Anyone heard from Bobby Ryan lately?

BobbyRyan3.jpgThis isn’t the start of a poorly imitated Seinfeld joke, but… What’s the deal with Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan? The last we saw of Ryan was during the NHL Awards when he and Ryan Getzlaf were yukking it up in a hilarious skit about their United States versus Canada duel. Since then? Lots of public negotiating on the part of Anaheim GM Bob Murray to, perhaps, get Ryan grounded into a better sense of reality.

Now there’s been a lot of silence on the part of both sides, and no one really seems to know what’s going on as Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register tells us.

The two sides, who appear to be at a legitimate stalemate, are playing it cool for now as Ryan’s lead Newport Sports Management agent, Don Meehan, said in an e-mail to the Register that there have been “no discussions” since Ducks GM Bob Murray revealed the winger turned down reported contract offers of five years and $25 million and four years and $18.6 million.

Murray said last week that there was “nothing new to report” with the situation, which is among the lingering issues that the Ducks are dealing with. He has had regular conversations with Teemu Selanne, which will continue into next week.

Obviously the Ducks would like to get both Ryan and Selanne back into the mix, but whether or not Selanne plays is up to him, he can retire whenever he wants to and it’s a future the Ducks know is coming upon them sooner than later. For Bobby Ryan, however, he is Anaheim’s future and he’s very much their present as well. Ryan made $1.9 million last year and he’s due for a raise and as a restricted free agent, it’s tough to gain too much leverage in negotiations. Even though Ryan’s last two seasons saw him score 31 and then 35 goals, without another team stepping in and signing him to an offer sheet, he can’t really push the Ducks management around into taking action.

Given those two offers made to him for $5 million a year and $4.65 million a year, there’s got to be some brand of common ground to be had as the numbers aren’t outrageous and Anaheim certainly isn’t hard up against the cap, especially with defenseman Scott Niedermayer having retired. Orange County Register columnist Randy Youngman is curious as to what the hold up is as well and points the finger Ryan’s way while scaring Ducks fans into offer sheet madness.

Ryan already has said he’s not worth more than linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, both of whom earn an average of $5.3 million a year, so what’s the hold-up?

Is Ryan’s agent trying get another team to make a bigger offer to the restricted free agent, forcing the Ducks to match? My guess is Ryan believes he’ll be worth more than $5 million in the final years of the contract, so he would prefer to sign for, say, only three years.

It would be interesting, however, if the Kings presented Ryan with an offer sheet worth more than $25 million. That would intensify an already heated rivalry.

Using the cross-town rival to strike fear into the hearts of the local fans isn’t really a new tactic and with the Kings being a bit tied up with Ilya Kovalchuk, it frankly doesn’t make much sense in the first place. That said, the fear of a team with a lot of cap space and a great need for a big time goal scorer offering Ryan a huge offer sheet is very real and one that GM Bob Murray should keep in mind while working out a deal.

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    Bruins recall McIntyre from AHL on emergency basis

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    Tuukka Rask was supposed to be back in goal for the Boston Bruins tonight.

    But then, just a couple of hours before their game with the Nashville Predators, the B’s announced they’d recalled goalie Zane McIntyre from the AHL on an emergency basis.

    It’s not yet clear why McIntyre was recalled. Rask missed Saturday’s game in Brooklyn with a lower-body injury, but coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier today that Rask was healthy and ready to go.

    “Tuukka is healthy,” said Cassidy. “That’s what he indicated to me and that’s all I needed to hear. He’ll be our starter tonight.”

    If Rask is unable to play, expect Anton Khudobin to get the nod.

    Khudobin backstopped the B’s to a 2-1 victory over the Isles on Saturday.

    Nestrasil blasts Carolina, says he’s finished with organization

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    Andrej Nestrasil, the Czech forward who scored a career-high 23 points for Carolina last year, ripped the team in a recent interview and said he’s all but done playing for the organization.

    SB Nation site ‘Canes Country has the details, including translation of the original Nestrasil piece from Czech news outlet Blesk. In it, the 26-year-old — currently playing with Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte — said he was “done here, 100 percent,” adding “I don’t way to stay here.”

    Nestrasil’s frustration stems from the aftermath of a fractured vertebra, an injury that prematurely ended his ’15-16 campaign. He recovered in time to start this season, but only dressed 16 times (compared to 24 healthy scratches) before he was waived in early January. In speaking with Blesk, he said the ‘Canes “didn’t give me much of a chance after the injury.”

    “When I first got hurt, they wanted to help and were promising me things all over the place,” he said. “But when it came down to it, they weren’t willing to actually do anything.”

    Nestrasil cleared waivers, and joined the Checkers. He’s since appeared in 28 AHL contests, scoring four goals and 10 points.

    This falling out happened pretty quickly. It was less than two years ago when Carolina inked Nestrasil to a $1.825 million extension, calling him a “a big body and a good fit for our team and what we’re trying to do.”

    ‘Canes County did note “the word choice may be more harsh in translation than Nestrail intended.”

    PHT reached out to the ‘Canes regarding Nestrasil’s remarks. The club said it was aware of them, and declined to comment further.

    Pre-game reading: On Kopitar’s challenging first season as Kings captain

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    — Up top, Drew Doughty talks about the Edmonton Oilers, who can clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight over Doughty’s Kings. “Their top guys and their forwards want to play defense now,” said Doughty, “whereas in the past I feel like their top guys just kinda worried about getting points and weren’t worried about playing defense.”

