The Phoenix Coyotes have had fairly detailed contract talks with pending unrestricted free agent goalie Mike Smith; however, just like the team’s future in the desert remains uncertain, so does Smith’s future with the team.
“We’re still kind of working the process to see if there’s a gap to be bridged,” Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said Monday, per azcentral.com, “Is there a line to be crossed or nobody’s going to go any further?
“We feel comfortable with what we’ve thrown his way, and he feels comfortable where he’s at right now. The good thing for us is this isn’t July 4 where we have to make a decision … We have time to sort of mull it and digest it and figure out whether we want to go this route or not.”
Smith, 31, went 15-12-5 in 2013, finishing with a .910 save percentage, down from the .930 rate he registered in 2011-12 that earned him Vezina Trophy consideration.
It may be a good thing for the Coyotes that free agency falls on July 5, not July 1, this year, as the City of Glendale isn’t expected to vote on an essential arena-management deal with prospective owner Renaissance Sports & Entertainment until July 2.
Related: Coyotes ownership update: ‘Nobody’s hanging up on anybody’
Another loss for the Colorado Avalanche, but the news is much worse.
Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson has suffered a broken fibula and is out six to eight weeks, the team announced following Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Dallas Stars.
This devastating development comes later in the same day the team’s captain Gabriel Landeskog skated briefly with his teammates, leading to the possibility that he may travel with the Avs on their upcoming road trip.
More to come.
Drake Caggiula had to wait to make his NHL debut because of a hip injury suffered in pre-season. He had to wait even longer for his first NHL goal.
On Saturday, the wait for the latter ended.
Playing in just his eighth career NHL game, the North Dakota product and NCAA Frozen Four MOP — pursued by at least half a dozen teams as a college free agent — ripped home a wrist shot from the slot on the power play for career goal No. 1 in the big league.
That goal gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead over the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
Naturally, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz would prefer his top line, which includes star Alex Ovechkin, score goals instead of glide to the penalty box.
On Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ovechkin took two minor penalties, while Nicklas Backstrom had another.
Tampa Bay’s power play struck once in three opportunities, as the Lightning prevailed 2-1 in the shootout.
The Capitals did manage to score — a power play goal from Backstrom — to end their recent goal drought. But the issue of penalties — Ovechkin has a team-leading 10 minor penalties — is something Trotz plans to address.
“I wasn’t happy with that. Our top line took three of the penalties today. They needed to score a power play for us,” he told reporters. “They’ve got to stay out of the box. I need them on the ice. So yeah, we’ll talk about it for sure.”
The Capitals have now lost three in a row.
They sit in the first Wild Card spot in the East, alongside the Lightning, while the Philadelphia Flyers are right there, too.
“From my standpoint, we’ll take a good point on the road. Obviously we’re disappointed we didn’t get two. But the effort and the mindset was correct,” said Trotz.
“When you’re not winning, it doesn’t do anything for your confidence.”
He’s done it before. He’ll do it again.
Patrik Laine scored another beautiful goal for the Winnipeg Jets, as he beat Carter Hutton with a wrist shot Saturday. But it was how he got into position for the goal that is so much fun to watch.
Laine dished the puck to Bryan Little in the neutral zone, then, after shaking off a St. Louis Blues defender, he knocked the give-and-go pass out of the air and immediately ripped his shot past Hutton.
That’s goal No. 16 for the rookie Laine.
That goal also tied him with Sidney Crosby for the league lead in that category. Not bad — for a rookie.
And then Laine did this in OT, setting up Little for the winner. He can pass, too.
Video: Laine’s goal was the game-winner (and mind-blower)
Video: Nothing lucky about Laine’s seventh goal of the season