Josh Bailey

Isles’ Josh Bailey has until 7 a.m. ET Friday to sign or miss the entire season

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One restricted free agent that’s still working on getting a deal done is Islanders forward Josh Bailey. Bailey joins the likes of Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn, and Kyle Turris as high profile RFAs that are still without a contract as training camp approaches this weekend. While the Kings, Leafs, and Coyotes are going to continue negotiating with their respective players into and through training camp if needed, the Islanders do things a little bit differently.

Islanders owner Charles Wang seems like a free and easy going guy, but if you want to play for the Islanders and you’re one of his restricted free agents, you’d better have a contract signed by the time training camp starts or else. As Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank pointed out back on August 25, Wang’s policy is that if an RFA is unsigned by the start of camp, negotiations are over and done with and the player will sit out the entire season.

Isles training camp starts tomorrow and Josh Bailey is a restricted free agent that’s still without a deal. Katie Strang of ESPN New York relayed today that if Bailey isn’t signed by 7 a.m. ET tomorrow, the Islanders will force Bailey to sit out the entire season while the Islanders retain his rights.

If Bailey winds up not getting a deal done, the Islanders will have a hole to fill on their third line center position. With John Tavares taking the first line and Frans Nielsen on the second line, Bailey was set to be the guy on the third line to start the year. Should Bailey be out, it could open up a spot in training camp for 2011 first round pick Ryan Strome to make a run at making the Islanders. Strome is most likely going to be heading back to junior hockey but he could help force both GM Garth Snow and coach Jack Capuano to take a long look at him in camp.

Those are a lot of “ifs” and “maybes” thrown in there, but Bailey having difficulty in getting a deal worked out is a bit mystifying on its own. Bailey’s first three seasons in the NHL have seen the former first round pick struggle to find his way. His first two NHL seasons saw him score a total of 23 goals and 37 assists over 141 games.

Last season, Bailey appeared set to break out getting off to a hot start in his first five games scoring three goals and adding three assists. Bailey followed that up by going pointless in his next 14 games before being sent to the AHL for a month. After being called back up, he was held pointless in his first game back before scoring two goals and an assist against the Devils in his second game. Bailey finished the season with 11 goals and 17 assists. No details about the negotiations have come out at all, but it’s hard to imagine that things could be as acrimonious as negotiations are with Phoenix and Kyle Turris.

Time ticks away for Bailey and the Islanders. If Bailey isn’t signed, Isles training camp gets a lot more interesting to watch.

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From the NHL:

Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.

Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.

Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.

Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse

Malkin to miss third straight game with lower-body injury

Evgeni Malkin
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Evgeni Malkin‘s “nagging” lower-body injury will keep him out at least one more game.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said this morning that the star center will sit out tonight at home against the Ducks. Malkin already missed two contests this weekend in Florida. His status is day-to-day.

The Penguins lost, 6-3, in Tampa on Friday, but rebounded Saturday with a 3-2 OT win over the Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s next game after tonight’s is Wednesday at home versus the Rangers.

McDonagh out with concussion after Saturday’s altercation with Simmonds

Ryan McDonagh
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The New York Rangers will be without Ryan McDonagh tonight at home to New Jersey, the club announcing this morning that the defenseman is out with a concussion.

McDonagh left Saturday’s game in Philadelphia following an altercation with the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds that ended with McDonagh taking a punch to the face from Simmonds.

Simmonds received a match penalty and was thrown out of the game, but did not receive any supplemental discipline.

Given the standings, the Rangers can ill afford to lose McDonagh for long. They play in Pittsburgh Wednesday, followed by three home games against Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

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Lucic’s plan is to ‘remain a King’ for remainder of career

Milan Lucic, Alex Burrows, Dan Hamhuis
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Tuesday night, Milan Lucic will play his first game in Boston as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

It should be an emotional return for the big 27-year-old winger. In an interview with the L.A. Times, he recalled his time with his former club fondly, saying how great it was to be a “part of one of the best-ever eras to be a Bruin.”

A pending unrestricted free agent, Lucic also commented on his contract negotiations with the Kings.

“Nothing to get excited about,” he said. “There’s been two or three little talks here and there. My plan is to remain a King and hopefully finish off my career here. Like I said, I go day by day and you never know what tomorrow is going to bring.”

Lucic has 12 goals and 18 assists in 50 games this season. Though the Kings reportedly want to keep him, the question is whether they can find the cap space to make it happen.

Los Angeles already has Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, and Jonathan Quick locked up long term. Plus, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson will require new deals after next season.

Related: Why Lucic is an interesting pending UFA