Will Jochen Hecht be back for a 10th season in Buffalo?
It sounds like things might play out that way.
The 35-year-old has received a vote of confidence from Sabres captain Jason Pominville — “He looks great. He’s healthy. He’s the same Jochen that he’s always been,” — and is now on GM Darcy Regier’s radar.
Regier is considering bringing back Hecht for another tour of duty, according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News. The German forward spent the lockout playing on a line with Pominville at Adler Mannheim, and appears to be over concussion issues that plagued him during the last two years.
Hecht’s four-year, $14.1 million deal with Buffalo expired in June.
A former team captain, Hecht spent the last nine seasons with the Sabres organization and was the active leader in games played, with 566.
He only appeared in 22 games in 2011-12, but is also only two years removed from a 21-goal, 42-point campaign.
The Sabres are thin at center — Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis project to be the top two — and could use a veteran presence like Hecht, who looked sharp playing in Germany.
“Just one of those guys who is so solid at every area of the ice and was playing really well. No health issues. Everything is fine,” Pominville explained. “He’s just staying there patiently and waiting for an opportunity to play.
“Whatever teams gets him — hopefully it’s us — they’re going to have a good player, that’s for sure.”
Related: Grigorenko will attend Sabres’ training camp
Naturally, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz would prefer his top line, which includes star Alex Ovechkin, score goals instead of glide to the penalty box.
On Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ovechkin took two minor penalties, while Nicklas Backstrom had another.
Tampa Bay’s power play struck once in three opportunities, as the Lightning prevailed 2-1 in the shootout.
The Capitals did manage to score — a power play goal from Backstrom — to end their recent goal drought. But the issue of penalties — Ovechkin has a team-leading 10 minor penalties — is something Trotz plans to address.
“I wasn’t happy with that. Our top line took three of the penalties today. They needed to score a power play for us,” he told reporters. “They’ve got to stay out of the box. I need them on the ice. So yeah, we’ll talk about it for sure.”
The Capitals have now lost three in a row.
They sit in the first Wild Card spot in the East, alongside the Lightning, while the Philadelphia Flyers are right there, too.
“From my standpoint, we’ll take a good point on the road. Obviously we’re disappointed we didn’t get two. But the effort and the mindset was correct,” said Trotz.
“When you’re not winning, it doesn’t do anything for your confidence.”
He’s done it before. He’ll do it again.
Patrik Laine scored another beautiful goal for the Winnipeg Jets, as he beat Carter Hutton with a wrist shot Saturday. But it was how he got into position for the goal that is so much fun to watch.
Laine dished the puck to Bryan Little in the neutral zone, then, after shaking off a St. Louis Blues defender, he knocked the give-and-go pass out of the air and immediately ripped his shot past Hutton.
That’s goal No. 16 for the rookie Laine.
That goal also tied him with Sidney Crosby for the league lead in that category. Not bad — for a rookie.
And then Laine did this in OT, setting up Little for the winner. He can pass, too.
Video: Laine’s goal was the game-winner (and mind-blower)
Video: Nothing lucky about Laine’s seventh goal of the season
We asked earlier tonight if the bad blood between the Canucks and Leafs would spill over into tonight’s rematch. It had been pretty tame — unlike what occurred last month.
But there were some fireworks and, as expected following the events of Nov. 5, the combatants were Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson and Maple Leafs tough guy Matt Martin.
The two dropped the gloves for a heavyweight scrap during the second period, with both landing some major shots.
Placed on injured reserve earlier this week, Gabriel Landeskog may be close to returning to the Colorado Avalanche lineup.
Out with a lower-body injury for the past eight games, including tonight’s home contest against the Dallas Stars, Landeskog reportedly skated briefly with his teammates on Saturday. Head coach Jared Bednar provided more reason for optimism on the condition of the Colorado captain when he spoke to the media.
“He’s been working in the gym the last couple of days,” Bednar told the Denver Post.
“He’s been progressing. He feels better again today. He skated slightly on his own there for a few minutes, and that seemed to go well. I’ve already talked to (trainer Matt Sokolowski) about that. I would expect he’s a guy who’s going to continue to move forward here and probably be on the road trip with us.”
The Avalanche could certainly use their leader in the lineup.
They sit tied for last in the West with the Arizona Coyotes and Bednar, earlier this week, ripped his team for a lack of intensity following a 5-3 loss to Nashville on Tuesday.
The Avalanche begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday, as they face the Predators.