Anaheim Ducks v Nashville Predators

Ducks GM says Selanne, Koivu are only ‘untouchables’


The Anaheim Ducks made a stunning run to a playoff spot last season, but in a way, that might have deceived management into thinking that the team is better than it actually is. The 2011-12 season has been a cruel reality check, but Randy Carlyle’s firing might not be the only big move.

Ducks GM Bob Murray spoke with The Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott, revealing that veteran forwards Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne are the only players who might be “untouchable” in trades. As much as that has to do with Selanne retiring with the Ducks, the biggest reason might be that Selanne and Koivu’s contracts have no-movement clauses. (In other words, Selanne could get his way if he asks for a trade.)

The biggest – and maybe most worrisome – takeaway is that Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan could be had at the right price. Murray said that he’s not looking to rebuild and give up on this season, but core players will decide if they stay by how they play.

Murray could be playing with fire

Look, there’s no denying that the Ducks’ big three of power forwards are coming up small. The problem is that Anaheim is a low-budget team that often competes largely based on Selanne + those three, who carry affordable cap hits. Here’s what those players are getting in terms of cap hits and their all-important yearly salaries via

Ryan Getzlaf: 2011-12 cap hit: $5.325 million; 2011-12 salary: $5.75 million
2012-13 cap hit: $5.325 million; 2012-13 salary: $6.125 million;

Corey Perry: 11-12 cap hit: $5.325 million; 11-12 salary: $5.375 million
12-13 cap hit: $5.235 million; 12-13 salary: $4.875 million

Bobby Ryan: 11-12 cap hit: $5.1 million; 11-12 salary: $5.263 million
12-13 cap hit: $5.1 million; 12-13 salary: $5.623 million
13-14 cap hit: $5.1 million; 13-14 salary: $5.623 million
14-15 cap hit: $5.1 million; 14-15 salary: $5.623 million

OK, so maybe that trio isn’t earning the $16 million-or-so that they’re receiving this season, but you’re not going to find much better value in a trio of scorers than that. This thought is especially true since their current struggles and Murray’s back-against-the-wall situation will only encourage rival GMs to exploit the situation with low-ball offers.

Deep down, Getzlaf-Perry-Ryan should be the Ducks’ only untouchables,* but we’ll just have to see if cooler heads prevail.

* – Yes, that means trading Selanne should be considered, especially if they can get some quality talent in exchange for what might be his final NHL season.

Hellebuyck debuts with victory as Jets best Wild

Connor Hellebuyck
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and assist, Connor Hellebuyck made 14 saves to win his NHL debut and the Winnipeg Jets spoiled left winger Zach Parise‘s return from a knee injury by beating the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Friday.

Mathieu Perreault added his second goal in two games and Nikolaj Ehlers‘ goal late in the third put the game away.

The Jets won on the road for the first time in their last seven tries and for just the third time in their last 11 games.

Ryan Carter scored for Minnesota, finally getting a shot past Hellebuyck that made it 2-1 midway through the third period.

Hellebuyck was college hockey’s top goalie in 2013-14 and the goaltender on the U.S. team that won a bronze medal in the 2015 world championships.

Minnesota finished with a season-low 15 shots, which was also a season low in shots allowed for the Jets.

Wild fans at the Xcel Energy Center let out a roar when it was announced before the game that Parise would start, but not even his return could spark Minnesota.

After Jason Zucker was whistled for an elbowing penalty behind the net, Perreault took a pass from Byfuglien and zipped it past Devan Dubnyk to give Winnipeg a 1-0 lead with 3:34 left in the second period.

Byfuglien made it 2-0 early in the third when his odd-angle shot hit Dubnyk in the back of the skate and went in for his seventh goal.

Carter’s goal bounced off of Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart and past Hellebuyck to give Minnesota some momentum.

The rookie didn’t get rattled, however, stopping a big shot from Jason Pominville with 3:11 to play.

Just 11 seconds later, Ehlers got loose on a breakaway and put the game away.

Winnipeg’s defense came into the game ranked 29th in goals allowed, but had little problem preventing Minnesota from generating quality scoring chances.

The Wild have just one win in their last six games. Parise was Minnesota’s leading scorer when he sprained a knee ligament on Nov. 5.

NOTES: Wild F Justin Fontaine missed his 11th game with a sprained MCL, but has a chance to return for Saturday’s game against Dallas according to coach Mike Yeo. … The Wild went 4-3-1 without Parise. … Jets RW Blake Wheeler had an assist and now has points in 18 of 24 games.

Blackhawks baffle Ducks with late magic; Kane’s streak at 18 games


The Chicago Blackhawks may not be at peak-level right now, but they’re still a tough team to finish off.

For most of Friday’s game, it seemed like the story would be about John Gibson possibly elbowing into the Anaheim Ducks’ No. 1 role, continuing that franchise carousel.

Instead, it was about yet another tremendous comeback for Chicago, as the Blackhawks scored two goals in the final two minutes of the third period to erase a 2-0 deficit. Artem Anisimov than scored the OT GWG.

Stunning stuff … though definitely not unprecedented.

With less than 30 seconds remaining, Patrick Kane grabbed an assist on Duncan Keith‘s 2-2 goal. Kane extended his point streak to 18 games, tying a record for America-born players.

For the Ducks, it’s yet another gut punch, one that makes you wonder how they’d fare in another playoff series against Chicago (if they can even get there … a big if).

Bruce Boudreau is bummed:

Tyler Johnson’s injury: One of several ominous signs for Tampa Bay

Carl Gunnarsson, Tyler Johnson
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The gloom only seems to lift from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s cloudy season in small drizzles.

Sure, they’re on a three-game winning streak, but the Washington Capitals seem to be on the verge of ending that with a thud (they’re currently up 3-0 going into the third period).

Update: Washington managed a 4-2 win, giving the Capitals a four-game winning streak.

That’s the least of the Bolts’ concerns right now, really, as Tyler Johnson left Friday’s game seemingly injured.

The word seemingly comes into play because details are scarce, as reporters note.

/ominous music plays

If you look at Tampa Bay’s upcoming schedule, things could get downright stormy.

They face the Islanders at home, but they do so tomorrow so they won’t be well-rested. It gets worse from there.

Dec. 2 – 6: Three-game road trip against the California teams

Dec. 10 – 12: Two home games (one vs. Ottawa, one vs. Washington)

Dec. 14-18: Another three-game road trip

Long story short, they close up a back-to-back set at home tomorrow and then play six of eight on the road.

/even more ominous music

The end of 2015 looks friendlier, but for a team that seems to be cratering here and there … things look a bit morbid.

We’ll see if they can keep fighting, perhaps with a comeback tonight?

The ghost is here: Another OT-winner from Flyers’ Gostisbehere

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Here’s an easy way to remember how to spell Shayne Gostisbehere’s maddening last name (and even his first name can trip you up).

Ghost-is-be-here, without the h.

Not too bad, right?

If you’re more of the slogan type, it’s getting to be the point where “Tough to spell, tougher to stop” may be a pretty good one-liner.

The Philadelphia Flyers phenom has made a habit of scoring overtime game-winning goals on the power play lately. Friday’s version was the decisive tally in a 3-2 OT win against the Nashville Predators, which you can watch up top.

As you can see in comparing that goal with the one below (which made the difference against the Carolina Hurricanes), opposing coaches may want to make it a point to emphasize stopping this setup, even if it means writing “Don’t let that Ghost kid free.”

All three of his goals are on the power play so far.

Will he breathe life back into the Flyers’ man advantage at this rate?