The PHT Nightcap: Wednesday, September 15th

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.

Eric Belanger upset that the Caps broke their verbal agreement – Apparently someone missed the lesson of “Cushlash” in Jeremy Maguire …

Tuesday’s rookie tournament recap

2012 NHL All-Star Game awarded to Ottawa – Hey, can we move on my idea to run the All-Star games in the preseason? I bet the weather in Ottawa around January/early February must be ridiculously cold …

Devils plan on playing Patrik Elias at LW, even though Kovalchuk and Parise play there already – Perhaps they want to spread the offensive wealth? Hmmmm …

Rangers re-sign Marc Staal – See you later, Wade Redden.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis lashes out over Cody Hodgson injury coverage

Tim Gleason gives figure skating a try – Something tells me that this will be on Sean Avery’s insult scouting report.

Patrice Cormier tries to put his ugly past behind him – He might have more skeletons in his closet before his career his over, though, considering his sometimes-rugged style.

Oilers “big three” debuts tonight – More on their performances tomorrow morning (or … this morning, I guess?).

Oddsmakers weigh in on Montreal, Vancouver captain situations – [Insert lazy poker reference]

Does Eric Belanger have a legal leg to stand on against the Capitals – Probably not, but I think we can all deduct a few cool points from Washington.

More criticism of the way the Oilers are handling Sheldon Souray – Seriously, it seems like a faulty plan.

Minnesota wins Traverse City Tournament 3-1 over Detroit, other results – This victory will be forgotten soon, but hey, hockey is hockey.

Seguin, Niederreiter make their presences felt in rookie game – Seguin provided the assists while Niederreiter produced points and a flurry of fists.

Gary Bettman says the NHL will stay out of Quebec City arena politics – That’s probably for the best.

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    Report: Oilers and potential UFA Maroon talking extension

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    The Edmonton Oilers and forward Patrick Maroon are reportedly discussing an extension, according to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug.

    Maroon spent a good chunk of the season playing with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and it showed in his numbers.

    The 29-year-old scored a career-high 27 goals (he had never scored more than 11 goals in a season) and 42 points in 81 contests.

    Maroon is in the final year of a three-year contract that came with an annual average value of $2 million. You’d have to think that he’s in line for a raise.

    “Obviously without those two I wouldn’t have the success I did, but sometimes you’ve got to give yourself some credit too,” Maroon said earlier this month, per NHL.com. “Those two are very tremendous players, and for me I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing to stay with them.

    “Obviously [Oilers coach] Todd McLellan had a really big part in that. He gave me an opportunity to play with those two. For me, I’ve just got to continue what I did last year, come [to training camp] in really good shape again, and hopefully good things fall into place again.”

    ‘We’ve got to get that out of his game’: Trotz wants Ovechkin to cut down on slashing penalties

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    As you may have noticed, the NHL is trying to crack down on players cheating on faceoffs and stick infractions.

    The first week of the preseason has been nothing more than teams getting a good look at their power play units because players still aren’t used to the way officials are calling the game.

    One of the players that has to adapt to the officiating is Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, who took two slashing penalties against Montreal on Wednesday night.

    “Too many slashing penalties,” Caps head coach Barry Trotz said, per the Washington Post. “Ovi took two. We’ve got to get that out of his game.”

    Like all players, it’s something the Capitals captain will have to get used to before the regular season begins. But let’s be honest, there’s a good chance that these officials won’t be as strict on the stick or face-off infractions as the regular season goes on.

    Ovechkin isn’t the only star player that’s having an issue adapting to some of these stricter on-ice policies. Earlier in this week, Bruins forward Brad Marchand ripped the new face-off rule.

    “This faceoff rule’s an absolute joke,” Marchand said. “That’s how you ruin the game of hockey by putting that in there. They’re going to have to do something about that because we can’t play this year like that. That’s brutal.”

    We’ll see if the league actually sticks to its guns here. If they do, how long will it take the players to adjust?

    Housley focused on making Sabres ‘an aggressive team’

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    The Buffalo Sabres haven’t been a playoff team in quite some time, but the organization is hoping that their major offseason changes will help them take a few steps in the right direction.

    One of those major changes came behind the bench, as the team hired Predators assistant Phil Housley to be their head coach.

    Housley did some terrific work with defensemen like Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban last season. A big part of Nashville’s attack came from defenders pushing the pace from the back.

    “We want to be an aggressive team,” Housley said, per NHL.com. “I think everybody we’ve talked about playing aggressive offensively but we need to play aggressive defensively. I think defense gives you a chance to win every night and they’ll understand that we want to be fast and aggressive. The days are gone when a guy wants to make a breakout pass and the [defense] just watched the rush go up and play; they have to get up in the play not only to maybe join the rush and add to the attack, but to be in the offensive zone, being able to keep pucks in, or else you’re going to start playing defense.”

    The Sabres could use an offensive boost from their defense (or anyone really). Last season, Jack Eichel collected 57 points in 61 games, which comes out to an impressive 0.934 points-per-game. But Unfortunately for the Sabres, no player topped 60 points in 2016-17.

    Buffalo changed the look of their defense during the summer, as they acquired Nathan Beaulieu from Montreal and Marco Scandella from Minnesota. Both guys are capable of moving the puck, which should help Housley execute his plan.

    Also, it’ll be interesting to see if Housley can take Rasmus Ristolainen‘s game to the next level. The 22-year-old has surpassed the 40-point mark in each of the last two seasons. He’s also served as the big-minute guy on the Sabres blue line.

    “We’re here to learn from him and pick his brain, he was a [heck] of a player in his day,” defender Zach Bogosian said. “He gets the game. He’s played for a while, he’s coached for a while, he’s been around forever.

    “Guys are looking forward to playing that style.”

    Report: Blue Jackets RFA Anderson in contact with Hockey Canada about 2018 Olympics

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    The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.

    Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.

    While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics. 

    Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.

    Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.