Daly: “Of course we care what our fans think”

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NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly isn’t taking the possibility of the league suffering a fan backlash from its second lockout in less than a decade lightly, according to a Tampa Bay Times report.

“Of course we care what our fans think,” Daly said. “That’s why they need to hear our message as well as the Players’ Association’s.”

Daly argues that there was plenty of time spent negotiating over the summer in an effort to prevent a lockout, but he doesn’t feel that the NHLPA has been willing to compromise.

“They’ve really made one proposal and they haven’t moved off the one proposal, and in any negotiation it’s not really a negotiation if one side is making all the proposals and the other side is just waiting until they get what they want,” Daly said.

He feels that the league has already made some compromises and the union needs to follow suit before the current stalemate can end.

If that all sounds discouraging to you, it might help to note that Daly doesn’t think this is simply a repeat of the situation that eliminated the 2004-05 season.

“It’s clearly different than where we were in 2004,” Daly said, “where after the lockout started I don’t think there was any, there was no formal contact between the two sides and there was probably only one informal contact until early December.”

Daly also categorized the NHL’s initial offer as “an invitation to negotiate” and not a declaration of war.

“But to the extent it had a contrary effect on how this negotiation has played out — and I’m not sure it has, I think people may say it has but I’m not sure I necessarily buy into that — but to the extent it has, then that’s unfortunate,” Daly said. “But we are where we are, we’ve obviously moved a long way from there in terms of our position currently and we’d just like to have a party on the other side of the table who’s wiling to negotiate finances with us.”

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.