The Red Wings didn’t want it to come to this, but it has.
On Thursday, the club sent veteran winger Jordin Tootoo to AHL Grand Rapids, a week after placing him on waivers in the hope of him finding a place to play.
At the time of said waiving, Detroit GM Ken Holland said the club wouldn’t send Tootoo to the AHL, mostly because it didn’t have to — defenseman Jonathan Ericsson was on LTIR at the time, so the club wasn’t forced to free up a roster spot or salary cap space.
But since Ericsson comes off LTIR tomorrow, Detroit had no choice but to demote Tootoo today.
“The situation here is we have too many right wingers,” Detroit head coach Mike Babcock explained last week. “We’re not giving [Tootoo] a fair opportunity.
“He’s done nothing wrong, he’s played hard, he’s been a good teammate.”
The subject of trade rumors for months, Tootoo never found his niche in Detroit after signing a three-year, $5.7 million deal with the club on the opening day of free agency in 2012.
Compounding matters was a shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for all of the preseason and the early part of the regular season, as well as Detroit’s glut of forwards.
Detroit will recapture $925,000 in cap space by putting Tootoo in Grand Rapids. The Wings also waived veteran forward Patrick Eaves on Thursday.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.
After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.
Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.
Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.
Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.
Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.
Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:
From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.
Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?
The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.
That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.
If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.