Which teams (kind of, sort of) make sense for Marty Turco?

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turcosplit.jpgLet’s face it, things aren’t looking very rosy for Marty Turco at this point. There isn’t a slap-you-in-the-face obvious destination for the veteran puck-mover, so the goalie is playing the waiting game right now.

Still, as I discussed last night, he can bring something to the table. Does that mean he’s worthy of the contract he expects to receive? Probably not, but I feel confident in saying that he deserves a deal somewhere. (I’m also on record of saying that he might be wise to consider taking a chance with a one-year contract to prove his worth in the longer haul.)

With that taken into account, I thought it might be interesting to see who might consider giving Turco a shot. I want to emphasize that I have no insider information here; in fact, this is almost a brainstorming exercise more than anything else. Some of these teams would be long shots and maybe there are squads whose interest I incorrectly disregard. Still, here are a few teams who might make marginal sense.

As you’ll notice, none of them are anywhere close to perfect fits.

Edmonton – The Oilers are trying to bounce back from a horrible, horrible 2008-09 season. There’s an outside chance that they might be able to get out from under a problematic Nikolai Khabibulin contract, but either way, they’re far from settled in net. Two things would be imperative here: a) it would probably need to be a one-year deal and b) it also might have to be cheap, despite the Oilers’ substantial cap space.

PhiladelphiaThe Flyers are already over the cap, but they’re likely to move a piece or two after adding Nikolai Zherdev. They have Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher under contract, but considering the two goalies’ minuscule cap numbers, they could probably move one of them if they wanted to. He’d also be their best “fiery puck mover” since beloved goalie Ron Hextall hung up his skates.

San JoseESPN shot down Turco to San Jose rumors, but again, this is a highly hypothetical exercise. The bottom line is that a goalie duo of Antero Niittymaki and Thomas Greiss is far from proven. Perhaps the Sharks will want a little insurance, especially since Greiss is (in my opinion) a fairly expendable goalie?

After the jump, I explore more long-shot possibilities for Turco.


masonpulled.jpgColumbus – So at this point we’re down to a lot of “Three’s Company” scenarios (without the foxy dames, sadly). Blue Jackets fans beat up on me a bit when I suggested that the Blue Jackets might consider Turco in March, but after Steve Mason’s Hindenburg-sque sophomore season, why not? Mason might rebound, but why tie your hopes to him and steady-but-mediocre Mathieu Garon? This one’s almost starting to make a little sense …

Chicago – With Antti Niemi set for salary arbitration and Cristobal Huet’s laughable cap hit primed for a possible relocation to the minors or the KHL, the Blackhawks and Turco could be an unlikely marriage. The guys at Hockeenight won’t be happy with this scenario, but if Turco came in a cheap, one-year deal he could be worth settling for. (And on Turco’s end, he could benefit from a still-strong team boosting his stats for a season.)

Washington – The Caps seem fine with counting on youngsters Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth, a duo sure to depress spell-checkers around the D.C. area. I put them in the San Jose category; it seems like they’re set with putting an affordable combo in net, but I include them because it at least makes some sense for them to consider Turco.

Ottawa – The Senators lack much maneuverability when it comes to their goalies, particularly the stupidly expensive flop known as Pascal Leclaire. Still, the team is hurting in net and has enough expensive and/or veteran players (Sergei Gonchar, Jason Spezza, Alex Kovalev, Daniel Alfredsson) that you can’t really make a “rebuild mode” excuse. Even for this list, they’re not highly likely, but I would argue they’d be more stable in net with Turco than Leclaire or Brian Elliott.

Montreal – This is the longest of the long-shots, I’d say, but what if the Habs decide they don’t want to pay Carey Price to be an average goalie with a considerable junior pedigree? Bonus points for the comedy of reuniting the not-so-dynamic duo of Turco and last year’s backup in Dallas, Alex Auld.

So, what have we learned from this little experiment? Well, there aren’t many good matches. Almost every single scenario would require an incumbent getting kicked out. That being said, there is some logic to these teams at least taking a glance at Turco.

What do you think? Should one of these teams roll the dice? Did I leave out a more logical suitor out in this process? Share your thoughts in the comments.

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs second-round schedule

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Time to get your ducks in a row (Anaheim or otherwise), as the second-round schedule has been released.

As you can see, the West series begin on Wednesday while the East ones kick into gear on Thursday. Read up on the matchups here.

For the sixth consecutive year, every Stanley Cup playoff game will be presented nationally across the platforms of NBC Sports Group and select NBCUniversal networks.

(Games listed by date, start time, teams and network.)

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Date TIME (ET) #1 Washington vs. #2 Pittsburgh Networks
Thursday, April 27 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Washington NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 29 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Washington NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Monday, May 1 7:30 p.m. Washington at Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Wednesday, May 3 7:30 p.m. Washington at Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, May 6 TBD Pittsburgh at Washington TBD
*Monday, May 8 TBD Washington at Pittsburgh TBD
*Wednesday, May 10 TBD Pittsburgh at Washington TBD

Date TIME (ET) #2 Ottawa vs. #4 NY Rangers Networks
Thursday, April 27 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Saturday, April 29 3 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, May 2 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Thursday, May 4 7:30 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, May 6 TBD NY Rangers at Ottawa TBD
*Tuesday, May 9 TBD Ottawa at NY Rangers TBD
*Thursday, May 11 TBD NY Rangers at Ottawa TBD

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Date TIME (ET) #1 Anaheim vs. #2 Edmonton Networks
Wednesday, April 26 10:30 p.m. Edmonton at Anaheim NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Friday, April 28 10:30 p.m. Edmonton at Anaheim NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 30 7 p.m. Anaheim at Edmonton NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Wednesday, May 3 10 p.m. Anaheim at Edmonton NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
*Friday, May 5 TBD Edmonton at Anaheim TBD
*Sunday, May 7 TBD Anaheim at Edmonton TBD
*Wednesday, May 10 TBD Edmonton at Anaheim TBD

Date TIME (ET) #3 St. Louis vs. #4 Nashville Networks
Wednesday, April 26 8 p.m. Nashville at St. Louis NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Friday, April 28 8 p.m. Nashville at St. Louis NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 30 3 p.m. St. Louis at Nashville NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Tuesday, May 2 9:30 p.m. St. Louis at Nashville NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
*Friday, May 5 TBD Nashville at St. Louis TBD
*Sunday, May 7 TBD St. Louis at Nashville TBD
*Tuesday, May 9 TBD Nashville at St. Louis TBD

Starting time and national broadcast information for games listed TBD will be announced when available.

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Second-round matchups

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Want to know when and how to watch each game? Check out the second-round schedule here.

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Washington really had to sweat it against Toronto, but while the journey took more twists and turns than expected, both juggernauts ended up in a position to justify their statuses as favorites.

During the Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby runs for the franchises, the Penguins won both second-round series (first in 2009 and then last year). In each case, Pittsburgh went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Will the Capitals finally break through in what might be their best chance ever? There isn’t a better way for them to truly prove their mettle than to do so against a Penguins team that looks dangerous, even with key injuries to consider.

Ottawa Senators vs. New York Rangers

Both teams beat higher seeds in the first round, surprising at least some. There are some fun storylines here, from a clash of two star Swedes (Erik Karlsson vs. Henrik Lundqvist) to fun trade talk involving Mika Zibanejad and Derick Brassard.

On paper, these teams aren’t as linked as the other East series, but playoff glory can make franchises become hated rivals in little time.

Western Conference

Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers

So much orange. So many goals?

With the Blackhawks, Kings, Wild and Sharks out, the Ducks get home-ice in the West and probably rank as the most familiar contender in a conference that seems heavy on “new blood.” Then again, they’re still driven by a red-hot Ryan Getzlaf, but this isn’t the same Anaheim squad as the last time they made a longer run.

Speaking of new blood, it’s unavoidable to describe the Oilers any other way. Edmonton hopes to keep its first playoff run in more than a decade going, and this series might actually be a better showcase for Connor McDavid than those tighter games vs. the Sharks.

St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators

Is there a matchup of goalies on hotter streaks right now than Jake Allen vs. Pekka Rinne? These “underdogs” held the top teams in the Central Division to one playoff victory combined.

While there are plenty of carryover characters from previous postseason editions of the Blues (Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen) and the Predators (Roman Josi), there’s also a new Blues coach in Mike Yeo and newly featured Nashville pieces such as P.K. Subban.

Which team will go deeper than many outside of their locker room expected? We’ll find out.

Capitals close out Maple Leafs after one last OT classic

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The Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t grab the torch from the Washington Capitals in this series, but they put up a tremendous struggle.

Auston Matthews continued to make an impression with a goal in his fourth consecutive game, yet it wasn’t enough to send this scintillating series to a Game 7. Instead, Marcus Johansson collected tying and game-winning goals, leading Washington to a 2-1 OT win to take the series 4-2.

Here is video of the tally that ended Toronto’s season:

While the Capitals taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins is “expected,” the path to get there wasn’t as many drew it up. Toronto gave Washington all it can handle in a series that tied a record with five trips beyond regulation.

The Maple Leafs can take heart in pushing the play for large spans of the series, although there have also been spans where it felt like the Caps found that extra gear.

Toronto fans who’ve been longing for a return to playoff glory must be experiencing mixed feelings. This young bunch achieved more than just about anyone expected, particularly in this series against the Presidents’ Trophy winners. That might be why it burns, though; Buds fans deal with the bitter feeling of so close.

Then again, the Capitals know all about that. They hope to avoid repeating such history in this huge opportunity. Perhaps facing a far tougher-than-expected challenge to start things off might be a blessing in disguise?

Capitals’ Schmidt hurt by Leafs’ Komarov; Record 18th playoff game to OT

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Now, players are known to at least try to return to games after injuries, sometimes ultimately leaving such efforts unsuccessful.

So, it’s possible that the Washington Capitals should still be concerned about defenseman Nate Schmidt. The solid depth blueliner was helped off the ice after a hit by Leo Komarov of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the good news is that he was at least able to make his way back for a spin later on in the same third period.

Does that mean he’ll be OK? We’ll see. The game is entering OT – the 18th of this round, a new NHL record – so a possible Schmidt injury could put Washington at a disadvantage during “free hockey.”

It makes sense that Toronto and Washington made it a new record, as this is the fifth time in six games that they beyond regulation in this series. Wow.