Red Wings, Flyers save money with goalies

howard2.jpgOne thing that dawned on me recently is that the going rate for a starting goalie seems to be around $5 million. It doesn’t even have to be a good one, either. For every Martin Brodeur ($5.2 million) there’s a hit-or-miss Tim Thomas ($5 million) or an even worse Cristobal Huet ($5.6 million).

It’s often interesting to take a look at teams that do things a little differently, though. The Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers share an almost defiant indifference to spending big money on goalies (although, obviously, one team is having a lot more success with that approach). Between Jimmy Howard and Chris Osgood, the Red Wings are only spending a little more than $2 million combined. And while Ray Emery and Michael Leighton both had cheap contracts, the active Flyers goalies are almost comically inexpensive.

In both cases, the teams are spending close to the cap limit so it’s not a matter of being frugal; they both chose to emphasize other areas of their clubs. There’s a lot of logic to the concept, even if it seems like they’re playing a risky game of goalie chicken. After all, if you build a team that can put a goalie in a position to succeed (goal support from offense, limited scoring chances because of defense) then your goalie doesn’t have to play at an elite level for your team to succeed.

Going cheap in net allows the Red Wings to afford Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Johan Franzen. As ugly as things might be for the Flyers right now, they’ve still compiled a talented roster that includes Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Chris Pronger. The Red Wings and Flyers aren’t like most of the league’s teams who are forced to live and die with an expensive goalie who could slip or get injured at any time. Both approaches have their risks, but it’s surprising that more teams don’t consider going the cheap route in net.

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    Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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    So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

    The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

    No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

    He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

    Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

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    There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

    Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

    ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

    So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

    Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

    (But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

    Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

    After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

    Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

    Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

    As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

    The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

    Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

    They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

    The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

    Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

    Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


    Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

    That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

    Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

    “Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

    In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

    One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

    Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

    Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).