Drew Doughty, Chuck Kobasew

Around the Rink – Thursday, February 24th

Here are previews for today’s six games. As always, start times are determined according to Eastern Standard Time (ET).

7:00 pm

NY Islanders @ Philadelphia

While the Devils get all the credit for being the hottest team in the Atlantic (to be fair, they are), the Islanders have quietly kept close behind them with only three less points in one more game played. Perhaps the Flyers will help to remind the Isles that they need to go back into tank mode, though.

7:30 pm

Dallas @ Detroit

The Brad Richards saga slightly obscures (yet underscores) the desperate situation the team is in, as the Stars are 2-10-1 in their last 13 games. They’ll be the team with the most to lose, but will that be enough against deadly Detroit?

Toronto @ Montreal

To keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the Maple Leafs must first solve Carey Price in Montreal. The Habs goalie holds two consecutive home shutouts against Toronto. (Edit: Apparently the Leafs won’t have to bother, because Alex Auld will start instead. Hey, that’s one way to keep Price’s shutout streak alive … )The Canadiens have something to play for too, as they hope to get back into the Northeast Division race against the Bruins.

8:00 pm

Chicago @ Nashville

With wins against the Penguins and Blues on Sunday and Monday as well as points in five of their last six games, the Blackhawks placed themselves back into the mix lately. They can keep frog the Predators by beating them in regulation tonight in a game that has big implications for the Western Conference playoff bubble.

10:00 pm

St. Louis @ Vancouver

The Blues can’t seem to distinguish themselves as legitimate contenders or serious cellar dwellers, leaving them in a dismal purgatory right now. Then again, the Canucks are likely to push them a little closer to the bottom tonight.

10:30 pm

Minnesota @ Los Angeles

Speaking of games that have a big impact on the West bubble like Chicago-Nashville, this game features the fifth-ranked Kings hosting the sixth-ranked Wild. The Kings finally play in Los Angeles again after going 6-1-3 in their 10-game road trip. This is a pretty big game for both teams (and other West teams if it goes into overtime).

Wilson fined for kneeing Sheary

Wilson hit
Leave a comment

No suspension for Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Only a fine.

That’s what the NHL’s Department of Player Safety decided after Wilson kneed Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary last night in Washington.

The fine of $2,403.67 is the maximum allowable under the CBA, and, at the very least, it puts Wilson on official notice.

Wilson was not penalized on the play, and Sheary was able to leave the ice under his own power and remain in the game.

“We’re just going to play hockey, and the refs are going to call it the way they see it,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters afterwards. “Our guys are going to play.”

This morning, Capitals coach Barry Trotz reportedly said of the play, “It was OK, but it wasn’t I would say necessary.”

Report: In expansion draft, teams must protect players with no-movement clauses

Washington Capitals v Columbus Blue Jackets
Getty
2 Comments

If a player has a no-movement clause, his club will be forced to protect him in next summer’s expected expansion draft.

If, on the other hand, a player merely has a no-trade clause, his club will have no obligation to put him on its protected list.

Those details were reported this morning by TSN’s Gary Lawless, shortly after he’d reported that the NHL and NHLPA had come together on a framework for a potential expansion draft.

Per General Fanager, here’s the difference between the two clauses:

A No-Movement Clause prohibits a team from moving a player by trade, loan or waivers, or assigning that player to the minors without the player’s consent. This keeps the player with the pro team unless permitted by the player to move the player by one of these means. A No-Movement Clause does not restrict a team from buying out or terminating a player’s contract.

A No-Trade Clause is less restrictive, as it only places restrictions on movement by trade. A player with a No-Trade Clause cannot be traded by a team unless the player provides consent. A Partial or Modified No-Trade Clause is often less restrictive than a Full No-Trade Clause, and depends on the conditions outlined in the player’s contracts. Often these are No-Trade Clauses with conditions that give the player the right to provide a list of teams to which the team can or cannot trade the player.

So, for example, in Pittsburgh, the Penguins would be obligated to put Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil KesselMarc-Andre Fleury, and Kris Letang on their protected list. All five have NMCs, per General FanagerPatric Hornqvist, however, would not require protection, even though he has a modified no-trade clause.

