Retirement for Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom?

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It didn’t really hit me until today, but really, the Detroit Red Wings are a salary cap puzzle after this season. For instance: they only have six forwards (currently playing) under contract next season; the rest will come from free agency, re-signings or their farm system.

The biggest question is: what does the future hold for Nicklas Listrom? (And, to a lesser extent, what about The Human Goalie Eclipse, Tomas Holmstrom?)

I’ve already said my piece(s) about Lidstrom: I think that he still “has it” and absolutely should not retire; Lidstrom is on record of “not thinking about it until the playoffs are over.” I will state, again, that Lidstrom might not threaten the 70-point mark any longer but he’s still a great point producer (and most importantly) an absolute rock in his own end. So, obviously, the ball is in Lidstrom’s court. I’d be stunned if the legendary Swede decides to hang them up.

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Now, as far as the legendary Swedish backside – Holmstrom’s – that’s another question entirely. Here is a telling quote from Holmstrom about a week ago, when it was announced that he would be the Detroit Red Wing’s nominee for the Masterton Memorial Trophy (which, more or less, is awarded to a player who goes through something semi-horrible like injury or family stress.)

And it’s because of that role Holmstrom was nominated for the Masterton Memorial Trophy, given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“For sure when you’re hurt it’s not fun,” Holmstrom, 37, said. “The last two years, the two hernia surgeries, it was tough.

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Considering Holmstrom’s unique skill (any time another player puts up a goalie-befuddling screen it’s almost inevitable that his name will come up) it’s amazing that he’s only making $2.25 million per season. My guess is that if Holmstrom wants to make a big payday, he could probably do it.

But that brings with it two big ‘ifs.’ If he wants to retire and if he would ever leave Detroit. The Red Wings have a New York Yankees’ pinstripe effect; when someone puts on the Winged Wheel, they often play over their head. Even Todd Bertuzzi seems to exhibit something resembling a pulse in those distinct red jerseys.

Still, if you put a gun to my head and asked me – point blank – I would say that Lidstrom will be a Red Wing next season and Holmstrom won’t. But what will actually happen with Detroit’s two distinct Swedish talents? The playoffs could hold a lot of those answers and it’s quite possible neither one have made their minds up yet. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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    Kings put Gaborik on IR because of lower-body injury

    Los Angeles Kings' Marian Gaborik celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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    By Marian Gaborik‘s often-fragile standards, he’s been relatively sturdy as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

    Still, few should be shocked when they hear of a lower-body injury for the veteran winger. In this case, it’s serious enough to land him on injured reserve, as the team announced on Saturday.

    Gaborik had a bumpy time with zero points from Jan. 9-23, but he’s been more productive lately, scoring five points in his past seven contests.

    And, again, it was an unusually healthy run for Gaborik:

    LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen indicates that Gaborik was placed on IR in part so that the Kings could make room for Peter Budaj.

    Minnesota Wild fire Mike Yeo

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo talks to Jason Zucker (16) in the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    Update: The Minnesota Wild made it official. Still no word yet on a replacement.

    ***

    It looks like the Minnesota Wild have no love left for Mike Yeo on Valentine’s Day weekend.

    Apparently an eighth consecutive loss (falling to the Boston Bruins) was the final straw, as Yeo has been fired, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

    Yeo confirmed as much via text (pauses for comment about this being a strange time for us all) to Russo:

    The Wild haven’t made an official announcement yet. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall with Graff reporting that there were especially long meetings between Minnesota management and Yeo after today’s loss to Boston.

    Yeo mentioned that he wouldn’t quit following the game.

    One big question remains: is GM Chuck Fletcher safe to work the trade deadline or will there be sweeping changes for the struggling Wild?

    Also: who coaches them going forward? Will an assistant be bumped up to interim head coach or will the franchise go to someone looking for a gig? Perhaps this option …

    Who knows, really. PHT will keep you up to date either way.

    /paging Jacques Lemaire …

    Cold for Clutterbuck? Illness sidelines Isles’ heavy-hitter

    New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) goes flying after tripping over Edmonton Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson (88) in the third period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. The Islanders defeated the Oilers 8-1. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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    The Carolina Hurricanes probably can save a few ice buckets tonight, as the New York Islanders will be without winger Cal Clutterbuck.

    The Isles announced that Clutterbuck won’t play on Saturday because of an illness. Their next game is against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and then they don’t suit up again until Thursday, so Clutterbuck’s sickness may not be too much of a nuisance.

    According to Yahoo’s numbers, the amusingly named forward has delivered 55 hits in 14 career games against the Canes (not to mention a solid five points).

    Matt Martin‘s among the most frequent hitters in the league, too, so it’s not like the Hurricanes will leave tonight’s game totally unscathed.

    Here are the Islanders’ tweaked forward lines:

    If Wild want Yeo out, they’ll probably need to fire him

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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    If the Minnesota Wild want to make a coaching change, it sounds like Mike Yeo won’t make it easy for them by stepping down.

    “I’m not freaking quitting here,” Yeo said to reporters including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

    It also sounds like Yeo realizes that Minnesota’s morbid losing streak – now at a worrisome eight games – may very well cost him his job.

    The scene sounded pretty somber after today’s loss to the Boston Bruins, and not in your usual way.

    https://twitter.com/ChadGraff/status/698629021232455680

    Yikes.

    Firing Yeo would be a big step for the Wild, even more than usual, as he began his coaching stint in 2011. GM Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, so the two have been attached at the hip since then.

    (And they got to know each other well in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.)

    Will one or both be gone, possibly in the near future? Even Yeo admits big changes can happen.

    Wild players, meanwhile, just seem beaten down … and maybe ambivalent about Yeo?