games and only his second goal in his last 26 games.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov will miss the next three-four weeks with an injured left leg.
TSN: The NHL’s attempt to reinstate the 20-game ban on Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman for hitting a linesman last season has been rejected by a neutral arbitrator.
SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Flames, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke yesterday with Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi regarding a new arena. The Saddledome, which opened in 1983, is now the NHL’s third-oldest arena.
NEWSDAY: The 2018 NHL Winter Classic could be held at Citi Field between the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres.
OTTAWA SUN: On a non-NHL note, the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team could boycott the upcoming world championships in Plymouth, Michigan ““unless significant progress has been made on the year-long negotiations with USA Hockey over fair wages and equitable support.”
Will the Tampa Bay Lightning keep or trade goaltender Ben Bishop?
Updates on Ben Bishop, Dennis Wideman and Curtis Lazar plus the latest on the Red Wings, Sharks and Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: With the Lightning fighting to reach the playoffs and goaltender Ben Bishop playing his best hockey of the season, Joe Smith wonders if they should trade Bishop with his trade value now improved or keep him and hope they can ride him to a postseason berth. If they retain him, they risk losing him to free agency for nothing in July.
The Dallas Stars were once suggested as a trade partner but they’ve fallen out of playoff contention and need to move one of their own goalies. Smith noted the Calgary Flames nearly had a deal in place for Bishop last June and they had a scout at a recent Lightning game. However, he also said things are quiet on the Bishop trade front.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman isn’t going to just give Bishop away. If there’s a suitable return to be had, he’ll move him. If not, he’ll keep Bishop and hope he can at least salvage this season by backstopping them into the playoffs.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis reports Flames GM Brad Treliving said “he didn’t want to get into any of that” when asked if he approached defenseman Dennis Wideman about waiving his no-movement clause. While Wideman’s in the final season of his contract, his $5.25 million cap hit means there probably won’t be any takers for his services. With the acquisition of Michael Stone and the recent signing of Matt Bartkowski, Wideman’s now the odd man out on the Flames blueline.
Francis also doubts Treliving will make any significant moves leading up to the trade deadline. While the Flames were linked to Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop and Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, Francis believes the high asking prices for either guy is too expensive for Treliving’s taste.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames will probably have to pick up part of Wideman’s cap hit to move him. Even then, there likely won’t be many takers. I see him finishing this season in Calgary.
CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz wonders what moves San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson has in mind leading up to the trade deadline. Two areas that make sense are a backup goaltender and a scoring winger. Kurz speculates the Sharks could stick with current backup Aaron Dell, who’s earned glowing reviews from Sharks coach Pete DeBoer.
Finding a scoring winger for the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line should be the priority. Kurz lists “Dallas’ Patrick Sharp or Patrick Eaves, Arizona’s Shane Doan, Colorado’s Jarome Iginla, Detroit’s Thomas Vanek, or even Vancouver’s Alex Burrows or Jannik Hansen” as possible options. Sharp could be an intriguing option, given his role in helping the Chicago Blackhawks win three Stanley Cups. His $5.9 million cap hit, however, could require some juggling.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I was Wilson, I’d target Eaves, Vanik or Hansen. Sharp might also be worthwhile for the right price. I’d pass on Doan, Iginla and Burrows who are well past their prime. As for their backup, Dell’s getting the job done. If DeBoer is confident in him, there’s no reason to seek an upgrade.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports it sounds like Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion could move young forward Curtis Lazar if he got a good return, but the Sens front office are reluctant to give up on him. Dreger feels a trade at the deadline at this point seems like a long shot. Dreger also notes Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is willing to open his wallet if Dorion can make a move to help his team, but they’re unwilling to overpay for top assets for a top-six winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch said pretty much the same thing about Lazar. If the Sens could get a solid return, Dorion could consider it, but he’d prefer not to give up on the promising young forward. As both indicate, a Lazar trade doesn’t seem likely at this point. Maybe in the offseason if they get a good offer.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports the Detroit Red Wings received some calls about young forward Andreas Athanasiou when there were some battles over his ice time. While Wings GM Ken Holland won’t comment, Friedman cites a source saying Holland told them not to ask unless the offer was a “22-year-old top-pair defenseman.” While the Wings are open for business, they won’t move any of their cornerstone young players unless they get that type of return. They’ll also discuss re-signing defenseman Brendan Smith before making a decision on trading him.
MLIVE.COM: Brendan Savage expects the Detroit Red Wings to start shedding some assets soon, noting GM Ken Holland has said he would do so if his club’s playoff hopes were dim near the trade deadline. The top trade candidates are pending UFAs such as Tomas Vanek, Steve Ott and Brendan Smith. Defenseman Mike Green is another possibility. He has only a year left on his contract, but his $6 million salary could scare off potential suitors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect the Wings will get an offer of a young top-pairing defenseman for one of their promising young forwards at the trade deadline. Maybe they’ll get one in the offseason from the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes or Minnesota Wild, as those clubs have lots of good young blueliners and they can’t protect them all in the expansion draft. Unless the Wings are willing to pick up a good chunk of Green’s cap hit, he’s not going anywhere. Vanek, Ott and Smith are likely goners.
