Brian Rolston clears re-entry waivers, remains Devils’ problem

The New Jersey Devils were hoping that someone would relieve half of their debts (and salary cap responsibilities) regarding aging – and expensive – winger Brian Rolston, but he cleared re-entry waivers today. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello will need to continue to try to find a trade or explore other avenues to get rid of Rolston’s ugly salary cap blemish.

Being that he’s 37 years old, the NHL’s cap rules prohibit the Devils from simply making his cap hit vanish into the minors like the Rangers did with younger albatross Wade Redden.

Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger surmises that teams passed on claiming Rolston mainly because his contract won’t expire until after the 2011-2012 season. It’s easier to fathom a team taking him on for one low-risk year rather than the rest of this season and all of next, after all.

Keep in mind the fact that it’s doubtful that Rolston is even worth the approximate $2.53 million salary/cap hit he would cost a team claiming him on waivers. His howling slap shot can be a real asset on a power play and – at least at one point in his career – his speed made him a very useful player. But looking at his production (two goals and three assists for five points and an ugly -12 rating this season; 32 and 37 points in his other two campaigns in NJ), it’s hard to say he would be worth the risk when teams can sign shorter, cheaper Marek Svatos-type deals instead.

Chere writes that Lamoriello will still look to trade him, but if people balked at his discount rate, how will they be able to stomach the full $5 million+ version? It’s not as if the Devils possess the cap space to trade Rolston for an even bigger deal, so maybe the trade scenario is wishful thinking on Lamoriello’s part.

Then again, it seems like wishful thinking is what got Lamoriello and the Devils in this mess in the first place.

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

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When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.