Zach Parise

Hurricanes want to add a big free agent this summer


The Carolina Hurricanes have had their great – if sporadic – runs over the years, but when it comes to star power, they’ve typically leaned heavily on Eric Staal, Cam Ward and now Jeff Skinner.

That’s not a bad nucleus, but GM Jim Rutherford has been hamstrung by a shaky budget and even shakier moves (see: Kaberle, Tomas), leaving the Hurricanes as a pretty thin bunch. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Hurricanes are tired of settling for the Alexei Ponikarovsky-type marginal free agents; they want to get into the Zach Parise/Ryan Suter sweepstakes this summer, instead.

(If either star player hits the unrestricted market, mind you.)

Both players would obviously give Carolina a huge shot in the arm – and would possibly boost them to “contender” status in the notably weak Southeast Division. The Hurricanes haven’t had a defenseman on Suter’s level since their Hartford Whalers days while Parise would easily outclass Erik Cole as the best winger Staal has ever skated with in Carolina.

Of course, one could also call free agency the dangerous siren call of sports. Those dreams of grandeur seduce teams into spending big amounts of money only to feel the sticker shock later on. (Again, see: Kaberle, Tomas.)

It’s unclear what, exactly, would make the Hurricanes’ management willing to spend big. Perhaps it’s that weak division, possibilities to gain a rare free agent gem or merely the promise of Kirk Muller’s coaching skills. Either way, it would likely answer the prayers of Hurricanes fans who’ve watched Staal and Ward strain to carry the load over the years.

The Tomas Kaberle’s of the world blare an important warning, though: be careful what you wish for.

The verdict is in: Dubinsky gets one game for cross-checking Crosby

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Brandon Dubinsky has been suspended one game for his cross-check to the back of Sidney Crosby‘s neck.

The incident took place during the second period of Friday’s game.

Crosby did head to the locker room after the play, but he was able to return.

When deciding on the number of games to give Dubinsky, here’s what the NHL took into account:

  1. Dubinsky delivered a clear cross-check.
  2. Dubinsky has been fined before, but never suspended.
  3. Crosby wasn’t seriously injured on the play.

“In this case, while Dubinsky’s cross-check isn’t overly violent or forceful, it is an intentional strike to an opponent’s head using his stick,” the NHL said in their explanation of the play. “This is not a case where the head contact was caused by a sudden movement by Crosby or by a stick riding up a player’s back or shoulders and making subsequent contact with the head.”

Click on the video at the top of the page to watch the NHL’s full explanation.

The Blue Jackets take on the Blues in St. Louis tonight.

Ready to Roll: Oilers activate Schultz from IR, send down Reinhart

Justin Schultz
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The Edmonton Oilers activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve and assigned Griffin Reinhart to the minors.

Schultz has missed the last 14 games because of a back injury, but he’ll suit up in Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 25-year-old has one assist and a minus-6 rating in nine games in ’15-16.

Here’s his interview with Oilers TV from earlier today:

Reinhart was acquired in an off-season trade with the New York Islanders this summer.

The former fourth overall pick has no points and a minus-1 rating in 12 games with the Oilers.

The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

James Reimer
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James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.

War of words continues between Rangers and Bruins on Saturday


The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.

After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.

On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.

“Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”

The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.