The Penguins’ offseason could be a very interesting one and general manager Ray Shero would love to keep the drama level low. With rumors swirling around about Jordan Staal perhaps wanting to blossom elsewhere (Carolina, perhaps?) and one more year left on his and Sidney Crosby’s contracts, Shero knows he’s got some work to do.
Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette talks to Shero about what his plans are for the summer and it doesn’t sound like trades are on his mind at all. Instead, he’d like to keep Crosby, Staal, and Evgeni Malkin (two years left on his deal) around for a while.
“I’d like to do that, if possible,” he said. “We’re looking at hopefully getting extensions with [Crosby and Staal].”
While it is conceivable that Staal, the team’s No. 3 center, might want to play elsewhere so he can fill a more offense-oriented role, he apparently has not said anything of the sort to the Penguins. Asked if any of the top three centers had expressed a desire to move, Shero responded, “Absolutely not.”
Wanting to do it and being able to do it in the salary cap world are two different things, obviously, but Shero is going to have to be shrewd if all three players are going to stay in Pittsburgh. The only guy immune from trade rumors is Crosby as even Malkin’s name was thrown around by TSN’s Darren Dreger as a trade possibility should the Pens want to keep Staal.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer