When I read that the Ducks avoided arbitration by signing James Wisniewski to a one-year, $3.25 million deal, I wondered how the cash-strapped Anaheim Ducks would really act. It didn’t take long for the team to show its penny pinching ways, as Ducks GM Bryan Murray decided to trade the defenseman to the New York Islanders for a conditional third round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, according to Katie Strang of New York Newsday.
While he has his brain farts (such as his reprehensible charge on former teammate Brent Seabrook), Wisniewski brings an intriguing mix of fury and offensive ability to the ice. We can debate whether he’s worth that much cash, but he compiled 30 points in 69 games for the Ducks and still has room to improve at 26-years-old.
This continues the incremental improvement of the New York Islanders roster, as GM Garth Snow added Wisniewski, Mark Eaton and Milan Jurcina to a defense that had little beyond underrated gem Mark Streit. Snow still has plenty of work to do, but this defensive group should at least be a bit more competitive in a stacked Atlantic division.
It might be an ugly year on the blueline for Anaheim. There isn’t much to write home about beyond defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky and Toni Lydman, and those two aren’t exactly bluechippers themselves. If you factor in a probable cap hit of $5 million for Bobby Ryan plus a few minimum wage scratches, the Ducks will be a bit above $50 million in payroll in 2010-11 (although that could go up if Teemu Selanne decides not to retire). Can they really compete in a harsh Pacific division next season? Might they actually expect first round pick Cam Fowler to play with the big club next season? I don’t know, but it’s been a tough summer in Anaheim, that’s for certain.
Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.
The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.
Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.
Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.
Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.
Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.
Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.
Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.
Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.
It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.
The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.
The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.
Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.
“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.
In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.