Rounding up today's roster cuts

With teams paring down their rosters to prepare for the start of the regular season on Thursday, getting the last round of roster cuts can provide some fascinating results. Today was no different across the NHL and here’s your tour of links to show you some of what went down.

nazemkadri1.jpgToronto sends down Kadri, Caputi, and Hanson

A lot of attention was paid to what the Leafs would do roster-wise and sending down Luca Caputi, Nazem Kadri, and Christian Hanson gives a guy like Tim Brent the chance to start in the NHL. With Matt Lashoff and Brett Lebda both on the injured list, the Leafs roster isn’t completely finished, but opting to start those three players in the AHL is certainly getting noticed. The fact is, none of those three proved they deserved a spot and until then, they can get better in the AHL. As it is, all three players are still incredibly young. They’ll get their time eventually.

Edmonton cuts eight players but no goalies… Yet

So you thought Jeff Deslauriers or Devan Dubnyk would be put on waivers. Turns out that didn’t happen today but they did send, among others, Liam Reddox, Alexandre Giroux and Linus Omark down to the AHL. Omark isn’t very pleased about being sent down, calling the demotion “political.” I believe this tactic of showing the team who’s boss comes from the book, “How To Not Impress Your Boss.”

jeremymorin1.jpgChicago sends down Jeremy Morin

The young winger obtained from the Atlanta Thrashers in the off-season came very close to winning a spot out of training camp. He showed flashes of brilliance and a knack for the net, but it was not meant to be just yet for Morin. Viktor Stalberg will instead get the job in Chicago. With the Hawks worries on defense after Brian Campbell’s knee injury, they’ll be carrying extra help there including 19 year-old Nick Leddy.

Kings waive Erik Ersberg and Rich Clune

Clune isn’t the big deal here as Ersberg was Jon Quick’s backup last year. Now with prospect Jonathan Bernier signing a two-year extension and winning the backup job out of camp, Ersberg could be ticketed to go back to Manchester if he’s not snagged on waivers. Ersberg did all right in a backup job last year, but Bernier is clearly targeted to be the man of the future in Los Angeles. Ersberg could be useful to another team. One team that won’t be, apparently, is Nashville as Predators head coach Barry Trotz stated that the team has no interest in him.

severinblindenbacher1.jpgDallas sends four players down, kill our dream of greatest name in NHL

The Stars sent down training camp hero Aaron Gagnon as well as Philip Larsen, Thomas Vincour and Swiss Olympic star Severin Blindenbacher. Blindenbacher had a solid camp for the Stars, but alas, our dream of seeing and hearing the name “Blindenbacher” in the NHL is on hold. We can only hope that when he does get the call in the NHL that Stars color commentator Daryl Reaugh can give us some fantastically colorful language in which to discuss his play. After all, he’s already given Philip Larsen the nickname of “Lego” for his Danish heritage. Can we get a nickname of “Toblerone” for Severin Blindenbacher here? Corporate synergy here, people. He’s Swiss, Toblerone is a legendary Swiss chocolate. Let’s make magic happen. 

Vancouver’s Shane O’Brien and Darcy Hordichuk clear waivers

With a glut of defensemen and a ton of depth, the Canucks had to make room somehow and clearing out a pair of penalty-prone enforcer types made the job a bit easier for GM Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault. You feel bad for the players, but for the team, to have the sort of depth where cutting these guys makes it OK is pretty fantastic.

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    Shocking: Tortorella emphasizes ‘mental toughness’

    TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Team USA head coach John Tortorella answers questions during Media day at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 at Air Canada Centre on September 15, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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    Without any clues, if you had to pick one word to describe what John Tortorella might be looking for, what would it be?

    There’s a strong chance many would pick “toughness” (or, OK, maybe a variation such as “grit”) and you’d be right.

    After a World Cup of Hockey in which Team USA’s pursuit of toughness bordered, at times, on the comical, Tortorella didn’t take long to settle back into with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    “I think that’s the fine line of winning and losing,” Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “How do you handle yourself in those little situations where it’s, ‘Man, what do (I) give? Or, do (I) give in?’

    “I’ve said it from day one, our mental toughness needs to be changed and this is part of the process.”

    Specifically, Tortorella was talking about the Blue Jackets going through what the Columbus Dispatch describes as an especially “grueling” practice early on in training camp. But, honestly, it feels like it can be Torts’ request for just about anything hockey-related.

    (It would be a refreshing bit of trolling if Tortorella decided to talk about finesse for an entire press conference.)

    To some extent, talk of toughness can probably be chalked up to “coach-speak.”

    Still, it’s tough not to wonder if the 2016-17 season might serve as a litmus test for Torts’ way of thinking and how it may influence the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    Even when it’s not Torts making the decisions or at least dishing out the soundbytes, the Blue Jackets seem fixated on intangibles. Consider how GM Jarmo Kekalainen spoke about character while elaborating on the divisive decision to select Pierre-Luc Dubois over, say, Jesse Puljujärvi.

    For all the blue collar talk, the Blue Jackets aren’t exactly a cheap team, with the 2016-17 version coming in at a cap hit of about $69 million.

    In a multitude of ways, Columbus is paying a premium for intangibles and toughness, with Torts carrying that focus to an extreme. It should be fascinating to see how this all shakes out … even if Sergei Bobrovsky‘s play could ultimately be the real make-or-break factor for the Blue Jackets.

    Predators give Laviolette a two-year extension

    NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 09:  Head coach Peter Laviolette speaks to referee Kelly Sutherland #11 during the third period of Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round against the San Jose Sharks during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 9, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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    The Nashville Predators have been on a roll lately, and keeping Peter Laviolette around seems like it keeps things going in a positive direction.

    The team announced a two-year contract extension for Laviolette during Saturday’s State of the Union event.

    During his first two seasons behind the bench in Nashville, the Predators have managed two playoff berths, beating the Anaheim Ducks in the first round during this last postseason trip. The Predators have managed to stay competitive in the Central Division, which is no small task.

    With P.K. Subban added to the mix, it makes great sense to retain Laviolette’s services. You never know how a situation will work until it plays out, yet on paper, his system seems like a seamless fit for the star defender.

    Nashville’s shown some promise already under Laviolette’s watch, particularly in quietly putting up some promising possession stats. At this moment in time, the future looks even brighter.

    It can’t hurt that the guy has a Stanley Cup on his resume, either.

    Goalie mask tour: Seinfeld references, tributes and more

    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  Actor Patrick Warburton attends The Apartment VIP Party on June 23, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Hulu)
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    As difficult as it is to believe, it’s October already. You know what that means*; hockey season is rapidly approaching.

    Along with stories about guys who might still be a little injured claiming they’re “100 percent” and teams carrying in optimism that will eventually look foolish, we also get fun stuff like new goalie masks.

    We’d already seen Petr Mrazek pay tribute to Joe Louis Arena a month ago, but with the preseason in high gear, we’re seeing more masks.

    While there will likely be some other fun entries before the games start to count in 2016-17, PHT is kindly saving your delicate fingers a few extra clicks by collecting a few choice masks in one post.

    To start things off, Michal Neuvirth paid tribute to late Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider:

    Michal Neuvirth knew what he wanted on his new Philadelphia Flyers mask. He wanted it transformed into an epic tribute to the one and only, Mr Flyers himself, Ed Snider🙏🏻. Michal and I we brainstormed together and a plan emerged how to create the painting. I just love to create Storyteller masks📕. I wanted this to be truly special❤️. Put a lot of thoughts into every detail. We wanted it to be subtle and clean design that live and breath Flyers in the core. It was an honor to create this piece. On the side is also the wonderful logo of Ed Snider created by fellow artist David E. Wilkinson. In the design you will also just as always find a painting of the castle from Michal's hometown. Thank you Michal, we have worked together for so many years and it always a joy to create your mask paintings😊🎨 Thank you! #neuvirth @philadelphiaflyers #nhl #DaveArt @nhl #DaveArtCreativity #aflyerforever

    A photo posted by David Gunnarsson (@davidofdaveart) on

    This Miami Herald video shares Roberto Luongo‘s very-cool concept: the old Panthers cat on one side, the new one on the other. Here’s a shot from George Richards:

    (Anyone else get a little John Vanbiesbrouck nostalgia from that lid?)

    Thankfully, no birds were harmed in the making of Louis Domingue‘s mask, which features Arizona sports figures from Randy Johnson to more obvious Coyotes choices:

    Nitpick: Steve Nash’s hair could have been floppier. Just saying.

    Finally, hockey and Seinfeld once again mix better than a black-and-white cookie in Scott Wedgewood’s mask, which features a Puddy reference:

    If you want more goalie masks, DaveArt.com’s list should keep you entertained for some time.

    * – Barring all-too-frequent lockouts.

    Malkin is ‘not happy’ with the way he’s been playing lately

    CALGARY, AB - NOVEMBER 7: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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    Evgeni Malkin is back in Penguins training camp after a stint with Team Russia at the World Cup.

    Malkin and his team reached the tournament’s semifinal before being knocked out by the eventual champions, Team Canada.

    The Pens forward collected three points in four games, but he wasn’t satisfied by his overall performance.

    “I need to start now,” Malkin said on Saturday, per the Tribune. “I’m not playing great. I’m not happy with my game at the World Cup. I will play better here and now.”

    When he’s at his best, Malkin is fully capable of taking over games. That’s easier said than done in a best-on-best tournament, but those are the standards he’s set for himself.

    So, what does he have to do to get back to that elite level?

    “Play more with the puck. That’s my game always, if I have the puck and I spend more time with the puck. The last four, five games in the World Cup, I tried to use my partners, but my confidence when I play with the puck.”

    The 30-year-old dealt with some injuries last year, but still managed to produce 58 points in 57 games during the regular season and 18 points in 23 games during Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup playoff run.