Our summer of free agency started and still continues with the Ilya Kovalchuk saga, but in the meantime, for just this weekend, we’ve got the Tomas Kaberle saga and tomorrow could see things come to a head with he and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs have until midnight tomorrow to work a trade for the talented defenseman or else they’ll see his no-trade clause go back into effect for the rest of the season. So how are things shaping up on the trade front with just about a day left to get a deal done? They’re not really shaping up at all but people are talking about things nonetheless.
One team that has been rumored to be interested since the get-go this summer is Columbus and The Columbus Dispatch’s Tom Reed got caught up on what the Blue Jackets’ interest is at the moment.
Yes, Kaberle is a power-play quarterback, and the Leafs power play was awful. But look at that lineup. There’s a reason Burke is looking for impact forwards.
How much does a club in a non-traditional market, with scant playoff history, surrender for a player who has only one year remaining on his deal? It’s a tough question. I think Kaberle-to-Columbus remains a long shot, but it makes for an intriguing weekend.
So count the Blue Jackets in as long shots unless something completely out of left field happens and they knock Brian Burke over with an offer. As for what Brian Burke may or may not be doing, ESPN’s Scott Burnside tweeted something of note today about that.
Toronto GM Brian Burke tells us looking more likely that Tomas Kaberle will remain a Leaf. Could change before midnight Sun. Of course.
Just a game of chicken right now for Brian Burke. It’s clear that he’s gotten offers for Kaberle, the seriousness of which we just don’t know right now. Instead of tipping his hand as to what he’ll do, Burke will instead reiterate what he’s said from the beginning in that he doesn’t have to move Kaberle at all. While that’s true, the possibility of losing Kaberle at the end of the season and getting nothing but his salary off the books in return doesn’t really make for great consolation. If anything goes down at all between now and midnight tomorrow it’ll be fascinating to see how Brian Burke’s game of chicken turns out.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
—Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)
–The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)
–Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)
–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)
–A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)
–It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)
—Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17:
Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.
(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)
You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.
Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.
Letang told his side of the story:
The Capitals disagree:
While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:
No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.
If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.
The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.
(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)
Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.
A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.
First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.
Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.
Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.
In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.
This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.
It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.
(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)
There are a few things we do know already.
For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.
Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.
In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.
There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.