I know you’re looking at the headline and checking your calendar to see if it’s April 1st. You’ll have to take our word for it that it’s not but yes, it’s true that there’s talk of the NHL’s salary cap going up once again. With so many teams having to do their best to duck and dodge the cap this year, this could be welcome news to them. For those sticking to budgets, this could be some really bad news. TSN has the chatter going on ahead of the Board of Governors meetings set to begin on Monday in Palm Beach, Florida.
One of the most important topics on the agenda will be next season’s salary cap number which is expected to rise.
Preliminary projections assume the Salary Cap will go up at least another $2 million in the 2011-12 season from the current level of $59.4 million. This of course is under the assumption that the NHL Players’ Association requests a five per cent inflator as is their right.
If you’re not familiar with how the cap works, the NHLs salary cap is tied to league revenue. With revenue continuing to increase, so does the cap since teams ideally have more money to spend and reinvest in their teams. Of course, there are a few teams that for one reason or another keep their spending as close to the salary floor as they can. The twist on the possibility of the cap going up again is that it’s in the hands of the NHL players as to whether or not they’ll accept the inflator. We can’t help but wonder what Dan Ellis’ thoughts on this matter could be.
Considering the salary cap maneuvering we’ve seen out of the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, and Vancouver Canucks this off-season and throughout the start of the year, you have to figure these teams are in favor of seeing things change for the better to help themselves out. The dividing line between the league’s haves and have-nots might grow a little bigger if this adjustment is made for next season. Think that’ll be a point of contention at the Collective Bargaining Agreement discussion table after next season? You better believe it.
The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.
As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.
The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.
Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.
Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.
The Dallas Stars grabbed the all-important first goal in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. And it was agitating forward Antoine Roussel who capitalized in the second period.
Roussel buried a rebound at the end of a pretty passing play from the Stars. Blues goalie Brian Elliott was furious, as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester slid into the crease in an attempt to block the shot.
After stunning the Anaheim Ducks with a Game 7 win in the first round, the Nashville Predators remain in California to take on the San Jose Sharks in the second round. You can catch Game 1 on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Sharks have some ‘pent up energy,’ eager to start series with Preds
Game 7 win is ‘a big step’ for Predators
Brent Burns, Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson have been named finalists for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman, but the debate about who should win is likely to persist right through to June 22 and the annual NHL Awards.
Not only did Karlsson, last year’s Norris winner, lead all blue liners is points with 82, he led the league in assists with 66 and finished tied with Joe Thornton for fourth in the entire NHL in total points. Those lofty offensive totals could make the Ottawa Senators star the clear favorite to claim the award for a third time in his career.
Karlsson is the first NHL defenseman to score at least 82 in a season since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers (85 points) and Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins (82 points) in 1995-96.
Burns — is there an award for most outrageous beard? — is also coming off an impressive regular season, finishing just shy of the 30-goal mark with 27 and 75 points in 82 games for the Sharks. He’s also had a strong showing in the post-season, as well, with eight points in the opening round versus L.A.
Doughty’s offensive numbers don’t match up with the production from Karlsson or Burns, with 51 points in 82 games for the Kings. There were eight defensemen ahead of him in overall point production. But he’s often recognized for logging hefty amounts of ice time, averaging 28:01 in the regular season, on a Kings team that often dominates puck possession at even strength.
“If you’re going to win, I don’t care how good you are, you’re going to have to play the other side of the puck,” Kings GM Dean Lombardi recently said to the Associated Press.
“You’re going to have to make those little plays that aren’t going to show up on the highlights. (Doughty’s) defensive partners — the little things he’ll do just to get his partner time to make a play. He’s three steps ahead of everything, and because he is that, he makes it look easy.”