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Longest suspension to be handed out during the 2011-12 regular season (Over/under 8.5 games)
In other words, will any player do something worse in the eyes of the NHL than James Wisniewski did to Cal Clutterbuck in the preseason? There have been six suspensions doled out since the regular season started, none for more than five games. I also can’t help but wonder, if Wisniewski hit Clutterbuck now instead of then, would he still get eight games? Clearly Brendan Shanahan wanted to let everyone know there was a new sheriff in town when he took over, and he certainly got everyone’s attention. It’s different now. The players know he’s not messing around. I’ll take the under here, though I hate the thought of underestimating the potential for certain hockey players to do really stupid stuff. Is Trevor Gillies in the NHL anymore?
Which player will finish with more points? Teemu Selanne (-110) versus Jaromir Jagr (-110)
Selanne has 15 points in 17 games; Jagr’s got 17 in 17. This should be a close race, but I’ll take Selanne. The Ducks are desperate for scoring and even more desperate for wins. They can’t afford to rest anyone who can put the puck in the net, even if he’s 41. On the other hand, I can see the Flyers being extra careful with Jagr, 39, as the 82-game season progresses. Remember, the KHL only plays a 56-game schedule, plus the playoffs. The most games Jagr’s played in the last three years is 64. The Flyers will want him fresh for April, and since they already score lots of goals, dialing back his ice-time shouldn’t be a problem.
Odds the Minnesota Wild make the playoffs (+175)
Heading into tonight’s action, Minnesota (10-5-3) was four points clear of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. It’s just hard to believe it can stay that way. Let’s break it down. Here are the teams I’m fairly confident will make the playoffs in the West: Chicago, Detroit, San Jose and Vancouver. After those four, it’d be unfair to count out Nashville and Phoenix considering what they’ve done the past few seasons. Tough to picture Los Angeles failing to qualify. St. Louis is a talented team that’s starting to roll with Ken Hitchcock behind the bench. That’s eight teams right there, and I haven’t even mentioned Dallas, though the Stars haven’t looked very good lately. Even at those odds, I’ll have to pass on the Wild.
Team Canada’s veteran lineup was too much for the young Americans to handle today in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where the Canadians rolled to a convincing 5-1 victory as the preliminary round of the World Championship got underway.
The United States actually opened the scoring, on a first-period, power-play goal by Patrick Maroon. But Taylor Hall quickly tied it, and soon after that, Brendan Gallagher gave the Canadians the lead. Matt Duchene, Boone Jenner, and Brad Marchand added the insurance goals for Canada.
Keith Kinkaid was in goal for the Americans, Cam Talbot for the Canadians.
Auston Matthews logged 16:56 in ice time and registered three shots for Team USA, who play Belarus tomorrow.
The Canadians are off until Sunday, when they’ll take on Hungary.
The New York Rangers announced this morning that forward Oscar Lindberg has undergone a “successful simultaneous bilateral hip labral repair.”
That’s a long way of saying he had hip surgery.
The Rangers say the expected recovery time for Lindberg is six months, meaning the 24-year-old is likely to get a late start to next season.
In 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL, Lindberg had 13 goals and 15 assists in 68 games. However, he was a regular healthy scratch down the stretch.
“I thought Oscar was playing well,” head coach Alain Vigneault said in March. “But when Rick Nash came back, we had 13 healthy forwards. It’s just the way it slotted out.”
In the playoffs, Lindberg dressed for just two of the Rangers’ five contests (Games 4 and 5 versus Pittsburgh).
Related: Rangers sign Lindberg
Of all the available coaching gigs, Minnesota’s seems to be the most muddled right now — there’s still no word on the status of interim bench boss John Torchetti, and GM Chuck Fletcher has reached out to both Randy Carlyle and Bruce Boudreau.
Now, the Star-Tribune is reporting Fletcher has also contacted another pair of veteran coaches: Marc Crawford and Guy Boucher.
Crawford, fresh off a four-year stint in the Swiss League — where he coached coveted draft prospect Auston Matthews in Zurich — is gunning for an NHL return, and would even accept an assistant coaching position to get his foot back in the door.
Related: Marc Crawford coaching in Detroit? Hey, could happen…
Boucher, also coming off a stint in the Swiss League, wants back in the NHL as well. He was in the running for a pair of gigs last offseason — Toronto, which ultimately went to Mike Babcock, and New Jersey, which ultimately went to John Hynes.
An interesting wrinkle with the Wild’s coaching search? Per the Star-Tribune, it sounds like coaches might be asking as many questions of Fletcher as Fletcher is of the coaches. The longtime GM has come under fire recently for the club’s current roster makeup, which forced owner Craig Leipold to give Fletcher a public vote of confidence during the playoffs.
College free agent Drake Caggiula is expected to pick a team shortly, possibly even today.
The University of North Dakota winger had originally shortlisted six teams, according to a report. Those teams were Philadelphia, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Buffalo.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie said this morning on Edmonton radio that the Canucks are “maybe” the front-runners to land the 21-year-old. Vancouver signed Caggiula’s teammate, defenseman Troy Stecher, a couple of weeks ago, and Caggiula’s linemate, Brock Boeser, was drafted by the Canucks in the first round last year.
Recently, Boeser told Postmedia that he was trying to convince Caggiula to sign with Vancouver, where there will be plenty of opportunities for young forwards in the next couple of years.
If it’s not the Canucks, McKenzie said he’s heard the Oilers have a “puncher’s chance” of getting Caggiula.