Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews

Get your game notes: ‘Hawks at Wings

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This evening on NBCSN, it’s the Detroit Red Wings hosting the Chicago Blackhawks starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight, the Blackhawks and Red Wings will meet for the 726th time in the regular season and the first time since Game 7 of the 2013 Western Conference semifinal, when Brent Seabrook’s overtime goal capped Chicago’s rally from a 3-1 series deficit. The rivals will square off from different divisions for the first time since 1980-81, when the Red Wings skated in the Wales Conference’s Norris Division and the Blackhawks in the Campbell Conference’s Smythe Division.

• The Blackhawks – coming off consecutive wins over Anaheim and Boston and with points in 19 of their last 21 games (12-2-7) – go for their eighth consecutive regular-season victory over the Red Wings, having outscored Detroit 21-9 over the previous seven wins. Neither team in this rivalry has won as many as eight straight since Chicago took nine in a row between Oct. 15, 1970 and Jan. 30, 1972.

• The Red Wings, who hold the NHL record for most consecutive home wins in one season (23, set in 2011-12), are 7-11-7 at home this season, tied with Calgary for the fewest home wins in the NHL. Detroit is 2-7-1 in their last 10 home games, including their shootout loss to Toronto in the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.

• Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa, who has five goals in his last five games, has a +25 plus/minus rating this season (T-NHL best). Coming into tonight’s game, the Slovakian Olympic selection has been plus or even in 16 straight games. Only one NHL player has a longer active streak in that category: the Kings’ Matt Frattin (18), who averages more than fewer six minutes of ice time per game than Hossa.

• The Blackhawks, the NHL leaders in goals (179) and goals per game (3.51), are the only team with three players who have hit the 20-goal mark this season (Patrick Sharp 25, Patrick Kane 23, Hossa 20). However, Sharp (7 games) and Kane (10) are mired in their longest goal droughts of the season.

• The Red Wings (2.45 goals per game, T-22nd) have scored a total of three goals in their last four games (0-3-1, 2 shutout losses). Captain Henrik Zetterberg leads the Wings with 39 points, but he only has one goal and four assists in his last 13 regular-season meetings with Chicago.

• Chicago’s 11 OT/SO losses match New Jersey’s total for most in the NHL, with Detroit right behind with 10. Once regulation ends in a tie game, the Blackhawks and Red Wings have two of the league’s worst records: Chicago (5-11, .313 win pct. – 27th in NHL), Detroit (4-10, .286 – 29th)

• Tonight’s teams feature half of this season’s top 6 scorers age 35 or older; but while Chicago’s Marian Hossa is thriving with 5 goals and 7 points in his last 5 games, the Red Wings’ contingent (Pavel Datsyuk, groin; Daniel Alfredsson, back) will sit out tonight.

Player | age | team | G | Pts | *selected for Sochi Olympics
Martin St. Louis, 38, TB 25 50
*Hossa, 35, CHI 20 42

*Jaromir Jagr, 41, NJ 16 40
*Datsyuk, 35, DET 15 32
*Olli Jokinen, 35, WPG 13 31
*Alfredsson, 41, DET 11 30

Bolts avoid arbitration with Namestnikov — two years, $3.875M

Vladislav Namestnikov
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Tampa Bay has avoided Friday’s scheduled arbitration hearing with forward Vladislav Namestnikov, agreeing to a two-year, $3.875M deal on Tuesday evening, per ESPN.

Namestnikov, 23, had a breakout campaign last year, scoring 14 goals and 35 points in 80 games — all career highs. The former first-round pick also appeared in 17 playoff games for the Bolts, scoring a goal and three points while helping the club to the Eastern Conference Final.

Coming off a one-year deal in which he made $874,125, the diminutive Russian gets a nice pay bump with this latest contract, and a bit of security with the two-year term. He should play a fairly integral role next season, coming off a year in which he finished tied for fourth on the team in goals, with Tyler Johnson.

But while tonight may be about Namestnikov, it’s another Russian forward in Tampa Bay that everybody now has their eyes on — Nikita Kucherov, the playoff scoring sensation that declined to file for arbitration, but still requires a new deal.

