George McPhee

McPhee: Caps will match any Alzner, Johansson offer sheet; ‘not interested’ in trading Neuvirth


It appears George McPhee will hold onto all his young talent.

On Monday, the Washington GM said he would match any offer sheet made to his restricted free agents — forward Marcus Johansson and defenseman Karl Alzner — and said he had “no interest” in trading goalie Michal Neuvirth.

Johansson, 22, had a solid 2013 campaign in which he often played on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, scoring 6G-16A-22PTS in 34 games. He’s in the final season of a three-year, $2.7 million deal.

Alzner, 24, set a career-high for average time on ice per game (20:57), upping it to 22:18 in the playoffs. The former No. 5 overall pick finished second on the team in blocked shots last year (85), fourth among all defensemen in hits (45) and is in the final year of a two-year, $2.57 million deal.

Finally, there’s Neuvirth.

He spent 2013 in the same position he spent the 2011-12 playoffs — in a backup role behind Braden Holtby.

Neuvirth, 25, only played in 13 games to Holtby’s 36, and didn’t get a sniff in the postseason as Holtby was the goalie of record in all of Washington’s seven opening-round games against the Rangers.

What’s confusing is that, in April, Neuvirth signed a two-year, $5 million extension with the Caps — making him the higher paid goalie.

Holtby signed a modest two-year, $3.7 million extension back in February.

For McPhee, there’s no confusion. He feels those deals give Washington what he wants — solid goaltending depth.

“We’re not interested in trading [Neuvirth], McPhee explained. “Why not have as many good [goalies] as we can?”

Update: McPhee also announced that video coach Blaine Forsythe had been promoted to assistant coach, replacing Tim Hunter.

Ortio clears waivers, assigned to Flames’ AHL team

Joni Ortio
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Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.

The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),

But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.

In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.

Jarred Tinordi becomes the latest youngster to be sent to the AHL for ‘conditioning’

Jarred Tinordi, Brendan Gallagher
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Like Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here), and Patrik Nemeth (see here) before him, Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi is off to the AHL for a conditioning stint.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season; however, because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, the former first-round pick has remained on Montreal’s roster.

It’s an issue that’s received a good deal of attention lately. Some believe the league should do something about it, lest more young players get “stuck” in the NHL.

Tinordi will only be allowed to spend two weeks in St. John’s, as per the rules of his conditioning loan.

Safe to say, if you’re an NHL general manager who thinks Tinordi still has potential, Marc Bergevin would welcome your best offer.