In all likelihood, the St. Louis Blues wouldn’t have given up so much to get Ryan Miller out of Buffalo if they didn’t think they had a very good chance of signing him beyond the end of the current season, should they so wish to do so after the playoffs, or sooner.
Still, they probably liked Miller’s answer when he was asked about his openness to staying long-term with his new club.
“I’m very open to it,” the 33-year-old pending unrestricted free agent said, per the Post-Dispatch. “But right now, it’s more about the hockey. We’re going to have a lot of time later on to feel that out.”
Not that he’d have unlimited options to sign elsewhere this summer, even if he performs well in the postseason. The goalie market is different than the market for forwards and defensemen, in that there are only 30 starting jobs available. On top of that, even the teams that don’t already have their guy locked up may be tempted to go young and cheap, rather than back up the money truck for Miller, who’s neither young nor cheap.
For the third time this season, the Los Angeles Kings got a bunch of days off, then played like “horse(bleep).”
That was the conclusion their coach, Darryl Sutter, reached after last night’s 3-1 loss to Carolina at Staples Center. The Kings hadn’t played since Sunday, and Sutter didn’t think his players used their time off too wisely.
The transcript of Sutter’s post-game press conference, via L.A. Kings Insider:
… it’s disappointing because it’s the third time this year we’ve had three days between games, and that first game after the three days we’ve been, for lack of a better word, [road apples]. Go back to Philly-Minnesota, San Jose the last time they played in here, and this one here. Our top guys were not very efficient out there maximizing what their God gave ‘em. [Reporter: Is that because they’re taking things for granted, you think?] No, I don’t think that’s the right word. I think the word would be ‘using the time properly to prepare to be a great competitor.’
The Kings’ record fell to 13-11-2 with the loss. They’re currently fifth in the Pacific Division, though at least they have games in hand on the leaders from Alberta:
Of course, nobody has to tell Kings fans that the postseason is no guarantee. Los Angeles won the Stanley Cup in 2014, then missed the playoffs in 2015.
This season, if the Oilers are for real and the Flames can maintain their recent momentum, it’s going to be a real dogfight for the top three spots in the division. Even the Canucks, who’ve earned points in nine of their last 14, aren’t out of it yet.
The Kings’ next game is tomorrow at home to Ottawa.
Montreal netminder Carey Price won’t be subjected to supplemental discipline after unloading on Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.
The incident in question occurred with 18 seconds left in the first period of Montreal’s 5-2 win on Thursday. Price, visibly upset following Palmieri’s net drive, repeatedly punched the New Jersey forward in the midsection with his blocker.
Price received a pair of roughing minors on the play but, as several people pointed out, he could’ve been slapped with a match penalty, based on rule 51.3:
Match Penalty – If, in the judgment of the Referee, a goalkeeper uses his blocking glove to punch an opponent in the head or face in an attempt to or to deliberately injure an opponent, a match penalty must be assessed.
Price didn’t appear to strike Palmieri in the head or face, and the “deliberately injure” part is pretty subjective. Which is why some thought this could rise to the level of a disciplinary hearing.
The Habs ‘tender said he had no regrets about going after Palmieri.
“I got run on the first goal and I wasn’t going to take another one,” Price said, per the Montreal Gazette. “I got fired up, I guess. I’m going to stick up for myself now.
“It seems to be the nature of the league, to go hard to the net, run the goalie and score the goal. You have to stick up for yourself once in a while.”
The Dallas Stars have activated winger Jiri Hudler off injured reserve.
Hudler has only played four games this season. He was in the lineup for the Stars’ first two games, then missed five with an undisclosed illness. He returned to play twice more, on Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, but has been out ever since due to the same illness.
“I think now it’s just all about conditioning,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said earlier this week, per the Dallas Morning News. “He’s missed a tremendous amount of time, but he’s got a good week ahead of him here. I don’t know where he’ll be by the end of the week, but I think we can get him five real good days and we’ll see by the weekend where he’s at.”
The Stars play in Philadelphia tomorrow afternoon, then travel to Chicago for a game Sunday evening.
Hudler, 32, is with Dallas on a one-year, $2 million contract. He has yet to register his first point with the Stars.
To make room on the roster, Jason Dickinson was returned to the AHL.
The New York Islanders made a splash on Friday, signing veteran forward Cal Clutterbuck to a five-year, $17.5 million extension — one that carries a $3.5 million average annual cap hit through 2023.
Clutterbuck, 29, has two goals and nine points through 25 games this year, while averaging 15:26 TOI per night (his highest average since joining the Isles four years ago). As per usual, he leads the club in hits — one of the staples of his game — and serves as one of the club’s alternate captains.
This new contract represents a nice raise for the former Minnesota Wild man. His last contract, set to expire in July, was of the four-year, $11 million variety, and carried a $2.75 million cap hit.
This contract also resembles the one GM Garth Snow gave another of the club’s role forwards. This summer, Casey Cizikas signed a five-year, $16.75 million extension — one with a $3.35 million hit — despite the fact he’d never scored more than 30 points in a season, or averaged more than 14 minutes of ice time.
This style of spending — along with splashes made for free agent disappointments Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd — is sure to raise some questions. The Isles opted not to spend that money on retaining two of their key players from a season ago, Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo, and the club has struggled to find its form through the first quarter of this year.