Sports writers love to talk about teams or players being “haunted” by a mistake. Sometimes it’s a single gaffe that tarnishes a great player’s legacy (see: Buckner, Bill). Other times it could be a questionable call by a referee or an epic brain fart. Still, few five-minute powerplays will ever leave its beneficiaries as cold as the one the Predators received at the end of the third period. Nashville allowed a stunning game-tying shorthanded goal, two golden John Madden shorthanded opportunities in overtime and Marian Hossa scored the winner right after stepping out of the box.
Rarely will “haunted” talk be more appropriate than in the case of the Nashville Predators.
Chicago Blackhawks 5, Nashville Predators 4 OT
Blackhawks lead series 3-2
Chicago dominated much of this game. David Legwand gave Nashville a 1-0 lead but the Blackhawks reeled off three goals. Things seemed to change when a Patrick Kane turnover lead to a Joel Ward shorthanded goal in the second period.
The third period looked disastrous for Chicago as Martin Erat managed two goals to give the Predators a 4-3 lead.
Yet it seemed like a game of highs and lows – of retribution and bubbles bursting. At first, Kane looked like a goat when his turnover lead to a pivotal shorty, but his game-tying goal made up for that. Erat seemed like a hero with two goals, but his turnover allowed Kane to score that goal. Jason Arnott might be feeling less mixed emotions, as his poor coverage in front of Pekka Rinne allowed the game tying goal to happen.
No one received more dramatic retribution than Marian Hossa, though. In what seemed like a huge mistake that (still) could generate some suspension talk this weekend, Hossa shoved Dan Hamhuis into the boards and received a 5-minute boarding penalty in the last minute of the third that should have paralyzed Chicago’s comeback chances. Yet Kane scored that enormous goal, the Blackhawks shut down the epic 5-minute major and Hossa put in the overtime game-winning rebound shortly after leaving the box.
These are the kind of games that championship teams look back on (and conversely, what depressed teams rue as their beards turn gray). Will Nashville be able to bounce back from such a heartbreaking finish?
The L.A. Kings have brought back pending restricted free agent forward Andy Andreoff.
The Kings announced Saturday that they have re-signed Andreoff to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $677,500.
He appeared in only 36 games last season, spending time on injured reserve, adding two assists. The previous year, however, he played in 60 games for L.A., scoring eight goals with 10 points.
At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Andreoff is known more for his physical style and checking abilities than offensive production, with 146 penalty minutes combined over the last two seasons.
CHICAGO — His stats jump right off the page.
On a Kingston Frontenacs squad that really struggled to score, Jason Robertson had 42 goals as a 17-year-old. Nobody else on his team had more than 26 goals.
For that reason, the Dallas Stars are hoping they got a steal in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft. Robertson, a winger, went 39th overall Saturday at United Center. A lot of scouts had him pegged as a first-rounder.
So why didn’t he go earlier?
Probably his skating.
“Everyone needs to work on stuff,” Robertson said. “Obviously, for me, I need to work on that. It’s something I’m always going to keep working on.”
But skating didn’t stop Robertson (6-2, 192) from shooting up the prospect rankings in 2016-17. At the midpoint of the season, NHL Central Scouting had him as the 34th-best North American skater. By season’s end, he was 14th.
“I think a lot of it came from confidence,” he said. “I gained more confidence in my game, my skating, my shot. Once I did that in the second half of the year, I really took off.”
He sure did, with 30 of his 42 goals coming in the final 40 games of the regular season. He then added five goals and 13 assists in 11 playoff games.
Robertson was born in Los Angeles, where his dad and grandpa were Kings season-ticket holders. He started playing hockey in L.A., then moved to Detroit when he was 10.
It’s been rumored for days that Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic might be on the move.
And now it’s happened.
Per Sportsnet, the Isles have dealt Hamonic to Calgary. It’s the second significant move of the draft weekend from GM Garth Snow who, on Thursday, acquired Jordan Eberle from Edmonton in exchange for Ryan Strome.
Hamonic, 26, is coming off a difficult campaign in which injuries limited him to just 49 games. That said, he’s still a well-regarded blueliner that will make Calgary’s defense one of the deepest in the league.
There, he’ll play alongside Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton and T.J. Brodie, putting the Flames in the conversation with Nashville for the best top-four in the NHL.
Hamonic had made waves during the ’15-16 campaign, when it was learned he’d requested a trade from the Islanders due to a family issue. That request had since been rescinded.
It’s worth mentioning that Hamonic has one of the more club-friendly deals in the league. He has three years left on a seven-year, $27 million deal, one that carries a $3.857M average annual cap hit. For a top-four defenseman that can log big minutes and post solid possession metrics, that’s a pretty low price to pay.
No word yet on what the return is for New York. The Isles selected a pair of defensemen — Robin Salo and Benjamin Mirageas — with their second- and third-round picks on Saturday morning.
UPDATE: Looks as though the Isles are only getting picks in return.
If Calgary misses the playoffs on 2019, the Isles get the pick that year. That condition stems from an earlier one in which Arizona would get the Flames’ second-rounder in 2019 if the Flames make the playoffs.
Got all that?
Winnipeg has retained some of its defensive depth, re-signing Ben Chiarot to a two-year deal worth $2.8 million.
It’s a $1.4 million average annual cap hit for the 26-year-old, and a nice pay bump from the $850,000 he was making on his previous deal.
Chiarot had a nice campaign in ’16-17, scoring a career-high 12 points while appearing in 59 games. The season ended on a down note, however, as he suffered an upper-body injury in mid-March and was shut down for the year.
Looking ahead, Chiarot will likely continue to serve in a depth role for the Jets. The club is bringing back nearly all of the same defensemen it had last year, and it’s expected youngster Josh Morrissey will take on an even bigger role.