NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: Dan Girardi #5 and Michael Del Zotto #4 of the New York Rangers leave the ice following a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden on December 20, 2013 in New York City.

Report: Sather shopping Del Zotto, Girardi, possibly others

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It’s no secret that the New York Rangers haven’t even come close to living up to expectations this season. With nearly half the campaign in the books, Rangers GM Glen Sather is trying to make a trade to spark his club, according to league executives that talked to the Ottawa Sun.

It’s believed that Sather is willing to entertain offers involving just about any player not named Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, or Henrik Lundqvist. On top of that, he’s reportedly been shopping defensemen Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto.

The fact that Sather would like to trade Del Zotto is hardly a shock. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault hasn’t been impressed by the offensive defenseman and has made him a healthy scratch on multiple occasions.

At the same time, the blueliner is just 23 years old and recorded 13 goals and 62 points in 123 contests over the previous two campaigns. He also comes with a reasonable $2.55 million cap hit and is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer, so there should be a market for him.

Senators GM Bryan Murray has reportedly shown interest in Del Zotto, but Murray isn’t in a position to increase the team’s payroll, so the Rangers would have to be willing to help keep the deal balanced financially.

Girardi being mentioned is a bit more surprising when you consider how heavily the Rangers have leaned on the 29-year-old defenseman in recent years. At the same time, he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and is likely to demand a sizable raise over his current annual cap hit of roughly $3.3 million.

Of course, the NHL is currently in the midst of the holiday roster freeze, so the Rangers can’t do anything in the near term.

Ducks likely to recall Khudobin after Gibson injury

Chicago Blackhawks' Richard Panik (14), of Slovakia, collides with Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Chicago. Anaheim won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.

The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).

The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.

Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:

The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”

Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.