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.

Predators tab Roman Josi as new captain, call him ‘our Roger Federer’

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The Nashville Predators boasted some appealing options to take the torch from Mike Fisher as captain, but really there was only one obvious name: Roman Josi.

Josi officially became the team’s eighth captain on Tuesday. Ryan Ellis appears to be second-in-command as “associate” captain, while they seem interested in spreading the leadership wealth around otherwise:

As captain, Josi will see an increased role on the Predators leadership team, which will also see some new appointments. Defenseman Ryan Ellis has been named as the team’s associate captain, while Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm will all serve as alternate captains. In addition, Pekka Rinne, P.K. Subban and Nick Bonino have all taken positions within the leadership group.

If that’s not a sign that the team is taking this seriously – kind of amusingly so – consider that Ellis and Josi “interviewed” for the position and Peter Laviolette evoked military structures in discussing the decision, as sports teams love to do.

Josi seemed flattered when GM David Poile described him as “our Roger Federer,” a fellow Swiss sports star.

At face value, that’s great, especially since it breaks through the near-corporate-speak that saddles announcements like these.

That said, it’s funny to compare the leader in a team sport to a tennis player, among the most individualistic athletes in all of sport. There aren’t many moments of teamwork beyond doubles and rare events like the Davis Cup.

Overall, it’s another strong decision by the Predators. It’s merely fun to tease them a bit about the cornier aspects.

Awful injury news for Blues’ Bouwmeester, Sanford

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Hockey’s training camps and exhibition games share a lot of similarities, big-picture wise, with other sports.

As much as they’re all about evaluating players trying to make rosters and rule tweaks heading into each season, the “winners” of a pre-season may just be the teams that make it out without any significant injuries. The St. Louis Blues aren’t one of those winners.

The team announced unsettling injury updates for defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and forward Zach Sanford on Tuesday.

Sanford is expected to miss five-to-six months after undergoing shoulder surgery. That virtually wipes out an important season for a guy who was still trying to stake his claim to a full-time roster spot.

Bouwmeester’s situation is probably more troubling, potentially, as he’s already a key defenseman for the Blues (averaging more than 22 minutes last season, which was a slight decrease from recent work). The team announced that Bouwmeester suffered a fractured ankle and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

As tormenting as day-to-day updates can be, “check back in three weeks” makes for even greater anxiety.

It does open up some opportunities for other players in the Blues organization, for whatever that’s worth.

This news comes shortly after the Ottawa Senators announced that Colin White will miss multiple weeks with a broken wrist.

You almost wonder if we’ll start to see fewer practice updates like these:

Senators’ prospect Colin White out 6-8 weeks with broken wrist

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Bad news for the Ottawa Senators today.

The club announced Tuesday that prospect center Colin White is out six to eight weeks with a broken left wrist.

The Senators selected White 21st overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. After two years at Boston College, he signed his entry-level deal in April and appeared in two regular season games for Ottawa. He also appeared in a Stanley Cup playoff game, though he only saw 2:39 of ice time.

That’s certainly disappointing for White, who could’ve had a shot to make the big club out of training camp. One of the question marks for Ottawa had been the status of fellow center Derick Brassard, who had offseason shoulder surgery with a recovery timeline of four to five months.

“I come here and worry about myself, do the right things on and off the ice, take care of my body. If I’m playing well and taking care of my game, I’ll fight for a spot,” White told the Ottawa Citizen prior to training camp.

It was a little on the foggy side for Canucks practice in Shanghai

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The Vancouver Canucks dealt with some adverse conditions as they hit the ice at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai in preparation for this week’s 2017 NHL China Games exhibition series versus the L.A. Kings.

According to the pictures, it was a little on the foggy side for their practice.

Is that . . . Henrik Sedin in the distance?

The Canucks and Kings face off Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Arena, before traveling to Beijing for Saturday’s game at Wukesong Arena.

The good news? It appears the fog was lifted in time for the Kings’ practice.