Dallas Stars v Los Angeles Kings

Steven Stamkos got his contract, but there’s ‘nothing new’ regarding Drew Doughty’s negotations

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In the minds of many, Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty’s restricted free agent negotiations are inexorably linked. The two young superstars even have the same representation (Newport Sports). The thought was that once one of the two signed, the other might follow like a domino.

With the big news of Stamkos’ signing in mind, many people (Los Angeles Kings fans especially) are waiting on pins and needles for news regarding Doughty’s negotiations. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be that simple; Helene Elliott reports that there’s “nothing new on the Doughty front.”

Stamkos’ deal won’t be the only barometer for Doughty

Saying that Doughty will fall in line just because Stamkos’ deal might have created some kind of “ceiling” overlooks the complications involved in the Kings’ situation. One important note is that Stamkos’ negotiations aren’t the only ones that might set some precedent for the Doughty deal. The most obvious other case is that of Nashville Predators blueliner Shea Weber.

While there are some clear differences between Weber and Doughty (age, style and overall team budget being three of the things that jump out the most), the two share the same position. That might provide more of a “road map” than Stamkos’ $7.5 million per year deal since the Lightning star is a center.

Why Doughty and the Kings are at an impasse

The latest Doughty update revealed that the Kings’ most recent offer was a nine-year deal that would total about $58.5 million, with a $6.5 million cap hit. That’s a hefty amount of money – just $1 million per year less than Stamkos will receive, with four more years of security – but rumors abound that Doughty wants to be the highest paid Kings player (Anze Kopitar’s annual cap hit is $6.8 million).

Giving Doughty close to $7 million per year might be too much for the Kings to stomach. Such an impasse might explain the disturbing finding that the two sides haven’t spoken since June 23.

The length of Stamkos’ deal might be the answer for both sides

When it comes down to it, the Stamkos deal’s term might be more of a measuring stick for the Kings and Doughty than his salary. By signing a five-year contract, Stamkos preserved his money-making future by making sure that the contract doesn’t bleed away his unrestricted free agent years. That might be the ticket for Doughty, then; take a $6-$6.5 million per year contract for a shorter term to open the doors to a bigger unrestricted free agent bounty. (Of course, the drawback for the Kings is that they would risk losing Doughty during a significant portion of his prime.)

Doughty’s situation should be interesting to follow, whether the Stamkos contract affects the negotiations or not. It’s easy to rave about Kings GM Dean Lombardi’s off-season moves thus far, but in the grand scheme of things, it all comes down to re-signing the biggest jewel in the team’s crown to a reasonable contract.

It looks like that might not be an easy task, though.

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”