It took all of one game for a playing time issue to unfold in Washington.
Martin Erat, acquired at last year’s trade deadline for Filip Forsberg, expressed disappointment with his role in the Capitals offense after playing just 9:01 in Tuesday’s season-opening loss to Chicago.
“It’s very frustrating. I don’t know what to think about it. It’s hard, I have no idea what’s happening,” Erat told the Washington Post. “If you played 11 years in the league, I don’t think you lose your position in three or four games in the preseason. I don’t know.”
Erat, 32, has struggled to find his niche in Washington. Knee and elbow injuries limited him to just nine regular season and four playoff games last year; the acquisition of Mikhail Grabovski and return to health of Brooks Laich have further clouded the issue as there’s a logjam for minutes at forward.
That said, it’s clear head coach Adam Oates isn’t quite sure what he has in Erat.
He moved the Czech forward all over the place during training camp, giving him skates at both center and wing on a number of different lines. Erat was also routinely playing alongside Mathieu Perreault, who was dealt to Anaheim last week.
A veteran of over 700 NHL contests, Erat said he’s willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the club, but acknowledged he needs to sort things out with Oates.
“I’m going to do what’s best for the team,” he explained. “Like I’m not going to decide I need to go and scream somewhere. It’s between me and [Oates], and we’ll see how it goes.”
Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.
“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.
“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”
7 hours of back and forth legal speak…otherwise known as the Wideman appeal has concluded in NYC.