Mikhail Grabovski

Should the Caps try to sign Grabovski?


Free-agent center Mikhail Grabovski has reportedly narrowed his choice of teams to three.

Which three teams? That we don’t know — except that Winnipeg apparently isn’t one of them.

The question we’re asking here is, should Washington be interested?

According to a good number of Capitals fans, the answer is a resounding yes.

Washington, of course, did not re-sign Mike Ribeiro this summer; he ended up with the Coyotes.

Ribeiro had 13 goals and 36 assists during the regular season. His 49 points were the second most, behind Alex Ovechkin‘s 56, on the Caps and tied for 10th overall in the NHL.

So you’ll excuse Caps fans for wondering/worrying how their team will do without him.

According to Washington general manager George McPhee, however, the team already has Ribeiro’s second-line center replacement in Brooks Laich.

Injuries limited Laich to just nine regular-season games in 2013, but the 30-year-old has put up good offensive numbers in the past. His best season was 2009-10, when he scored 25 goals and added 34 assists in 78 games.

“You need a good two-way player to play there,” said McPhee, referring to Laich.

But Grabovski is also a decent two-way player. In fact, one of the reasons his offensive numbers were down in Toronto this year was that he was given a decidedly more defensive role by Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle, as described here by the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle.

Whether the Caps can afford Grabovski depends on his asking price. According to CapGeek, they’ve got almost $6 million in cap space with 20 players signed. (Restricted free agent Marcus Johansson still needs a contract, too.)

Bought out by the Leafs, Grabovski will be paid $14.3 million over the next eight years by Toronto, plus what he earns on a new contract. If he’s serious about wanting to “win something,” he could do worse than signing with the Caps. (For example, he could sign with the Calgary Flames.)

It’s possible McPhee is hoping to get Grabovski for a bargain, a la the contract he convinced Tomas Vokoun to sign in the summer of 2011.

McPhee may choose instead to go into the season with a bit of cap space.

“It’s never a bad thing to have,” he said recently. “We don’t know what develops, but it’s nice to have some flexibility to do things if we have to.”

Again, so much depends on Grabovski’s asking price. If it’s reasonable, the Caps make sense as destination. If not, they’ll likely pass and hope Laich can stay healthy and Johansson and/or Mathieu Perreault can take their games to another level.

Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’

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Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.