Coyotes GM is ‘comfortable’ with Smith contract talks

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’

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?