Sidney Crosby came into his first road game of the season with most of the hype, which isn’t surprising considering his connection to the Montreal Canadiens. A different Pittsburgh Penguins All-Star ended up being the focal point, though, as Saturday proved to be Kris Letang’s night.
The first major moment came when Max Pacioretty likely broke Letang’s nose with a hit that is almost certain to get a look from Brendan Shanahan. (“Dr. Mark Recchi” will likely smirk when he hears that Pacioretty finds himself on the other side of a controversial check.)
That happened in the third period, but as wobbly as Letang looked after bleeding all over the ice, the telegenic defenseman got his revenge in overtime. Habs fans will likely complain that the play should have been whistled dead, but Letang snatched a puck from underneath Carey Price and fired it into Montreal’s net, giving Pittsburgh a 4-3 win.
In other words, the game packed plenty of excitement wrapped in controversy. So, let us know how you feel: does Pacioretty deserve a suspension for that check, which wasn’t penalized? If so, how long should he sit? And will he make eye contact with Zdeno Chara at imaginary Controversial Check Club meetings?
Report: If the Sabres can sign Vesey, they could be more willing to trade Kane
If the Buffalo Sabres can sign Jimmy Vesey, they may be more willing to trade winger Evander Kane.
That’s what TSN 1040 (Vancouver) radio host Matt Sekeres has been hearing, and what he’s hearing does make a lot of sense.
Kane, whose off-ice issues are once again making headlines, has two years left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. He plays the same position as Vesey, 23, who’s currently Buffalo property but can sign with any team he chooses on Aug. 15.
Even if the Sabres can’t convince Vesey to join them, Kane could still be traded. GM Tim Murray has already conceded that his patience is wearing thin with the 24-year-old that he acquired from Winnipeg not long ago. Alex Nylander, drafted eighth overall in June, plays the same position as Kane, and Murray has said it’s possible the teenager could make the jump to the NHL next season.
Buffalo, Boston and Toronto have generally been considered the favorites to land Vesey. Chicago and Pittsburgh have also been mentioned.
The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t require arbitration with forward Peter Holland. They’ve signed the 25-year-old to a one-year deal worth a reported $1.3 million.
Holland had a hearing scheduled for today. Last week, the Leafs sent a message by putting him on waivers, which he cleared.
Holland had nine goals and 18 assists in 65 games last season. With him signed, the Leafs have only defensemen Frank Corrado and Martin Marincin as restricted free agents. Corrado has an arbitration hearing scheduled for tomorrow; Marincin’s is next Tuesday.
GM Ken Holland would prefer to avoid the hearings, which can sometimes result in hurt feelings.
“I think a negotiated settlement is always better than having an arbitrated settlement,” Holland told MLive.com. “Obviously, both sides run (the risk) of somebody’s not going to be happy.”
That being said, in Mrazek’s case, the two sides still have a ways to go. Remember that the 24-year-old netminder was excellent for most of 2015-16, but in Holland’s words, “the wheels came off a little bit in the middle of February.”
Hence, the divide:
Petr Mrazek arb…DET offer: $2.7M & $3.15M (two-year deal). Player ask: $5M and $5M
The Flyers won’t require today’s scheduled arbitration hearing with Brayden Schenn. They’ve agreed to terms with the 24-year-old forward on a four-year contract with a reported cap hit of $5.125 million.
Schenn had a career-high 26 goals and 33 assists in 2015-16. His 59 points were the third most on the Flyers, behind only Claude Giroux‘s 67 and Wayne Simmonds‘ 60.