RFA watch: Ball back in Drew Doughty’s court after Kings refine contract offer

Last week we took a look around at what was going on with some of the biggest names left to be signed as restricted free agents and perhaps the biggest one out there is Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Doughty and Kings GM Dean Lombardi have been trying to work out a deal with their star defenseman all summer long but have found the going tough.

After all, the Kings would likely want to get Doughty signed up to a long-term deal to make sure they don’t have to go through this song and dance again anytime soon as well as to cut into part of Doughty’s years as an unrestricted free agent (which begins at age of 27). After rumors of offers ranging in years from three to five to seven to even nine years for a contract for Doughty to stay a King, the Kings and Lombardi have opened things up a bit more for Doughty to make a decision.

Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times caught up with Lombardi today finding out that there are offers of varying lengths for Doughty and his agent to consider.

Lombardi said he spoke Monday with Doughty’s agent, Don Meehan, and made an offer that “codifies what we’ve been talking about for a while.” Lombardi said the offer includes “different lengths for him to consider,” likely six to eight years.

“Everything’s been amicable. We’re waiting to hear back from them. They said they’d get back to us in a day or two,” Lombardi said. “So in terms of distance, I’ll probably have a better handle on that when we hear back.”

The number of years in those offers for Doughty make a world of sense considering that superstar forward Anze Kopitar is due to become an unrestricted free agent in five years and Doughty’s fellow young defensive stud Jack Johnson is free in seven years. If the Kings were going to have Doughty and either Kopitar or Johnson become unrestricted free agents in the same year, they’d be dealing with a world of pain on their wallets and might be faced with making even more difficult decisions because of it.

Getting a deal done with Doughty hasn’t exactly been a worry for Los Angeles and while training camp is just a couple weeks away, that’s still a lot of time to get a deal done. As it is, Los Angeles wants to do right by themselves and to not get on Doughty’s bad side in negotiations. Avoiding a potential hold out or problems in future negotiations would go a long way towards the Kings hanging on to their 2010 Norris Trophy finalist for a long time. Giving Doughty a pair of options they like should help speed up the process to getting Doughty locked up for a long time and save tough negotiations for another time well down the road.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.