Add the Phoenix Coyotes to what seems like a bursting list of Western Conference teams who are on a roll.
The Yotes’ stretched their winning streak to five games on Tuesday by slipping past the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 via a shootout. It’s the third time in a row Phoenix won thanks to its recent prowess in the skills competition.
The Coyotes certainly aren’t alone in being on a roll. The Anaheim Ducks sit atop the standings despite a grueling road trip, having won their last two. The Colorado Avalanche have won six in a row. Even the defeated Canucks were playing well recently, as they rolled up a four-game winning streak before losing two of their last three.
The one bit of bad news is that the Coyotes saw Derek Morris leave the game and not return with a lower-body injury, Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan reports. The Coyotes have been generating plenty of offense from the blueline, so that’s a cause of at least minor concern.
Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.
Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.
Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.
“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.
“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”
The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.
He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.
When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.
And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.
“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.
Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.
But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?
Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”