Various outlets report that Steve Fehr and Bill Daly spoke Sunday, but every indication is that “nothing substantive” happened. With December approaching, one might ask: how can this possibly be resolved?
The New York Post’s Larry Brooks thinks that the NHL needs “a hero” to emerge in the board room, pointing to an expected Dec. 5 Board of Governors meeting as a time when someone might swoop in to save the day.
The NHL needs such a hero or two (or four or five) to emerge from the ranks of the Board of Governors in order to put a stop to the madness in which hockey is enmeshed. When the board meets in New York on Dec. 5, the NHL’s survival as we know it will depend on practical men flexing their vocal cords in opposition to the cabal of militants who have seized the agenda and seem intent on committing what the Sabres’ Ryan Miller referred to on Friday as “brand suicide.”
Brooks points to a few candidates to heed the CBA signal, starting with big market teams.
He even wonders if New York Rangers owner James Dolan should speak up, even with his previous squabbles with Gary Bettman in mind.
Perhaps no one will listen to Dolan of the Rangers — who stands to lose at least $60 million if the puck isn’t dropped just as his team would be denied its shot at the Cup — just as no one listened to him a few years ago when he petitioned the board to dismiss Gary Bettman, but silence from the Blueshirts’ CEO simply would be unacceptable.
There have been slight rumblings of player discontent (seen most clearly in Roman Hamrlik’s comments), but perhaps powerful owners need to come forward, too?
Heroes tend to emerge in the darkest times, after all.
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.
Read more about his rise here.
In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).
Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.
See it for yourself:
Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.
He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.
Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.
Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:
No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.
The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?
He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.
Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.
He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.
With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.
Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?
Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: