Around the Rink – Sunday, November 14th

Here is a preview of today’s four games, including one oddly early start. All times are Eastern (ET) as usual.

12:30 pm

Edmonton @ NY Rangers

Both teams cannot really blame a loss on fatigue, unless it’s in a big picture sense. The Rangers haven’t played in a game since Thursday while the Oilers most recent skirmish was on Friday.

The Oilers are wrapping up a troubling five-game road trip with this match. So far, they are 1-2-1 in the first four road contests. Getting a win would earn them a respectable five points in five games.

5:00 pm

Atlanta @ Washington

Both teams are coming back from losses, with the Thrashers being beaten handily by the Pittsburgh Penguins while the Capitals lost in overtime against the Buffalo Sabres. Ultimately, the Caps are the class of this division, though. I would guess that they will probably dominate this one.

Minnesota @ Tampa Bay

It’s pretty difficult to believe that only one win separates the positivity-soaked Lightning and the shoulder shrugging Wild. That being said, it could be interesting to see which team blinks first: offense-first Tampa Bay or traditionally defense-first Minnesota.

7:00 pm

Anaheim @ Chicago

The struggling defending Stanley Cup champions play against one of the hottest teams in the NHL in this one. These two teams seem to be going in two directions, with the Ducks winning their last six while the Blackhawks lost their last three. It should be an awfully interesting game, especially since Jonas Hiller is likely to miss it after getting hit in the face with a puck.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”