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Bernier bidding reportedly down to three: Leafs, Flyers or Wild

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Sounds as though there’ll soon be a winner in the Jonathan Bernier sweepstakes.

According to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie, only three teams remain in the running for the Los Angeles goalie — Toronto, Philadelphia and Minnesota — and that the Kings are prepared to take the best offer put forth by one of the three clubs.

Toronto’s interest in Bernier has been rumored for quite some time.

GM Dave Nonis has refrained from speaking specifically about replacing incumbent starter James Reimer, but has said on numerous occasions he would look to upgrade any position — including goaltending — if the opportunity presented itself.

(Remember the whole Luongo-at-the-deadline fiasco?)

The Flyers’ offer would seemingly be contingent upon buying out Ilya Bryzgalov, then pairing Bernier with Steve Mason, who was acquired from Columbus last season and quickly signed to a contract extension.

Then there’s the situation in Minnesota, which is quite intriguing.

Earlier this week, owner Craig Leipold gave a less-than-ringing endorsement of Niklas Backstrom, saying “we are not uncomfortable” with bringing the 36-year-old Finn back to be the Wild’s No. 1 netminder for 2013-14.

Backstrom’s four-year, $24 million deal expires in July and he’d have to take a serious pay cut to stick in Minnesota.

The Wild don’t have a ton of cap space, so the possibility of getting a starting goalie on the cheap (Bernier is a pending RFA, and made just $1.25 million last season) would be tantalizing.

Related

Report: Leafs might have scared Flyers out of Bernier bidding

Report: Jonathan Bernier has fired his agent

“I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Alain Vigneault
AP
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Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.

This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.

“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”

Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.

Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.

Vigneault felt the hit was late.

“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.

Beleskey was not suspended.

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From the NHL:

Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.

Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.

Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.

Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse

Malkin to miss third straight game with lower-body injury

Evgeni Malkin
AP
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Evgeni Malkin‘s “nagging” lower-body injury will keep him out at least one more game.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said this morning that the star center will sit out tonight at home against the Ducks. Malkin already missed two contests this weekend in Florida. His status is day-to-day.

The Penguins lost, 6-3, in Tampa on Friday, but rebounded Saturday with a 3-2 OT win over the Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s next game after tonight’s is Wednesday at home versus the Rangers.

McDonagh out with concussion after Saturday’s altercation with Simmonds

Ryan McDonagh
Getty
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The New York Rangers will be without Ryan McDonagh tonight at home to New Jersey, the club announcing this morning that the defenseman is out with a concussion.

McDonagh left Saturday’s game in Philadelphia following an altercation with the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds that ended with McDonagh taking a punch to the face from Simmonds.

Simmonds received a match penalty and was thrown out of the game, but did not receive any supplemental discipline.

Given the standings, the Rangers can ill afford to lose McDonagh for long. They play in Pittsburgh Wednesday, followed by three home games against Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

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