In a surprise move, the Dallas Stars have fired the first big shot of free agency by signing former Phoenix winger Ray Whitney to a two-year, $9 million deal.
Whitney, 40, finished 12th in the NHL last season with 77 points while helping the Coyotes reach the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.
“Whitney was among the most productive players in the league last season and showed he remains extremely capable and dangerous,” Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. “He’s a winner, a competitor and a leader, and we’re very excited he’ll be a Dallas Star.”
It’s a telling move from the Stars organization and new owner Tom Gaglardi. He’d made noise prior to free agency by saying his club would be aggressive in targeting players, and he’s done exactly that by offering up a large chunk of money to a player that’ll be 42 by the time his contract expires.
That said, Whitney hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down despite his advanced age. “The Wizard” has proven to be a consistent scorer in the latter half of his career — since turning 35, he’s averaged 67 points per season.
As per TSN’s Darren Dreger, Whitney’s deal includes a no-movement and modified no-trade clause (in which he can supply a 10-team list upon request.) Should also be noted $1 million of the deal is in bonuses, the other $8 million in salary.
Because Whitney is over the age of 35, the Stars will be on the hook for the entire amount of his contract.
Update: Sportsnet’s Mark Spector reports Whitney’s decision was partly due to the uncertainty surrounding the Coyotes. “It was quite a bit of a factor,” Whitney said. “In Phoenix’s ability to [make an offer] as well.”
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.
As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.
Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.
Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.
PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).
Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.
In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.
Gaborik’s first goal:
And here’s video of the OT-GWG:
Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.
With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.
Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.
“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?
Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.
Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.
It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.
Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.
On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?
It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?
* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.