The biggest road block Ethan Moreau had in being able to join the Los Angeles Kings was cleared yesterday when he passed his physical. After all the health problems Moreau had last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets (he played in just 37 games), getting cleared to participate at all and make sure there were no lingering issues was necessary for the Kings.
Today, the Kings finalized their one-year deal with Moreau to bring him on board as a grind line winger. It was just over the weekend that Moreau had a verbal commitment set with the team pending medical clearance and now that he’s got that, he’ll likely start the season as the Kings fourth line winger. There he’ll potentially line up with the likes of Trevor Lewis, Kevin Westgarth, or Andrei Loktionov.
At age 36 when the season starts, Moreau is certainly on the backside of his career. He’s gone from being a rugged goal contributor with Chicago and Edmonton, even suiting up as captain of the Oilers from 2007-2010, to being a guy that chews up time on the third and fourth lines as a physical player. He’s perpetually been a 15 minutes per game player, but now with his abilities diminished he’ll be a 10-12 minutes a game type of player, if that much. GM Dean Lombardi and coach Terry Murray are hoping he’ll help add to the veteran experience and give the lineup another former Oiler and a guy hungry to win the Stanley Cup.
Given the Kings’ other options potentially available out of Manchester in the AHL, Moreau gives them a guy they know for sure what they’ll get from him. He also gives their third line a bit more insurance as they’ll likely have Scott Parse penciled in there to start the year. Parse spent most of last season out of the lineup with varying injuries. If they can get positive work out of Moreau it’s a good, veteran pickup for the Kings. If he spends the year dinged up with injuries or with poor production, they’ll have to hope he can provide leadership otherwise.
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.
Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.
“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?
Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.
Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.
It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.
Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.
On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?
It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?
* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.
If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.
The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.
After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.
If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.
Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.
If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:
“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”
The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.
Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:
With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.
Measuring stick stretch begins
Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.
This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.
It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.
In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.