Report: Minnesota Wild buy some backup goalie insurance by signing Jose Theodore

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Thumbnail image for theodore.jpgI cannot say that I’ve been his biggest supporter over the years, but it was still pretty surprising to see Jose Theodore go jobless for so long despite putting together a fairly impressive regular season with the Washington Capitals. It seemed like the former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner would be sitting on the sidelines for some of the 2010-11 season, but reports indicate that the Minnesota Wild handed him a one-year, $1.1 million deal today. Here’s TSN’s take.

Theodore is expected to report to the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Houston on Monday and will miss the Wild’s trip to Europe to start the season. The Wild are set to face Finnish side Tampere on Monday before opening their season against the Hurricanes on Thursday in Helsinki.

The Wild were in the market for a backup netminder when Harding tore both his ACL and MCL last month in a pre-season contest with the St. Louis Blues when he collided with Blues’ forward Brad Boyes. Harding will undergo surgery and is expected to miss the entire season.

It seemed like Minnesota might go with a goalie in their system, but they either saw something they didn’t like in the team’s preseason games or wanted a “proven” backup since Josh Harding is on the shelf for the season.

If this report is accurate, the Wild will employ one of the league’s most expensive goalie rotations ($7.1 million overall, with Niklas Backstrom earning $6 million and Theodore getting $1.1 million). That’s a lot of money, but at least the team should have some piece of mind.

The oddest thing about Minnesota’s structure is that the team is deceptively expensive. Their CapGeek.com figures are a little off-kilter at the moment with two more than the maximum 25 players on their roster, but it’s still clear that their roster is littered with questionable deals. They’re paying four mediocre-to-passable defensemen at least $3 million and can only really call the last year of Mikko Koivu’s contract a “bargain” before his second deal kicks up to $6.75 million per year in 2011-12.

To some extent, fans who consistently fill up the arena (though that trend might not continue) cannot criticize the team for being cheap anymore. Yet they hit the nail on the head if they’re asking for the Wild to spend their money more wisely.

All that being said, I actually agree with the logic of the Theodore signing, even if it makes their goalie duo extremely pricey in a league where goalies are seeing shrinking salaries.

Just about every relevant team in the East playoff races won tonight

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After Eastern Conference teams deserved a “C” on Monday, they generally passed Tuesday’s tests with flying colors. Sometimes they carved out three-point games when relevant teams faced off, too.

It’s almost bewildering trying to figure out where to start … so how about the top of the East?

Metro’s rich get richer

The Minnesota Wild deserve credit for fighting back from a considerable deficit, including overcoming an Alex Ovechkin hat trick (all on the power play). Ultimately, T.J. Oshie‘s overtime-winner gave Washington the 5-4 (OT) win.

Elsewhere in the Metro’s top ranks, Sergei Bobrovsky grabbed his 41st win of the season (3-1 win against the Sabres) to put Columbus three points behind the Capitals and two ahead of the idle Penguins.

Metro top three (all with 75 games played)

1. Capitals – 108 points
2. Blue Jackets – 105 points
3. Penguins – 103 points

Canadiens gain ground

The Montreal Canadiens handled the Dallas Stars 4-1 in The Epic Battle of the Benns. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers beat the second-place Senators 3-2 via a shootout

Both the Maple Leafs and Bruins won their games, leaving Toronto one point ahead of Boston for third in the Atlantic.

Atlantic top five

1. Canadiens – 95 points in 76 games played
2. Senators – 91 points in 75 GP
3. Maple Leafs – 87 points in 75 GP

Bruins – 86 points in 76 GP
Lightning – 83 points in 75 GP

Finally, let’s look at the final spot in the East

OK, so there’s some overlap here. Why don’t we check on the most wild-card-relevant teams?

Third Atlantic spot: Leafs – 87 points in 75 GP

Final spot: Bruins – 86 points in 76 GP

Lightning – 83 points in 75 GP
Islanders – 82 points in 75 GP
Hurricanes – 82 points in 75 GP
Flyers – 80 points in 76 GP
Panthers – 77 points in 76 GP

Again, the Bruins won, as did the Flyers. The Lightning were idle. The Panthers fell to the Maple Leafs. Buffalo lost while Detroit and New Jersey are out of the running.

You know who deserves special mention outside of the top eight? The Carolina Hurricanes deserve such a distinction, as they are enjoying one of their hottest runs in franchise history after beating Detroit 4-1.

The overall message: just about any truly relevant team at least grabbed a standings point, with most winning games outright on Tuesday.

It doesn’t exactly thin the herd, but it keeps the door open for a fun race to the finish.

It’s official: Red Wings’ playoff streak ends at 25 seasons

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When we look back at the 2016-17 season for the Detroit Red Wings, it will be remembered for some said endings.

It began without Pavel Datsyuk. We knew that their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season would be their last ever. And now we know that Joe Louis Arena won’t be home to another playoff run.

After 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs – quite often managing deep runs – the Red Wings were officially eliminated on Tuesday night. In getting this far, they enjoyed one of the greatest runs of longevity in NHL history:

Tonight revolves largely around East teams winning and teams clinching bids – the Edmonton Oilers could very well end the league’s longest playoff drought this evening – but this story is more solemn.

EA Sports tweeted out a great infographic:

“Right now it’s hard to talk about it, because you’re a big reason why it’s not continuing,” Henrik Zetterberg said in an NHL.com report absolutely worth your time.

Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena here:

Here’s what deal between women’s team, USA hockey is reportedly worth

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It’s great news that the U.S. women’s national team and USA Hockey came together on a deal for the upcoming world championships.

Still, all we really know is that the contract lasts four years, as the two sides decided to keep the dollar figures between each other.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell laid out a lot of the possible numbers on his Twitter feed, giving us an idea of what reportedly sealed the deal.

First things first, Campbell reports that the deal is worth $3.7-$4 million overall.

That’s quite the impressive number on face value, but what does it mean for players over a four-year contract?

Campbell reports that earnings will range between $850K and $950K, depending upon how they perform in the tournament:

They’ll also receive the same travel and other miscellaneous amenities as the men’s team, but what about years that are more about training than competition?

Interesting stuff. Definitely check out Campbell’s feed for additional details.

This fight between Tom Wilson, Chris Stewart got downright gory (Video)

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For those who decry the decline in fighting – in “blood and guts” hockey – Tuesday presented a bloody moment, one fairly high on this season’s Muta scale.

Also, for some, seeing it happen to Tom Wilson specifically may provide additional pleasure.

Anyway, as you can see in the video above, Minnesota Wild winger Chris Stewart bloodied the Washington Capitals pest in a fight. Whether you’re for, against or neutral toward Wilson, it’s quite the sight.

Wilson may be hurt, by the way. He missed some time but returned later in the contest.