The Buffalo Sabres thought so much of winger Thomas Vanek that they were “willing to make him the highest-paid player in the NHL,” according to a report from The Buffalo News.
The News cites an anonymous source with that tidbit, then refers to Vanek’s comments today that suggest the 29-year-old, traded yesterday to the New York Islanders, wanted no part of staying in Buffalo while the Sabres were rebuilding.
“I enjoyed my time there, but I didn’t want to be a part of that,” Vanek told reporters. “We traded pretty much every veteran. The message was clear that they’re going for draft picks. I think our last game we played four teenagers. Good, young players, but young players take time.”
The NHL’s highest-paid player, based on cap hit, is Washington’s Alex Ovechkin ($9,538,462).
It seems hard to fathom the Sabres were prepared to give Vanek as much as Ovechkin is getting now. Then again, they’ve given players big money before, and the cap is expected to rise in the coming years. They certainly could have been thinking in the range that, say, winger Corey Perry (eight years, $8.625 million cap hit) got in Anaheim.
At any rate, it’s a moot point now. Vanek is with the Islanders today and skating with John Tavares.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins are going to take their rivalry outside on Saturday.
The Flyers visit the Penguins in a Stadium Series clash at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. You can catch the action on NBC or online with the NBC Sports Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Goalie nods: Murray, Neuvirth get the call at Heinz Field
Kris Letang won’t play in outdoor game; Schultz game-time decision
NHL On NBC: Penguins, Flyers meet in Stadium Series
Giroux: ‘It’s all business’ between Penguins and Flyers at Heinz Field
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes have made a minor league trade.
The Bolts on Saturday acquired right winger Stefan Fournier from the Coyotes in exchange for right winger Jeremy Morin, who has played 82 career NHL games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Fournier stands six-foot-three-inches tall and 226 pounds. He has two goals and four points in 29 games with the Tuscon Roadrunners in the AHL.
Morin, who has spent the majority of his pro career in the Blackhawks organization, has been a productive minor league player over the years. He has nine goals and 21 points in 43 games this season with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.
The New York Islanders entered today with a three-game winning streak and holders of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
But yeah, it’s been a disastrous start for the Islanders on Saturday. The Blue Jackets scored three times in the first period, chasing Thomas Greiss from the New York net after he stopped 14 of 17 shots faced.
Jean-Francois Berube entered the game to begin the second period and promptly surrendered a goal to Josh Anderson, who scored his 12th of the season.
Oh, look at that: Another heated melee involving the Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings.
You’ll recall a first-period fight fest in a pivotal Pacific Division game between these teams almost one full year ago. On Saturday, in another meeting between these California rivals, the Ducks and Kings were once again at odds.
This latest conflict? Well, Corey Perry was involved. Again. (Last year, order had been restored during a brief scrum before Perry gave an extra shot to a Kings player, resulting in mayhem.)
Perry was called this time around for interference on Anze Kopitar. Kings players, as you might expect, suddenly rushed over before Nate Thompson and Brayden McNabb squared off in the main event.