Chris Mason occasionally sports a breathtaking beard, but his netminding was downright hairy during the 2013 season.
With that in mind, Nashville Predators GM David Poile told the Tennessean that the team will look for a different backup behind $7 million starter Pekka Rinne for the 2013-14 campaign.
(More precisely, Poile said the team “might, maybe and in all probability will be looking to see what’s available,” which is a very David Poile way of saying such things.)
Rinne’s first season as one of the NHL’s richest netminders was disappointing, with a 15-16-8 record and a .910 save percentage (compared to his .920 career average). Still, his numbers look fantastic compared to Mason’s 1-7-1 record and abysmal .878 save percentage.
Those stats make it tough to fathom the 37-year-old playing in the NHL next season, but at minimum, he probably won’t be with the Predators.
The crop of backups isn’t too promising, with Jose Theodore, Mathieu Garon, Ray Emery and Nikolai Khabibulin among the most notable potential targets.
Nashville might also turn to 22-year-old prospect Magnus Hellberg, although Poile said he’d rather give the big Swede another year to develop.
“That’s another thing we’re talking about within our organization too, is whether he’s had enough experience yet,” Poile said. “I think our druthers would be to see him play another full year down there (in Milwaukee) in terms of his development.”
Odds are high that the new guy’s numbers will look better either way, although few could top his facial hair.
Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues
In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.
After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.
The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.
The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.
The Islanders also have a game in hand.
Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings
The talented 20-year-old forward and third overall pick in 2013 has since been suspended indefinitely without pay for failing to show up to an AHL game while down in the minors and hasn’t played since Jan. 18.
It’s been a while now, but Turris found himself in a similar situation when, in October of 2011, his agent Curt Overhardt confirmed that the now 26-year-old center wanted to be traded out of Arizona.
Back then, Turris, another third overall pick, was a restricted free agent and had been in contentious contract talks with the Coyotes. He eventually signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes and was acquired by Ottawa not long after.
He’s been there ever since, with two 20-plus goal seasons.
“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.
“It was very difficult to do. You’re getting a lot of heat from the media and people, and people within the organization. It was a tough, tough go.”
Speaking of heat from the media: In addition to the suspension, Drouin was ripped in a local newspaper column — “He’s the kid who quit” was one particular line that stands out — for his request and the drama that ensued from that.
For now, the trade deadline (Feb. 29) approaches and Drouin’s request has yet to be granted.