Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks

No news is good news? Dallas Stars decide to keep Brad Richards

After all that conjecture, Brad Richards will remain a member of the Dallas Stars. Well, he’ll be part of the team during the rest of the 2010-11 season, at least.

Obviously, this non-move unleashes a host of questions from both long-term and short-term perspectives. Will Richards be able to return from his concussion issues to help the Stars make sure they make the playoffs? Can the team make a legitimate playoff run and find a new owner to entice him to stay? Or will he bolt for New York, Toronto or some other sexy location?

While many have been negative regarding the lack of a trade, there are two things that must be noted. One is fairly obvious: it’s not outrageous to suggest that the Stars might be able to figure things out by July and retain Richards. If not, there’s one possibility that people overlook: what if the Stars did a sign-and-trade deal? Sure, they probably wouldn’t get the same kind of haul that they would during the deadline, but that option would allow the team to make a crucial playoff run to draw back fans and then get at least something back. After all, a team like the Rangers or Maple Leafs might pay a moderate premium to avoid an auction for Richards.

In an ideal world, the Stars would find new owners and Richards would play without a concussive fog, leaving everyone in a position of strength going into the summer. Reality is likely to complicate matters, so we’ll be there to highlight the bumps in the road and the silver linings alike.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.