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Brad Marchand discusses contract negotiations, ‘mutual respect’ among rivals

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Boston Bruins breakout rookie Brad Marchand must be enjoying life right now. He had a fantastic first full season at the NHL level, finishing the regular season hot to score 21 goals (and 41 points) then making a bigger impact in the playoffs by scoring 19 points in 25 playoff games.

Of course, that hot run – and its lack of comparable previous seasons – makes it tough to gauge exactly how much the winger’s next contract should be worth. The restricted free agent is like Luke Schenn, Drew Doughty and others in that he isn’t eligible for salary arbitration, so there isn’t as much urgency to get a deal done.

That doesn’t mean that he’s totally oblivious to the need for a new deal, although he didn’t really provide a whole lot of details in this interview with CTV Atlantic. Here’s what Marchand had to say about the contract talks, which really aren’t that big of a change of pace from previous comments.

“Right now, we’re just kind of getting into things,” Marchand said. “It’s been a long summer and people have been on vacation and enjoying the Cup so we’re going to start getting into it pretty heavily here and hopefully we’ll get something done soon.”

WEEI points out that he said nearly the same thing in mid-July.

Either Marchand isn’t heavily involved in the negotiations or there hasn’t been much progress made. Of course, there’s the possibility that he’s just using that answer until his deal gets signed. General manager Peter Chiarelli has been tight-lipped as well, saying recently that he will not comment on progress of the negotiations.

Douglas Flynn took particular interest in some of Marchand’s comments about his friends on other teams. He noted that Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews (no surprised in the latter in particular) were rooting for him and also said that he actually gets along pretty well with P.K. Subban, who plays for the hated Montreal Canadiens.

“We played World Juniors together,” Marchand explained. “What happens on the ice stays on the ice. There’s that mutual respect between hockey players. We were buddies when we played World Juniors. It’s part of the game. Guys are going to get hit. It could have been a lot worse. He could have got me in the head.”

Instead, Marchand’s old buddy may want to keep his head up when he plays the Bruins. When Murphy asked if Marchand still owed Subban one for that hit, Marchand replied with his usual mischievous smile, “I’ll take a run at him if I see an opportunity.”

That’s just the way some hockey players are: they beat each other senseless on the ice but are good friends when they trade uniforms for street clothes. We’ll find out how much it will cost to keep Marchand in Bruins’ duds (and for how long) soon enough.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Video: Kuznetsov sets table for Vrana’s first NHL goal

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).

Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.

See it for yourself:

Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.

He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.

Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.

Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:

Kulikov returns to increasingly healthy Sabres lineup

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.

The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?

He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.

Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.

With Foligno out sick, Columbus gives Bjorkstrand another shot

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets lines up for a face-off during the game against the Boston Bruins on October 13, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.

He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.

With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.

Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?

Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: