Ryane Clowe says he didn't want to fight Morrow

We covered plenty of the highlights from the Dallas Stars’ thrashing of the West-leading San Jose Sharks from Tuesday night, but we really didn’t get into meat behind the game. The Sharks actually came out playing well in the game, but Kari Lehtonen made some big saves early and the Stars were able to get ahead with a power play goal. From there, it was a snowball effect as Dallas continuously outplayed and outworked San Jose en route to a big 8-2 win.

There was also some extra-curricular activity that needed mentioning. It all seemed to start with Ryane Clowe’s hit of Stephane Robidas in open ice. It wasn’t exactly a blind-side hit, but it did seem to come well after Robidas had released the puck.

There were some ensuing fights in the game, one involving Clowe and Krys Barch, until Robidas was tossed from the game for a boarding penalty on Clowe that left him with a bad cut above his eye. It wasn’t necessarily a vicious hit — and certainly not as bad as Wisniewski’s hit on Seabrook — but it was boarding and Clowe was hurt, so Robidas was rightfuly given a misconduct.

What’s interesting about the situation is how Clow apparently turned down the chance to fight Brenden Morrow immediately after the original hit on Robidas. From David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News:

“He moved the puck and I hit him with my shoulder,” Clowe said of the
play, which didn’t warrant a penalty.

After that, Clowe said, Brendan Morrow skated by and asked him to
fight.

“I told him I wasn’t going to fight him, that I’d fight Barch,” said
Clowe. “I probably should have fought him (Morrow), but I have a hard
time fighting guys who are the top players on other teams. I don’t
know.”

Morrow isn’t exactly a pushover when it comes to fighting, but I guess that Clowe felt it would be disrespectful to take on a top player on the other team. He certainly stood up for himself and the hit by taking on Barch, I guess. At the time, the game was just 1-0 in favor of the Stars so this wasn’t a case of the Ducks just looking to get after the Stars in a blowout, although that came later.

I guess you have to respect Clowe here. I’d still like to see him take on a player that challenges him, even if it’s the other team’s captain. If he pounds him, well then that’s Morrow’s fault for getting into something he couldn’t handle.

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    Canucks could really use Patrick or Hischier

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    The Vancouver Canucks are hoping for better luck in tomorrow’s draft lottery. If they receive it, they may get a player who can step right into their lineup, and stay there for years to come.

    The top two picks in the 2017 draft are expected to be centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier.

    It remains to be seen who will go first overall. Patrick was the consensus pick for a while, but Hischier started to gain ground with an impressive showing for Switzerland at the World Juniors.

    “I think the top two players in this draft have the potential to maybe step in and play next year and be productive players at the NHL level,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning. “But I think the next three players, whether you’re looking at a play-making center, or potentially a power-play defenseman, there’s good choices there too.”

    Gabe Vilardi, Casey Mittelstadt, and Cody Glass are centers the Canucks could select if they fall out of the top two. Cale Makar, Miro Heiskanen, and Timothy Liljegren are options on defense.

    But getting Patrick or Hischier would be a huge win for a team that will soon have to replace Henrik Sedin, who turns 37 in September.

    Benning says Patrick offers a combination of size (6-3, 198), skill and hockey sense, with “no real weakness in his game.”

    As for Hischier, it’s his speed that really stands out.

    “He’s built for today’s game,” said Benning. “His speed going through the neutral zone is fun to watch.”

    The Canucks have the second-best odds to win the draft lottery. The furthest they can fall is to fifth.

    Last year, Vancouver fell two spots from third to fifth, with Winnipeg and Columbus moving up. The Canucks drafted Finnish defenseman Olli Juolevi with their selection.

    Draft lottery odds

    Colorado Avalanche 18.0%
    Vancouver Canucks 12.1%
    Vegas Golden Knights* 10.3%
    Arizona Coyotes 10.3%
    New Jersey Devils 8.5%
    Buffalo Sabres 7.6%
    Detroit Red Wings 6.7%
    Dallas Stars 5.8%
    Florida Panthers 5.4%
    Los Angeles Kings 4.5%
    Carolina Hurricanes 3.2%
    Winnipeg Jets 2.7%
    Philadelphia Flyers 2.2%
    Tampa Bay Lightning 1.8%

    Paajarvi out, Barbashev in as Blues look for ‘physical element’

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    After losing Game 1 — and with it, home ice advantage — of their series against Nashville, the Blues are making a lineup change for Friday’s Game 2.

    Ivan Barbashev, who’s been a healthy scratch the last three games, will draw in, replacing Magnus Paajarvi. Paajarvi sits despite being a fairly productive player recently, notching a goal and three points in his last five games.

    This, of course, includes the game-winning, series-clinching OT goal against Minnesota on Saturday:

    “We like to give players a chance to respond and a chance to get back in there when they’re coming out of the lineup,” Blues head coach Mike Yeo said, per NHL.com. “We saw what that did for (Jori Lehtera). It’s in no way anything against Magnus. We’re very grateful and appreciative of what he’s done and what he can do for us, but ‘Barby’ has been a good player for us for a long time, too.

    “Having him in the lineup, he’ll be energized and bring a physical element… When he gets the puck of the offensive zone, he has a chance to create something. We’ll see how he does tonight.”

    The hope is that Barbashev can rediscover some of the form shown during the regular season. The Russian rookie made an impact, scoring five goals and 12 points in 30 games.

    Sabres granted permission to speak with Futa

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    Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Kings promoted Mike Futa to assistant general manager.

    But Futa received that promotion before the Sabres cleaned house last week, and that timing is important to note.

    Because it’s now being reported, via a Kings spokesman, that the Sabres have been granted permission to speak with Futa about their GM vacancy.

    It’s no surprise that Buffalo has asked to interview Futa. He was a candidate for the Sabres’ GM job in 2013 — a job that eventually went to Tim Murray.

    Futa was once thought to be heir apparent to Dean Lombardi in Los Angeles. But when Lombardi was fired, the Kings went with Rob Blake instead.

    Some background on Futa, courtesy the Kings:

    Futa most recently served as Kings Vice President, Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel. This upcoming season will be Futa’s 11th season with the Kings.

    Futa recently concluded his 10th full season with the Kings, and third in his most recent position. He was named VP of Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel in May of 2014 after serving as Director of Amateur Scouting, a position he assumed on June 5, 2007, when he originally joined the Kings.

    Futa came to the Kings when he was appointed Co-Director of Amateur Scouting along with Mark Yannetti. Together, Futa and Yannetti rebuilt and retooled the entire Kings Amateur Scouting staff.

    Related: Darryl Sutter wants to keep coaching

    Habs sign Quebec League sniper Waked

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    On Friday, Montreal agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal with QMHJL Rouyn-Noranda forward Antoine Waked.

    Waked, 20, is coming off a strong season in which he racked up 80 points in 67 games. He finished tied for ninth in the league in goals, with 39, in what was something of a surprise. Previously, the Quebec native had never scored more than 15 goals in a campaign, suggesting Waked could be the prototypical late bloomer.

    An undrafted free agent, Waked had been tied to the Habs earlier this season, with reports he’d receive an ELC at the end of his junior campaign.