Some assorted news from the NHL today, mainly focusing on two teams who are preparing for a summer full of margaritas and golf.
I was glancing at the league standings today and I noticed something that gave me “forgot someone’s birthday” type guilt; I must belatedly congratulate the Oilers for being the first team to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Sorry guys, I have to admit if a special occasion isn’t spelled out plainly to me on my Facebook feed, I’m flat-out going to miss it. I really feel like I let you down on this one.
In other semi-Oilers news, unemployed coach du jour Craig MacTavish was named the head coach for Team Canada for this summer’s World Hockey Championships according to the Edmonton Journal. The tournament is a fun, if odd competition since the squads are often a hodgepodge of players who either missed the playoffs or were booted from them quite early. Some might bristle when I refer to it as “a consolation round” but in some weird way it really is kind of the NIT to the Stanley Cup Finals’ March Madness.
So do you go the extra mile to keep Ryan, already a two-time 30-goal scorer who just turned 23? Or do you dangle Ryan as an attractive piece to beef up a problem area if he and the Ducks can’t hammer out a deal? The club doesn’t have to be rash as Ryan is a pending restricted free agent but the big winger will get a raise this summer. A big one.
Eh, there’s no doubt that the Ducks need help on defense (and there isn’t a whole lot of great defensive talent set to go the free agent route this summer) but I think both teams would risk some serious heartache if they made such a trade. Sure, it’s sort of an exchange of abundance (Ducks’ young forwards, Leafs’ many defensemen) to improve areas of weakness but I still would be very reluctant to make such a move. Especially considering the fact that the Ducks should see some serious monetary relief with the probable retirements of Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu.
Would you make that move if you were Bob Murray or Brian Burke?
Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing
The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?
Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.
Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.
A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:
Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”
He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.
Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.
"I don't think the Kings look at Doughty differently…Muzzin to back down from that fight on 1st shift is an embarrassment." – Keith Jones https://t.co/KI9dx8Rirx
For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.
Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.
OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.
It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.
In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.
It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.
The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?
“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”