Avs, Ducks meet for first time since Roy-Boudreau fireworks

It was a long time ago, but few have forgotten Patrick Roy’s NHL coaching debut — a 6-1 thrashing of the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 2, that ended with Roy engaged in a spirited yelling/glass shoving match with Bruce Boudreau:

The Avs and Ducks will meet tonight for the first time since that incident, one Roy says helped forge a relationship with his team.

“All along, I had been talking about partnership with my players, and let them know I’m with them. And when that thing happened at the end it certainly gave me an opportunity to show them that I am with them,” Roy said, per NBC 9 News Denver. “It’s nice to talk, but sometimes talk is cheap. It was an opportunity to show them I am with them in a good and bad situation I’ll be behind these guys.”

That said, Roy admitted the $10,000 fine handed down for his actions wasn’t the greatest.

“Obviously I would have loved to save 10 grand,” he remarked. “But it was part of it.”

As for Boudreau — who, following the incident, called Roy’s actions “bush league” — he considers the yelling match ancient history.

“It’s so far gone, long ago, I have no idea,” Boudreau said, per the OC Register. “This is the first I’ve thought of it. My whole focus is on what our team is.

“Whatever Patrick did or has done, it’s got his team playing fabulous.”

Boudreau is right on that last point.

The Avs are 7-3-0 in their last 10 and have 91 points on the season — two back of Anaheim heading into tonight’s action. Colorado would actually surpass the Ducks in the standings with a regulation win tonight, and put further distance between itself and Chicago in the ultra-competitive Central Division.

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    ‘We’ve got to get that out of his game’: Trotz wants Ovechkin to cut down on slashing penalties

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    As you may have noticed, the NHL is trying to crack down on players cheating on faceoffs and stick infractions.

    The first week of the preseason has been nothing more than teams getting a good look at their power play units because players still aren’t used to the way officials are calling the game.

    One of the players that has to adapt to the officiating is Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, who took two slashing penalties against Montreal on Wednesday night.

    “Too many slashing penalties,” Caps head coach Barry Trotz said, per the Washington Post. “Ovi took two. We’ve got to get that out of his game.”

    Like all players, it’s something the Capitals captain will have to get used to before the regular season begins. But let’s be honest, there’s a good chance that these officials won’t be as strict on the stick or face-off infractions as the regular season goes on.

    Ovechkin isn’t the only star player that’s having an issue adapting to some of these stricter on-ice policies. Earlier in this week, Bruins forward Brad Marchand ripped the new face-off rule.

    “This faceoff rule’s an absolute joke,” Marchand said. “That’s how you ruin the game of hockey by putting that in there. They’re going to have to do something about that because we can’t play this year like that. That’s brutal.”

    We’ll see if the league actually sticks to its guns here. If they do, how long will it take the players to adjust?

    Housley focused on making Sabres ‘an aggressive team’

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    The Buffalo Sabres haven’t been a playoff team in quite some time, but the organization is hoping that their major offseason changes will help them take a few steps in the right direction.

    One of those major changes came behind the bench, as the team hired Predators assistant Phil Housley to be their head coach.

    Housley did some terrific work with defensemen like Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban last season. A big part of Nashville’s attack came from defenders pushing the pace from the back.

    “We want to be an aggressive team,” Housley said, per NHL.com. “I think everybody we’ve talked about playing aggressive offensively but we need to play aggressive defensively. I think defense gives you a chance to win every night and they’ll understand that we want to be fast and aggressive. The days are gone when a guy wants to make a breakout pass and the [defense] just watched the rush go up and play; they have to get up in the play not only to maybe join the rush and add to the attack, but to be in the offensive zone, being able to keep pucks in, or else you’re going to start playing defense.”

    The Sabres could use an offensive boost from their defense (or anyone really). Last season, Jack Eichel collected 57 points in 61 games, which comes out to an impressive 0.934 points-per-game. But Unfortunately for the Sabres, no player topped 60 points in 2016-17.

    Buffalo changed the look of their defense during the summer, as they acquired Nathan Beaulieu from Montreal and Marco Scandella from Minnesota. Both guys are capable of moving the puck, which should help Housley execute his plan.

    Also, it’ll be interesting to see if Housley can take Rasmus Ristolainen‘s game to the next level. The 22-year-old has surpassed the 40-point mark in each of the last two seasons. He’s also served as the big-minute guy on the Sabres blue line.

    “We’re here to learn from him and pick his brain, he was a [heck] of a player in his day,” defender Zach Bogosian said. “He gets the game. He’s played for a while, he’s coached for a while, he’s been around forever.

    “Guys are looking forward to playing that style.”

    Report: Blue Jackets RFA Anderson in contact with Hockey Canada about 2018 Olympics

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    The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.

    Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.

    While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics. 

    Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.

    Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.

    Making an impression: Sergachev has ‘NHL written all over him’

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    Mikhail Sergachev has, over the summer, stated his belief he can play in the NHL this season.

    He had a small taste of NHL action last season, appearing in four games for Montreal — the team that selected him ninth overall in 2016 — before getting sent back to junior and then being traded in June to Tampa Bay, as part of a blockbuster involving Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.

    Well, Sergachev made a statement Wednesday in his preseason debut for the Lightning.

    He scored once. He also played more than 22 minutes, which led all Lightning players on the night. That included time on the power play and penalty kill. If he was looking to make a favorable impression, to show that he belongs at the NHL level when the regular season begins, this seems to be another step in that direction.

    “You watch this kid skate, shoot, stickhandle, he’s got NHL written all over him,” Tampa Bay’s associate coach Rick Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times. “Now we’ve got to give him experience. How much can he handle?”

    There is competition on the blue line, with eight defensemen under contract in Tampa Bay for this season. That includes Sergachev, who is still only 19 years old. After getting sent back to junior last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games with Windsor and then won the Memorial Cup that spring. That said, he’s made it a point of saying going back to junior “is not an option” for him.

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    Looking to make the leap: Mikhail Sergachev