For the rest of the teams the Islanders have to play this year, consider this your warning: Trevor Gillies is ready to return from his 10-game suspension.
The Islanders enforcer will be eligible to play on Saturday night after serving his 10-game ban for hitting Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck in the head. Clutterbuck ended up missing a handful of games with an upper body injury after showing signs of concussion effects. As you might remember, Gillies connected with Clutterbuck in his first game back after serving a nine game suspension for his part in the on-ice brawl between the Islanders and Penguins back in February.
While Gillies is available, should the Islanders even suit him up? After all, his job in the league is to fight and generally blur the lines between clean play and outright dirty play. In Gillies’ last two games, he’s crossed that line in very obvious ways and created more problems for the Islanders than their team deserves.
The Isles have played well in the second half of the year and have done so without Gillies providing a circus-like atmosphere on the ice with his antics. With under ten games to go in the season and one big rematch with Pittsburgh looming in April, perhaps Isles coach Jack Capuano will see that his team doesn’t need to have Gillies and his brand of play out there. We’re not counting on that occurring however since Capuano knows Gillies well from their days in the AHL with Capuano the head coach at Bridgeport for a time.
With the way Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke has been shunned from NHL society for his reckless head shots, a guy who brings less to the game the way Gillies does has an even shorter leash. Anything else he does could see him earning a record punishment from the league and seeing him suit up at all the rest of the way will keep us watching the Isles for all the wrong reasons.
It seems there will be no NHL comeback attempt by Alex Semin. At least not in 2016-17.
Instead, Semin has inked a one-year extension with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, according to Sport-Express writer Igor Eronko.
At 32 years old, Semin still could have a lot of years left in him as a professional hockey player, but at this point it wouldn’t be surprising if he has played in his last NHL game. Early in his career his talent was clear and demonstrated by some great showings offensively, but he was plagued by inconsistency. In recent years though, he wasn’t so much inconsistent as he was underwhelming.
After being limited to six goals and 19 points in 57 games with Carolina in 2014-15, the one-time 40-goal scorer was bought out of his five-year, $35 million contract just two seasons into it. Montreal took a chance on him for 2015-16, but he only appeared in 15 games with the Canadiens before they put him on unconditional waivers on Dec. 9.
He’s fared better in the KHL though, with five goals and 14 points in 20 regular season games followed by another seven markers and 15 points in 23 playoff contests.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Among the 21 NHL.com and NHL Network experts offering their prediction for the Stanley Cup Final, 17 of them are choosing the San Jose Sharks. (NHL.com)
The majority of ESPN’s experts are also picking the Sharks. (ESPN.com)
For CBS Sports, Adam Gretz and Chris Peters are split on the outcome. (CBS Sports)
Tickets for the first Stanley Cup Final in San Jose appear to be going for significantly more than their Pittsburgh Penguins counterparts. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Inspired by John Scott‘s comments, here’s the start of a World Cup All-Snubs’ team. (TSN)
Peter DeBoer said that then New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello fired him from the Devils’ head coaching job late at night on Christmas. The news then broke on Dec. 26. (Tom Gulitti)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are Vegas favorites to win the 2016 Stanley Cup, but the odds lean toward a San Jose Sharks player capturing the Conn Smythe.
Bovada released a variety of odds on Sunday after others surfaced on Friday.
Joe Pavelski is pegged as a +400 favorite as a winner, edging some other top candidates such as Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Matt Murray.
Here’s the full list:
Logan Couture +500
Martin Jones +600
Brent Burns +700
Joe Thornton +900
Evgeni Malkin +900
Kris Letang +1400
Bovada also released prop bets, including how long the series might last. Check that out here.