Now, granted, the Penguins weren’t going to risk leaving their superstars exposed anyway.

Where this rule could have consequences is if a team is forced to protect a player with a no-move, at the expense of exposing a player it would prefer to keep. 

In Columbus, for example, David Clarkson, Scott Hartnell and Fedor Tyutin have no-moves, as do Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno. So, assuming General Fanager’s information is correct and there aren’t any complicating factors, that’s five players they’d be obligated to protect, whether they’d want to or not.

We’ll let Jackets fans fret over what that may cost them. There will be plenty of fretting league-wide, no doubt. 

But just remember, if the NHL only expands to Las Vegas — and that’s the most likely scenario at this point — each team can only lose one player in the expansion draft.

BREAKING: Ducks fire Boudreau

Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, back, looks on against the Colorado Avalanche in the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP
18 Comments

In the end, it was one playoff failure too many.

On Friday, the Ducks reacted to their upset loss to Nashville by doing the expected — relieving head coach Bruce Boudreau of his duties.

“I would like to thank Bruce for his hard work and dedication to the franchise,” Ducks GM Bob Murray said in a statement, tweeted out by the club. “This was a very difficult decision to make.

“Bruce is a good coach and character person, and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Boudreau, 61, enjoyed tremendous regular-season success in Anaheim — 208-104-40 record over five years — but ultimately paid the price for the club’s playoff failures.

Despite a wealth of talent and repeated home-ice advantage, the Ducks never qualified for a Stanley Cup final and were twice bounced in the opening round. Most damning was the club’s record in Game 7s — Wednesday’s loss to Nashville was the fourth straight Game 7 defeat Anaheim had suffered.

What’s more, it was the fourth time they lost a series in which they led 3-2.

What’s more, it was the fourth Game 7 they lost on home ice.

For Boudreau, this firing will only add to the narrative that’s dogged him throughout his career, dating back to his time in Washington.

Great regular-season coach, not so much in the playoffs.

It’s ultimately unfair and probably too simplistic, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that a coach with an impressive win total — 409, putting him No. 32 all-time — has never competed for the Stanley Cup, and only qualified for one conference final.

Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see if Boudreau can find work as quickly as the last time he was fired. After getting turfed in Washington, it took him all of two days to be hired by the Ducks, and it’s quite possible Ottawa could now be in the mix for his services.

The Sens are looking for an experienced bench boss, per new GM Pierre Dorion, and have already interviewed ex-Wild head coach Mike Yeo.

Related: Boudreau says this was the Ducks’ toughest loss yet

Radulov is playing in the NHL next year, says Radulov

AlexRadulovAP
2 Comments

According to multiple reports (including this one from Sport Express), on-again, off-again NHLer Alexander Radulov has confirmed he’ll be playing in the NHL next season.

Radulov, who turns 30 in July, will be making his second North American comeback. The first came in 2012, when he returned to the team he was drafted by and debuted with — The Nashville Predators. Radulov left the Preds in 2008 amid great acrimony, signing a deal with KHL club Salavat Yulaev Ufa while still under contract in Nashville.

Radulov’s first comeback wasn’t ideal.

Though he did rack up points — seven in nine regular season games, six in eight playoff games — his tenure ended badly as he and fellow Preds teammate Andrei Kostitsyn were suspended for breaking curfew during a second-round series against the Coyotes.

The Preds would eventually be bounced by the ‘Yotes, and cut ties with Radulov. That led to him going back to the KHL, where he’s been one of the league’s marquee players over the last four years.

Though he’s been a major headcase, Radulov’s talent is undeniable. He was Russia’s leading scorer at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi — a team that featured Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk — and has repeatedly torn apart the KHL: 71 points in 46 games last year, 65 points in 53 games this year.

That talent is why he keeps getting chances.

As for which NHL team Radulov will play for… well, that remains to be seen. Colorado has long been pegged as an interested suitor, thanks to Radulov’s connection with Patrick Roy, his junior coach in QMJHL Quebec (where Radulov famously scored 61 goals and 152 points in a 62-game season.)