With Nicklas Lidstrom, Mark Recchi and (surprise) Brian Rafalski announcing their retirement decisions nice and early, the focus is on two other big-name veterans: Mike Modano and Teemu Selanne. Of course, there’s a fairly big difference between them: Modano probably won’t draw much more than marginal interest if he decides to come back while the Anaheim Ducks are yearning for one more go with the Finnish Flash.
While Ducks GM Bob Murray expressed his belief that Selanne is leaning toward playing for one more year when asked in late June, off-season knee surgery threw off Selanne’s decision-making process at least a bit. It’s far too early to know whether Selanne will be back for sure or not, but Murray provided a marginal update about the still-relevant winger’s off-season during the conference call to discuss the team’s trade for Andrew Cogliano.
Eric Stephens shares the brief mention of Selanne for the OC Register’s Ducks Blog.
Ducks GM Bob Murray, in a conference call discussing the trade for center Andrew Cogliano, said that Teemu Selanne is skating in his native Finland after speaking to the winger Monday.
“His kids are at camp and he’s out there skating with them,” Murray said. “He feels fine. He said, ‘Ok, let’s talk next week like we always planned.
“He says he feels fine. He feels good. We’ll talk next week.”
There are some nostalgic types who dream of Selanne putting on a Winnipeg Jets sweater once more (and maybe doing another machine gun goal celebration?), but the Finnish sniper indicated that he’ll either play another season for the Ducks or retire. Selanne has been fantastic since the lockout ended, scoring 389 points in 380 regular season games (including a stunning 80 points in 73 games in 2010-11).
Those numbers indicate that Selanne might be in something close to win-win situation. If he retires, he’ll go out with another point per game season on his staggering NHL resume. On the other hand, his last season was impressive enough that he wouldn’t receive many accusations of hanging around too long if he decided to play for another season.
I’d love to see one more season of the Finnish Flash, but there’s nothing wrong with him bowing out gracefully, either.
It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.
The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enough his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.
Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?
(If you’re into that kind of thing.)
Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form:
Even with two games in hand, some might be surprised to see the Washington Capitals tied with the Boston Bruins in standings points in early December.
That’s the case on Wednesday Night Rivalry, as a somewhat up-and-down Capitals team (which is glad to welcome T.J. Oshie back) hosts a Bruins squad that’s riding a three-game winning streak.
It should be an interesting matchup on NBCSN, which you can also watch online or via the NBC Sports App.
Click here for the livestream.
No one wants to hear “It could be worse” when injuries are really piling up, but … uh, it could be worse for the New York Rangers.
At least, it could have been worse for Rick Nash. The team announced that he’s only expected to miss about a week after undergoing an MRI related to a groin injury.
It’s been a redemptive season for Nash, so it’s nice to see that it isn’t getting totally derailed. Granted, injuries like these can linger even if a guy returns to the lineup, so we’ll need to see if he gets back to 100 percent.
The Rangers certainly aren’t at full-strength right now. Their laundry list of injured forwards is quite daunting, even for a team with vaunted depth at that position:
(It sounds like Pavel Buchnevich is still quite a ways from returning, sadly.)
Alain Vigneault sells the biggest benefit of these issues: opportunities for other players – including Oscar Lindberg – to step up.
“I just think this is part of the NHL and it is what it is. It’s there and you deal with it,” Vigneault said . “You get a lot of players at different times that wish that they can get more ice time to prove that they can have a bigger role and that they can do more. Well, no better time than the present for us right now.”
Thanks to two knee injuries, the Montreal Canadiens suddenly seem pretty slim at center.
The team announced two unfortunate and strangely similar timelines for important centers: both Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais are expected to miss six-to-eight weeks with their knee issues.
It will be a challenge for Michel Therrien to make everything work, to the point where you wonder if maybe he’ll move a player from the wing to center (hey, Max Pacioretty DOES want an elevated role, if you believe the rumors about discontent).
Tomas Plekanec becomes that much more important to the Canadiens, and one might assume that Andrew Shaw may go back to the middle. LNH.com’s Arpon Basu listed some options, in case you’re more of a visual learner:
Yeah, not ideal.
The road ahead
It isn’t all bad news when you look at Montreal’s overall situation.
For one thing, they gave themselves a nice cushion, as they currently lead the Atlantic Division by five points. With four games in a row and six of seven at home, they may be able to manage these tough losses pretty well in the short-term.
The real challenges might come late in December and early in January. They play seven road games in a row – though with a break around New Year’s – and nine of 10 away from Montreal from Dec. 23 – Jan. 12.
While they’ve suffered some minor bumps in the road so far, this is their truest test of 2016-17. It should be interesting to see how they handle this.