We’ve certainly talked more than enough lately about the potential effects of Ilya Kovalchuk re-signing with the Devils. We know, you’re probably tired of hearing about the whole thing and we don’t blame you. There are still a few things left for the Devils to do before the season starts, mainly clearing salary space.
Two names keep getting brought up as candidates to help the Devils get under the salary cap in Bryce Salvador and Brian Rolston. One downside to the business is that even those guys aren’t sure if they’ll be sticking around New Jersey or not as Rich Chere found out.
“No one wants to be part of leaving here. This is a great team with great chemistry,” defenseman Bryce Salvador told me. “The situation is, it’s going to be more than one player going. That’s just part of the business. Everyone understands that.
“For the Devils’ organization, they got a great player (in Kovalchuk). And the machine always changes. But I haven’t been thinking about it so much. The fact that I’ve been traded before, it doesn’t weigh so much on me.”
I guess having gone through the rigors and cold reality of the NHL world can make you a bit numb to being moved for one reason or another. But what if you’re someone like Brian Rolston with a no-trade clause and coming off two bad seasons in New Jersey? Reality is harsh.
“You talk about a no-trade. Teams can still trade you. It’s not black and white. You can have all those thoughts, but you just have to prepare yourself for the season and that’s what I did. I don’t really choose to think about that stuff.”
Yikes. We’d be happy to guess that when Rolston signed his four-year contract with the Devils two seasons ago, he had no designs on being sent out of town nor would he want to leave. Why else would you get a no-trade clause in your contract after all.
Then again, after two seasons where Rolston put up numbers similar to those he’d normally put up in one season, it’s proof that situations can change at a moment’s notice. Clearly neither player is excited at the prospect of potentially being moved from what should be a successful team but this is just how things work in the NHL with a salary cap in place.
“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.
The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).
The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.
Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:
The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”
Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
- Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
- This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
- By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.
Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:
Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).
If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.
You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.
The pain goes beyond that … literally so.
For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.
(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)
The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.
Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.