Awkward salary shuffle gets Penguins prospect Eric Tangradi sent to ECHL

erictangradi2.jpgWhile we outlined some of the more interesting starting roster notes of the day earlier, the most eyebrow-raising move of the day came when the Pittsburgh Penguins released their opening day roster and one name was missing from it.

While Pens prospect forward Eric Tangradi was mentioned in the press release announcing the roster, it wasn’t showing him as being part of the 23-man crew set to open against Philadelphia. Instead, Tangradi was sent to the Pens ECHL affiliate in Wheeling, West Virginia while Wheeling Nailers goalie Patrick Killeen gets called up to Pittsburgh.

Wait, what?

As it turns out, the Pens have some minor salary juggling to do to get ready for the season. They put center Jordan Staal on the injured non-roster list because he didn’t participate in training camp and placed prospects Alex Grant and Casey Pierro-Zabotel on injured reserve.

The injured non-roster list is something relatively new to us (or we’re totally ignorant on the Collective Bargaining Agreement) and Bryan Reynolds of Hockey Wilderness figured out what that means when discussing Wild forward James Sheppard. You can apply the same stuff to Jordan Staal in this case. In short, Staal being on the injured non-roster list doesn’t give the Penguins relief from his cap hit.

Lost in the jumble there somehow the Penguins are perilously close to or over the salary cap with the 23 active players they’ve got on the roster and Tangradi is one of the few players they could send to the minor leagues without going through waivers.

Until the Penguins can get Jordan Staal on the LTIR or have Grant or Pierro-Zabotel medically cleared, this awkward set up will hold up. In the meantime, Tangradi waits for the paperwork shuffle to be completed so he can rejoin the Penguins. It wouldn’t be shocking to see this hurdle cleared quickly and Tangradi suits up for the Penguins sooner than not, perhaps even tomorrow night against Philadelphia. For now, file this one away as something goofy that happens when trying to appease the gods of the salary cap.

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    Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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    Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

    They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

    Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

    Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

    You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

    Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

    Read about that blowout here.

    Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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    Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

    Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

    It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

    The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

    This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

    Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

    On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

    We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

    Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

    Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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    After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

    Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

    The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

    Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

    Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

    Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

    Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

    Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

    Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

    Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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    It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

    After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

    Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

    Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

    The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.