Caps-Leafs

Weekend Watch: Five games you need to see

1 Comment

This is the Weekend Watch. It’s a guide of what to watch this weekend.

Saturday: Philadelphia at Winnipeg, 3pm ET

This much we know: Ilya Bryzgalov and Winnipeg got drama. Whether it’s Bryz dissing (and then apologizing to) Winnipeg or Winnipeg torching his Flyers for nine goals in the highest-scoring game of the year, crazy things happen when Bryz meets ‘Peg. Of course, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette could interrupt the narrative by flipping the script and starting Sergei Bobrovsky instead.

(Come to think of it, Sideshow Bob only has two starts in the last 22 days. Crap.)

Saturday: Detroit at Los Angeles, 4pm ET

The Red Wings haven’t won a road game in nearly a month — losing their last five away from the Joe — so they’ll obviously be looking to avoid No. 6, which would match their longest road losing streak since 1987.

Looking at the ’87 Detroit squad, it’s hard to fathom how they lost so many: Steve Yzerman had 102 points in 64 games, Bob Probert had 398 penalty minutes (not a typo — 398!) while Probert, Gerard Gallant, Petr Klima and Brent Ashton all scored 25 goals or more.

Oh wait, the defense. A top seven of Doug Halward, Darren Veitch, Rick Zombo, Jeff Sharples, Gilbert Delorme and Lee Norwood. Makes more sense now.

Saturday: Washington at Toronto, 7pm ET

Toronto could be without James Reimer, Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Colby Armstrong, Matthew Lombardi and Mike Komisarek for this one. Not good heading into a game against a pissed-off-at-everything Caps team that’s lost five of six (3-6-1 over last 10.) On a related note, does anybody else think Bruce Boudreau and Alex Ovechkin look like they need couples therapy?

Saturday: New York at Montreal, 7pm ET

The last time these two met, this happened:

That skirmish led to 28 minutes in penalties and two game misconducts (to Petteri Nokelainen and Michael Sauer.) Considering that game was less than two weeks ago, the revenge factor is definitely in play.

Sunday: Ottawa at Vancouver, 9pm ET

The Senators’ season, in point form:

— Lost five of their first six.

— Won their next six straight.

— Lost their next five straight.

— Won their next three straight.

Ottawa is streakier than a glass door, which fits in nicely with the wildly inconsistent Canucks: Vancouver has neither won nor lost more than two games in a row this season.

Bolts avoid arbitration with Namestnikov — two years, $3.875M

Vladislav Namestnikov
Getty
1 Comment

Tampa Bay has avoided Friday’s scheduled arbitration hearing with forward Vladislav Namestnikov, agreeing to a two-year, $3.875M deal on Tuesday evening, per ESPN.

Namestnikov, 23, had a breakout campaign last year, scoring 14 goals and 35 points in 80 games — all career highs. The former first-round pick also appeared in 17 playoff games for the Bolts, scoring a goal and three points while helping the club to the Eastern Conference Final.

Coming off a one-year deal in which he made $874,125, the diminutive Russian gets a nice pay bump with this latest contract, and a bit of security with the two-year term. He should play a fairly integral role next season, coming off a year in which he finished tied for fourth on the team in goals, with Tyler Johnson.

But while tonight may be about Namestnikov, it’s another Russian forward in Tampa Bay that everybody now has their eyes on — Nikita Kucherov, the playoff scoring sensation that declined to file for arbitration, but still requires a new deal.

Given some of the big-money contracts GM Steve Yzerman has handed out this summer — namely those to Steve Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn — the Kucherov negotiations are definitely ones to keep an eye on.

Talks ongoing between Wild and Dumba, meeting expected soon

dumbaeye
Getty
1 Comment

There’s just one piece of business left for Minnesota this summer — a new contract for RFA defenseman Matt Dumba.

And it sounds like that piece of business will soon be attended to.

