Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins

Rangers Plan B: Sign Anton Stralman to one-year deal

The New York Rangers addressed the hole on their blueline by signing free agent Anton Stralman to a one-year deal worth $900,000. Bringing Stralman into the fold should help address the rather large void that has been on the Rangers back-end since the organization realized alternate captain Marc Staal was going to be out with effects from the concussion he suffered last season.  Stralman is a defenseman with NHL experience that the organization was able to bring in without giving up assets or making any long-term commitment.

Obviously, Plan A is for Marc Staal to start feeling better and return to the lineup as quickly as possible. The all-star is the leader of New York’s defensive corps and changes the entire complexion of the team. But in lieu of a miraculous overnight recovery, the Rangers have been forced into a position that they needed to address their roster.

We heard yesterday that the Rangers had offered a one-year deal to lure Stralman away from his native Sweden—sounds like he only needed a day to think it over. Stralman, while not a star defenseman by any stretch of the imagination, is a guy with NHL experience who can add some stability to the Rangers’ bottom pairing. Between Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Michael Sauer, and Ryan McDonough, the Rangers have players who can do the heavy lifting. Unfortunately, they’ve been playing musical chairs with the bottom pairing this season. It’s been so bad, it’s like the music stopped and NO one had a place to sit.

Hopefully for Rangers fans, Stralman can at least provide a little certainty while the organization continues to deal with the uncertainty surrounding Staal.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)