SPORTSNET: Friedman also reports Dallas Stars winger Patrick Eaves would be a perfect fit to re-sign but apparently there’s been no talks on that subject. Eaves could be on the move by the trade deadeline.
There was talk earlier this season the Florida Panthers had interest in Winnipeg Jets center Mathieu Perreault. While Panthers GM Dale Tallon seeks help for his power play, Friedman believes Perreault’s four-year contract likely makes it impossible for the Panthers to pursue him now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Tallon goes shopping for someone to boost his power play it’ll likely be for a rental player. Don’t see him making a significant move for a player with term remaining on his contract, especially with the expansion draft coming in June.
Friedman believes the Pittsburgh Penguins had interest in defenseman Michael Stone prior to his being dealt by the Arizona Coyotes to the Calgary Flames. He thinks Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Ron Hainsey could be a good fit with the Pens.
Speaking of the Flames, Friedman thinks GM Brad Treliving seeks a winger with an edge to his game and suspects he could be looking around for a goaltender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman’s colleague Nick Kypreos recently claimed the Flames revisited their interest in Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. However, it sounds like Pens GM Jim Rutherford intends to keep the veteran around as insurance over the remainder of this season.
Friedman thinks there are a couple of teams with interest in either Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche but they don’t believe they can complete this trade and still compete for a Stanley Cup because of the high asking price set by the Avs. The Anaheim Ducks have the assets to meet that price but GM Bob Murray has indicated he might wait until the offseason to make decisions about his blueline. Friedman also said it looks like the Avs would like to move Mikhail Grigorenko.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jason Gregor reports the question of whether the Oilers need an experienced backup is a hot topic right now. However, there aren’t many palatable options available. Arizona’s Louis Domingue (.895 SP) and Carolina’s Eddie Lack (.836) aren’t an improvement, Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop is too expensive and Gregor doubts the Oilers will bring back Anders Nilsson from Buffalo. Gregor said he wouldn’t be interested in the Islanders’ Jaroslav Halak or Anaheim’s Jhonas Enroth. New Jersey’s Keith Kincaid might be a good option, with 48 starts and a .910 save percentage, as would Philadelphia’s Michal Neuvirth.
Don’t expect the Chicago Blackhawks to put Corey Crawford on the trade block.
Updates on the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators, plus the latest on Kris Russell.
CSN CHICAGO: Tracey Myers recently field questions on the Chicago Blackhawks from her readers. She noted the Blackhawks have about $2.4 million in salary-cap space. While she won’t deny the possibility of them making another roster addition before the start of the season, she’ll be surprised if they do.
She feels backup Scott Darling has starter potential but isn’t there yet. Myers never thought the Blackhawks would trade starting goalie Corey Crawford this summer, pointing to his strong play and favorable contract compared to other notable NHL starters.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks will look to within during training camp to find a replacement for forward Andrew Shaw, who was dealt this summer to the Montreal Canadiens. If that doesn’t work, perhaps they’ll look for an affordable forward via trade or free agency. Forget about them trading Crawford. He’s backstopped them to two Stanley Cup titles in four years and played well last season.
TSN.CA: Frank Seravalli reports player agent Allain Roy, who represents unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell, says he’s in conversations with eight teams and believes a deal for his client is likely before the conclusion of the World Cup of Hockey. Seravalli claims a handful of teams are waiting to see if the Anaheim Ducks move a defenseman after they re-sign restricted free agent blueliner Hampus Lindholm. Russell could be a good Plan B option.
Seravalli also said the Russell camp and his former team, the Calgary Flames, are believed interested in a deal, but it would require moving blueliner Dennis Wideman and that could mean absorbing half of Wideman’s $5.25 million cap hit. His contract expires next summer. Much will depend upon the cost of re-signing rising star forward Johnny Gaudreau.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recently suggested Russell could be an option for teams hopping to pry Cam Fowler away from the Ducks after they re-sign Lindholm. As for the Flames moving Wideman to clear cap room for Russell, that might not be easy. There was talk prior to his suspension last season that some teams had interest in him. That may have changed now. Wideman also has to waive his no-movement clause. Picking up part of his cap hit for this season (the last in his contract) might be the best way to do so.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion might not be done tinkering with his roster. Garrioch said Dorion had been “kicking tires on signing another free-agent forward and repeated he may also bring in a free-agent defenceman on a professional tryout (PTO) or, perhaps, even sign one to a contract.” The Sens GM has inquired about UFA blueliners Kris Russell and Dennis Seidenberg, but it’s believed they’d prefer contracts rather than professional tryout offers. Going the PTO route might be less risky for Dorion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dorion could also keep an eye on those players who’ve signed PTOs with other clubs. Someone like James Wisniewski, who’s on a PTO with the Tampa Bay Lightning, might interest him.