2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4: Flyers mum on van Riemsdyk's status

JVR.jpgSeeing the demeanor of both James van Riemsdyk and Dan Carcillo after
this morning skate — combined with the fact that Carcillo was benched
in the third period Wednesday night — speculation was
fueled that JVR would be back in the lineup tonight.

Just don’t ask Peter Laviolette about it.

“Good try. We don’t talk about any lineups, you guys know that.”

JVR
was just as mum about the situation.

“You’ll have to speak to
coach, I’m not even sure,” he said, when asked if he was playing. “If
you do get that chance to get in there though, you have to make the
most of it and it’s going to be an exciting game and going to be another
one of those games where it’s a must win for us. It’ll be the biggest
one of the season and we’re going to have to come
out flying.”

Carcillo wouldn’t answer any questions about his
playing status, and while he certainly didn’t appear to be too pleased
after the skate I doubt that either player knew whether they were
playing or not at that time. Laviolette normally waits until after the
skate and after talking to the media about what changes he might be
making.

What was interesting was seeing how forthcoming JVR was,
practically gushing about Carcillo’s performance in the past two games.

“He’s
done a great job in there,” van Riemsdyk said. “He’s been skating,
being physical and getting under their skin and those are the three
things that he’s always been known to be great at. So he’s definitely
done a good job doing that.”

Carcillo has certainly focused on
getting under the Hawks’ skin, but the Flyers have proven to be at their
most effective when their skill players and scorers are throwing
endless shifts of offensive pressure at Chicago. Perhaps Carcillo helps
with the team’s psyche early in the game, but you would think a player
like JVR might be more effective the deeper into the game the Flyers
get.

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    Is Rickard Rakell worth $4M per season to the Ducks?

    ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Rickard Rakell #67 of the Anaheim Ducks skates during a game against the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center on November 30, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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    The Anaheim Ducks have two significant restricted free agents they still need to take care of, and Hampus Lindholm is easily the most important name to cross off the list.

    (Seriously, the analytics community pegs him as a budding star, so the Ducks should probably lock him up for as long and cheap as possible.)

    While Lindholm is a must-sign, Rickard Rakell‘s situation is more interesting since it presents a murkier risk-reward debate.

    Elevated ground

    Rakell broke through in 2015-16, scoring 20 goals and 43 points. He blew away all of his previous numbers while logging more than 16 minutes per game.

    His agent Peter Wallen told the OC Register that the team and his RFA client “I think we will find common ground for a solid agreement,” yet one must wonder if Ducks management is trembling at the gamble ahead.

    That report ponders a long-term deal that would net Rakell around a $4 million cap hit, something that the Hockey News backs up.

    Kadri’s six-year, $27-million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which pays an average of $4.5 million per season, is probably the upper limit of what Rakell is set to earn, while Coyle’s five-year, $16-million deal with the Minnesota Wild, an average of $3.2 million per season, is likely the low end. The most likely comparisons boil down to two players, then, with Rask and Backlund each having signed their current deals over the course of the past 13 months.

    For a budget-conscious team like the Ducks, betting big on Rakell could be especially risky.

    Cushy gig

    If the 23-year-old does land a generous deal, he should send Bruce Boudreau a “Thank You” note or three. Rakell began a whopping 60 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone in 2015-16, putting him in a great position to maximize his chances.

    His most common skating partners were Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Sami Vatanen and Lindholm to boot.

    One shouldn’t penalize Rakell for seizing his opportunities, but with a limited sample size of the young forward being a difference-maker, you have to wonder how much his value has been inflated.

    ***

    The OC Register explains the advantages of locking him up for a longer term (avoiding arbitration years, not having to risk an even bigger deal if Rakell pans out), yet a “bridge deal” might be the better way to go here.

    Replacing Boudreau with Randy Carlyle was a polarizing decision, yet that the Ducks face some other tough calls this off-season.

    Report: Blue Jackets on the verge of signing Sam Gagner

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Sam Gagner #89 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on before a face off against the New York Rangers on April 7, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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    It sounds like Sam Gagner may determine his destination for 2015-16 in the near future.

    The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports that the Columbus Blue Jackets are close to signing Gagner to a one-year, one-way deal. Such an agreement might not be made official until Monday, according to Portzline.

    After a bumpy season with the Philadelphia Flyers in which he spent some time in the AHL, Gagner must especially appreciate the one-way nature of his next contract.

    The Blue Jackets aren’t the only team interested in the 26-year-old, as his name was also connected to the Vancouver Canucks:

    It looks like the still-quite-young scorer will get a clean slate after bouncing around and being defined by a bloated contract originally signed with the Edmonton Oilers.

    Remember when he broke one of Wayne Gretzky’s records during an eight-point night?

    Gagner’s presence could make life easier for the likes of Boone Jenner:

    It’s conceivable that Gagner could enjoy a nice rebound season if used in a specialized, protected role. The Blue Jackets may very well be the right fit.

    … And on the other hand, the deficits in Gagner’s all-around game could at least provide some John Tortorella rage and entertainment.

    Everyone wins.

    Former Sabres forward Jochen Hecht calls it a career

    NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 01:  Jochen Hecht #55 of the Buffalo Sabres against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 1, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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    The Mannheim Eagles announced that German forward Jochen Hecht is retiring from hockey.

    (It’s OK to be a little bewildered that he was still playing, just don’t be too mean about it.)

    Hecht played 833 regular season games and 59 playoff contests at the NHL level, making his greatest mark as a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

    His last bit of NHL action came in 2012-13, when he scored 14 points in 47 games for Buffalo.

    Since then, he wrapped up his career with the Mannheim Eagles, a team he’s sporadically played for since 1994-95.

    Honestly, it’s weird to see Hecht in any sweater not related to German’s national teams, the Eagles or Sabres, even though the Blues actually drafted him:

    Then again, he could also look odd in a certain Sabres sweater.

    Apparently he got the NHL 16 Hockey Ultimate Card treatment:

    Plenty of Sabres fans and reporters fondly remember Hecht, so here’s to a nice career.

    Yes, it’s really happening: Vegas NHL team installs ice for first time

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    Sometimes you just need a reminder that a remarkable thing actually is happening.

    Saturday presented the latest evidence that the NHL coming to Las Vegas isn’t just a collective fever dream, as the still-nameless franchise noted that they’ve begun the process to install ice at T-Mobile Arena for the first time.

    It’s not the prettiest picture, but it means a lot:

    While setting up the first sheet of ice is a physical sign that things are coming together, the front office side will dictate the sort of team that eventually plays on it.

    For more insight into that process, Puck Daddy takes a look at Murray Craven, who appears to be a key part of bringing things together … even if it’s difficult to nail down a specific title.