Report: Scott Niedermayer expected to announce retirement today

niedscott.jpgIt seems like every summer people complain about humidity, get bad farmer tans and wonder if Scott Niedermayer will retire. If Orange County Register reporter Eric Stephens is correct, the talented defenseman is expected to announce his retirement today.

I must admit that I had little clue that Niedermayer was leaning toward hanging up his skates. Sure, he seemed to lose a step or two on the offensive end (dropping to 48 points in 09-10 after scoring an impressive 59 during the 08-09 season), but he still logged more than 26 minutes per game for the Anaheim Ducks.

While it wouldn’t have stunned me if he left Anaheim – especially to play with his brother Rob in New Jersey – I’m a little surprised he’s probably going to retire. Then again, the man once known as “Lightningbeard” (because of his magnificently mixed salt-and-pepper playoff beard) has been mulling it over for years.

With 740 points in 1263 career regular season games plus four Stanley Cups, one Norris Trophy, one Conn Smythe and five All-Star appearances, it’s not as if Niedermayer has much to prove. That being said, he could still garner a nice paycheck with his smooth skating and veteran presence.

We’ll let you know if he makes it official, but it sounds like the end is near for a near-certain future Hall of Famer.

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    Blues, Capitals to play exhibition game in Kansas City

    Pedestrians walk past the Sprint Center, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. The city was preparing for the third round of the NCAA college basketball tournament at the arena after the region received 6-10 inches of snow overnight. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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    Kansas City is going to host another NHL exhibition game.

    The St. Louis Blues announced today that they’ll take on the Washington Capitals on Oct. 5 at Sprint Center. Both Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Ovechkin will be there, at least according to the press release.

    The Blues last played in K.C. a couple of years ago when they took on the Stars in exhibition play. In 2011, a sellout crowd watched the Penguins and Kings at Sprint Center.

    A market once considered a candidate for expansion or relocation — particularly after Sprint Center opened in 2007 — the NHL-to-Kansas City buzz has since died down. Last year, there was no interest from Kansas City when the league called for expansion applications.

    Sensing an opportunity to make their team a favorite of all Missourians, not just the ones in St. Louis, the Blues have said they’d like to cultivate their fan base across the state in Kansas City.

    Report: Pens won’t make Fleury (talks too much) available to media

    at Pepsi Center on December 9, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.
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    Don’t expect many updates on Marc-Andre Fleury‘s health over the next little while.

    Well — don’t expect them to come from Fleury, anyway.

    Per TVA Sports, Fleury has been shut down from speaking with reporters until he’s fully recovered from the concussion that’s sidelined him since Apr. 2.

    A translation of Renaud Lavioe’s piece for TVA, per PHT’s Joey Alfieri:

    Fleury practiced with his teammates this morning at the Verizon Center.

    What I can tell you is he’s feeling better, but the Penguins have decided not to make Fleury available to the media because he says too much.

    The next time Fleury talks to the media, it’s because he’ll be ready to return.

    Not to be mean, but Matt Murray has given up three goals or more in back-to-back games.

    Earlier this week, Fleury told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that — despite participating in on-ice workouts — he’s still dealing with concussion symptoms.

    “It’s one of the toughest things I’ve been through,” he explained. “Some good days, when you think you’re back, and some bad days, when you think it’s never going to get fixed.”

    The Fleury situation seems to have rankled some within the Penguins organization — like head coach Mike Sullivan, who took issue with questions about the club’s handling of Fleury.

    Here’s a related series of tweets from DKonPittsburghSports’ Josh Yohe:

    Game 2 of the Pens-Caps series goes tomorrow from Verizon at 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN). Matt Murray, who allowed four goals on 35 shots in the Game 1 loss, is expected to start in goal.

    North Dakota loses another d-man as Kings sign LaDue

    BOSTON, MA - APRIL 09:  Paul LaDue #6 of North Dakota skates against the Boston University Terriers during the second period of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship semifinals at TD Garden on April 9, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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    Keaton Thompson, Troy Stecher and now, Paul LaDue.

    On Friday, the Kings announced that LaDue — the junior d-man that helped North Dakota win the Frozen Four — agreed to a one-year, entry-level deal, forgoing his senior season in the process.

    LaDue, 23, was part of a talented UND blueline that also featured fellow juniors Troy Stecher — who since signed with Vancouver — and Thompson, who inked with the Ducks.

    So yeah, bit of an exodus.

    Thankfully for North Dakota, freshman scoring sensation Brock Boeser has already committed to returning for his sophomore campaign, while junior defenseman Gage Ausmus — a San Jose draftee — vowed to go back to school as well.

    As for Frozen Four MOP Drake Caggiula — a senior that was already leaving school — he’s already begun his tour of interested NHL suitors.

    Per TSN, Caggiula has shortlisted six clubs: Philadelphia, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Buffalo.

    Wilson fined for kneeing Sheary

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    No suspension for Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Only a fine.

    That’s what the NHL’s Department of Player Safety decided after Wilson kneed Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary last night in Washington.

    The fine of $2,403.67 is the maximum allowable under the CBA, and, at the very least, it puts Wilson on official notice.

    Wilson was not penalized on the play, and Sheary was able to leave the ice under his own power and remain in the game.

    “We’re just going to play hockey, and the refs are going to call it the way they see it,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters afterwards. “Our guys are going to play.”

    This morning, Capitals coach Barry Trotz reportedly said of the play, “It was OK, but it wasn’t I would say necessary.”