When last we saw the Sabres and Bruins get together, Paul Gaustad was duking it out with Milan Lucic and defending Ryan Miller’s honor a game too late as the Bruins stormed back to win in a shootout. When the two face off in Buffalo tonight (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) cooler heads might prevail, but with the Sabres trying to get back in the playoffs and the Bruins looking to fully get back on track, don’t bet on it.
The Sabres are winners of three of their last four and are hoping to claw back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. With how jumbled things are at the bottom, Buffalo is 11 points back of Ottawa for eighth. Unfortunately for them, they get to deal with Boston tonight without Thomas Vanek who continues to be out with an upper body injury.
Boston, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive win over Washington on Sunday and hoping to keep their game up to continue righting the ship. A loss to Buffalo would mean all the good will they built up after that win on Sunday would be gone. The Bruins don’t want to go back to square one and with how Tim Thomas has played since the White House kerfuffle, the Bruins are in good shape.
In tonight’s nightcap, the Sharks and Flames face off in San Jose (10:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN) as a pair of teams playing streaky hockey. The Sharks recently have lost three in a row followed by winning three in a row but are coming off a bad 5-3 loss to Phoenix.
The trio of Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, and Patrick Marleau have been keying the Sharks offense while Antti Niemi has played strong in goal. If the Sharks can find consistency they’ll be able to handle their brutal second half schedule a bit easier. They’ll need all they can get against a Flames team that is back in the hunt for the playoffs.
Jarome Iginla’s team has been alternating wins and losses like a true playoff bubble team this season. With the sort of roller coaster they’ve been on you’d think they would be more frustrated, instead they’re keeping their heads up. Miikka Kiprusoff has been looking like the guy we’ve always remembered in goal while Iginla and Olli Jokinen have been leading the way offensively. Taking a chunk out of the Sharks could prove to be inspiring for Calgary as they’re just three points out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Lawson Crouse has joined a talented group of young forwards in Arizona, after the Coyotes acquired the 2015 first-round pick from the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
The Coyotes had to take on the contract of injured forward Dave Bolland, but in their minds, it was worth it to get a player like Crouse, who certainly brings size up front at six-foot-four-inches tall and 212 pounds. He had 23 goals and 62 points in 49 games this season with Kingston in the OHL.
“He’s a unique guy because usually when you add a guy with the type of size he has you usually give up a little bit in skating or you give up a little bit in skill,” said general manager John Chayka, as per the Coyotes website.
“He’s a guy that you add the size and he actually enhances that for your entire group. In our opinion, it was a guy that’s rare to find, difficult to obtain. Certainly, once they become established in the league, those players are locked up well into their 30s and then you end up trying to maybe overpay for a player that has these attributes that’s not in the prime of his career.”
Crouse, who turned 19 years old in June, now joins the likes of Max Domi, Dylan Strome and Anthony Duclair as part of Arizona’s group of up-and-coming young forwards. He has familiarity with all three from playing in the OHL or for Team Canada at the world juniors.
“He can fly. He’s fast and he hits and he scores goals. You kinda get the total package,” Strome told Sportsnet.
There’s been another possible development in the search for a team name for the Las Vegas NHL franchise.
The Las Vegas ‘Desert Knights’ could perhaps be a thing.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.
Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.
DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.
Foley said via text message he had no comment regarding the process when reached by the Review-Journal.
As the Las Vegas franchise continues to hire key members for its hockey operations department, there is growing intrigue when it comes to the search for a new name.
What will this new franchise be called?
The wait continues, and there has been a lot of space dedicated to speculating and discussing the possibilities.
It’s been reported that the expansion franchise could use one of at least three ‘Hawks’-orientated names. Owner Bill Foley also said this summer that Las Vegas can’t use a ‘Knights’ nickname is Canada, because London’s OHL franchise was also named the Knights.
Stay tuned . . .
Scott Luce has gone from the Florida Panthers to the Las Vegas expansion franchise.
The new NHL organization — still searching for a team name — announced Thursday that it has hired Luce as its new director of amateur scouting.
Luce spent the last 14 years in Florida, as a scout and as director of player personnel.
Luce was let go earlier in the offseason, as the Panthers underwent massive change within their front office, with the promotion of Dale Tallon to president of hockey operations and Tom Rowe to GM, and more attention to analytics.
After announcing the hiring of Jared Bednar as their next head coach, the Colorado Avalanche have brought in forward Rene Bourque on a professional tryout, according to James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail.
Bourque became an unrestricted free agent at the beginning of July, after his six-year contract worth a total value of $20 million expired. The annual cap hit on his previous deal was $3.333 million.
He spent last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring three goals and eight points in 49 games. He was placed on waivers at the end of February.
During the 2014-15 campaign, he spent time with the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and the Blue Jackets, before a back injury sidelined him for the remainder of that season.