With the Vancouver Canucks’ season now over, following a sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, many questions surround management as to which players will be back for the 2013-14 campaign.
The future of defenseman Keith Ballard with the Canucks remains in the balance, especially now that teams have two compliance buyouts.
The Canucks acquired Ballard in June of 2010, giving the Florida Panthers back Steve Bernier, Michael Grabner and a first-round draft pick.
But the last three years have not gone well for Ballard, who has two years remaining on his contract that is a $4.2 million cap hit.
He’s dealt with injuries and been a constant guest in head coach Alain Vigneault’s doghouse when healthy.
A healthy scratch for Vancouver’s only four playoff games this spring, Ballard’s working relationship with Vigneault was brought up when he spoke with reporters at Rogers Arena on Thursday.
His response was surprising.
“I get along with him actually really well,” said Ballard. “I don’t always agree with his decisions but that’s life, right?”
And as for Ballard’s future in Vancouver, general manager Mike Gillis said no decision has been made on who could be facing a buyout this off-season.
“There’s a lot of moving parts here,” said Gillis.
“Like I said…there’s very little supply out there. We have to see how things turn out before we’re going to commit to making any decision like that.”
Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.
An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.
After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.
You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.
Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.
Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.
Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.
Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.
Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.
Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.
Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:
Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.
Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.
“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”
Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”
People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.
Matt Murray was just on another level in Game 3, giving the impression that the Washington Capitals would only beat him with perfect shots.
Jay Beagle got that memo … and maybe added a little element of surprise on top of that.
As you can see from the video above, Beagle beat Murray from an unexpected angle with a pretty resounding goal. It was one of those “Wait, did that just happen?”-type moments.
The Capitals saw their lead go away moments before this post was completed, so it’s now 1-1.