Now that the Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings, the one question that comes up now regarding the summer is simple:
Where does Roberto Luongo go now?
There was no secret about Toronto’s desire for Luongo and the rumors persisted for the better part of a year that he could wind up there. Now with Toronto out of the picture (unless GM Dave Nonis decides to get really crazy), the field of teams that could go after the high-priced Canucks netminder is axed by one. Here are a few candidates:
New York Islanders: Rick DiPietro isn’t the answer and Evgeni Nabokov is an elder statesman who looked weak in the playoffs. He’s also a free agent this summer. The Isles also have a disgruntled prospect who reportedly wants out in Nino Niederreiter who would make a great trade chip. The two teams have been linked before, so why not send Lu back to the Island?
Florida Panthers: Another former stomping ground for Luongo. He still lives there in the offseason and he even asked to be moved there last year. The Panthers’ incumbents next season are Scott Clemmensen and Jacob Markstrom and the latter struggled last season but the Panthers were also terrible. Luongo with a young team poised to climb like Florida would be a heck of a coup.
Phoenix Coyotes: So say the team gets a new owner and they’ve got money to burn. Sure they might bring back free agent Mike Smith, but hey, why not Luongo? He’d thrive in Dave Tippett’s system and we’re sure he’d love life in the desert or Seattle. This is a total stab in the dark, but if the team did move to Seattle he’d provide a big name and a reasonably familiar face.
Philadelphia Flyers: Ha ha ha ha… No, I don’t think so. Besides, they’ve already got Ilya Bryzgalov’s monster contract they might buy out this summer.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.