The PHT Nightcap: Wednesday, August 25th

Even in the depressingly hockey-free summer, we expect to be a productive bunch here at Pro Hockey Talk. Sometimes it might be difficult to follow our pace. We understand that. For that reason, whenever we can, we’ll put all of the day’s stories in one convenient post called the PHT Nightcap. Enjoy, hockey fans.

Canucks sign Raffi Torres to one-year deal – As if Vancouver didn’t have enough grit to begin with …

Lack of Sheldon Souray trade is holding up other Oilers moves – Yep, getting rid of the $5 million-plus defenseman might be a good way to clear up space for other players.

NHL reportedly shoots down another Kovalchuk contract – Although Bettman & Co. deny the rejection. OK, then.

Jere Lehtinen still unsure about his playing future – Maybe it’s time for the great two-way Finnish forward to call it quits, then?

Lightning re-sign Steve Downie – I’m not a fan of his dirty hits and tomfoolery, but he does bring an awful lot more to the table than you’d expect on offense.

Will Roberto Luongo still be the Canucks captain? – Vancouver might be better off going in a different direction.

Joe’s breakdown of the NHL on NBC schedule

Kings hand Willie Mitchell to a two-year deal – His concussion issues make this a risky move, but it could pay out big dividends for LA.

AHL releases its 2010-11 schedule – 30 teams worth of minor league fun.

Lightning re-sign Randy Jones – Another busy day in a busy summer for new GM Steve Yzerman.

Kovalchuk update – Bettman denies … the denial. The KHL is still knocking on the door.

My breakdown on the Versus schedule

Donald Fehr reportedly accepts NHLPA head position – Cue Scooby Doo’s “ruh roh.”

Brian Burke explains the NHL’s Olympic doubts – When Burke speaks, something interesting usually happens.

KHL president is optimistic about improving their relationship with the NHL – Yet, no flowers or chocolates?

Sharks GM shoots down Owen Nolan, Antti Niemi rumors – Sorry, San Jose fans.

Scroll Down For:

    The Buzzer: McDavid dominates; Fleury’s unlucky return

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    Player Of The Night: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

    The Edmonton Oilers have at least started to show some signs of life in recent games. They were shutout on Sunday night in Toronto, but sandwiched around that game were a convincing 6-2 win in Montreal and then a thoroughly dominating 7-2 win in Columbus on Tuesday night that left Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella completely speechless.

    Leading the way for the Oilers was captain Connor McDavid as he went off with a four-point night.

    The four points are a season high for him and the fifth time this season he has recorded at least three points.

    That performance gives him 39 points in 31 games on the season and currently has him third in the NHL scoring race, three points behind Tampa Bay Lightning teammates Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

    Marc-Andre Fleury Probably Deserved Better In His Return To The Lineup

    Marc-Andre Fleury made is return to the Vegas Golden Knights net and looked great, stopping 35 of the 37 shots he faced. Unfortunately that was not enough to get Vegas a win as they fell in a shootout to the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2.

    One of those two shots in regulation that beat him? It was this.

    That is unfortunate.

    Still, that is another point for Vegas as they continue their push for a playoff spot in the Western Conference during their inaugural season in the NHL.

    Highlight Of The Night

    The Philadelphia Flyers were 4-2 winners over the Toronto Maple Leafs and have now, suddenly, won four games in a row following a 10-game losing streak.

    They picked up the winner on Tuesday thanks to this goal that featured a crazy between-the-legs pass.

    Highlight Of The Night Part Two

    Now let us take a look at Johnny Gaudreau from the Calgary Flames. This came in a losing effort in the shootout but this is still a slick move. Maybe illegal? Either way, it counted.

    Factoid(s) Of The Night

    — By stopping all 32 shots he faced against the St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his 20th win of the season. He is just the sixth goalie in NHL history to win at least 20 games within his first 25 starts of a season. [NHL Public Relations]

    Matt Cullen scored his 250th career goal in the Minnesota Wild’s 2-1 shootout win over the Calgary Flames, making him the 29th American-born player in NHL history to reach that mark. [Minnesota Wild PR]

    — Carolina Hurricanes goalies Cam Ward recorded his 300th career win on Tuesday night in their 3-2 shootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights. He is the fifth active goaltender to reach that mark. [NHL Public Relations]

    Scores

    Buffalo Sabres 3, Ottawa Senators 2

    New Jersey Devils 5, Los Angeles Kings 1

    Philadelphia Flyers 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 2

    Washington Capitals 5, Colorado Avalanche 2

    Edmonton Oilers 7, Columbus Blue Jackets 2

    Tampa Bay Lightning 3, St. Louis Blues 0

    Minnesota Wild 2, Calgary Flames 1

    Chicago Blackhawks 3, Florida Panthers 2

    Carolina Hurricanes 3, Vegas Golden Knights 2

    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

    Vasilevskiy shines again as Lightning take top spot in NHL

    Leave a comment

    Tuesday’s game in St. Louis was a showdown featuring the top two teams in the NHL.

    In the end it was the Lightning picking up the 3-0 win to extend their current winning streak to five games and to reclaim sole possession of the No. 1 spot in the NHL.

    Their win improves them to 22-6-2 on the season and puts them two points ahead of the Blues despite having played two fewer games.

    It was another impressive showing for Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been one of the underrated stars of this year’s Lightning team. Most of the attention has been directed to forwards Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov (and deservedly so!) but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Vasilevskiy, in his first full season as the Lighting’s full-time starter, has been one of the best goalies in the league so far.

    Tuesday’s game was his third shutout of the season, and after his 32-save performance against the Blues his .933 save percentage is among the best in the NHL, while his 20 wins (in only 25 starts) are tops in the league. Nobody else in the league has more than 17.

    While Vasilevskiy was shining in net again, Kucherov scored his 21st goal of the season to move back into a tie with Alex Ovechkin for the top spot in the league. It was also his 42nd point which moved him into a tie with Stamkos for the league lead.

    Brayden Point also continued his breakout season by opening the scoring with his 13th goal of the season. He also added an assist on Tyler Johnson‘s third period goal.

    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

    John Tortorella had no time for questions after blowout loss (Video)

    Getty
    1 Comment

    Since being hired by the Columbus Blue Jackets John Tortorella has seemed to be a kinder, gentler coach.

    The blow ups and battles with the media don’t seem to happen as much. We don’t get as many rants.

    He just does not seem as angry all the time.

    Losing 7-2 at home to the Edmonton Oilers, however, might change a few things.

    That it was happened to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night and Tortorella was in no mood to answer question about the game.

    His press conference consisted of him stepping to the podium, saying there is no point in answering questions about the game, then leaving.

    Here it is in all of its glory.

    The only question we have: Is this shorter than the night he said the New York Rangers “sucked from head to toe?”

    (Oddly enough, that game was also against the Edmonton Oilers).

    That press conference lasted, roughly, 14 seconds from the time he started talking until the time he walked away (and also included the line “I know you have a job to do”).

    Tonight’s comes in at just around 12 seconds. So we might have a record for the shortest John Tortorella press conference of all time.

    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

    Former NHL defenseman Zarley Zalapski dies at 49

    Getty
    2 Comments

    CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Former NHL defenseman Zarley Zalapski has died at age 49, according to the Calgary Flames. No cause of death was given.

    Zalapski, a native of Edmonton, played 637 NHL games for Calgary, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Montreal and Philadelphia from 1987 to 2000.

    He was with the Flames from 1993 to 1998.

    “We are proud that Zarley wore the Flames jersey, made Calgary his home following his playing career, represented our alumni executive and we will always remember him as a member of the Flames family,” Flames president and chief executive officer Ken King said Tuesday in a statement.

    “This is a terrible loss of a man with great character who truly loved the game of hockey. We express our sincere condolences to the Zalapski family.”

    Zalapski was a member of the Canadian team that finished fourth in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

    He had 99 goals, 285 assists and 684 penalty minutes in the NHL. Zalapski was named to the all-rookie team in 1989 and participated in the NHL All-Star Game in 1993.

    Zalapski played stints in Austria and Switzerland after his NHL career and appeared in 11 games for the United Hockey League’s Kalamazoo Wings in 2004-05.

    He was the fourth overall pick by the Penguins in the 1986 entry draft.