Los Angeles Kings v Detroit Red Wings

Something (or someone) has to give as Drew Doughty negotiations remain stalled


Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi and Drew Doughty’s agent Don Meehan are currently engaged in the multimillion dollar equivalent of a staring contest. Ideally, both sides will find a way to compromise, but it’s just as likely that only one will blink. Let’s just hope that Doughty doesn’t miss any regular season games in the process.

The latest news is that there really isn’t news; the impasse remains. There’s no denying Lombardi’s history with Meehan, either – it’s quite possible that the 2002 holdouts by Evgeni Nabokov and Brad Stuart cost him his job as the San Jose Sharks general manager. Lombardi isn’t exactly sitting idly by, though, as the blustery GM made a startling claim that Doughty’s cash reward will drop about $25,000 for every day that he goes without a contract. Lombardi’s reasoning is based on the CBA, but it’s hard to look at it as anything but tense negotiations leading him to play hard ball with a player who is probably the biggest asset on a rising team.

While Lombardi might look bad for pulling back the curtain on the contract talks – and let’s face it, he’s not known for being shy about making controversial comments (see: Jack Johnson and Dustin Penner) – Doughty faces the reality of missing training camp with teammates. Sometimes that can entail some ugly things being said, with words like “greed” (or worse) being thrown around.

Elliotte Friedman shares Marty Turco’s perspective on what it must feel like to be in a game of holdout chicken, especially once training camp begins.

“This is when it hits you,” Turco said Friday morning. “Your teammates are in training camp and you’re not. It’s scary. People start saying things. You hear it, take it personally.”

Turco was unsigned when camp began in 2003, at home in Sault Ste. Marie. The standoff lasted one week before he agreed to a three-year, $12-million deal.

“I’ve always lived my life to have no regrets, but at this time, you certainly wonder if you’re doing the right thing.”

Eventually, someone – or preferably all sides – will need to cave in and do just that: the right thing. The Kings might be wise not to assume that Doughty will follow in Bobby Ryan’s footsteps by negotiating his own (team-friendly) contract without Meehan. Some people might plead with Doughty to give in a bit while others might chide Lombardi & Co. for being too stubborn, but the longer this battle of attrition goes on, the worse all sides end up looking.

Maybe Doughty and Meehan should relax their monetary demands ever so slightly. Perhaps the Kings should shorten the term of the deal, even if that means accepting the reality of Doughty becoming an unrestricted free agent that much sooner. Either way, something (and someone) has to give in this situation.

If it comes down to an either/or scenario, which side should budge first? Should Doughty accept less than he might be worth or should the Kings just suck it up and pay their best player? Let us know if you lean one way or the other in the comments.

Sharks finally solve Gibson in OT to defeat rival Ducks

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Talk about perfect timing.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday, doing so in overtime to lift the San Jose Sharks past the goaltending of John Gibson in a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.

Facing off against their California rivals for the first time this season, the Sharks dominated puck possession and on the shot clock. Had it not been for the play of Gibson, this one could’ve been a lopsided win for San Jose.

Gibson replaced Jonathan Bernier to begin the second period. Bernier left the game with an upper-body injury.

In relief, Gibson made 24 saves on 25 shots. Vlasic was the only San Jose player to get the puck past him, but not before the Ducks managed to steal a single point.

The Ducks recorded the single point, but did so faced with a short-handed lineup as the game continued. Not only did Bernier leave the game, but so, too, did Ryan Getzlaf, who didn’t play a shift in the third period.

He left with an upper-body injury, as per the Ducks, who at the time listed his return as questionable.

Elliott backstops Flames to victory in his return to St. Louis

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 24: Matt Stajan #18 and Lance Bouma #17 of the Calgary Flames congratulate Brian Elliott #1 after a shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on October 24, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Flames defeated the Blachawks 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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So, it seems Jake Allen was onto something.

The St. Louis Blues goalie noted a few days ago that Calgary Flames fans shouldn’t be worried about Brian Elliott despite his early-season struggles.

Well, Elliott has since put together strong performances in back-to-back games against Central Division opponents from Chicago and then St. Louis.

After earning a shootout win over the Blackhawks on Monday, Elliott was put back in the Calgary net to finish off the back-to-back road set.

Facing his former team, Elliott made 23 saves on 24 shots and the Flames recorded a 4-1 victory. It was a special return to St. Louis for Elliott, who spent five seasons with the Blues.

“I saw that on the schedule from a while ago in the summer,” Elliott told NHL.com. “You want to come back here. I had so much fun playing in front of these fans in this building and wanted to do it again even though it was another team. The guys did a heck of a job in front of me to get that win for me.”

Not a bad trip for the Flames, with a maximum four points against two teams considered to be contenders in the Western Conference.

“I thought we were good in front of him, too,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan told the Calgary Herald. “I thought we kept a lot of the stuff to the outside, but he made some big saves, especially at the end, when we knew their push was coming.

“I thought that was when he was his best. And that’s what you need — we put ourselves in position to win and then he carried us through.”

Bernier (upper-body injury) gives way to Gibson in Ducks net

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 01:  Goaltender Jonathan Bernier #1 of the Anaheim Ducks during the preseason NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson began Tuesday’s game on the bench, but was forced into action to begin the second period against the San Jose Sharks.

Jonathan Bernier, who got the start, left the game with an upper-body injury and was doubtful to return, the Ducks stated on Twitter.

Bernier has played in only one other game for Anaheim so far, making 42 saves on 45 shots in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 15.

‘Dig in there with the rest of the guys,’ says Babcock after leaving Andersen in against Bolts

OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 12: In his first game as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs Frederik Andersen #31 puts his mask on against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on October 12, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Frederik Andersen‘s difficult start to the season continues.

After an interesting exchange when questioned about his goaltender prior to Tuesday’s game against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning and some guy named Steven Stamkos, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock was once again forced to answer inquiries about the play of Andersen, who allowed seven goals on just 24 shots.

Andersen stayed in the crease for the entire game, as the Leafs lost 7-3. He certainly didn’t get much help in the defensive end from his teammates in front of him.

Stamkos started the scoring for Tampa Bay, and continued it with a rocket one-timer past Andersen, before finishing with a four-point night.

But in Toronto, the conversation about the amazing play of rookies like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner seems to have shifted to the play of their goalie, acquired in a blockbuster deal with Anaheim, in which Toronto parted ways with a first- and second-round pick to make it happen. The Leafs then signed him to a five-year, $25 million deal.

Playing on a new team in a hockey-crazed market has likely been an adjustment. His season also started with an injury in Olympic qualifying.

Following the loss Tuesday, Babcock explained his reasoning for leaving Andersen in net for all seven Tampa Bay goals, two of which came late in the third period.

“I want him to play. He’s my guy. I want him to play,” said Babcock, as per Jonas Siegel of The Canadian Press. “So I could pull him and then say, ‘Okay I showed you!’ But what did I show him? To me, dig in there with the rest of the guys, make the next save and give us a chance to come back and win the game. You can’t do that sitting on the bench.”

The Maple Leafs face the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Florida’s goalie Roberto Luongo knows all-too-well about the pressures that come with playing the position in a Canadian market.

It is early in Andersen’s Toronto tenure.

But Babcock will likely be facing a similar line of questioning until his goalie turns it around.