Paul Holmgren

Flyers GM says he “made 29 phone calls” upon learning Pronger was lost for season

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Interesting tidbit here from CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

source:

With his team atop the Eastern Conference and just one point out of first in the NHL, it’s not surprising Holmgren’s in “I gotta salvage the season!” mode.

But how does he salvage it?

Pronger could go on Long-Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) like Marc Savard did in Boston, meaning the Flyers would have $4.9 million in available cap space. That’s a sizeable chunk, definitely enough to acquire a serviceable defenseman or, if Holmgren was willing to trade a player with a decent-sized cap hit, an even larger asset.

Knowing that, there’s sure to be plenty of scuttlebutt surrounding Nashville. The Preds have two tantalizing options in Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, and Holmgren has an extensive history of dealing with GM David Poile. The two first linked up in 2007 for the Scott Hartnell-Kimmo Timonen deal and have made a few more since (most recently, Holmgren acquired Dan Hamhuis’ negotiation rights from Poile.)

There are a few less-compelling options as well. Francois Beauchemin is a guy to keep an eye on — Holmgren and Anaheim GM Bob Murray got together for the Pronger deal in 2009 and if Anaheim falls short of the playoffs (which looks likely), unloading the 31-year-old UFA-to-be is a possibility.

One also wonders what the future holds for Jaroslav Spacek. The 37-year-old probably isn’t in Carolina’s plans moving forward and at this stage of his career, might want a shot at the postseason (another thing that’s not in Carolina’s plans.)

If things continue to go south for Tampa, Pavel Kubina could be in play. Sounds like Calgary would be interested in unloading Anton Babchuk and/or Cory Sarich.

Of course, Holmgren could stand pat and see how things play out. Even without Pronger, Philadelphia still has a solid top-four defense of Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn. The Flyers have also gotten surprisingly solid production out of rookie Marc-Andre Bourdon and should get veteran Andreas Lilja (ankle) back from injury soon.

Eichel makes everyone look silly, Varlamov gets the early hook

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You know, with Connor McDavid hogging so much attention, it’s about time that Jack Eichel provided us with another awesome goal.

That tally came at the Colorado Avalanche’s (and especially Semyon Varlamov‘s) expense as that was the Buffalo Sabres first shot of the game.

Patrick Roy apparently felt like this just wasn’t Varlamov’s afternoon, as Colorado’s head coach decided to pull him after Varly allowed two goals on as many shots. Evander Kane nabbed the other goal for Buffalo.

You can watch the goal in the video above, which reminds us that “Eichel Tower” might not be a unique pun.

Another shot of it:

Check out Kane’s goal, too:

To be fair to Varlamov, Calvin Pickard has already allowed a goal as well. The Sabres are currently off to a 3-0 lead, and maybe a small roll considering how well they played against Montreal on Friday?

NHL on NBC: Red Wings, Bruins fight for Atlantic positioning

Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) keeps Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) from the puck in the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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Both the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins are finding new ways to win these days, and while they might not be as obvious contenders as they once were, each team can still be dangerous.

Sunday’s NBC game proves enticing for plenty of reasons, yet the most obvious is that if the postseason began today, these two squads would face off in an intriguing first-round matchup.

The Bruins have taken the first two games between these teams in 2015-16, but they might be forced to face the Red Wings without crucial forward Patrice Bergeron, who may have been injured during an unlikely fight with Blake Wheeler.

Detroit features Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk as usual, although Dylan Larkin is a new, ultra-speedy forward who is worthy of plenty of attention in his own right.

While Jeff Blashill continues to establish himself following up Mike Babcock, Claude Julien recently hit a milestone with his 500th win and earned plaudits from CSNNE.com as one of the best coaches in the league.

(Speaking of milestones, Brad Richards is expected to play in his 1,100th game.)

Boston currently holds the second spot in the Atlantic with 66 points in 55 games played, but Detroit is right behind them with 65 in as many contests. With the Tampa Bay Lightning hovering nearby, each team likely recognizes this as an important game.

Goalie nods: Backups battle as Kinkaid faces Enroth

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jhonas Enroth, of Sweden, deflects a shot off the stick of a Colorado Avalanche player in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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The New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings prefer to lean on workhorse goalies Cory Schneider and Jonathan Quick respectively, but Sunday presents a change of pace.

In the Kings’ case, Jhonas Enroth is playing in part because of (what Los Angeles hopes is) a minor injury to Quick.

It’s true that the under-sized goalie sports a mediocre 4-4-1 record, but he’s given the Kings legitimate chances to win games considering his impressive (especially for a backup) save percentage of .925. Perhaps he can earn a few more reps if he plays well in what may be a tight game?

Speaking of earning more reps, Keith Kinkaid must continue to work to prove that he’s able to make the jump from AHL goalie to at least an NHL backup. The Kings aren’t likely to make it easy for him, either.

Elsewhere …

Avalanche at Sabres: Semyon Varlamov vs. Robin Lehner

Bruins at Red Wings: Possibly Tuukka Rask vs. Petr Mrazek

Blues at Lightning: Best guess – Brian Elliott vs. Ben Bishop

Flyers at Rangers: Steve Mason vs. (possibly) Henrik Lundqvist

Fight video: Someone other than Evander Kane beats up Alex Petrovic

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Bummed out on this holiday? Look on the bright side: at least you’re not as sore as Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic likely is right now.

Not long after suffering three defeats at the hands/fists of Evander Kane, Petrovic likely lost another bout to Nashville Predators tough guy Anthony Bitetto.

(Note: some might consider this more of a draw, for what it’s worth. You can watch that latest fight in the video above.)

Hey, at least Bitetto didn’t taunt Petrovic after their fight …

It was a rough night for the Panthers overall, as they suffered a gruesome injury or two and fell to the Predators by a score of 5-0.