Preseason quick recaps: September 25th's late games

Last night, we covered the first 10 Saturday games here. There was quite the flurry of activity, with Evgeni Malkin fighting Rick Nash, Carey Price self-destructing (irrelevantly) again and so on. Did the remaining four later games bring some fireworks too? Let’s recap those games right now.

Calgary 5, Tampa Bay 4 (SO)

Plus: Ales Kotalik succeeded in acting like a useful player for once, scoring one goal and two assists in regulation before potting the shootout winner. T.J. Brodie scored two goals and has the kind of name you’d think would be used in “Role Models” while Mark Giordano produced three assists. The Lightning’s big guns showed up big with Vincent Lecavalier (two goals), Martin St. Louis (three assists), Steven Stamkos (one goal, one assist) and Simon Gagne (one goal) all producing something.

Minus: Brodie didn’t get a early SO chance even after scoring two goals. This game won’t exactly heal those Ruslan Fedetenko-created Game 7 Stanley Cup finals wounds.

Vancouver 4, Anaheim 1

Plus: The Sedin twins put out identical efforts (one goal and one assist each), while the Canucks power play was an efficient two for four. Roberto Luongo had a nice game (fueled by his new style?), only allowing one out of 29 shots to go in.

Minus: With Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry getting the night off, the next best Ducks had a bad night; Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu and Lubomir Visnovsky combined for a -6 rating.

Phoenix 2, San Jose 1 (part I)

Plus: It was the Radim Vrbata show, with the only-comfortable-in-Phoenix forward scoring both goals on the power play. Newcomer Ray Whitney earned the first assist on both Vrbata goals. Both Thomas Griess (28 for 30 saves) and Ilya Bryzgalov (21 of 22 saves) acquitted themselves nicely last night.

Minus: I just typed “the Radim Vrbata show.”

San Jose 3, Phoenix 1 (part II)

Plus: Both Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley put one goal and one assist each while Coyotes captain Shane Doan scored a power-play goal. Antti Niemi posted a solid game, stopping 18 out of 19 shots in just under two periods of play.

Minus: These split-scrimmage games will be obnoxious until NHL teams openly label one squad the “junior varsity.” Insert any New York Islanders/Florida Panthers jokes here.

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    It’s Montreal Canadiens day at PHT

    P.K. Subban,
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    An injury to Carey Price essentially meant the beginning of the end to the 2015-16 season for the Montreal Canadiens.

    With their No. 1 goalie, their most valuable player, out of the lineup, the Canadiens tumbled down the standings and missed the playoffs. The fan base in Montreal would feel even more frustration in the summer as general manager Marc Bergevin suddenly sent fan-favorite and right-shooting defenseman P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for right-shooting defenseman Shea Weber in an absolute blockbuster deal.

    Weber is four years older than Subban and under contract until 2026. Subban’s deal expires in 2022.

    Subban feels closer to winning a Stanley Cup in Nashville than he did in Montreal. Weber isn’t going to try to be the next P.K. Subban in Montreal. And Bergevin, surely, has been feeling the heat for the controversial trade. Some in the media have called it the worst trade in franchise history. Subban is not only very talented on the ice, but he was popular away from it, too, in the city of Montreal.

    Not only did the Habs lose Subban in the deal, but their analytics consultant, Matt Pfeffer, didn’t have his contract renewed because he reportedly disagreed with the trade. Pfeffer later confirmed he made a “passionate” case to keep Subban in Montreal.

    The deal occurred on the same day the Edmonton Oilers traded star forward Taylor Hall to New Jersey for defenseman Adam Larsson. Yet, this Subban-Weber trade has provided material for the hockey world to debate and discuss just about every week for two months now. And you can bet that will happen when the season begins.

    The Habs also signed forward Alexander Radulov to a one-year deal worth $5.75 million.

    This is Radulov’s third stint in the NHL. He’s supremely talented and the Habs could use a player that can score goals. But he’s also been at the center of off-ice disciplinary issues, including a team-imposed suspension for reportedly violating curfew when he was in Nashville.

    And getting back to Carey Price: He has been deemed to be 100 per cent healthy heading into the new season, after playing in only 12 games last season with a knee injury.

    Crouse brings the ‘total package’ of size, skill and speed to Coyotes

    FT. LAUDERDALE, FL - JUNE 25: Lawson Crouse attends the Top Prospects Media Opportunity at the Westin Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort on June 25, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Lawson Crouse has joined a talented group of young forwards in Arizona, after the Coyotes acquired the 2015 first-round pick from the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

    The Coyotes had to take on the contract of injured forward Dave Bolland, but in their minds, it was worth it to get a player like Crouse, who certainly brings size up front at six-foot-four-inches tall and 212 pounds. He had 23 goals and 62 points in 49 games this season with Kingston in the OHL.

    “He’s a unique guy because usually when you add a guy with the type of size he has you usually give up a little bit in skating or you give up a little bit in skill,” said general manager John Chayka, as per the Coyotes website.

    “He’s a guy that you add the size and he actually enhances that for your entire group. In our opinion, it was a guy that’s rare to find, difficult to obtain. Certainly, once they become established in the league, those players are locked up well into their 30s and then you end up trying to maybe overpay for a player that has these attributes that’s not in the prime of his career.”

    Crouse, who turned 19 years old in June, now joins the likes of Max Domi, Dylan Strome and Anthony Duclair as part of Arizona’s group of up-and-coming young forwards. He has familiarity with all three from playing in the OHL or for Team Canada at the world juniors.

    “He can fly. He’s fast and he hits and he scores goals. You kinda get the total package,” Strome told Sportsnet.

    The Las Vegas Desert Knights? Maybe . . .

    LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22:  New Las Vegas NHL franchise owner Bill Foley addresses the media during the Board Of Governors Press Conference prior to the 2016 NHL Awards at Encore Las Vegas on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NHL's board of governors approved expanding to Las Vegas, making the franchise the 31st team in the league. The team will start play during the 2017-18 season and play at the newly built T-Mobile Arena.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    There’s been another possible development in the search for a team name for the Las Vegas NHL franchise.

    The Las Vegas ‘Desert Knights’ could perhaps be a thing.

    Maybe.

    From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

    Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.

    Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.

    DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.

    Foley said via text message he had no comment regarding the process when reached by the Review-Journal.

    As the Las Vegas franchise continues to hire key members for its hockey operations department, there is growing intrigue when it comes to the search for a new name.

    What will this new franchise be called?

    The wait continues, and there has been a lot of space dedicated to speculating and discussing the possibilities.

    It’s been reported that the expansion franchise could use one of at least three ‘Hawks’-orientated names. Owner Bill Foley also said this summer that Las Vegas can’t use a ‘Knights’ nickname is Canada, because London’s OHL franchise was also named the Knights.

    Stay tuned . . .

    Las Vegas hires former Panthers director of player personnel Scott Luce

    ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 24:  Director of scouting Scott Luce of the Florida Panthers smiles before day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Scott Luce has gone from the Florida Panthers to the Las Vegas expansion franchise.

    The new NHL organization — still searching for a team name — announced Thursday that it has hired Luce as its new director of amateur scouting.

    Luce spent the last 14 years in Florida, as a scout and as director of player personnel.

    Luce was let go earlier in the offseason, as the Panthers underwent massive change within their front office, with the promotion of Dale Tallon to president of hockey operations and Tom Rowe to GM, and more attention to analytics.