Pre-season quick recaps – September 24th

Here’s your recap of tonight’s pre-season action. Get the foil on because thizetterberg4.jpgngs got a bit rambunctious tonight, especially in San Jose.

Detroit 3 – Chicago 2

Plus: Detroit’s stars took care of business. Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist while Tomas Holmstrom added a goal and Jimmy Howard played well in a quiet effort over 40 minuts. Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri each had a goal and an assist for Chicago.

Minus: Hawks left wing Brandon Bollig managed to get a -2 rating while playing just 6:54 of the game. The trip back to Rockford will be a stinging one.

Nashville 2 – Carolina 1

Plus: Jordin Tootoo scored the eventual game-winning goal in this game. Tootoo scoring at all is reason enough to be a plus. Patrick O’Sullivan scored for Carolina and impressed onlookers overall with his play. That’s a good sign for Carolina. Canes rookie Jeff Skinner had an assist.

Minus: Mark Dekanich allowed the only goal the Preds gave up in this one. One of his competitors for the backup job in Nashville, Anders Lindback, stopped all 10 shots he faced in 30 minutes of work.

Philadelphia 4 – Toronto 3 (F/SO)

Plus: Nikolai Zherdev had two goals for Philadelphia, a welcome sign for the Flyers. Kris Versteeg had a goal and an assist for the Leafs while Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel also scored. Kessel should’ve had two goals on the night, but…

Minus: On-ice officials wrongly waived off what would’ve been a game-winning goal in overtime by Kessel. Since it’s pre-season there was no instant replay to overturn the call. Hey, it’s preseason for everyone.

comrie-letetsu.jpgPittsburgh 5 – Columbus 4

Plus: Lots of goals from Penguins regulars in this one, including another from Mike Comrie. Tomas Kubalik had a hat trick for Columbus.

Minus: Mathieu Garon stopping 24 out of 29 shots isn’t encouraging. Garon is slated to be Steve Mason’s backup goalie this year. Brent Johnson stopped just 18 out of 21 in 40 minutes of work.

Montreal 4 – Ottawa 2

Plus: Andrei Kostitsyn getting on the board for Montreal is encouraging. Without his brother around, some are worried he’ll struggle. P.K. Subban also scored for the Habs. Mike Fisher had a goal for Ottawa. Montreal fans managed to not boo Scott Gomez for wearing Saku Koivu’s old number 11 or any goalies tonight. Well done, fans.

Minus: Pascal Leclaire went the full 60 minutes and stopped 24 out of 28 shots. Meh.

St. Louis 5 – Minnesota 0

Plus: Ty Conklin was stellar stopping 21 in the shutout while David Perron and Alex Steen had two goals a piece.

Minus: Josh Harding left the game with an apparent knee injury. Minnesota again looked rough in defeat, something fans in St. Paul hope isn’t a sign of things to come.

Dallas 2 – Colorado 1

Plus: Kari Lehtonen looked good in his first action of the pre-season stopping 34 shots in the win. James Neal and Steve Ott had the goals for the Stars.Colorado only gave up 21 shots on goal in this game. Baby steps.

Minus: The Avs managed to turn the shot totals around in this game only to run into a ready-to-play Lehtonen. Them’s the breaks I suppose.

Anaheim 5 – San Jose 4

aaronvoros2.jpgPlus: Corey Perry had a power play hat trick for the Ducks while Ryan Getzlaf added four assists. San Jose threw a Finnish duo at Anaheim in this one. Antti Niemi started while newest favorite name candidate Harri Sateri closed it out. The goals served to be a secondary treat as the teams combined for 144 penalty minutes in a fracas-filled affair.

Minus: Neither Niemi nor Sateri were very inspiring in their efforts for San Jose. Curtis McElhinney and Timo Pielmeier were just as offensive in net for Anaheim. Despite scoring a hat trick, Corey Perry managed to be a -3 in the game. You don’t get a + rating when scoring on the power play.

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    Callahan (hip) will be fine for start of training camp

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    Ryan Callahan could only play in 18 games last season and underwent two hip surgeries, but perhaps 2017-18 will be different. The news is certainly good so far.

    “I’m full go, right from Day One,” Callahan told the NHL.com. “It’s going to be nice to be able to do a hard training camp this year.”

    His statement was reinforced by the fact that he participated in the first day of voluntary workouts on Monday.

    Tampa Bay signed him to a six-year, $34.8 million contract in the summer of 2014 and while he was great for the first year of the deal, he declined in 2015-16 and then of course barely played last season. That’s led to concerns that the 32-year-old’s contract might prove to be disastrous in its back half.

    “I know there’s chatter and people doubt me — if I can come back and what I’ll be like when I come back,” Callahan said. “I’ve always tried to use it as motivation. That’s how they propelled me to the place I am right now in my career. I’m looking at this the same way. I’m excited to get going this year. I think it’s going to be one of the best years I’ve ever had.”

    Tampa Bay could certainly use the help. The Lightning fell short of the playoffs last season, but also missed Steven Stamkos for much of the campaign as well as Callahan. If those two stay healthy and if Callahan bounces back then Tampa Bay could be one of the major contenders in 2017-18.

    Report: Flames might have interest in Jagr

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    We’re mere weeks away from the start of training camp, but Jaromir Jagr remains unsigned. Even at the age of 45 he can still contribute as he did last season with Florida, but is there a team out there that ultimately will pay the future Hall of Famer to extend his NHL career?

    That remains to be seen, but it sounds like there is some interest out there for his services.

    “I know some teams that have kind of talked and taken a look at it,” said Elliotte Friedman on the NHL Network (H/T to FanRag Sports). “I think Calgary has been one that has kind of looked at it. One of his former coaches, Glen Gulutzan, is coaching up there.”

    Friedman also heard teams suggesting that Anaheim might be interested in Jagr, but based on his own investigation that doesn’t appear to be the case. Ultimately Jagr might end up starting the season in the Czech Republic and would have the option of playing in the Olympics if that happens, but even if he does begin the year in Europe, he could still re-sign with an NHL squad later on in the 2017-18 campaign.

    Jagr is the second all-time player in terms of total points and third in goals behind Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky. If he did play another season, the main statistical achievement that he could chase would be fourth place on the assists list as he’s 20 behind Ray Bourque.

    He finished the 2016-17 campaign with 16 goals and 46 points in 82 contests.

    Related: The case for Hurricanes signing Jaromir Jagr

    Under Pressure: Ryan Murray

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    This post is part of Blue Jackets Day on PHT…

    The Blue Jackets were naturally hoping for great things when they took Ryan Murray with the second overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but he’ll turn 24-years-old in September and so far he hasn’t consistently lived up to those early expectations.

    To be sure, he’s had some bad luck along the way. He suffered a torn labrum while playing in the juniors during the 2012-13 campaign and in the years that’s followed he’s been limited at times by knee and ankle problems. Most recently he missed the last 15 games of the regular season and the Jackets’ playoff run due to a broken hand.

    Injuries haven’t been Murray’s only issue though. While they’ve resulted in setbacks along the way, when he was healthy last season he still wasn’t living up to expectations. Seth Jones, David Savard, Jack Johnson, and rookie phenom Zach Werenski served as Columbus’ defensive core while Murray was relegated to more of a supporting role.

    That top-four core isn’t particularly old either as Johnson is the most senior member at the age of 30. Johnson is on the final season of his contract, but unless the Blue Jackets can’t re-sign him, Murray has no simple path back into prominence. He’ll have to get there through merit alone and he’ll want to demonstrate his ability to do so this season given that he’ll be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2018.

    “It’s a big summer for Ryan; for him and for us,” Blue Jackets president John Davidson noted to the Columbus Dispatch in April. “He knows it. We’ve had good talks with him. He’s had good talks with our strength and conditioning people, our doctors.

    “He’s a good hockey player, and we’ve seen some good things from him. He’s had bad injury luck without question, but he’s going to overcome that. He’s at the age now where he’s not a young pup.”

    Players at his age are still typically regarded as having upside, but also beginning to transition away from the point where they’re regarded as prospects. There won’t be many more years where Murray will be looked at as a potential top defenseman if he doesn’t force himself into that role soon.

    Alfredsson left front office job with Sens to be ‘stay-at-home dad for a while’

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    Many people were surprised to see Daniel Alfredsson leave his role as senior advisor of hockey operations with the Ottawa Senators.

    The reason for his departure was unclear at the time (he walked away in July), but he finally spoke to the Ottawa Sun during a golf tournament on Monday.

    “I have a couple of projects on the go, but nothing major,” said Alfredsson, who added that he wants to be a “stay-at-home dad for a while.”

    “Once school starts, it’s full on with activities with the kids. We’re moving into a new house here in the fall, so we have a lot of planning to do with that. So, it’s going to be a quiet year for me, overall.”

    The 44-year-old, who has four boys, is moving into a new house in Ottawa, and says the family will live there for the foreseeable future.

    Despite stepping away from the NHL for now, he also admitted that he wouldn’t mind jumping back into a team’s front office if the right opportunity presented itself.

    “If that opportunity would come back again, I would look at it very hard. It’s what I know best. It’s what I love, as well. I can see that in the future at some point. But when, I don’t know.”

    Alfredsson spent all but one of his 17 seasons playing for the Sens. He put up 444 goals and 1157 points in 1246 contests with Ottawa and Detroit.