New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer doesn’t want to be that guy who hangs around the office when he’s sick. Yesterday he went home following practice and spoke to reporters via conference call rather than in person.
“I just felt a little under the weather after practice,” DeBoer said. “Nothing serious. I stayed away out of concern for (the media’s) health and me spreading it to you. Last thing we need is you guys getting sick this time of year.”
Today, DeBoer was asked if any illness had spread through the team, since that would be almost as bad as if it spread through the media.
“No, I feel great,” he said. “Thanks for the concern. I know it’s genuine.”
When the personal health updates were finished, DeBoer spoke about the importance of the Devils keeping their composure in what should be an emotional series with the Rangers. (Remember this?)
“Playing for the Eastern Conference championship and playing your cross-town, cross-river rival, emotions will be something to have to manage,” he said. “You want [emotions]. It’s a big part of hockey, and big part of hockey this time of year. And you have to make sure you channel it the right way.”
In the second round, the Devils kept their cool against a frustrated Flyers squad and were able to cash in with four power-play goals in five games. Philadelphia also lost its best player, Claude Giroux, for Game 5 due to an undisciplined play.
“A lot of guys took a beating and turned the other cheek,” New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur said after eliminating the Flyers. “We didn’t want to get into a special-team match. No retaliation penalties in the whole series, and that was key.”
Per the Columbus Dispatch, Anaheim winger Chris Stewart reportedly suffered a broken jaw in his fight on Thursday night with Jackets d-man Dalton Prout.
Stewart, who has eight goals and 18 points in 47 games this year, left the game following the scrap and didn’t return from the third period. Head coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t provide any update on the veteran’s condition following the contest.
Assuming Stewart misses time with the injury, it would be a blow to the Anaheim lineup. Though he averages just 10:40 TOI per game, Stewart is a physical presence and has played pretty well of late, with three points in his last five games.
Last year, it was Devan Dubnyk who saved the Wild and salvaged his career.
This year, could Ben Scrivens do the same for the Montreal Canadiens, and himself?
Admittedly, the odds are against him. But with Carey Price possibly done for the season, there’s at least the potential.
Scrivens, you’ll recall, was acquired from Edmonton in late December. While his first four starts did not go particularly well, he’s been downright solid lately. On Tuesday, he won his third straight, stopping 37 of 39 shots in a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay. His save percentage in those three wins was .959.
The 29-year-old will make a fourth straight start tonight in Buffalo, getting the nod over Mike Condon, whose save percentage has fallen to a lowly .905 for the season.
Like Dubnyk prior to joining the Wild, Scrivens has had success as an NHL goalie. In 2013-14, he boasted a .931 save percentage in 19 games for the Kings, before he was traded to Edmonton (right after the Oilers had traded Dubnyk, oddly enough) and things started to fall apart.
Also like Dubnyk, Scrivens had to spend some time in the minors before he got another shot with an NHL team.
Look, we’re not saying this is definitely going to happen. Scrivens has only had three good games, and the Habs’ issues since Price went down have extended beyond goaltending.
All we’re saying is that there’s the potential.
Tonight’s game is the first of three on the road for the Canadiens. They play Monday in Arizona and Wednesday in Colorado, before returning home to face Philadelphia next Friday.
Less than a month after exposing Nate Guenin to waivers, the Avs are at it again.
On Friday, Colorado placed the veteran defenseman on the wire (per TVA), just hours after he was scratched from a 4-3 win over Ottawa on Thursday night.
Guenin, 33, has only appeared in 29 games for the Avs this year, going pointless while averaging just over 13 minutes per night. It’s a far cry from the ’14-15 campaign, in which he posted career highs in games played (76), assists (13) and points (15).
Guenin appears to have been passed on the depth chart by Andrew Bodnarchuk and Chris Bigras, both of whom played against the Sens (another defenseman, Zach Redmond, was a healthy scratch along with Guenin).
Per General Fanager, today’s move might be more about shedding a contract than anything else:
Since an 11-3-3 start that saw them pile up 25 points in their first 17 games, the Nashville Predators have played 37 more times and gained just 33 points.
For comparison’s sake, in all 30 teams’ last 37 games, only the Montreal Canadiens (in the midst of a shocking collapse) and the Buffalo Sabres (just not very good) have gained fewer than 33 points.
So yeah, it’s been a struggle. The goaltending and defensive play have been sub-par. Offensively, it hasn’t been very good either.
The good news for the Preds is that they’re still in the playoff race. In fact, thanks in large part to the imploding Wild, Nashville currently occupies the final wild-card spot in the West.
With just nine games remaining before the Feb. 29 trade deadline, the players know they’re entering a key stretch.
“I’m sure David Poile and the management have a few different plans,” defenseman Barret Jackman told The Tennessean, “but our thoughts in this room are picking up points and being a playoff contender… and making this team better and making a run for the Stanley Cup.”
By the way, here are those next nine games…
Pretty tough, right? Only Montreal and Toronto aren’t in a playoff spot.
Suffice to say, it would be a huge disappointment if the Preds ended up missing the postseason — especially after acquiring Ryan Johansen, the number-one center everyone kept saying they needed.
Johansen has actually been very good for them; he has 16 points in 14 games.
It’s the team as a whole that needs to pick it up, and soon.
Related: Preds believe Vesey could ‘come in and play right away’