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Dallas’ Brad Richards isn’t going anywhere… Yet

Being the top point man on the Dallas Stars gives Brad Richards a tough job of having to do his part in keeping the tough, but young, Stars afloat in the tough Western Conference. With Richards in the final year of his contract, he’s focused on doing what he can to show that he continues to be one of the NHL’s top playmakers and point producers.

Unfortunately, with the Dallas Stars ownership situation hanging in limbo and the team unable to make any major financial moves (like a contract extension for example) Richards is a prime suspect for trade rumors and speculation. With the Stars playing in Toronto tonight, talk picked up about Leafs fans daydreaming of having Richards centering Phil Kessel and Kris Versteeg and how well those three could work out.

Sure, it’s a pipe dream for now, but TSN’s Bob McKenzie says that trade talk to Toronto and elsewhere might get fired up again in the future if things in Dallas’ front office don’t get straightened up.

And there’s no question the Maple Leafs will be knocking on that door in a big way. But so will the centre-starved New York Rangers and the Blueshirts’ trump card could be that Richards loved playing for coach John Tortorella during their halcyon days in Tampa.

So even if Richards does move, and smart money is he will be on the move at some point, it will be a lot closer to Feb. 28 than now and the Leafs will have plenty of competition.

There’s a lot of “what if” type of talk to this and there’s obviously nothing at all imminent or even likely going on with Dallas regarding Richards in either trade talk or contract discussions. For Dallas fans, they’re not at all excited about the possibility of moving Richards as he’s proven to be Dallas’ top player since arriving from Tampa Bay in the 2007-2008 season.

This year, Richards is Dallas’ top scorer again after being their top man last year by 20 points over Loui Eriksson. It’s safe to say that if the Stars don’t have Richards, they become a woefully inept offensive team and that if a team were interested in making a deal for him it’d have to be a whopper. But if the ownership situation doesn’t improve in Dallas, GM Joe Nieuwendyk would lose trade leverage later in the year when the Stars might have to make a really hard decision whether or not to keep Richards in the fold or risk losing him for nothing.

Report: 2017 NHL Draft will be held in Chicago

The NHL hockey draft board is complete at the end of the first round at Prudential Center, Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Associated Press
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It looks like the city of Chicago will be hosting the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The team and the league are expected to confirm the news during an official press conference later today.

The draft has never been held in the Windy City.

It may be a little early to project which team will pick first in 2017, but it certainly doesn’t look like it’ll be the ‘Hawks.

The last time they drafted first overall, they took this guy:

This also marks the first time since 2011 (Minnesota) that a Western Conference team will play host to the draft.

Last year’s draft was held in Sunrise, Florida while this year’s edition will be held in Buffalo.

Hockey reporters everywhere will be thrilled about an additional work assignment in Chicago.

Here’s what some of them are saying:

 

PHT Morning Skate: Jagr doesn’t understand why Peyton Manning would retire after winning the Super Bowl

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Jaromir Jagr doesn’t believe Peyton Manning should retire. (ESPN)

Victor Hedman wrote about “How We Play Hockey in Sweden” for The Players’ Tribune.

–Did the Senators make a smart move by acquiring Dion Phaneuf? (Sportsnet)

–And if you have a Maple Leafs jersey with Phaneuf’s name on the back, the Sens want to dispose of it:

–Watch the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Rangers and Penguins. (Top of the page)

–A Zoolander tribute to Coyotes center Martin Hanzal. (Puck Daddy)

Steven Stamkos had a run-in with the paparazzi in Montreal. (Bardown)

Sidney Crosby‘s confidence could be dangerous for the rest of the league:

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
Getty Images
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.