Report: Eric Belanger's mystery team is the Washington Capitals; is Tomas Fleischmann on his way out?

ericbelangershove.jpg(Note: as always, it is important to note that the REPORT in the headline of this story. The Capitals have not confirmed anything yet, but it’s reasonable to say that Eric Belanger will be a member of their team next season.)

Last night, we discussed the somewhat odd story circulating that Eric Belanger had signed with a team but couldn’t announce which one it was because that team was looking to make space for him. It seems all but certain that his “new” team will be his “old” team as James Mirtle and other media members report that he’ll re-sign with the Washington Capitals.

Mirtle reports that it will be a one-year deal that will give the versatile forward a modest raise to $1.85 million (his previous salary was $1.75 million).

The most interesting aspect might not be Belanger signing with the Capitals, but rather who Washington will trade to make room for the forward … or perhaps more precisely, which defenseman they may add to bolster their nearly-set roster. Here is more on that subject from Mirtle.

Washington apparently does not want to announce they’ve signed Belanger in order to help first complete another deal, potentially to move out a forward and bring in a defenceman. I’m told that one player the Caps are looking to trade is 26-year-old Tomas Fleishmann, who had 23 goals and 51 points in a bit of a breakout season last year and signed a one-year, $2.6-million deal this summer.

The one trade the hockey world is expecting in the next few days, meanwhile, is that of Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle, whose no-trade clause comes back into effect on Monday. While Washington was rumoured interested in him in the past, Leafs GM Brian Burke said they are not one of the 10 teams that have enquired about Kaberle’s availability.

“We are not in discussions with the Capitals about Tomas Kaberle,” Burke said. “Not once.”

You really have to love Brian Burke. He must be the most entertaining GM in hockey, at least from a “public persona” perspective.

It may take some time to get the official word, especially if the team is still in the negotiation process, but we’ll let you know when (or if) something happens.

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    Logan Couture can at least speak and eat following horrifying mouth injury

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    As much as many of us suffer during a trip to the dentist, few can fathom the horrors hockey players often go through when a puck, stick or fist finds their teeth/mouths. Consult this vintage PHT post from 2010 if you want to cringe, a lot.

    Much like Eddie Lack “only” dealing with a neck sprain, it’s strange to be heartened to hear that Logan Couture can speak and eat after his own painful ordeal, but that’s the positive update from the Mercury News on Tuesday.

    Couture, Wilson said, did not need to have his jaw wired shut after a deflected puck caught him in the mouth on Saturday when the Sharks played the Nashville Predators.

    “Hey, he can speak and eat … and his jaw isn’t wired shut!” Yeesh.

    To little surprise, Couture isn’t playing on Tuesday. As far as the Sharks next three games (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), that remains to be seen.

    As an aside, consider this: on the same day Jonathan Drouin‘s celebrating his birthday after helping the Lightning win, Couture is lucky if he can force down some birthday cake. Life: it isn’t always fair.

    PHT discussed his trip to the dentist on Monday.

    More mouth pain: When David Backes felt like his face was falling off.

    Athanasiou got hurt during that Lack collision, too (and he blames Rask’s hit)

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    The Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings both exchanged signs of respect after Eddie Lack left last night’s game on a stretcher, but there’s a little controversy surrounding that situation … from the Red Wings’ perspective.

    You see, Andreas Athanasiou may not have collided with Lack if not for a shove/cross-check by Hurricanes forward Victor Rask.

    Athanasiou is out for the Red Wings tonight, and as the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James reports, he blames the Rask hit.

    Here’s a screen grab of that moment via NBCSN/the Fox Sports broadcast:

    Now, check it out in full motion:

    It’s unfortunate that two injuries came of that overtime-clincher, though one may at least mildly defend Rask in noting that Athanasiou was really displaying his blazing speed on that play.

    The Red Wings could very well be eliminated tonight, or soon, but Athanasiou has been a bright spot during a sometimes-glum season for Detroit. Hopefully, like Lack, this is merely a minor issue from an unfortunate collision.

    More promising Eddie Lack news: Hurricanes label his injury a neck strain

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    Yes, it feels a little weird to “cheer” a neck strain, but such injury news feels pretty fantastic for Eddie Lack.

    The Carolina Hurricanes announced that he’s dealing with exactly that on Tuesday morning, not that long after Lack’s scare after being stretchered off the ice following a collision with Detroit Red Wings Andreas Athanasiou.

    Lack ended up being hospitalized, but as it turns out, that was a pretty short-term situation.

    With the positive news in mind, it’s already appropriate to wonder when Lack might be back, particularly since he’s been on quite a tear during Carolina’s unlikely push for a possible playoff spot. The Hurricanes didn’t provide a window of time for his recovery, and Lack himself was vague-if-positive:

    In the mean time, the Hurricanes recalled Alex Nedeljkovic, who one would assume would primarily back up Cam Ward.

    So, long story short: things seem very positive for Lack, though his rehab process remains cloudy.

    Bruins recall McIntyre from AHL on emergency basis

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    Update: As it turns out, Anton Khudobin might be the goalie dealing with an injury, according to the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy. So, tonight’s starter boils down to Tuukka Rask or Zane McIntyre.

    (Rask it is.)

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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.