Devils put Brian Rolston and his $5.062 million cap hit on waivers

2 Comments

Another season in New Jersey is not going the way Brian Rolston would like it to. Last year, Rolston struggled terribly and now this year he’s been placed on waivers. With Rolston, the immediate thought is that he’s being waived in order to clear his monstrous salary from the books. Rolston’s cap hit this year and next year is $5.062 million and makes life difficult on the Devils with them being so tight to the cap. There’s a catch though as his contract is a 35+ deal, meaning that he signed it as he was 35 years-old or older and it stays on the salary cap regardless of what happens to him. Sending him to the minor leagues does no good.

So what’s the thinking here from Devils GM Lou Lamoriello? It’s possible that he’s thinking Rolston’s cap hit as it stands is too much for any team to bear, but if he brings him back on re-entry waivers a team might be willing to take him at half the cost. Any player claimed on re-entry waivers has the cost split between the team claiming him and the team putting him on waivers in the first place.

It’s a desperate move for Lamoriello to try and gain cap space in order to either move other players around or try to add help from the outside to try and get the Devils somehow back in the running for the playoffs. As it is, they’re the 14th place team in the Eastern Conference and a whopping 18 points out of eighth place. If nothing else, waiving Rolston could serve as a message to everyone that a job isn’t guaranteed so they’d better shape up or ship out.

For now, we’d like to think that Rolston’s future in New Jersey isn’t secure. He can still contribute to a team, just don’t bank on him being a 30-goal player anymore. He’s still got a big shot that’s useful on the power play and for all intents and purposes, he’s a third line player now. Paying $5 million for a third liner is absurd, but paying him $2.5 million to play that role makes a lot more business sense.

 

Into the fire: Halak, recalled yesterday, starts for Isles in Pittsburgh

Getty
Leave a comment

A little scene setting for you.

New York heads into tonight’s massive game in Pittsburgh sitting two points back of Boston for the final wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Isles have two games in hand on the B’s — who are idle tonight — so a win could move them into a playoff spot.

As such, the Isles will start a goalie that hasn’t played in the NHL in 85 days.

Against the league’s highest-scoring offense.

The goalie in question is Jaroslav Halak, who’s spent the last three months playing for the Isles’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Recalled yesterday, Halak will now face big league competition for the first time since Dec. 29, when he allowed four goals on 24 shots in a loss to Minnesota.

(Afterward, then-head coach Jack Capuano ripped Halak, saying he gave up “some soft goals to start” and “wasn’t sharp at all.”)

But Halak’s been really good in Bridgeport.

He’s posted a 17-7-1 record with a 2.15 GAA and .925 save percentage, and a pair of shutouts. And given how spotty Berube’s play has been as Greiss’ backup, the Isles really had no other choice than to recall Halak.

The club is in the midst of a compacted part of the schedule. Greiss was excellent in Wednesday’s win over the Rangers — stopping 34 of 36 shots in a 3-2 victory — but he was also busy.

The Isles are in Pittsburgh tonight, then host the Bruins on Saturday — another massive game — then host the Preds on Monday. It’s a compact part of the schedule, and Berube’s struggles have rendered him virtually unplayable, given how meaningful the games are (and, to borrow a timeless cliche, how vital points are at this time of the year.)

So it’s Halak tonight, and possibly more down the stretch.

For Tuukka Rask and the Bruins, a ‘bad goal’ at the worst possible time

Getty
Leave a comment

The growing ranks of Tuukka Rask detractors gained some serious ammunition during last night’s loss to Tampa Bay.

The deciding goal in the 6-3 defeat was a “bad one,” according to Rask and most anyone else who was watching.

It may have been a hard shot by Jonathan Drouin, unleashed at the top of the circle, but it still should’ve been stopped.

After the game, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters that Rask “needed to be better tonight.”

In fact, Rask hasn’t been very good the past few months. Since Jan. 1, his save percentage is just .888. But with nobody trustworthy behind him, he’s had to just play through his struggles.

It’s impossible to say if Rask’s numbers would be better if the Bruins had a more capable backup. He’d be more rested, though. And when he was struggling, the coach would at least have another option to consider. With an .897 save percentage on the season, Anton Khudobin simply hasn’t been reliable enough to garner that consideration.

Don’t expect Rask to get the next game off. Saturday in Brooklyn, the Bruins — losers of four straight in regulation, and suddenly on the verge of falling out of the playoff picture — face the Islanders in arguably the biggest game of both teams’ seasons.

Bolts recall Koekkoek, putting Garrison’s status into doubt

Getty
Leave a comment

The Tampa Bay Lightning, after earning a big win last night in Boston, may not have defenseman Jason Garrison tonight in Detroit.

The Bolts recalled d-man Slater Koekkoek from AHL Syracuse this morning — a move that would seem to put Garrison’s status into doubt against the Red Wings.

Garrison was forced to leave the Bruins game in the second period with a lower-body injury.

Koekkoek has played 29 games for the Lightning this season, recording no goals and four assists.

Melnyk blasts ‘whiner’ Crosby, who won’t face hearing for Methot slash

25 Comments

Sidney Crosby won’t face a disciplinary hearing for his slash on Ottawa d-man Marc Methot, an NHL spokesman confirmed — news that won’t be welcomed by Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

The incident occurred during Ottawa’s 2-1 win on Thursday night, and forced Methot from the game with a bloodied, lacerated finger. The club later announced that Methot would be “out for weeks” with the injury.

Crosby’s slash came two nights after he speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt. It should be noted that neither the O’Reilly spear or Methot slash resulted in penalty calls, and neither was subjected to supplementary discipline.

One individual that’s guaranteed to be upset with today’s news is Melynk. He appeared on TSN 1200 radio this morning and seemed to suggest the league was looking into the Crosby-Methot incident.

He also had a few choice words for No. 87: