Riding the Zamboni – Wednesday, February 9th

For a recap of the bloody and busy Bruins-Habs game, click here. This post covers the Sharks’ 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets, which briefly gave them the Pacific Division lead. Here are summaries of Wednesday’s other six games.

Nashville 4, Detroit 1

Perhaps Barry Trotz should convince that the Predators are playing the Red Wings every night. They’ve beaten Detroit 7-1 in the two clubs’ last two contests, but haven’t been able to beat anyone else since January 23rd (going 2-4-1 in that span including those two victories vs. the Wings). As Trotz pointed out, the Predators are five points out of the Central Division lead yet they’re also five points away from being out of the playoffs altogether.

Nashville scored the game’s first four goals, forcing Detroit to pull Jimmy Howard in the second period. The Red Wings are still in control of the division and their own playoff hopes, but one has to wonder about Howard’s confidence at this point.

Minnesota 3, Colorado 2

If the Avalanche were in NBA Jam, the game’s announcer would say that they “can’t buy a bucket.” Hapless Colorado is now on a six-game losing streak thanks to their 3-2 loss versus the Wild.

Minnesota is now in ninth place while Colorado finds themselves in second-to-last place in the brutal West bubble.

Chicago 4, Edmonton 1

The Blackhawks earned two types of wins tonight. The first one was a subjective one, as many (including myself) believe they got the better end of a trade with Florida. Still, they need objective ones more than subjective ones, so it’s good to see they took care of business against the Oilers.

Phoenix 3, Dallas 2 (OT)

The Pacific is now a big mess, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who follows the NHL’s most top-to-bottom competitive division. The Stars are technically in first but are tied with the Sharks at 66 points while the Coyotes are at 65, the Ducks are at 64 and the Kings are “lagging behind” at 60. (Wipes sweat from forehead.)

It was a business-as-usual game for the Stars, as Brad Richards carried the offense (one goal and one assist) while Kari Lehtonen kept them in the game with 32 saves. Ray Whitney provided two assists while Radim Vrbata scored the overtime game-winner.

Calgary 5, Ottawa 2

The Flames (10-1-2) are just about the polar opposite of the Senators (11 losses in a row), which showed in this game. Anton Babchuk scored a goal and two assists, Tim Jackman scored two goals and Calgary scored four unanswered goals after trailing 2-1 going into the first intermission.

Anaheim 4, Vancouver 3

The Ducks ended the Canucks’ winning streak at six games. Vancouver was also on a nine game streak in which they earned at least a point, something Anaheim stopped as well.

Bobby Ryan scored two goals, Teemu Selanne provided two assists and Ryan Getzlaf provided a beautiful backhand pass for an assist in his Ducks return.

Anaheim built a 3-0 lead and held on as the Canucks made the game interesting in the last 21 seconds. Daniel Sedin had a chance to tie it up in the hectic last moments, but couldn’t get a shot on goal.

Canucks name new head coach of AHL affiliate

AP
Leave a comment

The Vancouver Canucks have finally settled on a head coach for their AHL affiliate.

Today, Trent Cull was named new bench boss of the Utica Comets.

Cull replaces Travis Green, the new head coach of the Canucks.

“Trent is a passionate head coach with significant AHL experience,” Canucks GM Jim Benning said in a release. “He understands the development path of a young player, including the challenges they face, and has been a part of many successful organizations. Trent is a teacher with a positive, energetic work ethic. We’re excited to welcome him and his family to our organization.”

The past four seasons, Cull has been an assistant coach for AHL Syracuse. The Crunch made it all the way to the 2017 Calder Cup Final, where they lost to Grand Rapids.

Cull, 43, has never been a head coach in the AHL, though he did hold that role for three years with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves from 2010-13.

It’s believed the Canucks’ first choice for the Utica job was Rocky Thompson. However, Thompson chose instead to become head coach of Vegas’ AHL affiliate in Chicago.

Construction worker dies after fall at Detroit arena

AP
2 Comments

DETROIT (AP) A worker has died after falling 75 feet at the Little Caesars Arena worksite north of downtown Detroit.

Deputy Detroit Fire Commissioner David Fornell says the 46-year-old man was in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Other workers had started cardiopulmonary resuscitation which first responders continued. The man was taken to a Detroit hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Fornell says officials were told the man was an electrical worker and may have fallen from a catwalk. He says the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration likely will investigate.

The arena will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and the NBA’s Pistons. It is scheduled to open this fall.

More on the story from the Detroit Free Press

Habs extend De La Rose — one year, $725,000

Getty
Leave a comment

Montreal secured some forward depth on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with Jacob De La Rose.

De La Rose, 22, was taken 34th overall at the 2013 draft and has appeared in 64 games for Montreal over the last three seasons. He had a nice debut for the club in ’14-15 — appearing in 33 regular-season contests, and 12 playoff games — but has since spent the majority of his time in AHL St. John’s.

That might not be the case moving forward, however.

De La Rose’s deal is worth $725,000 (per TSN) and, importantly, is of the one-way variety. There could be more opportunities at forward next season. Montreal has already said it’ll pass on bringing back UFAs Brian Flynn and Dwight King, and it’s unclear if the club will get a deal done with Alexander Radulov.

It’s also unclear what GM Marc Bergevin plans to do with Alex Galchenyuk, who’s been the subject of numerous trade rumors.

Even after bad season in Buffalo, Kulikov generating strong interest as UFA

Getty
Leave a comment

Dmitry Kulikov had a bad season in Buffalo. There’s no debating that.

Not only did the defenseman struggle statistically, finishing minus-26 with just two goals and three assists, he also had trouble staying healthy, appearing in just 47 games for the Sabres.

But despite all that, Kulikov seems to be generating plenty of interest as an unrestricted free agent. Presumably, the hope among his many suitors is that he can bounce back, so long as he’s put in a better situation.

Kulikov is still just 26. And before he was traded to Buffalo a year ago, he’d had a number of respectable seasons with the Florida Panthers.

It’s why the Sabres were so happy to get him.

“He’s a good player,” then-GM Tim Murray said last June, per NHL.com. “I like guys that are honest, I like guys that are hard to play against, I certainly like guys that can make a tape-to-tape pass, and with our forwards, I think if he can make a tape-to-tape pass, good things are going to happen in transition with the skill and speed we already have here, so he’s just a great fit.”

Of course, it wasn’t a great fit, and Murray is no longer the GM.

As for Kulikov, there’s “about a dozen” interested teams, according to his agent. Ottawa and Winnipeg are believed to be among them.