    — It’s been a frustrating season for Kings captain Anze Kopitar, who tells the L.A. Times it’s been an adjustment taking over the team’s top leadership role. “I wouldn’t say a burden,” said Kopitar. It was definitely a change. It’s definitely some adjustments that I needed to make. I’m still learning. I don’t know if you can learn that overnight. It’s been, not a burden, but a new challenge that I think I’m in the process of getting the handle of it and I’ll get there.” (Los Angeles Times)

    — NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly insists that the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas won’t be a problem for the expansion Golden Knights. “No, there’s not widespread panic,” said Daly. “I do think that while fanbases overlap to a certain extent, I think the products of an eight-game NFL home schedule versus a 41-game home schedule in hockey make the products a little bit different.” (Sportsnet)

    — A Q&A with Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who talks about the changes he’s tried to implement on offense since taking over from Claude Julien. “I think it’s a lot to do with we’ve kept pucks going toward the net down low, more half-wall attacks, more plays down low. We’ve emphasized more of that than always going low to high with it. We’re trying to get the guys to use more of their skill set, separate down low, especially with man-to-man coverages. So I think our quality of chances, if you look at that stat-wise, has gone up quite a bit in the last 20 games.” (NHL.com)

    — Another Q&A, this one with Steven Stamkos, who talks about all the exciting, young players in the NHL today. “Yeah, 30 is the new 40 in this league. I’m closing in on 30 here, so it’s crazy to really think about it. … I’m 27 now, and next year will be 10 years [since joining the league]. It’s crazy how time flies. Now I’m one of the old guys on the team. You just never take it for granted. It’s such an honor to play in this league, and like I said, 30 is the new 40 now. So you’ve just got to cherish it.” (ESPN)

    — Hockey Canada is making young kids play on reduced-size ice surfaces. “We know statistically when you’re in a smaller playing area it increases the number of puck touches, it increases the number of battles for loose pucks, it increases the number of shots on goal, it increases the number of passes and pass receptions.” Hey, it worked for Auston Matthews in that hockey hotbed of Arizona! (Canadian Press)

    Enjoy the games!

    Goalie nods: McElhinney ready for biggest start of his career

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    Toronto has a massive game tonight as the Eastern Conference playoff battle tightens, but won’t have workhorse No. 1 netminder Frederik Andersen available.

    Instead, it’ll be backup Curtis McElhinney who faces the visiting Panthers, while Andersen deals with an upper-body injury.

    Calling it the biggest start of his career, McElhinney can keep the Leafs locked into the No. 3 spot in the Atlantic Division with a win, on a night when Boston — just one point back of the Leafs — is also in action, hosting Nashville.

    “I don’t know if I’ve ever been in this situation, in terms of being in a playoff race,” McElhinney said. “For me it’ll be business as usual.”

    There’s a significant amount of pressure on McElhinney, who hasn’t been good in March. He’s allowed 13 goals on 113 shots — a .885 save percentage — which included three on 22 in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Buffalo, the game in which he replaced the injured Andersen.

    Though Andersen’s injury isn’t believed to be serious — the Danish ‘tender hasn’t ruled out a return on Thursday in Nashville — the Leafs still must be concerned with the present. They need to get points over their next four games, lest they leave it to the end of the season.

    Yes, the Leafs will play their four contests at the ACC. But those come against extremely difficult opponents: Washington, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Columbus.

    For Florida, James Reimer gets the start in goal. How perfect.

    Elsewhere…

    — As mentioned above, the other big game tonight is Nashville taking on Boston at TD Garden. Tuukka Rask starts for the B’s (more on that here), while Pekka Rinne is likely after Juuse Saros beat the Isles last night.

    Connor Hellebuyck returns to the starter’s crease for Winnipeg, after Michael Hutchinson played the last two. Cory Schneider also returns to the starter’s crease, for New Jersey, after Keith Kinkaid played on Sunday.

    — No word from Columbus on who’ll start for the Sabres or Jackets. Robin Lehner won last night in Florida (so it could be Anders Nilsson), and Sergei Bobrovsky played on Saturday in Philly.

    Cam Ward gets the start for Carolina after Eddie Lack‘s scary injury in last night’s OT loss to Detroit. Speaking of Detroit, no word on a starter yet, but Jimmy Howard seems likely after Petr Mrazek played last night.

    — It’s Craig Anderson versus Steve Mason when the Sens take on the Flyers in Philly.

    Al Montoya was expected to start tonight, but suffered a lower-body injury during the morning skate. As such, Carey Price will go as the Habs host the Stars. Dallas has yet to announce its starter.

    — Marquee matchup in Minnesota tonight, as Devan Dubnyk and the Wild host Braden Holtby and the Caps.

    — The Oilers can clinch their first playoff berth since 2006 tonight and, unsurprisingly, they’ll go with Cam Talbot in goal. The host Kings will counter with Jonathan Quick.

    John Gibson is inching closer to a return, but the Ducks feel no need to rush him back. That’s because Jonathan Bernier is playing extremely well, and will get the call tonight in Vancouver. The Canucks are going with Ryan Miller.

    — The Sharks will go with Martin Jones when they host the Rangers. No word yet on a New York starter.