From the Star-Tribune:

There have been ongoing talks between Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr and [Dumba’s] agent Craig Oster.

The two are expected to meet face to face in Calgary at the Hockey Canada camp.

Dumba, the former No. 7 overall pick, just wrapped his entry-level deal, coming off a campaign in which he set career highs in games played (81), goals (10) and points (26).

He also notched a pair of assists in the Wild’s six-game loss to Dallas in the playoffs.

Dumba, 22, did see his name surface in trade talks this season. There was a report in late January that he was the return piece in a potential swap for Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin, and he’s been tied to teams looking for a blueline upgrade.

A good puck mover with offensive skills — and a right-handed shot — Dumba is definitely a commodity. What’s more, logic suggests the Wild could opt to move him, given the long-term financial commitments to fellow defensemen Ryan Suter (signed through 2025 at $7.53 million), Jonas Brodin (2021 at $4.16M), Jared Spurgeon (2020, $5.18M) and Marco Scandella (2020, $4M).

Minnesota has some other young defensive prospects in the system, too.

There’s former Gophers standout Mike Reilly, Miami of Ohio product Louis Belpedio and Gustav Olofsson, the 46th overall pick in ’13 that’s been honing his game in AHL Iowa (and made his NHL debut last season).

The Wild are in control of the Dumba situation and can slow play negotiations, possibly while re-exploring trade scenarios. Don’t forget the Bruins are still in search of the “transitional” defenseman they desperately want.

But should things go the expected way and Dumba re-signs in Minnesota, the Star-Tribune said a bridge deal is the “likeliest” outcome.

Journeyman enforcer Rosehill signs with Scottish team

Paul Bissonnette, Jay Rosehill
Getty
Leave a comment

Noted pugilist Jay Rosehill has followed in the footsteps of his fellow tough guys, and will try his hand overseas.

Specifically, in the United Kingdom.

On Tuesday, the EIHL’s Scottish-based outfit in Braehead — the Clan — announced it had signed Rosehill for the upcoming campaign. The move comes after the 31-year-old spent each of the last two seasons with Philly’s AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.

Though he’s slowed down in recent years, Rosehill has long been known as an extremely active fighter. At no time was this more evident than during the ’08-09 campaign, when he fought a staggering 33 times (yeah, thirty-three) while playing for AHL Norfolk.

Rosehill last played in the NHL during the ’13-14 campaign, scoring two goals in 34 games for the Flyers — while racking up 90 PIM.

Here’s an example of some of his most famous handiwork:

As mentioned above, the EIHL has landed a few notable ex-NHL fighters. Cam Janssen, Kevin Westgarth, Paul Bissonnette and Tom Sestito have all played there.

 

 

Veteran d-man Foster retires, moves into coaching

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 13:  Kurtis Foster #26 of the Minnesota Wild looks on during their NHL game against the New York Islanders on December 13, 2005 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  The Wild defeated the Islanders 4-3.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Getty
4 Comments

Kurtis Foster, who appeared in over 400 games during a 10-year NHL career, is hanging up his skates to enter the next phase of his hockey life — coaching.

Foster, 34, has rejoined his former junior team in OHL Peterborough as an assistant coach, per the Examiner. The decision comes after Foster spent the last three years playing overseas in the KHL and, most recently, in the German League.

The 40th overall pick in 2000, Foster is often remembered for a horrific leg break while playing for Minnesota during the 2007-08 campaign, in which his femur was shattered by Torrey Mitchell after Mitchell tried to prevent an icing call.

The severity of the collision and Foster’s injury — he underwent emergency surgery, nearly bled out and almost lost his leg — prompted an immediate rule tweak from the NHL, and has since been viewed as a catalyst for the league’s adoption of no-touch icing.

Impressively, Foster recovered from the broken femur to post a career-high 42 points in 74 games with the Lightning in ’09-10.

In addition to the Wild and Bolts, Foster spent time with the Thrashers, Oilers, Ducks, Devils and Flyers.