The Americans will go into Saturday’s big tilt against Russia with the same roster that earned them a 7-1 win over Slovakia in the Olympic tournament opener, but it could feature a few wrinkles on the back end and up front.
Zach Parise, who failed to find the scoresheet against Slovakia, has been moved onto the wing of the Ryan Kesler-Patrick Kane line. That line’s former winger, Dustin Brown, moved onto a unit with David Backes and Ryan Callahan — all this according to ESPN’s Scott Burnside.
Assuming the white-hot Phil Kessel-Joe Pavelski-James van Riemsdyk line stays intact — and it should, considering it went for five points against the Slovaks — it would leave Paul Stastny to center a line between T.J. Oshie and Max Pacioretty, with Blake Wheeler being the extra forward.
On defense, Pittsburgh blueliners Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik have been reunited, which moves Ryan McDonagh onto a unit with Ryan Suter.
Rangers center Derek Stepan and Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk will again be healthy scratches on Saturday, per NHL.com’s Dan Rosen.
Related: USA’s Jonathan Quick will face Russia
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?”