James Reimer; Chad LaRose

Loser of tonight’s Carolina-Toronto game is eliminated from playoff contention


While it doesn’t have the allure that tonight’s Sabres-Capitals game does, there’s something on the line for the Leafs and Hurricanes for their battle in Toronto.

The loser of their game tonight is officially eliminated from playoff contention and as David Steckel tells Sportsnet, for some reason the Leafs want to keep winning.

“We’re trying to win every game regardless of whether we get booed or we get cheered,” Toronto’s David Steckel said after a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.

While no one is going to catch Columbus for the worst record in the league, the 29th spot is still up for grabs with the Canadiens and Oilers there with 71 points. Finishing lower means being able to slide into a spot in the draft to land any of Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, or Alex Galchenyuk.

With the Leafs and Hurricanes both at 75 points with just a handful of games to go and the bottom of the standings being as packed as the top, wins can push you into a lower pick and not being able to get at the top-end talent in this year’s draft class. For teams like the Leafs and Hurricanes who could use elite draft talent to turn things around, winning for pride only hurts the future.

Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.