–The Toronto Maple Leafs surprised some when they sacrificed a second round draft pick to acquire Brian Boyle from Tampa, but The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell believes it’s a good trade for them even if they fail to make the playoffs. (The Hockey News)
–Zach Dalpe was thrilled when he found out he had been claimed off waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets, but there’s a problem. The move isn’t ideal for him because he and his wife are expecting their first child any day now. “It’s our first kid. I take pride in being there when the baby is born, and she could pop any day now. When I told her the news today, it was pretty emotional. She wanted to come to Cleveland, but there’s no way she can travel. I told her we’re just going to have to weather this storm.” (Columbus Dispatch)
–If you think Brent Burns and Joe Thornton have impressive beards, you need to see this Capitals fan’s facial hair. His beard is so long, he’s able to spell out “CAPS” with it. You have to see it to believe it. (BarDown)
–On Monday night, the Minnesota Wild defeated the Los Angeles Kings in overtime thanks to this incredible goal by Mikael Granlund. You can watch his insane individual effort by clicking the video at the top of the page (you’re going to want to watch that more than once).
–CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty predicts the Boston Bruins will end their two-year playoff drought this season. Haggerty points to the team’s response to the hiring of Bruce Cassidy as the main reason why he sees them playing deeper into April. Haggerty writes: “Clearly they’re playing with more urgency, higher compete levels, and a consistent focus that wasn’t there in the first 55 games under Claude Julien. They’ve now scored first-period goals in nine straight games and scored first in each of the four games on the highly successful Western swing through San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Dallas over the last week.” (CSN New England)
–Being traded is never easy, but if it happens to you often enough, you can learn to deal with it a little bit better. Just ask Capitals forward Daniel Winnik, who has been dealt on four different occasions. He and his wife Taylor were forced to move from Toronto to Washington at this time last year and it was total madness. “The first thing he did was go to our storage unit and grab all of the giant plastic bins we have for all of our stuff, and he just started jamming every kitchen supply you can imagine into these things. He kind of went crazy trying to get it done.” (Washington Post)
–Almost every team wants their general manager to add a piece or two via trade at this time of year, but not the Pittsburgh Penguins. They feel like they can win another Stanley Cup with the roster they have in place. The only thing Sidney Crosby wants to see them do is increase their desperation level. “I think as a group, we want to find another level,” Crosby said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. I think it’s a mindset. We’re getting there. As far as execution-wise, maybe we haven’t quite been there. But I think our desperation level is starting to climb a little bit. You see it kind of late in games and things like that.” (Pittsburgh Tribune)
Jaws dropped around the hockey world when news broke that the Washington Capitals landed Kevin Shattenkirk in a blockbuster trade. Heads were then scratched as people tried to make sense of the “conditions” of a conditional second-rounder involved in the move.
With a little time for the smoke to clear and with the assets revealed, here are some scattered thoughts.
PHT will likely cover more of the fallout on Tuesday and beyond, though, so stay tuned.
Brian MacLellan deserves consideration as a top GM
Judging an executive can be really tricky; while a GM of the Year award is easy to justify, it’s also easy to mock. Even the best managers inherit a roster (aside from MacLellan’s predecessor George McPhee, who will build one in Vegas), so you have to credit some successes to the guy who came before.
Even so, MacLellan evokes Stan Bowman in masterfully adding tremendous electrons to a fantastic nucleus.
He added Matt Niskanen (and, admittedly, flubbed it with Brooks Orpik) to beef up a defense to help the shrewd hiring of Barry Trotz as head coach. Trotz seems like he’s ending what was a busy procession of shaky bench bosses.
MacLellan really nailed it the next summer, trading for T.J. Oshie and signing Justin Williams to a bargain deal. A year later, the Capitals added a fantastic third-line center option in Lars Eller via a smart trade.
And now this. It’s not clear where Kevin Shattenkirk will fit in the Capitals’ lineup, but either way, he boosts an already formidable group.
Let’s lightning round some other thoughts.
- The Capitals now have a ridiculous group of right-handed shot defensemen. Shattenkirk joins John Carlson and Matt Niskanen, with Tom Gilbert providing some depth support. (It also makes for a blueline heavy on America.)
- Circling back to the MacLellan praise: the price for Shattenkirk really wasn’t that different than what Martin Hanzal cost the Minnesota Wild, was it?
- OK, let’s be honest … a lot this circles back to congratulating MacLellan. Let’s not forget that in landing Shattenkirk, he also keeps the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and other contenders from getting a dangerous defenseman.
- Scroll down this Japers Rink post for a wide variety of details cementing how strong an addition Shattenkirk really is. There’s a reason PHT argued against trading Shattenkirk during the off-season.
- People get to rehash this moment.
- Scottie Upshall joked about all the one-timers Shattenkirk is primed to set up for Alex Ovechkin … but he has a point.
- It’s difficult to imagine the Capitals re-signing Shattenkirk, putting continued emphasis on the talk of Washington being in the last season of a “two-year window” to make their greatest push for a Stanley Cup. At the same time, there aren’t a lot of problem contracts beyond Orpik’s in Washington, so the plus side is that MacLellan can also show how he might be Bowman-like in making the right calls in who to bring back. Make no mistake about it, getting Shattenkirk is about now, not later.
- Oh yeah the Capitals also got a nice sneaky bonus in landing Pheonix Copley, who better have the nickname “typo.”
All things considered, it’s no surprise that the Capitals are excited.
There’s at least a chance Shattenkirk might be able to suit up for Washington as soon as Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, but either way, this sure looks like a slam dunk.
Don’t blame Ben Bishop if, deep down, he was glad that he didn’t make his Los Angeles Kings debut on Monday.
After seeing the kind of speed, drive and all-around electric play displayed by the Minnesota Wild, you can understand a goalie shuddering at the often wide-open action. Despite falling behind four times against the Kings, the Wild ultimately edged Los Angeles 5-4 in an overtime thriller.
Mikael Granlund‘s 20th goal of the season ended it in OT, and quickly. And it was beautiful:
…. Unless you’re Jonathan Quick and the Kings, that is.
Granlund is absolutely on fire right now.
Ryan White made a great first impression for the Wild, scoring a goal and an assist (while displaying great flow). Martin Hanzal wasn’t able to score, though he did make his presence felt with five hits. And, again, Bishop might have secretly been relieved to put his Kings debut on hold.
Marian Gaborik turned back the clock a bit to his Wild prime, scoring a goal and an assist. He generally made quite a bit happen for Los Angeles.
The Tampa Bay Lightning might be in sell mode, but that doesn’t mean their players are quitting on this season.
Nikita Kucherov was the biggest standout, collecting a natural hat trick, which you can watch above. (He also generated an assist.)
And, yes, Andrei Vasilevskiy inspired at least a few “Ben who?” jokes by making 39 out of 40 saves, including this beauty:
As you can see, Ottawa actually had a 1-0 lead at that point, so it could have been a different game if the agile goalie did do the splits there.
The Lightning are still five points out of the final wild card spot, trailing Boyle’s new team in the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Senators, meanwhile, find themselves slipping a bit out of the race to win the Atlantic Division, especially considering Montreal’s comeback win against New Jersey.
Tampa Bay may may not be done making moves and recognizing painful truth that the odds are against them rallying to a playoff spot. That said, nights like these make you wonder if a run is at least possible.