Ilya Kovalchuk wasn’t much of a factor in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals and Kings defenseman Drew Doughty deserves some of the credit for that. As we previously reported, the Devils aren’t going to shy away from that matchup.
“In order to get (Kovalchuk) away (from Doughty and Scuderi), we’re going to have to get away from a four-line game, which has been our strength,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “If they’re matching up against Kovalchuk, then they’re not matching up against (Zach) Parise or other guys.”
Kovalchuk seems to be comfortable with the Devils’ plan.
“I don’t really care who I play against, we just have to work as a line, actually a five-man unit because that’s when we’re successful,” Kovalchuk said. “In the third we started moving the puck and we started forechecking better. It doesn’t really matter who you’re playing against, you just have to be on top of your game and let them make decisions.
“I’ve played against some good Ds and figured out how to go through them by doing the things I’m supposed to do. That’s what I will try to do next game.”
Naturally, if the Devils strategy doesn’t work out in Game 2 on Saturday, DeBoer might change his tune. He has embraced significant changes in the past, particularly in the Eastern Conference finals following their shutout losses against New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in Games 1 and 3.
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.