Depth is a strength for the Los Angeles Kings, but that can be bad news for younger players trying to advance their careers.
Forward Andrei Loktionov has requested a trade with the team’s logjam at center in mind; meanwhile, Jonathan Bernier has backed off his own demands to an extent, according to John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor.
Bernier admits he wants to steal more starts from Jonathan Quick. That’s pretty reasonable since the 24-year-old is in the last year of his current deal, even if accomplishing that task is a tall order.
“I can’t really do anything about it,” Bernier said. “It has been two years since I’ve been in (this) situation. I just want to play. With the (compressed) schedule now, things can change a lot. Hopefully Suttsy can squeeze me in for a few.”
(Suttsy is the hockey-stereotypical nickname for Darryl Sutter, in case you were wondering.)
While Bernier contends with the prominent 27-year-old netminder, Loktionov finds himself buried in the AHL and stuck behind centers Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Jarret Stoll for the foreseeable future. The team tried to shift the 22-year-old to the wing, but that just didn’t work out for the small scorer.
So with his career stalled, Loktionov wants out.
Could he work out for another team? Jettisoned young Kings have worked out (Teddy Purcell) and had mixed results (Alex Frolov) in the past few years, so it’s anyone’s guess.
(H/T to Jewels from the Crown)
The Tampa Bay Lightning expect defenseman Jason Garrison to miss 3-5 weeks with a lower-body injury.
Garrison was hurt in Monday’s 5-1 loss to Ottawa. The 31-year-old played just 4:10 of that game, missing the final two periods.
“That’s a tough one too, because he’s a big minute-munching defenseman for us,” coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “A big body and size.”
Garrison has just four goals and three assists in 52 games, but he’s third on the Bolts in average ice time (18:23), second in blocked shots (76), and third in hits (69).
Matt Carle replaced Garrison for Tuesday’s 4-2 loss in Montreal.
Nazem Kadri‘s “inappropriate gestures” on Tuesday night have left him lighter in the wallet.
On Thursday, the NHL announced that Kadri has been fined $5,000 — the maximum allowable under the CBA — for making a throat slash gesture at Mark Giordano during Calgary’s 4-3 win over the Leafs two nights ago.
The incident occurred after Kadri took exception to a heavy Giordano check. While on the bench, the Leafs forward made the gesture, one the NHL has been cracking down on since 2000.
Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
The Red Wings had much brass in the building on Tuesday to watch the Blue Jackets play the Islanders in Nationwide.
GM Ken Holland was there, along with special assistant to the GM Kris Draper, and pro scout Kirk Maltby.
It’s believed the Red Wings were taking a close look at Fedor Tyutin, who is likely to be dealt by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
Tyutin, 32, has this and two more years remaining on a six-year, $27 million deal with a $4.5M average annual cap hit. One of the longest-tenured players in Columbus franchise history — he’s spent eight years with the Jackets, and played in both of the teams’ playoff appearances — Tyutin has fallen on hard times this year, and has been made a healthy scratch on a few occasions by head coach John Tortorella.
Unsurprisingly, Tyutin’s numbers are way down. He’s goalless with just two points through 43 games, and is averaging just 17:47 TOI per night — the lowest total of his career.
It’s not surprising Detroit’s kicking the tires on Tyutin. D-men Niklas Kronwall and Mike Green are both out of the lineup with knee and groin injuries and, last night versus Ottawa, Danny DeKeyser took a Dion Phaneuf shot to the knee.
The St. Louis Blues have not played particularly well since around Christmas.
It’s a story that hasn’t received much attention league-wide, because the Blues’ goaltending has been good enough to cover up a lot of their problems. Brian Elliott had a .937 save percentage in January. He’s up to .958 in February.
But there’s a reason the return of Jaden Schwartz, likely Friday in Florida, has the Blues players so excited.
“He’s a guy that brings a lot of energy to our lineup,” captain David Backes told the Post-Dispatch. “He’s a relentless forechecker who hounds the puck and that’s exactly what we could use right now.”
Backes has clearly been listening to head coach Ken Hitchcock, who’s been growing increasingly frustrated at his team’s inability to play in the opposition’s end. In their past five games, the Blues have managed shot totals of 25, 23, 27, 24, and 22, which isn’t very many at all.
“We’ve needed the power play the last two games, thank God, but we just don’t, we don’t compete when we get checked in the scoring areas near as hard as we have to,” Hitchcock told reporters.
Once Schwartz gets back up to speed, he should help. Last year, he finished second on the team in goals (28) and fourth in shots (184).
But he won’t solve everything, particularly with Alex Pietrangelo sidelined now.
In their 20 games since Christmas, the Blues are in the bottom 10 in score-adjusted Corsi (a measure of puck possession), and that isn’t like them at all.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made