The weird, wild and disappointing summer for former Sabres forward Tim Kennedy plods along quietly, much to his dismay. After winning a million dollar award in arbitration from the Buffalo Sabres, Kennedy was waived and had his contract bought out making him an unrestricted free agent. If you haven’t been paying attention this off-season, being a free agent of any kind hasn’t been an easy job and for the young Kennedy, it’s been frustrating especially after such a bizarre situation with the Sabres as Bucky Gleason of The Buffalo News details.
For what it’s worth, Kennedy no longer harbors resentment toward the Sabres. Yes, he was hurt and confused after they waived him and bought out a $1 million award he received in arbitration. Their decision to send him packing knocked him for a pretty good loop.
Once the shock and frustration subsided, he plowed forward without wasting time and energy on what couldn’t be undone. He had his reasons for taking them to arbitration, which was within his rights. His refusal to back down from the Sabres is part of what makes him a good player. But their response also was within their rights, no matter how classless it appeared.
“I’m not mad at them,” Kennedy said. “I’m 24 years old. I’m a professional athlete, and I have to act like one. .‚.‚. Maybe it was the right call and maybe it wasn’t the right call. I made the choice to go, and I live with that choice.”
Those are pretty mature words from Kennedy which means he’s at least got a good head on his shoulders. As for who might be looking at Kennedy, there is certainly interest in the former Michigan State product and Buffalo native.
Kennedy said five teams are interested, although he wouldn’t reveal which ones. Toronto figures to be in the mix along with Columbus, Los Angeles, Phoenix and possibly Atlanta. All are looking for good, young forwards to fill their needs for the right price. He’s looking for the right fit.
You can probably cut Toronto off that list presumably after they signed fellow arbitration victim Clarke MacArthur yesterday to a one-year contract. As for the other teams mentioned there, they all certainly could use the depth that Kennedy would provide to them, but what you could reasonably expect to get out of Kennedy on the ice is still relatively unknown considering last year was his first real shot at considerable minutes on the ice. Kennedy finished last year with 10 goals and 16 assists in 78 games with the Sabres.
Overall this season the New York Islanders have really struggled away from the Barclays Center, a point of concern when you consider how many road games they have down the stretch as they try to overcome their miserable start to climb back into the playoffs.
Their current nine-game road trip is off to a promising start with wins in the first two games, including a 3-0 shutout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night to improve their record to 12-4-2 under new coach Doug Weight.
The Islanders received goals from Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee and John Tavares in the win, while Thomas Greiss stopped all 24 shots he faced to record his third shutout of the season.
With the win the Islanders hold sole possession of the second wild card spot in the East for the time being, two points ahead of Florida and Boston (the Bruins are in action right now) and continue their stunning second half turnaround.
But while things are going great for the Islanders right now, the struggles in Montreal continue.
With their loss on Thursday they failed to put any extra distance between themselves and the rest of the Atlantic Division that has suddenly closed the gap on them. They remain just two points up on Ottawa and only four points ahead of Toronto. The loss also continues what has been a particularly brutal stretch over the past couple of months that has seen the team win just seven of its past 20 games.
It’s probably too early to start fully panicking in Montreal, but given the way the end of last season went this can’t be a promising development for Canadiens fans.
After taking just four shifts in in the first period of Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson had to leave Thursday’s game with an unspecified injury.
The Blackhawks did not offer any update on what forced Hjalmarsson out of the game, only to say he would be out for the remainder of the evening.
Fortunately for the Blackhawks they dressed seven defensemen for the game when Michal Rozsival drew back into the lineup, so they still have a full lineup of defenders to finish the game. Surprisingly, Rozsival scored his first goal of the season just two minutes into the second period, breaking what had been a 3-3 tie following a wild first period that saw the teams combine for six goals.
In 59 games this season Hjalmarsson had five goals and nine assists while playing more than 20 minutes per night, mostly on a pairing with Duncan Keith.
The first period of Thursday’s Blackhawks-Coyotes game had just a little bit of excitement as the two teams combined for six goals, including two by the Coyotes in the final three minutes of the period to erase what had been a two-goal deficit.
All of the action started just 37 seconds into the game when Nick Schmaltz, playing on his 21st birthday, scored his sixth goal of the season (shown above) on a feed from a still white hot Jonathan Toews.
Seven minutes later, Coyotes rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun scored his second goal in his as many games to get things even at one.
That is when the chaos started to break out. The Blackhawks quickly struck for two more goals when Ryan Hartman and Patrick Kane scored six minutes apart to give the Blackhawks what would end up being a very short-lived 3-1 lead. Just one minute after Kane’s goal Ryan White netted his seventh of the season to bring the Coyotes back to within one, a goal that was followed by Radim Vrbata‘s 13th of the season just one minute after that.
Here are the two Coyotes goals that tied it.
Chicago came into the game on Thursday on a goal scoring tear, scoring at least four goals in seven of their past eight games. They are off to a great start when it comes to reaching that mark again on Thursday.
Trouble is, they can not seem to keep the puck out of their net on Thursday.
Winners of seven of their past eight, the Chicago Blackhawks are back home on Thursday night to take on the Arizona Coyotes.
The Blackhawks have been on a roll lately, especially offensively, scoring 34 goals in their past eight games. They have scored at least four goals in seven of those games. Captain Jonathan Toews has been doing a lot of the work offensively lately and is having a huge second half after a disappointing start to the season offensively.
On Thursday they host a Coyotes team that has shown a lot of improvement in recent weeks, putting together an 8-4-1 record since Jan. 20.
Puck drop for Thursday is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET and you can catch all off the action on NBCSN or on our Live Stream.
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Preview: Jonathan Toews looks to stay hot against Coyotes