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Ducks GM Bob Murray says the team won’t send Cam Fowler to the minors

We might still weigh in on this debate since it’s one of the most interesting situations regarding rookies facing the nine-game deadline for “burning” a year from an entry-level contract, but Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray said that the team will keep defenseman Cam Fowler at the NHL level.

The nine-game deadline was supposed to come up a few days ago, but a broken nose halted Fowler at six games played. Any drama that might have lingered is gone now, though, as the team will keep him and let one of his bargain contract years burn away.

General manager Bob Murray said Tuesday the Ducks will stick with Fowler beyond the nine-game deadline for returning him to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.

Anaheim has been impressed by the 12th overall pick in last June’s draft. Fowler has one goal and two assists in six games with the Ducks.

Fowler also has been cleared to return Wednesday after missing the past six games with a broken nose and a stiff neck. Phoenix’s Shane Doan ran him into the boards Oct. 17.

I’m not certain this is the best idea for the Ducks. For one thing, the team is obviously in disarray, so you’re not exactly keeping Fowler in a great environment. Is this the best situation for the talented blueliner to become acclimated?

Another important factor – especially with a team that’s, um, a little light in the wallet like the Ducks – is the fact that the team will have some tough contract negotiations in the summer that Fowler’s contract will expire. While Fowler will be a restricted free agent, both Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will become unrestricted free agents at the same time.

If Fowler proves to be the kind of top-end talent many expected, that will be a tough summer for the Ducks. Then again, if he’s really as good as advertised, perhaps he’ll be worth the trouble.

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.

 

Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma express remorse after benching

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One day after getting benched for showing up late for practice — following an “epic” Super Bowl party, per Sportsnet — Calgary forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma apologized for their actions.

“We want to apologize to the organization, the coaches, our team especially, and the city of Calgary and the fans,” Gaudreau said, per the team’s Twitter account. “For us not to show up like that, and miss a game like that, it’s not professional on our part.”

“I’m a young guy and I’m a leader on this team,” Monahan added. “I’ve got to step up and take that back and earn that respect again.”

More on what transpired at Tuesday’s practice, from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did his best to keep an epic Super Bowl party under wraps. But two of his players — Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan — arrived at the Saddledome at 10:15 am for a 10:30 Monday morning practice, and those two barely beat Johnny Gaudreau in the Saddledome doors.

Then practice started, and in the words of Calgary winger David Jones: “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.”

“I think (Hartley) was pretty pissed off.”

The trio was then subsequently benched for last night’s game against Toronto, which the Flames won 4-3.

Afterward, Hartley downplayed the incident, saying “it’s not like they robbed a bank,” before adding “they’re great kids.”

WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Penguins on Rivalry Night

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three
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Tonight, the New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at Consol, in a rematch of the ’14 and ’15 playoffs (the Blueshirts eliminated the Pens from each of the last two postseasons, you’ll recall.)

You can catch the game at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s tilt:

NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Penguins renew acquaintances on Rivalry Night

Rangers ‘are doing a lot of good things’

‘I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Malkin (lower body) to miss rest of week

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week