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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.

Video: Reimer, Allen shut down dangerous one-timers

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 09:  James Reimer #34 of the Florida Panthers makes a save during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at BB&T Center on February 9, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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In an ideal world, goalie equipment wouldn’t be such an issue. Teams would be able to “get goalies moving” with great passing and chances just about no one could stop.

Then again, there are also those saves that a select handful of humans can pull off. A big reason why there’s only been one goal between the Panthers and Blues tonight is the lateral movement shown by both James Reimer and Jake Allen.

First, watch as Reimer robs Jori Lehtera on what’s likely the save of the night:

Allen really hasn’t been that far behind Reimer, right down to making a similar stop:

Considering the two nearly identical one-timer goals scored by Arizona against Anaheim in finding seams for big passes through opposing defenses, tonight’s goalies might want to do some extra stretching during intermissions.

Dvorak, Coyotes put Ducks in early hole with slick goals (Video)

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 11:  Connor Murphy #5 (second from left) of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with Alexander Burmistrov #91, Shane Doan #19 and Christian Dvorak #18 after Murphy scored the game winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on February 11, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Penguins 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Arizona Coyotes’ happy thoughts are mostly centered on the future. Christian Dvorak possibly being more than a guy who put up nice junior numbers with Matthew Tkachuk and Mitch Marner could fuel some really nice thoughts.

He’s been red-hot in February, in particular, including a goal already tonight as the Coyotes raced off to an early 2-0 lead against the Anaheim Ducks.

Check out that smooth play for his 10th goal of 2016-17:

Again, he’s been on quite the roll lately.

February: nine points (and counting?) in nine games
Rest of the season: 13 points in 45 games

He only had one assist in 12 January contests, so this outburst is even more unexpected than the Coyotes racing off to this lead.

Interestingly, the Coyotes two goals looked awfully similar, at least in the finish:

Randy Carlyle’s mood? Probably not too chipper right now.

Brooks Laich wants another crack at NHL (with or without Leafs)

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 29:  Brooks Laich #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a puck drop against the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 29, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The Lightning defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Brooks Laich wants another shot at playing in the NHL. As he told The Atlantic TO (sub required), if that means being traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs, then so be it.

“You don’t win a Stanley Cup playing in the American Hockey League,” Laich said. “If the Leafs don’t have a plan for me with them, I would like to pursue a Stanley Cup somewhere else.”

Interesting.

Laich’s biased take: he has plenty more to give at the highest level.

Hmm, that … seems a little crazy. Few players see their best days at age 33 and beyond.

But what about his work with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies? Maybe he’s killing it there.

Well, if he is, his contributions aren’t showing in the simple counting stats. In 22 games this season, Laich has one goal and six points. He isn’t even firing a shot on goal per game (just 17 in those 22 contests).

Now, Laich wouldn’t sell you on his scoring skills. Face-offs might not be much of a calling card, either.

So … it’s easier to understand why he’s struggling to get a foothold in his career. Laich isn’t much of a scorer, isn’t dominant on the draw and isn’t someone who’s shown a history of dramatically tilting the ice in his team’s favor.

Does that mean he can’t be a fourth-line center, or failing that, at least a depth forward? Laich could conceivably be helpful to some team, even if it’s difficult to imagine anyone giving up anything but a minor asset for him.

And, yes, it’s crazy to imagine him exceeding anything he did with the Washington Capitals.

Avalanche say ankle injury ends Nikita Zadorov’s season

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche congratulates Matt Duchene #9 after his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pepsi Center on December 14, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As if the Colorado Avalanche needed another miserable element to 2016-17: Nikita Zadorov suffered a season-ending injury during the same practice that Erik Johnson returned.

Zadorov injured his ankle after being tangled up with Mikko Rantanen during a Monday practice, according to the Denver Post.

Update: The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reports that it’s a fractured ankle. Yikes.

Zadorov, 21, is a big defenseman with the pedigree that would inspire teams to imagine better things in the future (16th pick in 2013 by Buffalo). So far, that potential hasn’t really manifested itself in production, whether you judge a player by points, plus/minus or possession numbers.

He may be able to put it together at some point – again, he’s young – so perhaps he’ll remember this as a low point before he turns things around.

At the moment, it’s just another grim part of a bleak time for the Avs.