Still no decision for Teemu Selanne regarding his NHL future

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We’ve seen a host of retirements this summer, mostly from Detroit thanks to guys like Brian Rafalski, Chris Osgood, and Kris Draper all opting to hang up their skates to live family life full-time. Oddly enough, we’ve seen 40+ year-old Nicklas Lidstrom opt to play for one more season and there’s another big name we’re waiting to hear from out of Anaheim.

Teemu Selanne had one of the best and most surprising seasons for a man of his advanced playing age. At 40 years-old, Selanne scored 31 goals and finished the year with 80 points, the most points he’s had in a season since 2006-2007 when he had 48 goals and 94 points in helping lead the Ducks to the Stanley Cup.

With 80 points at age 40 and a legacy that dates back to the 1990s that makes all of us old enough to have seen him in his 76-goal scoring hey-day feeling warm and fuzzy, it’s no wonder there’s a lot of interest in seeing come back and do it one more time. So will he or won’t he? Selanne’s agent tells the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens that there’s no decision as of yet.

Agent Don Baizley has been tight-lipped about his star client and continues to offer little in the form of updates about Selanne’s progress. When asked by the Register how Selanne is doing after his arthroscopic procedure in late June or whether there’s any new timeline on announcing his plans, Baizley said in an e-mail that there’s “nothing new at my end.”

So while his own previous deadline of July 1 is now long gone, Selanne continues to keep Ducks fans and the hockey world waiting. But that’s nothing new for the Finnish Flash, who’s typically signed one-year contracts and has shown previously that he won’t rush into revealing his plans even when it’s evident that he wants to continue playing.

Oh so secretive, Teemu. He knows the fans in Anaheim want him to come back, he knows the Ducks staff and GM Bob Murray want him to come back, and he knows that the fans around the league love him. He’s also a guy whose career has been so good for so long that he’s earned the right to take his sweet time deciding if he wants to.

We’re unabashed Selanne fans here and the more we can see of him, the better. If Teemu decides that his once surgically repaired right knee can’t handle the rigors of a full season and playoffs again, he’s got no shame whatsoever in walking away from the NHL. With a career that’s seen him break the record for goals scored by a rookie (76) and winning the Calder Trophy in 1992-1993 and moving on to win the Stanley Cup in 2007 with Anaheim and sitting 14th all-time in goals scored with 637 he’s had a lot to be proud of in what’s sure to be a Hall of Fame career.

That said, seeing Selanne out there giving it one more go and being able to do so at a premiere level the way Nick Lidstrom does in Detroit as a 40+ year-old makes everyone hope they never stop playing. The end is near for both players in the NHL but we’re hoping for Selanne the end hasn’t already arrived.

Austin Watson suspended two games for boarding Dominic Toninato

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety is working overtime on Sunday night, as they’ve handed out a pair of suspensions.

Moments after announcing Radko Gudas’ 10-game suspension, the league handed a two-game ban to Predators forward Austin Watson for boarding Avs rookie Dominic Toninato.

Unlike Gudas, Watson has no history of being fined or suspended during his NHL career.

Here’s the league’s full explanation of their decision to suspend Watson:

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Radko Gudas suspended 10 games for slashing Mathieu Perreault over the head

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We all knew that Radko Gudas would receive a suspension for his slash to the back of Jets forward Mathieu Perreault‘s head, but we didn’t know how long he’d be forced to sit out.

On Sunday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced that Gudas has been suspended for 10 games for the incident.

The league confirmed that the fact that the Flyers defenseman is a repeat offender played against him in this case.

Check out the Department of Player Safety’s full explanation of the suspension:

The suspension will also cost him just over $408,000 in salary, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. Ouch!

“He got the meaty part of the neck,” Perreault said after the game, per TSN.ca  “It could have been worse, I guess.

“He apologized in the penalty box, but when you look at the replay, it looks like he did it on purpose. It wasn’t an accident. He’s been known for doing stuff like that, so I certainly don’t appreciate it. I’m sure the league will take care of it.”

Gudas served the first game of the suspension on Saturday. He’ll be eligible to return to the Flyers lineup on on Dec. 12 against Toronto.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Flyers will host Penguins in outdoor game at Lincoln Financial Field in 2019

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The battle of Pennsylvania will take a new twist, as the NHL announced that the Philadelphia Flyers will be hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field (home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles) on Feb. 23, 2019.

This will be the second time that these two teams play each other in an outdoor game. Last season, the Penguins beat the Flyers, 4-2, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

“It’s always a special opportunity to take the game back to its roots and have NHL players skate outdoors,” Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse said in a release. “We competed against the Flyers outdoors at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh 2017 and look forward to completing the in-state ‘home-and-home’ series at Lincoln Financial Field in 2019. It should be a great atmosphere.”

This will be the fifth time that the Penguins are involved in an outdoor door since 2008. They won a shootout decision against Buffalo (2008), they lost a home game to Washington (2011), they lost in Chicago (2014) and they beat the Flyers earlier this year.

It’s the second time the Flyers host an outdoor game (the first one was at Citizens Bank Park baseball stadium). The game at Lincoln Financial Field will be the fourth outdoor game for the Flyers. They lost in Boston in overtime (2010), they dropped home decision to the Rangers (2012), and they had the loss to Pittsburgh last year.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Is it time for the Canadiens to blow up their roster?

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The 2017-18 season isn’t even two months old, and the Montreal Canadiens already find themselves at a crossroads. Is it time for them to start rebuilding?

The Canadiens, who are 8-11-2 after three straight losses to Columbus, Arizona and Toronto, have over $7 million in cap space, but they have nowhere to use it. They already traded a blue-chip prospect in Mikhail Sergachev over the summer, and it’s not like their prospect pipeline is overflowing with quality either.

Clearly, losing Andrei Markov and Alexander Radulov (for nothing) hurt this edition of the Canadiens.

The team just completed a six-game homestand  that they should have used to make up for their incredibly poor start to the year. Instead, they finished the stretch at the Bell Center with a mediocre 2-3-1 record (they barely beat Vegas and Buffalo, who were both playing their second game in two nights when they took on Montreal).

During the six-game home stretch, they managed to find the back of the net just 10 times (four of those goals came in the 5-4 loss to the Coyotes).

Up until this point, general manager Marc Bergevin has been unwilling to trade away his veterans for prospects and/or draft picks. That might be about to change, per Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.

On Saturday’s “Headlines” segment, Kypreos mentioned that ownership and the front office will have a discussion about the direction of the team.

The one player that was singled out on the broadcast was Max Pacioretty, who has one year remaining (after this season) on his current contract.

Would the Canadiens be willing to move him? Maybe, but would they do so with the idea of a rebuild in mind? That remains to be seen.

You have to believe that Bergevin’s on thin ice. Despite being under contract until 2022, he has to be feeling the pressure right now. Montreal is a demanding hockey market, and although they have plenty of cap space, this team clearly isn’t better than it was last year.

The core is far from terrible. Pacioretty, Shea Weber, Carey Price and Jonathan Drouin are all quality hockey players, but they don’t have much depth up front and their defense might be one of the worst in the league after Weber. Jeff Petry has struggled, the contract they handed out to Karl Alzner appears to be a mistake, Jordie Benn, Joe Morrow and Brandon Davidson are all depth players, and Victor Mete is a promising 19-year-old that’s had his ice time cut lately.

When it comes to the center ice position, the Canadiens are still searching for answers. Drouin has been forced to learn on the job, which is far from ideal for a number one center. Behind him, there’s Phillip Danault and Tomas Plekanec, who are both better suited to be third liners.

In order to become one of the elite teams in the NHL, the Canadiens have to take a step back over the next couple of years. They might not have to rebuild from scratch because they do have key pieces, but the roster definitely needs a lot of work.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.