Eric Fehr

New Winnipeg Jets forward Eric Fehr stunned by trade out of Washington

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When Eric Fehr was traded by the Washington Capitals over the weekend to Winnipeg, the Manitoba native was being sent home to play for the home province team. Going from a potential Stanley Cup winning team to one that’s seeking to make the playoffs for the first time in a new location, however, is a stunning change of events.

After seasons of nagging injuries, Fehr appeared set to start the year working on the second line with the Capitals as a power forward, but with the Caps signing Joel Ward away from Nashville and acquiring Troy Brouwer from Chicago, things got a bit tight on the depth chart at right wing. For Fehr, getting traded was about the last thing he expected to see happen.

CSN Washington’s Kellie Cowan has the word from Fehr on his sudden homecoming in Winnipeg.

“It was actually a shock to me. I didn’t really know I was really being shopped around or anything like that,” Fehr said during a radio interview Tuesday on Toronto’s The Fan 590.  “I just got a call from the Caps GM George McPhee one day and he told me I’d been dealt.”

With the additions of Ward, Brouwer, defenseman Roman Hamrlik and goalie Tomas Vokoun, the Caps situation against the salary cap became a bit more dire. Fehr and his $2.2 million cap hit for this season suddenly became very movable. With scoring talent being thin in Winnipeg, Fehr being sent off to his home province became an attractive option to send a likable player packing. Fehr knew that with the Caps adding players the way they did that something was going to give.

“I think they ran out of room on salary cap in Washington and some players were going to get squeezed out and I was one of them,” Fehr said.   “It’s not like I was specifically saying that I wanted to come to Winnipeg or that I wanted to be moved at all.  It was just something that they felt needed to be done and it ended up working out for me.”

With the moves they’ve made, the Capitals still do have a bit of a cap crunch as they’ve got restricted free agent Karl Alzner to get locked up and according to CapGeek.com, they’ll have to figure out another move or two to be able to do that and stay under the salary cap.

One move that could solve their issues is putting Tom Poti on LTIR as he’s still dealing with injury problems. His $2.875 salary cap hit would likely free up enough space on top of what the Capitals are under the cap (about $400,000) to get Alzner signed. With all the Caps have done already, Alzner is the last player to get taken care of and shouldn’t be too difficult of a task to remedy.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) scores a goal against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring on a penalty shot during the overtime period of the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in an NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.