As the Stanley Cup Final goes on, one common thread that the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins share is the strength of their third and fourth lines. That’s a big part of what separates the championship teams from the pack and something Oilers GM Craig MacTavish hopes to emulate.
“I liked parts of our team this year, but it was quite evident to me that we really weren’t deep enough or strong enough to compete at the level that we need to next year,” MacTavish told Oilers’ season ticket holders. He went on to promise that “significant” attention would be paid to adding depth.
With the salary cap going down and teams looking to get under ceiling, MacTavish thinks that his team might be at a bit of an advantage given that they have some cap space to spare.
At the same time, he feels the Oilers already have a lot of young, high-end talent, so Edmonton is still more likely to go after complimentary players rather than big name stars.
MacTavish was also asked about the possibility of drafting Darnell Nurse, a big guy that could develop into an NHL shutdown defenseman, if he’s still available when the Oilers make their first selection.
“You’re preaching to the converted, I love that guy,” MacTavish said.
He’s also still willing to move up or down from the seventh overall spot. If the team trades up, they might go after a center instead.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’ve both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone:
On paper, you’d think even a wounded Dallas Stars team would handle its business against a tired Columbus Blue Jackets squad at home.
Instead, the Stars didn’t have much to show for their efforts on Saturday night beyond Jamie Benn fighting Brandon Dubinsky. They lost 3-0 and left their head coach shaking his head.
“That was as flat as flat could be,” Lindy Ruff said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “There’s no disguising it. For me there’s some concern because that’s really two games in a row where we were outskated …”
Ruff added that “there was no emotion inside that game.”
After falling to 2-2-1 on this young season, Ruff admits that he has concerns about the Stars’ “whole defense right now.”
While the Stars are picking up the pieces, the Blue Jackets beat the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday and Dallas on Saturday. Those teams are off to tough starts, but that’s still an impressive haul for an embattled Blue Jackets group.
Considering the sour feeling for Dallas and the renewed spirits for Columbus, it’s remarkable what a difference two losses or wins can make.
But, hey Stars fans, a Benn fight at least gives us an excuse to recall this great photo of his bout with Joe Thornton: