TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 3: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 3, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Sharks defeated the Leafs 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Thornton’s agent doubts high cap projections will impact contract talks


The NHL salary cap is projected to exceed $71 million in 2014-15, which is a bigger jump than previously expected and great news for players with expiring contracts.

Joe Thornton is a prime example of that, but he might not take advantage of the situation.

“I don’t think it impacts us,” Joe’s agent and brother, John Thornton said, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

John predicted that people aren’t likely to be surprised by the type of deal his brother ends up signing. In the 34-year-old forward’s case, that likely means a three-year deal in the range of his current annual $7 million cap hit.

Aside from the shortened campaign, Thornton hasn’t recorded less than 70 points since he was limited to 66 contests in 2001-02. He’s off to another strong start this season with five goals and 34 points in 32 games.

Still, a higher salary cap will help the Sharks forward in another way. As John Thornton pointed out, it will make it easier for Sharks GM Doug Wilson to also re-sign forward Patrick Marleau and defenseman Dan Boyle.

“From our standpoint, I think Doug is trying to get all three done so it’s just a different circumstance,” the agent suggested.

If that’s the case, then the process is still in the preliminary stages. Marleau hasn’t had representation since his longtime agent Don Baizley passed away over the summer. Boyle has been in talks with the Sharks, but there’s no “real number” on the table, according to his agent.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
Leave a comment

They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
Leave a comment

It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: