Martin Hanzal

Martin Hanzal signs five-year extension with Coyotes for $15.5 million; Turris anyone?

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The Coyotes aren’t exactly the most spend-crazy team in the NHL, but when it comes to taking care of one of their own players, they’re doing their part to keep him happy and locked up in Phoenix.

No, we don’t mean Kyle Turris either.

The Coyotes signed top centerman Martin Hanzal to a five-year extension to make sure he doesn’t leave the warm confines of Jobing.com Arena for more than a while. John Shannon of SportsNet in Canada reports that the deal is worth $15.5 million over the five years, good for a nice and easy salary cap hit of $3.1 million over the course of the deal.

Over Hanzal’s career in Phoenix, he’s been a steady two-way center for them equally capable of playing strong offensively and defending against the opponents’ top centers. Last year Hanzal dealt with some injury troubles but when he was on the ice, he was playing his best hockey. Hanzal had 16 goals and 10 assists in 61 games last season, good for the best goal-scoring season of his career. The scoring numbers aren’t gaudy but Hanzal is the best center they have on the team at the moment.

With such a good deal signed, it makes us wonder what unsigned restricted free agent Kyle Turris thinks of all this. Turris has been in a dispute all offseason with the Coyotes over getting a new deal done and it’s a dispute where an end isn’t in sight. It’s rumored that Turris wants a monster money deal to stay in Phoenix which would be something GM Don Maloney and the cash-strapped Coyotes could not go along with.

While discussions are still ongoing, Turris’ demands or wont to get out of Phoenix (whatever the case may be) could help bring this situation to a head. Don’t count on the Coyotes blinking first though. Seeing what Hanzal came to an agreement on with Phoenix seems to be where the bar should be set for the as yet unproven Turris should ask for from Phoenix, but we all know that’s not always how these things work. Let’s just hope that Turris has a great offseason workout program because he’s going to abuse it while he waits on a new deal.

For now, the Coyotes are beyond ecstatic to get Hanzal locked up before becoming a restricted free agent after this season. Doing it while boosting their cap hit on him by just $1.3 million dollars (his hit is $1.8 million this year) is shrewd negotiating at its best.

Video: Gaborik (lower-body) not expected to return after awkward collision

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The L.A. Kings are expected to be without forward Marian Gaborik for the remainder of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers.

Gaborik was involved in a collision with Dominic Moore at the Kings’ blue line late in the first period, and L.A. up 2-1.

Gaborik, 33, hobbled off the ice, favoring his left leg. In 53 games this season, Gaborik has 11 goals and 21 points.

 

Video: Bergeron questionable versus Wild; could that be the result of his latest fight?

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The Boston Bruins could be without Patrice Bergeron for Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

He’s currently listed as questionable, according to the Bruins. The details are sketchy right now, however Bergeron was involved in a fight with former teammate Blake Wheeler during Thursday’s game against the Jets, and didn’t play much in the third period — only four shifts and 3:15 of ice time.

(Granted, he did score in the third period, giving him 21 goals on the season.)

Why Bergeron was fighting is also worth debating.

Replays show Bergeron and Wheeler caught each other with a healthy slash in the neutral zone during the second period. A few minutes later, they squared up at center ice, with Wheeler landing a few heavy punches and a hard takedown.

“You don’t like seeing your star players (fight), but you also understand that it’s an emotional game and that stuff happens and at one point a player says, ‘Enough is enough and I’m going to stand up for myself,’” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said, as per the Boston Herald.

“From what I gathered there was a lot of slashes behind the legs behind the play and stuff like that. He took things upon himself. As much as you don’t like it, you can’t tell him he’s not allowed. He’s a big boy and he can certainly make some decisions on the ice. And it’s not the first time that he’s fought. But I like the fact that he doesn’t fight much.”

The Bruins are third in the Atlantic Division.

But with such a tight Eastern Conference playoff race, Boston needs Bergeron — considered one of the best two-way centers in the world — on the ice and in the lineup rather than dropping the gloves, which is something he doesn’t do often.

Bergeron has four career fights.

A potential loss for the Bruins could be a potential gain for the Wild.

Minnesota’s free fall continues. The Wild has won once in its last 10 games, and currently sits two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West.

 

Flyers staff give Gudas a talking to as questionable hits pile up

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1The list of questionable Radko Gudas hits — some of which he’s been suspended for and others he has escaped discipline — has grown again, prompting Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol to apparently have a chat with the 25-year-old defenseman.

There was no hearing for Gudas from his latest infraction, a major penalty for charging called against him for a hit on Buffalo Sabres rookie Daniel Catenacci on Thursday.

Catenacci has since been put on injured reserve, after he went through concussion protocol, as per John Vogl of the Buffalo News.

The NHL didn’t hand out supplemental discipline in this case, but the Flyers brass held a meeting of their own with Gudas, because hits like this could end costing Philadelphia results and precious points in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Flyers are four points out of a playoff spot.

“There’s a big picture to all of it in terms of our main concern,” Hakstol told CSN Philadelphia. “Our main goal right now is to do all the little things necessary to win hockey games.

“In keeping with that, how individually does everybody do their part to help us win games. That’s the basis of my conversation with Radko.”

In December, Gudas was suspended three games for a head shot on Mika Zibanejad. Earlier this month, he was given a major penalty and game misconduct for clipping in a game against the Habs, but escaped discipline for that, as well.

Gudas, who didn’t want to comment on the hit on Catenacci, also spoke with Flyers GM Ron Hextall about this latest incident.

Asked about that conversation, Gudas told reporters, “Just making sure I pay attention and not get suspended again and make a good hockey play or make a good hit.”

After 11-game absence, Savard (oblique) back for Columbus

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These are pretty decent times for the Blue Jackets.

The team is 7-3-2 in its last 12, recently re-upped with Ryan Murray on a two-year deal and, on Friday, announced that blueliner David Savard has been activated from IR after missing the last 11 games to an oblique strain.

Savard, 25, was a pretty integral part of John Tortorella’s defense when healthy. He averaged over 24 minutes per night and had 15 points through 39 games prior to being sidelined by the ailment.

He’ll presumably draw back into the lineup when the Jackets take on Ottawa on Saturday. No word yet on a corresponding roster move.