Thrashers to give former Bruins/Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren a tryout

kylemclaren-ap-josesanchez.jpgIn the first of what’s likely to be many stories like this during training camp, the Atlanta Thrashers have invited a veteran name of the more-recent past to join them at training camp to try and win a spot with the team. Thrashers Blueland Blog breaks the details of the former Bruins defenseman that will get his shot with Atlanta.

According to Rick Dudley, who I had an extensive chat with today (look for the Q&A on the site sometime soon) veteran defenseman Kyle McLaren will be coming to training camp on a tryout in an attempt to revive his career and earn a contract.

Dudley likes the potential of what McLaren could bring to the table.

“Kyle is a big, strong guy who, if he can stay away from injuries, is certainly capable of playing in this league.”

There’s the bugaboo in what Rick Dudley has to say on this: injuries. Kyle McLaren was once a pretty good defenseman for the Bruins and did all right with the Sharks, but since his last two seasons in Boston, staying totally healthy has been a major issue. McLaren hasn’t played hockey since the 2008-2009 season thanks to a knee injury and even that season he spent in the AHL with the Worcester Sharks. Life has been tough for McLaren.

If he can stay healthy, however, he provides a big body in front (6’4″ 220 pounds) and a physical presence on the ice. Whether he can actually keep it all together to make a run at cracking the top six for Atlanta is the big question. The Thrashers are currently rolling with Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Brent Sopel, Ron Hainsey, Johnny Oduya, Freddy Meyer, and Boris Valabik on defense. Fighting through all those guys will be tough and nearly impossible. At the very least, winning a job with their AHL team in Chicago is a possibility so that he can stay in playing shape and perhaps get the call back to the NHL later on.

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    Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

    Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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    If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

    “Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

    The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

    Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

    With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

    Measuring stick stretch begins

    Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

    This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

    It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

    In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

    Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


    Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

    It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

    His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

    These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

    Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

    Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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    Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

    Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

    It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

    Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

    Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

    Peter Chiarelli

    It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

    Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

    You can see and hear his full comments below:

    If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

    Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

    Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

    Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.