Older NHLers stuck in limbo with lockout on the horizon

With a lockout looming, the list of NHL elders without contracts for next season remains a lengthy one. Notables include Mike Knuble, Brian Rolston, Tomas Holmstrom, John Madden, Jaroslav Spacek, Andrew Brunette, Jason Arnott and Brendon Morrison.

Not to suggest all those players would be signed if there were no labor strife, but according to Morrison, the uncertainty isn’t helping.

“We’ve talked to a couple of teams but it’s been real slow and with guys who are considered older, teams want to see what’s going to happen with the CBA before much action is going to take place,” Morrison, 37, told The Vancouver Province.

If there’s a bright side for all the unsigned veterans, a shortened season theoretically means less wear and tear on old bodies. In fact, an agent could make the case to a Stanley Cup contender that a lockout actually makes signing players in the twilight of their careers a less risky proposition.

The Kings had to play 102 games, regular season and playoffs combined, on the way to the Cup. For players in their late 30s, that’s a lot.

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    Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

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    Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

    Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

    Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.

    VIDEO: Bruins take three delay of game penalties in first period

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    The delay of game-puck over the glass rule is the one call in the NHL that gets made pretty consistently. It might get missed on occasion, but it’s a pretty black and white rule.

    If you shoot the puck over the glass in your own defensive zone without it hitting another object, it is a penalty. Really nothing to argue about there.

    The Boston Bruins had some issues with it in the first period of Sunday’s playoff game against the Ottawa Senators when they took three — three! — delay of game penalties in the first 15 minutes of Game 6, giving the Senators plenty of opportunities to draw first on the scoreboard.

    It all started 17 seconds into the game when Sean Kuraly, the Bruins’ Game  5 overtime hero, was guilty of it. Twelve minutes later, Joe Morrow was guilty of it. Then three minutes after that, Colin Miller sent one over the glass. You can see them all in the video above.

    Fortunately for the Bruins they were able to kill off all three penalties and keep the game scoreless.

    Because hockey can sometimes be a random, unpredictable and maddening game, the Bruins got a power play of their own late in the period when Mark Stone was sent off for tripping. It took the Bruins less than a minute to capitalize when Drew Stafford scored his first goal of the playoffs to give his team a 1-0 lead.

    So through all of that — three penalties and a 12-6 shots disadvantage that included a clear breakaway on Tuukka Rask — the Bruins went into the first intermission with the lead.

    The lead did not last long into the second period, however, thanks to Ottawa goals from Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris.

    The Bruins’ issues keeping the puck in play in the period was very reminiscent of that Penguins-Capitals playoff game a year ago when the Penguins, when trying to protect a third period lead, took three consecutive delay of game penalties in the third period of Game 6, opening the door for a Capitals comeback that sent the game to overtime. The Penguins ended up winning the game anyway to clinch the series.

    Couture wants Sharks to re-sign Thornton, Marleau

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    The San Jose Sharks 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night was not only the end of their 2016-17 season, it could have also been the end of an era.

    With veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1, their future with the team remains uncertain, and neither one seemed prepared to talk about it in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s defeat.

    Sharks forward Logan Couture was asked if he wants to see the two players return next season and made it pretty clear that he does.

    “You’re asking a guy who’s played with those guys for eight years,” said Couture, via Paul Gackle of the Mecrury News. “I love those guys. They play hard. If you guys only knew what they play through. The respect level that I have for those two guys is just through the roof.”

    There are a number of variables that are going to play a role in whether or not the two leading scorers in franchise history will be back.

    Along with their willingness to return is the fact that both players will be entering their age 38 seasons and already showed some signs of slowing down this season. How much cap space are the Sharks going to be willing to invest in the duo when they already have $55.7 million in salary cap space committed to 16 players for next season, especially given their ages.

    If this does turn out to be the end for Thornton and/or Marleau in San Jose their time will be remembered more for not winning a Stanley Cup and probably not for how much success they have actually had on the ice, both individually and as a team. Not only have Thornton and Marleau been two of the NHL’s best and most productive players over the past decade, but the Sharks have been one of the NHL’s best teams. Since the 2005-06 season, when Thornton first arrived in San Jose, the Sharks have won a league best 547 regular season games (11 more than the team with the second-most wins, the Pittsburgh Penguins) while their 64 playoff wins are tied for the fourth most (Anaheim Ducks) behind only the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Detroit Red Wings.

    WATCH LIVE: Maple Leafs, Bruins facing elimination on Sunday

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    It is a win or go home situation for the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, as both teams enter their respective Game 6s facing elimination in their first-round playoff series’.

    The Bruins need to beat the Ottawa Senators to force a Game 7 on Tuesday night, while the Toronto Maple Leafs need a win to extend their series against the Presidents’ Trophy winning Washington Capitals to a decisive seventh game on Wednesday.

    Both games will be shown on the NBC Networks and streamed online.

    Here is all of the information you need for Sunday’s games.

    Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators

    Time: 3:00 p.m. ET

    Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)

    Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals

    Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

    Network: NBCSN (Stream Online Here)