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.
Laurent Brossoit will make his second career start in Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Brossoit will be between the pipes because starter Cam Talbot is ill and missed the morning skate.
The Oilers are hoping Brossoit isn’t as busy this time as he was in his first career start last year when he turned aside 49 shots in a 3-1 loss to San Jose.
“I’m a big believer in Brossoit,” said teammate Brandon Davidson, per the team’s website. “He’s done a great job. I played with him in the minors and he competes like no other. He’s tremendously athletic and he did a great job last year when he got the game too. He’s ready and I think he’ll show that tonight.”
The Jets will go with Ondrej Pavelec, who hasn’t played since Nov. 21 because of a knee injury.
–The Leafs have yet to announce their start. The Canucks haven’t named one either, but expect them to go with Ryan Miller.
—Craig Anderson will be between the pipes for Ottawa. The Blue Jackets will counter with Joonas Korpisalo.
–Like the Leafs and Canucks, the Islanders and Hurricanes have yet to announce their starting goaltenders. It could be Jaroslav Halak against Eddie Lack.
–Expect Pekka Rinne to get the start against the Panthers. Roberto Luongo, who was pulled on Friday, will be between the pipes for Florida.
—Braden Holtby will put his five-game winning streak on the line when Washington takes on Dallas. Kari Lehtonen will look to extend his winning streak to three games.
–The Ducks have yet to announce their start. The ‘Hawks will turn to Vezina Trophy candidate Corey Crawford.
—Louis Domingue will look to win his second straight game. Martin Jones will get the start for San Jose.
Shayne Gostisbehere is the proud owner of a new rookie record.
With his goal in the third period of Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the Devils, the 22-year-old extended his point streak to 11 games, which is a record for rookie defensemen in the NHL.
Gostisbehere has an incredible 10 goals and 30 points in 35 games this season.
Gostisbehere’s goal tied the game at one after Devils forward Joseph Blandisi scored this beauty in the first period:
Adam Henrique added the game-winning goal in overtime.
It’s the second straight 2-1 victory for the Devils, who also beat the Oilers by the same score on Tuesday night.
The Flyers have just one win in their last five contests.
To add insult to injury, Philadelphia lost Michael Del Zotto to an upper-body injury, per GM Ron Hextall.
Here’s an updated look at the Metropolitan division standings and Wild Card race:
CHICAGO (AP) Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin is expected to play Saturday night against Anaheim after missing two games with an illness.
Panarin participated in Chicago’s optional morning skate, and coach Joel Quenneville says the rookie will be in the lineup against the Ducks.
The 24-year-old Panarin, who has played on Chicago’s second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane for most of the season, is second on the team with 34 assists and 52 points. The Blackhawks dropped both games while he was out.
Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.
Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.
The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.
McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).
The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.
McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.
The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.
Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.
He’ll miss at least another week.