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.
Johan Franzen looks healthy, excited for next year – He’s still a very injury prone player, but when he’s healthy he is terrifying.
Dan Ellis’ bad night on Twitter – Generally, if you’re making more than a million per year you might want to complain to other millionaires, not normal people. Even if you’re just kidding around.
Two potential teams that could be moved to Quebec – I’ll give you a hint at the two teams in question: they both play in the Southeast division. What, that’s not good enough?
Panthers ticket plan conjures ghosts of the 1972 Miami Dolphins football team – One of my favorite joke gimmicks involves referring to “ghosts” of living people. Example: When someone besmirches the Montreal Canadiens, I warn them about angering the ghost of Guy Lafleur.
Wild forward James Sheppard could miss 3-4 months after ATV accident – Rumor has it the ATV was inhabited by the same “Christen”-like evil spirit as Erik Johnson’s golf cart. (OK, I made up that rumor right now.)
Brian Rolston hasn’t been asked to waive his no-trade clause – Maybe because the Devils know that no one wants him for that price?
Canadiens sign Jeff Halpern – A solid, if often banged up bottom six forward. Nickname suggestion: “Hamburger” Halpern.
Avalanche, Peter Mueller struggle to make a deal – You can’t blame the Avs for having trouble gauging Mueller’s value. Is he the player who excelled in Colorado or the one who floundered in Phoenix?
Kirk Maltby closer to signing a two-way deal with the Red Wings – Kind of sad that a veteran like Maltby needs a two-way deal, but it is true that he’s only a borderline NHL player at this point.
Ducks, Bobby Ryan finally reach a deal – It seems like a pretty good contract for both sides, even if neither one can be completely happy.
Discussing NHL ’11 player ratings
Quebec province claims it will cover 45 percent of new arena costs – Who now if they’re can be New-‘diques, but Quebec politicians are certainly pushing hard for another NHL team.
Chicago Blackhawks promote GM Stan Bowman, give him a VP title – We’ll see if he deserves that promotion in the next few seasons.
Tampa Bay hires a new goalie consultant Frantz Jean – Insert Dan Ellis Twitter joke here.
The Vancouver Canucks have called up defenseman Jordan Subban from the AHL.
Subban, the youngest brother of Nashville’s P.K. Subban, has nine goals and 13 assists in 34 games for the Utica Comets this season. The 21-year-old is not very big, and he’s had to work on his defensive play, but as his statistics suggest, he does have good offensive abilities.
It remains to be seen if Subban will actually play for the Canucks, who host Florida tomorrow and then hit the road for a three-game road trip starting Sunday in Chicago. Vancouver also announced today that d-man Andrey Pedan has been reassigned to the AHL. Pedan’s 30-days waivers exemption was set to expire today; hence, that move.
Subban is unlikely to get into the lineup unless Troy Stecher is unable to play. Stecher has reportedly been battling the flu and only logged 11:50 of ice time in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Nashville.
The Canucks have three defensemen on injured reserve: Erik Gudbranson, Ben Hutton, and Philip Larsen.
Related: Jordan Subban has ‘a great opportunity’ to prove himself to Canucks
The tough times just got tougher for Sam Bennett.
Bennett, the fourth overall pick in 2014, will be a healthy scratch tonight when the Flames host the Preds at the Saddledome, head coach Glen Gulutzan announced.
The 20-year-old is in the midst of an awful slump. Bennett hasn’t scored a goal since Dec. 27 and is pointless in his last 10 games — not the kind of production the team was anticipating, especially after he scored 18 goals and 36 points in his rookie campaign last season.
“It’s frustrating when you’re not producing,” Bennett said earlier this week, per the Calgary Sun. “I want to contribute offensively. But just playing the right way is my main focus. Hopefully, I keep getting chances and eventually one has gotta go in.”
Micheal Ferland will move into the lineup to replace Bennett, and veteran Matt Stajan will be bumped up to the third-line center spot as a result.
Given his pedigree and draft position, expectations for Bennett are pretty high. Calgary anticipated he’d be part of the young, talented forward group that carries the load offensively, alongside the likes of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk.
And to be fair, Bennett did have a decent start to the year, with 12 points through his first 24 games.
But it’s been tough sledding ever since.
Darryl Sutter wants more from his “top guys.”
In the wake of last night’s 3-2 loss to the Sharks, the Kings’ head coach was no doubt referring to the likes of Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, each of whom has just four goals this season.
Though Gaborik did manage to score last night, Kopitar didn’t. The captain has just one goal in his last 16 games. And for $10 million a season, it’s not enough to be good defensively.
“You need those top guys to make a difference,” said Sutter, per LA Kings Insider. “You’re going to be in one-goal games, lots of ‘em. How many have we had this year? I mean, how many times? I bet I’ve already pulled the goalie more times ever than I have ever, so that means you’re one goal down. It means that you need your top guys to make a difference there.”
Jeff Carter (23 goals) and Tanner Pearson (14) are the only Kings with double-digit goal totals this season. And with no Tyler Toffoli, it’s even more important that Kopitar and Gaborik start chipping in more regularly.
Gaborik’s produced lately, with three goals in his last six games. That needs to continue, and Kopitar needs to find his scoring touch.
The Kings (22-19-4) kick off a five-game road trip Saturday in Brooklyn. After 45 games, they’re barely hanging on to a wild-card spot, with Vancouver, Nashville, Dallas, and Winnipeg all within striking distance.
It’s worth noting that only four teams have fewer regulation victories than the Kings have (12). If not for their 9-1 record in overtime, they might really be in trouble.
Seth Griffith is on waivers again.
The 24-year-old forward has only managed five assists in 21 games for the Florida Panthers since being claimed off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs had claimed Griffith off waivers from Boston at the beginning of the season.
A prolific scorer at the AHL level (he had 77 points in 57 games for Providence last season), Griffith has just six goals and 10 assists in 58 career NHL games.
Griffith has been a healthy scratch the past three games for the Panthers.