Just before the clock the stuck 5:00 on the West Coast signaling the beginning of the weekend, Sharks GM Doug Wilson had a couple of signings to announce to the media. The team re-signed 24-year-old depth forward Benn Ferriero to a 1-year deal worth $605,000. He followed it up with news that he’d also added veteran journeyman Ben Guite who will either add depth to the NHL club or leadership to their AHL affiliate in Worcester. Guite’s contract is a one-year, two-way contract that will pay him $525,000 with San Jose and $105,000 with Worcester (terms per CapGeek.com).
The deal came the same week as news of a two-year contract extension for 25-year-old netminder Thomas Greiss. People may remember Greiss as the goaltender who was penciled in as Antero Niittymaki’s back-up last year before the team acquired Antti Niemi. He was loaned to the Swedish Elite League as there was no room for him on the active roster—but the team still thinks highly enough of the German goaltender to lock him up for a couple more years.
The Sharks have certainly shuffled their line-up around during the offseason. Danny Heatley’s no longer around to eat 18 minutes per night, Martin Havlat will be depended upon to stay healthy for 82 games, Michal Handzus will help with the penalty kill, and Andrew Desjardins will presumably be a full-time NHLer next season. Even after Ferriero’s deal, they still only have 11 forwards under contract for next season (No offense, but we’re assuming Guite will see more time in Worcester than in San Jose). They can still re-sign unrestricted free agent Kyle Wellwood for another tour of duty or find an outsider to fill the void. Regardless, GM Doug Wilson still has a little more work to do before his roster is complete.
The free agent pool is much shallower than it was one week ago, but there are still decent role players available for teams looking to fill out their line-ups. As Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press points out, veterans like John Madden, Mike Grier, and Brendan Morrison are all still available for a team willing to extend an offer. Doug Wilson will have to decide if he wants to re-sign the familiar Wellwood, give a prospect or two a chance in training camp, or if he wants to dip into free agency once again. Whoever is signed, they won’t be expected to win games for San Jose—they’ll just be depended upon to not lose any games Western Conference contender.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.
Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.
Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.
It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.
It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.
For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.
Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.
Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.
Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.
The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.
Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:
In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.
Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.
Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.
The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.
Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.