Jason Spezza wants to stay in Ottawa… Sort of

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jspezza.jpgEarlier today, James took you down the developing ugly path in Ottawa surrounding Jason Spezza and his unhappiness in Ottawa. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? After all, this is kind of how things got going for Dany Heatley last season. Although Spezza has come out and said that he doesn’t want to be traded from Ottawa, he doesn’t sound all that convincing either.

While making an appearance in Toronto to promote a charitable endeavour to help underprivileged children play hockey, Spezza was asked, point-blank: “Do you want to go back to the Ottawa Senators?”

“Yeah,” he said, stammering before a media relations attaché ended the line of questioning.

Well that’s just comically awkward and kind of fitting for how things have broken down throughout the history of the Ottawa Senators. Dany Heatley, Ray Emery and Alexandre Daigle were all big time players for the Senators who also had big time mental shakedowns. Maybe we’re wrong here but when you think hockey cities that would be a “media pressure cooker” you don’t usually think of Ottawa being at the top of the list. Perhaps the Senators should have a team psychologist on hand.

Then again, perhaps craziness is contagious, at least that’s what you’d think if you saw that the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson suggested that the Oilers mix it up with the Senators in trade talks this summer for Spezza.

With the Ottawa Senators’ Jason Spezza seemingly disgruntled with his lot in life in the nation’s capital, here’s how the Oilers might solve the Taylor vs. Tyler debate.

Draft winger Taylor Hall on June 25 with their No. 1 pick at the NHL entry draft, pass on centre Tyler Seguin and trade for Spezza later.

The Senators would almost assuredly take the same three players that were on the table for winger Dany Heatley last summer — Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid — in exchange for Spezza, who would become the Oilers’ much-needed first-line centre.

Being a nut for huge trades, I would love to have things break down like this, especially with the way it could potentially make the Bruins twist and turn at the draft when it comes to the whole draft debate. Using the same pieces the Oilers were going to use in a deal for Dany Heatley, however, just comes off as lazy rumor mongering. This would also bank on having the Senators both be OK with dealing their top centerman and running with Mike Fisher as their new top guy in the middle. Call me crazy, but I don’t imagine most teams would be cool with having a  45-55 point per year man as their top center.
While I’m sure that Matheson is just spit-balling ideas here in what is akin to the doldrums of summer for a hockey writer, perhaps erasing the name “Heatley” off all those stories from last year and replacing it with “Spezza” should be better left to other less-reputable sources.

 

WATCH LIVE: Game 2 for Rangers-Senators, Penguins-Capitals

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The New York Rangers will need to find a way to slow down Erik Karlsson on Saturday afternoon if they are going to avoid falling into a 2-0 series hole against the Ottawa Senators, while the Washington Capitals will have to do the same against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both games on Saturday will be broadcast on NBC and be streamed online.

Here is all of the information you need for today’s games.

New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 3:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)

Announcers: John Forslund, Brian Boucher

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)

Announcers: Mike Emrick, Ed Olczyk, Pierre McGuire

The NHL Draft Lottery is tonight, here are the odds for every team and TV information

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Saturday night is going to be a big night for the 14 NHL teams that did not qualify for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs because one of them will be the lucky winner of the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, giving them the No. 1 pick in the draft.

While there probably isn’t going to be a Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews at the top of this year’s class, the top-two prospects (Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier) both have huge potential.

The Colorado Avalanche, owners of the NHL’s worst record in 2016-17, have the best odds at winning the lottery. The Avalanche last selected first overall in 2013 when they picked Nathan MacKinnon. New York Islanders have a less than one percent chance of winning.

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights have a 10.3 percent chance of winning the top pick.

Here is everything you need to know about tonight’s lottery

When: 8 p.m. ET, just prior to faceoff of Game 2 of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals second-round playoff series

TV: NBC

Odds for every team in the lottery:

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%

New York Islanders — 0.9%

The NHL draft will be held on Friday, June 23 (first round) and Saturday, June 24 (rounds two through seven) at United Center in Chicago.

Paul Carey replaces Brett Connolly for Capitals in Game 2

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After dropping Game 1 of their second-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, the Washington Capitals are making a minor lineup change on Saturday for Game 2 of the series when Paul Carey replaces Brett Connolly on the team’s fourth line.

Carey, 28, appeared in only six games for the Capitals this season and did not record a point. He has one goal and one assist in 32 career NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche and Capitals, and appeared in three playoff games for the Avalanche back in 2014.

Given how Connolly’s ice time has been decreasing over the past few games this postseason it probably should not be too much of a surprise that he is now being removed from the lineup. After logging at least 10 minutes of ice time in each of the Capitals’ first three playoff games, he has not played more than 6:12 in each of the past four.

Coach Barry Trotz said on Saturday that he likes Carey’s speed in the lineup against the faster Penguins.

Connolly scored 15 goals in 66 regular season games for the Capitals this season.

In other Capitals lineup news, there is no change in the status of defenseman Karl Alzner as he will remain out of the lineup. He has been sidelined since Game 3 of their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs with an upper-body injury. Nate Schmidt will continue to take his place.

Scott Darling trade ‘worth the risk’ for Hurricanes

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The Carolina Hurricanes made a somewhat surprising move on Friday night when they acquired goaltender Scott Darling from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2017.

On the surface it looks like a good move for both the team and the player. Goaltending has been a major thorn in the Hurricanes’ side for several years now, while Darling has probably earned the opportunity to be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL after performing extremely well as Corey Crawford‘s backup in Chicago.

The risk for the Hurricanes is that Darling will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and they will have to get him signed to a new contract before then to avoid potentially losing him (and the third-round pick they sent to Chicago) for nothing.

Shortly after the trade on Friday, Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said all of that was worth the risk because the team has accumulated so many draft picks in this year’s class.

“This is a bit of a gamble but one we believed was worth taking,” Francis told Chip Alexander of the News & Observer. “This is why we accumulated these picks and we still have 10 left. It was worth the risk.”

He added that they would “like to get something done sooner rather than later.”

The duo of Cam Ward and Eddie Lack finished the 2016-17 season with a .901 save percentage, 26th in the NHL. The Hurricanes have finished higher than 25th just once in the past five years. The Hurricanes have solid young core of talent in place and a defense that allowed the fifth fewest shots on goal in the entire league this season. Solidifying the goaltending position would go a long way toward ending the team’s current eight year playoff drought.