Earlier today, we pointed out that signing Curtis Glencross to a four-year, $10.2 million deal is the type of move made by a full-fledged general manager. As it turns out, one could consider that the first move Jay Feaster made with “interim” removed from his job title.
As many expected, the Calgary Flames officially announced that Feaster will be their general manager going forward.
The Flames seemed genuinely relieved once former GM Darryl Sutter stepped down. They were a fairly miserable 16-18-3 when he resigned but made a strong playoff push once he left. The team didn’t make it to the postseason, but Feaster’s prospects of keeping the job improved greatly thanks to the team’s 25-11-9 mark with him taking over.
That being said, Feaster’s biggest move was probably a non-move. He decided not to trade beloved (but aging and expensive) captain Jarome Iginla. Iginla had another great season in Calgary, putting up 43 goals and 86 points (including 39 points in the 31 games that followed the All-Star Break). Something tells me that $7.5 million per year question won’t go away, especially if the team struggles next season.
Obviously, the wisdom of this semi-promotion will be illustrated in the next seasons. Feaster won’t receive much cap space to work with and hasn’t always been the wisest with contract negotiations.* On the other hand, he does have a Stanley Cup on his resume from his stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning, so he has his pros and cons.
If nothing else, he gives the Flames stability since he was able to get acquainted with the team as Sutter’s assistant GM. We’ll see how he does now that he holds the throne.
* – Feaster signed Brad Richards (five years, $39 million; $7.9 million annual cap hit) and Dan Boyle (six years, $40 million; $6.66 million annual cap hit) to deals that were simply rich for the Tampa Bay Lightning to handle. They eventually needed to trade both players.
Now, players are known to at least try to return to games after injuries, sometimes ultimately demeaning such efforts unsuccessful.
So, it’s possible that the Washington Capitals should still be concerned about defenseman Nate Schmidt. The solid depth blueliner was helped off the ice after a hit by Leo Komarov of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the good news is that he was at least able to make his way back for a spin later on in the same third period.
Does that mean he’ll be OK? We’ll see. The game is entering OT – the 18th of this round, a new NHL record – so a possible Schmidt injury could put Washington at a disadvantage during “free hockey.”
It makes sense that Toronto and Washington made it a new record, as this is the fifth time in six games that they beyond regulation in this series. Wow.
These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.
Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.
It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).
The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.
Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.
It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.
His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.
Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.
He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.
And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.
Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:
As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.
Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?
It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.
Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).
There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.
Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.