Ray Whitney will most likely be a free agent this summer

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raywhitney.jpgCrafty forward Ray Whitney refused to waive his no-trade clause during the trade deadline, making it certain that he’d finish the 2009-10 season with the Carolina Hurricanes. Perhaps the feelings of keeping “the Wizard” in Carolina aren’t mutual, though, because Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford says Whitney is likely to become an unrestricted free agent (according to TSN).

On Monday, Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News Observer that he does not expect the 38-year old to re-sign with the ‘Canes prior to the July 1st deadline when Whitney can become an unrestricted free agent.

“I think it will be difficult with where he will be at, contract-wise,” Rutherford told the NewsObserver. “I expect him to go into July (and the free-agent market). It appears that’s the way it’s going to go.”

It will be interesting to see which way Whitney will want to go. He could either go the “cheap veteran on an awesome team” route if he desires another Cup or just take the most money from a wayward team like the Atlanta Thrashers or the Florida Panthers. (Just like his old teammate, Cory Stillman!)

“The Wizard” is an aging player who plays a one-dimensional game at this point in his career (apparently his “spells” don’t work as well in the defensive end). His 58-point output is his lowest total since he only had 55 in 2005-06 – and he only played 63 games that year.

Warts aside, Whitney can make plays happen, especially on the powerplay. If he goes that “cheap veteran on an awesome team” route, he could be a valuable depth forward on a good, cash-strapped team. He’s gone from “underrated” to “limited” but should still have some seekers this summer.

Video: After blowout loss in Dallas, struggling Sharks off to slow start vs. Predators

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Last night, we asked: What is wrong with the San Jose Sharks?

Well, a day later, with the Sharks looking to avoid a sixth straight loss, the struggle continues.

After a blowout loss last night against the Dallas Stars, the Sharks have fallen behind the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-0 after the opening period.

Colton Sissons opened the scoring for Nashville.

It didn’t get any better for the Sharks.

Roman Josi walked right around Brent Burns, hitting the cross bar with his shot. Cody McLeod was right there for the tap-in to increase Nashville’s lead.

Maple Leafs goalie Andersen suffers upper-body injury vs. Sabres

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Anxious times right now for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Facing the Buffalo Sabres and looking to extend their winning streak, Curtis McElhinney took over in net for Toronto to begin the second period.

Adding to the situation was the fact Frederik Andersen, who started the game, was reportedly not on the bench when the teams came back out following the intermission.

And now we know why. The Leafs have announced Andersen suffered an upper-body injury and will not return.

Andersen faced 16 shots in the opening period, making 14 saves.

The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic Division with 85 points.

Video: Ovechkin joins elite company with this goal vs. Coyotes

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Barring a miraculous barrage of goals in the final stretch of games, Alex Ovechkin very likely won’t hit the 50-mark this season.

Now 31 years old, there has been talk that this could be the beginning of the decline for Ovechkin.

But on Saturday, he scored the 30th goal of his season, letting that famous Ovechkin shot rip from his favorite spot on the power play.

For Ovechkin, that’s 12 straight seasons with at least 30 goals scored. He has been consistently prolific since joining the league in 2005-06. He’s an elite player, as everyone has known for years, and he once again joined elite company with this latest goal.

Per the Capitals, Ovechkin joins Mike Gartner and Wayne Gretzky — he was good — as the only three players in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in each of their first 12 seasons in the league.

Sharp to undergo hip surgery, expected recovery is 4-5 months

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Patrick Sharp‘s difficult season is now over.

The Dallas Stars announced on Saturday that the 35-year-old forward will undergo hip surgery on Tuesday. The recovery time, according to the club, is between four and five months.

Sharp is in the final year of a five-year contract with a $5.9 million cap hit, per CapFriendly

“We are going to get the surgery done and let him heal. He’s going to train and let’s take a look at him,” said Stars GM Jim Nill, per NHL.com. “We’ve had conversations. If he comes back, he wants it to be Dallas. He thinks he’s a Dallas Star.”

Not only has Sharp dealt with injuries on the ice, but he is dealing with a personal matter off it.

From the Dallas Morning News:

But in battling through two concussions, hip pain, and his dad’s fight with leukemia, Sharp has shown significant fortitude. The Dallas chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association nominated Sharp Saturday as its candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy, given each season to a player who displays the attributes of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“It shows what kind of person he is and what kind of hockey player and leader he is,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “I think that’s why he’s a winner at every level he’s played at. I think that’s why he’s a great leader for this team and a great guy for a lot of these young guys to look up to.”

Sharp was first sidelined with a concussion in October. He was then placed on injured reserve with another concussion in December.

He has been held to just 48 games, with eight goals — his lowest total since the lockout-shortened season — and 18 points.