Chris Phillips, Darroll Powe

Trade bait no longer: Ottawa signs Chris Phillips to three-year, $9.25 million extension

To many, stay-at-home defenseman Chris Phillips represented the best remaining trading chip on the Ottawa Senators roster and one of the best potential trade targets, period. The only thing is that Phillips didn’t want to leave the team that made him the top pick of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. Apparently, the Senators are still pretty smitten with him too, as various sources indicate that the team signed Phillips to a three-year, $9.25 million extension.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie notes that the deal also includes a no movement clause, certainly a relevant note considering the fact that the sturdy blueliner probably didn’t enjoy all the trade speculation during the last month.

It’s unclear if the deal will pay him a varied salary per season, but the annual cap hit will be a tad bit more than $3 million. That’s almost a $500K per year discount from his current deal, which is a pretty reasonable pay cut considering the fact that he will turn 33 on March 9th.

He’s not totally useless on the offensive end – typically scoring between 18 and 26 points per season – although the bottom fell out on his production in 2010-11. He only has five points and an ugly -25 rating this season, but that probably reflects upon the team around him more than his own skills. At least Senators GM Bryan Murray probably hopes so.

This must be a relief for Senators fans, who probably want to hold onto at least something that resembles the team they’ve been rooting for the past few seasons. Even if he loses a step or two during the deal’s duration, it’s probably a good crowd-pleasing move. Retaining a great shutdown defenseman is the biggest prize, though, obviously.

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Red Wings

Henrik Zetterberg, Steven Stamkos
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Mike Babcock’s reign with the Detroit Red Wings ended in another first-round defeat, yet it may be lost in time just how close that series was.

Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the Red Wings to win Game 7 at home, but Ben Bishop deserves a ton of the credit. The Red Wings snagged the puck for much of the contest, just not enough to beat the big goalie.

While change is in the air in Detroit, the Bolts are largely the same squad that generated a nice showing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. We’ll get to see if the Red Wings gain a measure of revenge on NBCSN tonight, with home-ice advantage this time around.


After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”