Report: Isles John Tavares and Buffalo’s Tyler Myers both close to signing extensions

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Late last night TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke news of how New York Islanders rising star John Tavares and Buffalo Sabres phenom defenseman Tyler Myers are both close to signing contract extensions with their respective teams. Both players are in the final year of their entry level deals this year and after seeing the troubles that some teams are having this summer in re-signing their restricted free agents, getting something done this soon makes a world of sense.

For John Tavares, he sees what’s going on with guys like Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn, and Brad Marchand as well as the arbitration dealings of Shea Weber and doesn’t want to have that distraction heading into what could be a big building year for the Islanders. Arthur Staple of New York Newsday hears it from Tavares himself.

“It’s not something I want hanging over the season and affecting the team,” he said Tuesday after an informal skate at IceWorks in Syosset. “I know I’m going to be here for a long time and I’d like it to get done.”

The numbers are not known; it’s believed that the length of the deal being discussed is in the five- to six-year range. Islanders general manager Garth Snow and Pat Brisson, Tavares’ agent, declined comment on the talks.

Should the Islanders get Tavares locked up to a long-term deal, that would mean they’ve gotten virtually all of their young talent locked in place for the next few seasons. Matt Moulson is signed on for three more years, Michael Grabner signed a five year extension this summer and Kyle Okposo is also locked in place for the next five years.

source: APWhat’s being worked on in Buffalo with Tyler Myers is looking a but juicier than what’s going on with Tavares. While things with the Sabres aren’t imminently close to being done, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the framework for Myers’ deal with the Sabres is for seven years at $5.5 million per year.

If those numbers are close to what happens, the Sabres cap situation is going to be fascinating to watch with a new CBA coming next summer. According to CapGeek, if Myers re-upped for $5.5 million per season, their cap situation next season would put the Sabres at just over $55 million with only 16 players signed. If there was a salary cap roll back in place as part of the new labor deal, the Sabres would find themselves in quite the predicament after the monster deals they signed Ville Leino and Christian Ehrhoff to this summer as well as from previous deals to Drew Stafford, Jason Pominville, and Thomas Vanek.

That’s not even digging into the debate as to whether or not Myers is worth that kind of monster deal. That debate can hold off until he’s actually signed.

These two deals getting worked on, however, shows what this summer did for both the players and general managers around the league. With six prominent restricted free agents still working on getting deals done just days before training camp, some players and teams just don’t want to have that distraction heading into next season. For the players, it seems to be working out just fine financially speaking and for the teams, they’re realizing that when the bill comes due and great talent is close to being free they’ve got to pay up to make it happen.

Halak and the Islanders defeat Penguins, move into wild card spot

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Quite a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

It offered plenty to enjoy — Phil Kessel‘s dominant but unfruitful shift in overtime, a combined 86 shots on goal between both teams, a showcase of skill from the likes of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby, and two strong goaltending performances from Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Islanders and their fans probably aren’t hung up on style points at this juncture of the season. They just care about wins and points in the standings, and those are exactly what New York accomplished with a 4-3 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Beauvillier and Tavares scored for the Islanders in the shootout. Halak made 37 stops, including a game-saver in overtime off Matt Cullen. Halak trapped the puck, which was right on the goal line, between his legs on a chance from in front. The play was reviewed but no goal.

The win gives the Islanders 82 points, which is the same total as the struggling Boston Bruins.

However, the Islanders, with one game in hand on the Bruins, take over the final wild card spot in the East for now.

Video: Friday night fights between Bolts and Red Wings

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Not much offense — actually, just one goal midway through the second period as of the writing of this post — between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

But there has definitely been some animosity between the two clubs.

Tempers flared late in the first period, with Adam Erne and Andreas Athanasiou getting involved in a spirited scrap — and Athanasiou unsuccessful in his attempt at the take-down.

The bad blood continued in the second period with Greg McKegg and Anthony Mantha getting involved in a fight, and Mantha — given the instigator — landing a couple of shots with McKegg on the ice.

 

NHL, MLB player unions support U.S. women hockey players’ boycott

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Unions representing NHL and Major League Baseball players are backing U.S. Women’s National Hockey team players’ decision to boycott next week’s world championships because of a wage dispute.

The NHL Players’ Association posted a note on its Twitter account on Friday saying it supports the U.S. players while panning USA Hockey’s bid to stock the team with replacements. The NHLPA says the decision to go with replacement players “would only serve to make relations, now and in the future, much worse.”

Earlier in the day, the MLB Players Association encouraged all women hockey players to stand united behind their national team colleagues.

Read more: USA Hockey says it will not offer living wage, as dispute with women’s national team continues

The Twitter messages were posted a day after USA Hockey announced it would begin gauging interest of replacement players to compete at the tournament, which opens next Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

Players are seeking a four-year contract that includes payments outside the six-month Olympic period.

Brock Boeser Watch is officially on in Vancouver

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It’s been a bleak season for the Vancouver Canucks.

Perhaps developments Friday evening can provide some optimism for fans of a team that can’t score, has trouble defending and has been decimated by injury.

Brock Boeser’s sophomore college season came to an end Friday, as North Dakota lost 4-3 to Boston University in double overtime. The Canucks selected Boeser 23rd overall in the 2015 draft with the hopes the talented right winger would one day become a central figure in that team’s scoring attack.

In his first season at North Dakota, Boeser scored 27 goals and 60 points in 42 games. His overall production dropped in his sophomore year — he had wrist surgery in December — but he still averaged more than a point per game in 31 contests, with 16 goals.

With North Dakota’s campaign finished, the Canucks can now work to get Boeser under contract and perhaps get him into some NHL games to close out what has been a disappointing season in Vancouver.

In that case, the Canucks would burn the first year of his entry-level contract.

The Canucks, officially eliminated from playoff contention, have nine games remaining on their schedule.

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Giving the fans something to get excited about in another season gone south seems as vital as giving Boeser a crash course on what to expect next season.

The Canucks are willing to burn a year of his entry-level deal because playing one game at age 20 would do that. But it seems worth the price for an organization in transition, even if Boeser would become a restricted free agent after two seasons and be in line for a big pay day should his production match predictions of effectiveness.

The Canucks are in Minnesota on Saturday and Winnipeg on Sunday.

It seemed, several weeks ago, that North Dakota’s hockey program was preparing for Boeser to turn pro after his second year ended.

Related: Trading Burrows and Hansen represents significant ‘shift’ for Canucks