San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks - Game Two

Logan Couture and Sharks agree to two-year extension


The San Jose Sharks have been one of the busiest teams of the offseason. Just because it’s the middle of August, it doesn’t look like Sharks GM Doug Wilson is showing any signs of slowing down. Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area is reporting that the Sharks will announce a two-year extension with Logan Couture that will keep him in San Jose through the 2013-14 season.

Couture was the Calder Trophy runner-up last season, as he finished second in rookie goal scoring (32) and second in rookie points (56). But just as impressive as the statistics the talented center put up; his ability to grow into a responsible two-way player as a 21-year-old really turned heads. Since turning 22, he continued to grow as he showed that he can produce in the playoffs as well. His 7 goals and 14 points in 18 games were both second in rookie playoff scoring.

After being named to the 2010-11 NHL All-Rookie team and proving to be a valuable part of the Sharks organization, it was no secret that San Jose would want to re-sign Couture. But to sign him 10 months before he became a restricted free agent comes as a bit of a surprise. Then again, this is the same front office that was able to lock-up newly acquired defensemen Brent Burns almost a full year before he hit the open market. Say what you want about GM Doug Wilson’s moves—at least the man is proactive.

The big question about Couture’s extension will be the salary he collects for two seasons. His entry-level deal carries a $1.24 million cap hit—the extension will undoubtedly bring a healthy raise. With Couture’s extension, the Sharks now have five natural centers locked up for the next two seasons in Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Michal Handzus. With Marleau playing on the wing over the last couple of seasons, and word that Andrew Desjardins will get every opportunity to lock-down the 4th line center role, the Sharks have no shortage of centers. No wonder the Sharks were able to part with a guy like Charlie Coyle in the Brent Burns trade.

We’ll keep our eye on the story as more details emerge from San Jose.

Update, 11:37 a.m.: CSNBayArea’s Brodie Brazil says Couture’s deal is worth $5.75 million for the two years on his extension.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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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.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.