Given some of the big-money contracts GM Steve Yzerman has handed out this summer — namely those to Steve Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn — the Kucherov negotiations are definitely ones to keep an eye on.

Talks ongoing between Wild and Dumba, meeting expected soon

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There’s just one piece of business left for Minnesota this summer — a new contract for RFA defenseman Matt Dumba.

And it sounds like that piece of business will soon be attended to.

From the Star-Tribune:

There have been ongoing talks between Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr and [Dumba’s] agent Craig Oster.

The two are expected to meet face to face in Calgary at the Hockey Canada camp.

Dumba, the former No. 7 overall pick, just wrapped his entry-level deal, coming off a campaign in which he set career highs in games played (81), goals (10) and points (26).

He also notched a pair of assists in the Wild’s six-game loss to Dallas in the playoffs.

Dumba, 22, did see his name surface in trade talks this season. There was a report in late January that he was the return piece in a potential swap for Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin, and he’s been tied to teams looking for a blueline upgrade.

A good puck mover with offensive skills — and a right-handed shot — Dumba is definitely a commodity. What’s more, logic suggests the Wild could opt to move him, given the long-term financial commitments to fellow defensemen Ryan Suter (signed through 2025 at $7.53 million), Jonas Brodin (2021 at $4.16M), Jared Spurgeon (2020, $5.18M) and Marco Scandella (2020, $4M).

Minnesota has some other young defensive prospects in the system, too.

There’s former Gophers standout Mike Reilly, Miami of Ohio product Louis Belpedio and Gustav Olofsson, the 46th overall pick in ’13 that’s been honing his game in AHL Iowa (and made his NHL debut last season).

The Wild are in control of the Dumba situation and can slow play negotiations, possibly while re-exploring trade scenarios. Don’t forget the Bruins are still in search of the “transitional” defenseman they desperately want.

But should things go the expected way and Dumba re-signs in Minnesota, the Star-Tribune said a bridge deal is the “likeliest” outcome.

Journeyman enforcer Rosehill signs with Scottish team

Paul Bissonnette, Jay Rosehill
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Noted pugilist Jay Rosehill has followed in the footsteps of his fellow tough guys, and will try his hand overseas.

Specifically, in the United Kingdom.

On Tuesday, the EIHL’s Scottish-based outfit in Braehead — the Clan — announced it had signed Rosehill for the upcoming campaign. The move comes after the 31-year-old spent each of the last two seasons with Philly’s AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.

Though he’s slowed down in recent years, Rosehill has long been known as an extremely active fighter. At no time was this more evident than during the ’08-09 campaign, when he fought a staggering 33 times (yeah, thirty-three) while playing for AHL Norfolk.

Rosehill last played in the NHL during the ’13-14 campaign, scoring two goals in 34 games for the Flyers — while racking up 90 PIM.

Here’s an example of some of his most famous handiwork:

As mentioned above, the EIHL has landed a few notable ex-NHL fighters. Cam Janssen, Kevin Westgarth, Paul Bissonnette and Tom Sestito have all played there.

 

 

Veteran d-man Foster retires, moves into coaching

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 13:  Kurtis Foster #26 of the Minnesota Wild looks on during their NHL game against the New York Islanders on December 13, 2005 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  The Wild defeated the Islanders 4-3.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Kurtis Foster, who appeared in over 400 games during a 10-year NHL career, is hanging up his skates to enter the next phase of his hockey life — coaching.

Foster, 34, has rejoined his former junior team in OHL Peterborough as an assistant coach, per the Examiner. The decision comes after Foster spent the last three years playing overseas in the KHL and, most recently, in the German League.

The 40th overall pick in 2000, Foster is often remembered for a horrific leg break while playing for Minnesota during the 2007-08 campaign, in which his femur was shattered by Torrey Mitchell after Mitchell tried to prevent an icing call.

The severity of the collision and Foster’s injury — he underwent emergency surgery, nearly bled out and almost lost his leg — prompted an immediate rule tweak from the NHL, and has since been viewed as a catalyst for the league’s adoption of no-touch icing.

Impressively, Foster recovered from the broken femur to post a career-high 42 points in 74 games with the Lightning in ’09-10.

In addition to the Wild and Bolts, Foster spent time with the Thrashers, Oilers, Ducks, Devils and Flyers.