Crosby Staal

Pens GM Shero says no deadline for Crosby or Staal, expects to trade defensemen

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A variety of Pittsburgh Penguins news items to report, courtesy Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette:

Sidney Crosby

Pens GM Ray Shero can sign Crosby — heading into the final season of a five-year, $43.5 million deal — to an extension on July 1.

Shero told Molinari there’s no formal or informal deadline on getting a deal done with his captain (though there have already been crazy dollars and term thrown about.)

Jordan Staal

Few notes here:

— Staal hasn’t expressed interest in leaving Pittsburgh after his deal expires in 2013.

— Shero said that, like Crosby, there’s no deadline for signing Staal to an extension.

— Many teams have inquired about Staal, but Shero replies to each with the same response: Pittsburgh hasn’t put him on the market and hopes to re-sign him.

— Staal’s getting married on Friday. Huzzah!

Arron Asham/Steve Sullivan

Shero said both “have been good players for us,” and there are plans to discuss their futures with their agents in the coming weeks. Asham has already stated his desire to remain a Penguin.

Defensemen

Shero said he expects to trade a defenseman or two before next season. A quick glace at Pittsburgh’s cap structure reveals a lot of money tied up in Paul Martin ($5 million annually until 2015), Zbynek Michalek ($4 million annually until 2015) and Brooks Orpik ($3.75 million annually until 2014).

Those deals are compounded by two things. One, they all involve some type of no-trade/movement clause and two, they’re all more expensive than Kris Letang’s ($3.5 million annually until 2014.)

It seems likely that Martin, Michalek and/or Orpik are targets to be moved, though Shero declined to reveal if he’s asked anybody to waive a NTC or NMC.

Video: Chris Kreider doesn’t just fight Cody Eakin, he hits him with his helmet

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Tuesday’s Dallas Stars – New York Rangers almost seemed destined to be a wild affair, and so far, the two teams aren’t disappointing.

For one thing, Chris Kreider and the Rangers were open about “not forgetting” Cody Eakin‘s hit on Henrik Lundqvist, something Eakin realized heading in. The Stars had their own irritations coming into this game, as they clearly weren’t happy with their loss to the Buffalo Sabres and their shaky play overall.

So, yeah, plenty of reason for this to be a rowdy affair.

Kreider is delivering in particular, with the most memorable moment being his strange fight with Eakin, which you can see above. SBNation’s Pat Iversen points out that Kreider probably should have been ejected for hitting Eakin with a piece of his equipment, a violation of Rule 53.

As many know, Kreider has even more of a reputation for “interacting” with goalies, as he did once again with Antti Niemi:

The Stars currently lead the game 5-3, so it’s been a busy one on the scoreboard, too.

Video: Maple Leafs lose Morgan Rielly after fall into boards

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Down 2-0 to the Buffalo Sabres, the Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a shaky start on Tuesday. Still, their concerns likely revolve the most around the health of defenseman Morgan Rielly.

As you can see from the video above, the young Buds blueliner was shaken up by an awkward spill into the boards.

It’s too early to know if he avoided injury or might miss some time, but there’s at least some concern that he might have aggravated an issue from before his NHL days:

We’ll need to wait and see, but with his offensive skills and overall importance in mind (average just under 23 minutes a game this season, more or less in line with his breakthrough year in 2015-16), the Maple Leafs are crossing their fingers that this isn’t anything major.

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23:  Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck as he turns against Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center on December 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Avalanche defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Blackhawks need to put a tough weekend behind them; maybe the Colorado Avalanche are just what the doctor ordered.

Colorado is clearly ranked last in the league, whether they believe they have some assets in the likes of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog or not. Perhaps there will be a few scouts on hand to see how such potential Avs trade targets perform against a contending team?

It’s rarely a dull night when the Blackhawks roll out talented players like Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Jonathan Toews – among others – so it should be a good time on NBCSN on Tuesday.

You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.

Short-lived return? No Tyler Ennis for Sabres tonight

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 25:  Tyler Ennis #63 of the Buffalo Sabres takes a shot on goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center on October 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Tyler Ennis‘ return to the Buffalo Sabres lineup on Monday after a 30-game absence seemed like a breath of fresh air. Tuesday, then, represents letting the air out of the balloon.

The Sabres announced that Ennis wasn’t out for warm-ups heading into tonight’s Sabres – Toronto Maple Leafs game. It certainly gives the impression that his groin injury isn’t fully healed.

Ennis contributed a goal to Buffalo’s 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday and nearly scored another in “lacrosse” style:

When healthy, he’s been a 20-goal, 40+ point player for Buffalo lately, so he was missed. The team tweeted out Ryan O'Reilly‘s comments about Ennis’ return mere hours ago, so you get the impression that it was a surprise for many:

Maybe it’s just a minor setback?

Update: The Sabres deem it a “precautionary scratch,” according to John Vogl of the Buffalo News. So maybe file this under minor setback. We’ll see.