Report: Oilers talk extension with Nugent-Hopkins


Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ agent Rick Valette is kicking off contract extension talks with Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish and assistant Scott Howson, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reports.

To little surprise, there’s no word regarding what kind of term or salary is being discussed (it’s early, after all).

The 20-year-old forward is entering the final season of his entry-level contract. It’s believed that he won’t be able to play in the team’s season opener and may need to rehab into November.

Whenever the top pick of the 2011 NHL Draft is healthy, he’d have much to gain in proving that he can handle an 82-game workload, as the jury’s still out on whether his frame can handle the wear and tear. Nugent-Hopkins missed 20 games in 2011-12 and was limited to 40 contests in 2013.

Picking comparable contracts could be the trickiest part.

Valette would likely trot out RNH’s teammates Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, two young standouts who are carrying $6 million cap hits. The Oilers would probably counter with Sam Gagner and David Perron’s contracts, if not Nazem Kadri’s bridge deals.

Regardless, the Oilers are wise to try to get something done soon while continuing to lock up the young core that still has fans excited about Edmonton’s future.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

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.