Both the New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings come into tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) with plenty to play for. The Rangers want to keep the red hot Penguins off their back in the race for the top spot in the East while the Red Wings would like to get back to winning games and stay ahead of the Nashville Predators.
The slide the Red Wings are in right now is their worst of the season. Detroit has lost five in a row and 10 of their last 13 games. While the Blues have taken control of the Central Division, somehow the Wings haven’t fallen out of fourth in the West with both Nashville and Chicago chasing them thanks to both of those teams dealing with struggles of their own. Don’t let that fool you, things are bad for Detroit right now.
Jimmy Howard tweaked his nagging groin injury again and is out of tonight’s game. Add to that that Joey MacDonald has a back problem and Ty Conklin is on re-entry waivers to try and start tonight, things are bad in goal. With Nicklas Lidstrom skating but not ready to return to action as well as other injuries to Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson, and Jakub Kindl it’s no wonder the Wings are losing. That’s not stopping coach Mike Babcock from demanding better of his defense as they’ll need to be at their best to beat New York.
The Rangers are in paradise compared to where the Red Wings are at. New York has already clinched their berth in the playoffs and while coach John Tortorella is busy in his war of words with the Devils, the team is rounding back into form after recent struggles. Getting a win over the Devils was the Rangers third in their last five games. New York too has been dealing with some nagging injuries to Ryan Callahan, Michael Del Zotto but have seen those two come back and play well of late.
With Henrik Lundqvist in goal, however, the Rangers have a distinct advantage over either Conklin or Jordan Pearce for Detroit. Lundqvist will still have his hands full dealing with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, however. Falling asleep on those guys could help give Detroit the boost they desperately need.
Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.
Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.
Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.
The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.
Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.
It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.
Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.
The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.
Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.
“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”
Cancel Danny DeKeyser‘s arbitration hearing on Thursday; it won’t be required.
DeKeyser has agreed on a six-year, $30 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings. The 26-year-old defenseman is now locked up through 2021-22.
Next up for GM Ken Holland is goalie Petr Mrazek‘s arbitration hearing tomorrow. That hearing, which came at the club’s request, may actually be necessary.
DeKeyser’s deal, on the other hand, always seemed like it would be the easier of the two to get done via negotiation.
“The player and the club both know what the range would be on a one-year deal,” Holland said recently, per the Detroit Free Press. “We continue to have conversation on a longer-term deal. I’m comfortable we can avoid the process. Danny is Detroit born, he’s happy with his role, happy to be a Red Wing. We are happy with his play.”
DeKeyser had eight goals and 12 assists in 78 games last season, while logging an average ice time of 21:48. As an NHLer, he’s proven why he was such a highly sought-after college free agent, and his new contract reflects that.