NHL extends Kovalchuk contract approval/rejection deadline to Friday, 5PM ET

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for kovalchukpressconf2.jpgHey, you remember the second Ilya Kovalchuk-New Jersey Devils contract approval/rejection deadline thing scheduled for 5pm ET today? Yeah, so much for that.

Dan Rosen of NHL.com reports that the NHL and NHL Players Association extended the deadline from today to Friday at 5pm ET, instead.

The Ilya Kovalchuk contract situation expected to reach a conclusion by 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday will instead continue until 5 p.m. ET Friday. The NHL and NHLPA mutually agreed to extend the deadline to accept or reject the latest contract Kovalchuk signed with the New Jersey Devils.

The contract, which reportedly calls for Kovalchuk to make $100 million over 15 years, was submitted to the NHL last Friday and the League originally had five days to review the contract before deciding if it was acceptable or not.

Is it wacky to think that the league is just messing with us at this point? I think I’ve officially run out of silly analogies and metaphors for this situation. Is the NHL the League Who Cried Contract? Perhaps my comparison between the Kovalchuk contract saga and professional wrestler The Undertaker is pretty apt?

While the league is pretty clever for keeping itself in the headlines in the still-somewhat-hockey-light month of September, you have to think that it has at least some egg on its face from the laughable process. After all, unrestricted free agency began on July 1 and while Kovalchuk took his dear time to decide where to go, it’s pretty ridiculous that he won’t have an official home two months later.

Obviously, we’ll keep you up to date as this beyond-tiresome story takes on more lives than a cat. Stay tuned, if you can stand it, at least.

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

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When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

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

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

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.