Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon’s renovation seemed to pinball around the league, bringing back old faces for the franchise (Ed Jovanovski) and his own experiences (Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Kopecky) along with a few random risks (Sean Bergenheim and Tomas Fleischmann). It’s been a while since there was a hint of familiarity in Florida’s moves, but that seems to be the case with two transactions today.
First things first, the Panthers re-signed a player from within the organization as Mike Santorelli agreed to a two-year contract to stay with the team. As usual, the financial details haven’t been revealed, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it was a nice deal since he was the team’s second leading scorer with 20 goals and 41 points overall in 2010-11. (Only Stephen Weiss scored more points with 49.) Santorelli was an impressive player in the Nashville Predators’ system but never really stuck with the big club before being traded to Florida, where he flourished in a contract year as a second-line center. He might not get the same amount of playing time to prove that his breakthrough year wasn’t a fluke considering all of the incoming forwards, though.
In even more heart-warming news, Tallon hired from within the Southeast Division by adding former Atlanta Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay to Florida’s coaching staff as an assistant. It’s nice to see Ramsay land on his feet after being fired after just one season with the Thrashers organization because the team moved to Winnipeg. Ramsay seemed to do a great job with Atlanta’s defensemen, so maybe Florida can get some value out of Jovanovski and Campbell while they bring along some solid defensive prospects. Ben Wright points out that key members of that Thrashers coaching staff found jobs after the Winnipeg move, which is comforting considering their bad luck in losing those jobs in the first place.
I haven’t agreed with most of the moves Tallon made this summer, but these two decisions look pretty good (depending on Santorelli’s price).
Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.
Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.
The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.
The first day of the playoffs is April 13.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made
Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.
This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”
Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.
Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.
Vigneault felt the hit was late.
“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.
Beleskey was not suspended.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
From the NHL:
Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.
Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.
Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.
Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse
Evgeni Malkin‘s “nagging” lower-body injury will keep him out at least one more game.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said this morning that the star center will sit out tonight at home against the Ducks. Malkin already missed two contests this weekend in Florida. His status is day-to-day.
The Penguins lost, 6-3, in Tampa on Friday, but rebounded Saturday with a 3-2 OT win over the Panthers.
Pittsburgh’s next game after tonight’s is Wednesday at home versus the Rangers.