Mired in a three game losing streak and losers in four of six, the Montreal Canadiens need to get better efforts from a number of players — none more than Erik Cole.
The veteran forward has just 2G-2A-4PTS through 11 games this year. Given his veteran presence and big-money contract (four years, $18 million), much more is expected of Cole, and he addressed those expectations by texting his teammates following Saturday’s 6-0 drubbing against Toronto.
“Every team’s going to go through some tough times this year, and we’re in one right now,” Cole explained. “It’s up to us to get ourselves out of it.
“I told them that I plan on being better and being part of the solution. I think, judging by the responses, that it was good.”
Apparently Cole sent the message via a group chat he created during the lockout, to keep them up to date with CBA negotiations
and all the cool stuff he found on Groupon.
As for him being “part of the solution” — well, it sounds as though he’ll be solving stuff (temporarily) without usual linemates David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty.
The trio was split up at Monday’s practice. Brandon Prust skated with Desharnais and Cole while Pacioretty played with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.
“We gave those guys a lot of chances,” head coach Michel Therrien said of the Cole-Desharnais-Pacioretty line. “We spoke to those guys and they know where we’re [coming from].”
Aaron Ekblad has been medically cleared by Florida Panthers doctors, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
That’s a big relief for everyone involved after Ekblad was injured while representing Team North America in the World Cup. The injury was originally reported as a “mild” concussion, though it was later called a neck injury.
The 20-year-old has since been back on the ice working out.
“Ekblad is going to be fine,” Panthers coach Gerard Galant said. “You see him out there skating already. I think it was a little scary, but he feels real good. He’s going to skate and see how he feels, but everything looks good.”
The first overall pick in the 2014 draft, Eklbad had already dealt with at least one concussion during his playing career. He suffered one in an international exhibition game during the summer of 2014, just prior to his outstanding rookie season with the Panthers.
It didn’t take long for one of the top picks at this year’s draft to be sent packing from training camp.
On Wednesday, Ottawa announced that Logan Brown — the 11th overall selection in June — has been sent back to his junior team in OHL Windsor.
Brown, the son of ex-NHL defenseman Jeff Brown, played in Monday’s exhibition win over Toronto and scored once. He didn’t play in Tuesday’s OT loss to Buffalo.
Though he wasn’t expected to make the team this season, Brown, 18, is considered to be a high-end prospect, which makes his early dismissal a bit curious.
At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, he has terrific size and the Sens wasted little time locking him in after the draft, signing him to a three-year, entry-level deal in August.
Related: Get to know a draft pick — Logan Brown
Dennis Seidenberg is expected to sign with the New York Islanders after the World Cup, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
It’s a one-year, $1 million deal, per Dreger.
Seidenberg is currently playing a significant role for Team Europe, a surprise finalist against the heavily favored Canadians.
The 35-year-old defenseman was unexpectedly bought out by the Boston Bruins over the summer. He had two years remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $4 million.
Seidenberg was a key part of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup champion team in 2011, but injuries limited him to just 61 games last season, and his average ice time fell below 20 minutes for the first time since he was with the Hurricanes in 2007-08.
He’ll likely take on a bottom-pairing role with the Islanders, below Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Johnny Boychuk, and Calvin de Haan. He may even be the extra defenseman, pushing the likes of Thomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield for a spot in the lineup.
Related: Seidenberg shocked by Bruins’ decision
New Jersey needed some blueline depth after this summer’s blockbuster Adam Larsson-for-Taylor Hall trade and now, they’ve addressed it.
On Wednesday, GM Ray Shero announced the club signed veteran defenseman Kyle Quincey to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Quincey, 31, spent the last four seasons in Detroit, emerging as a regular fixture on defense — but ’15-16 was hardly a positive campaign.
He missed 35 games with a serious ankle injury and, upon his return, never seemed to find his way into head coach Jeff Blashill’s good graces.
Blashill even scratched Quincey in Game 3 of Detroit’s opening-round playoff loss to Tampa, and didn’t provide a reason why — a pretty bold move for a player that, in ’13-14, appeared in all 82 games for the Red Wings, averaging nearly 21 minutes per night.
Overall, this move seems like a pretty reasonable gamble from the Devils. Quincey has his flaws, but the term is short and the money is relatively low.
(Especially considering Quincey’s coming off a two-year, $8.5 million deal that paid $4.25M annually.)
Shero could end up getting a nice return on his investment. Quincey projects to challenge for top-four minutes in New Jersey, looking to break into a group that features the likes of Andy Greene, Damon Severson, John Moore and Ben Lovejoy.
Jon Merrill, Steve Santini and Brandon Gormley are also in that mix, though likely to be challenging for spots on the bottom pair.