There seems to be some division regarding whether the Detroit Red Wings would serve as a scary first-round opponent in the 2014 playoffs or not, but the Red Wings improved their chances of at least making it that far after a highly successful weekend.
(Gustav Nyquist illustrated why some believe the Red Wings are dangerous in a very dramatic way today.)
One day after giving the Toronto Maple Leafs a crushing loss, the Red Wings beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Sunday.
With that, the Red Wings will remain at least two points ahead of the wild card pack at the end of today and hold that first wild card spot, making them the Eastern Conference’s seventh-ranked team.
Detroit holds a two-point lead (84 to 82) over the Columbus Blue Jackets for the top wild card spot, although Columbus holds a game in hand. Most importantly to a team trying to keep its playoff streak alive, the Red Wings have a four-point lead against the plummeting Maple Leafs while the Washington Capitals (80 points, one game in hand on Detroit) face the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
Even with that win against fellow Atlantic team Tampa Bay today, the Red Wings can pretty much keep their sights set on holding off Columbus, Washington, Toronto, New Jersey and the rest of the East’s potential usurpers.
As far as the Lightning go, they seem that much more likely to be the Atlantic’s third seed, as the Montreal Canadiens have two more standings points (although Tampa Bay holds a game in hand there).
It sounds like Sam Gagner may determine his destination for 2015-16 in the near future.
The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports that the Columbus Blue Jackets are close to signing Gagner to a one-year, one-way deal. Such an agreement might not be made official until Monday, according to Portzline.
After a bumpy season with the Philadelphia Flyers in which he spent some time in the AHL, Gagner must especially appreciate the one-way nature of his next contract.
The Blue Jackets aren’t the only team interested in the 26-year-old, as his name was also connected to the Vancouver Canucks:
It looks like the still-quite-young scorer will get a clean slate after bouncing around and being defined by a bloated contract originally signed with the Edmonton Oilers.
(Remember when he broke one of Wayne Gretzky’s records?)
Gagner’s presence could make life easier for the likes of Boone Jenner:
It’s conceivable that Gagner could enjoy a nice rebound season if used in a specialized, protected role. The Blue Jackets may very well be the right fit.
… And on the other hand, the deficits in Gagner’s all-around game could at least provide some John Tortorella rage and entertainment.
The Mannheim Eagles announced that German forward Jochen Hecht is retiring from hockey.
(It’s OK to be a little bewildered that he was still playing, just don’t be too mean about it.)
Hecht played 833 regular season games and 59 playoff contests at the NHL level, making his greatest mark as a member of the Buffalo Sabres.
His last bit of NHL action came in 2012-13, when he scored 14 points in 47 games for Buffalo.
Since then, he wrapped up his career with the Mannheim Eagles, a team he’s sporadically played for since 1994-95.
Honestly, it’s weird to see Hecht in any sweater not related to German’s national teams, the Eagles or Sabres, even though the Blues actually drafted him:
Then again, he could also look odd in a certain Sabres sweater.
Apparently he got the NHL 16 Hockey Ultimate Card treatment:
Plenty of Sabres fans and reporters fondly remember Hecht, so here’s to a nice career.
Sometimes you just need a reminder that a remarkable thing actually is happening.
Saturday presented the latest evidence that the NHL coming to Las Vegas isn’t just a collective fever dream, as the still-nameless franchise noted that they’ve begun the process to install ice at T-Mobile Arena for the first time.
It’s not the prettiest picture, but it means a lot:
While setting up the first sheet of ice is a physical sign that things are coming together, the front office side will dictate the sort of team that eventually plays on it.
For more insight into that process, Puck Daddy takes a look at Murray Craven, who appears to be a key part of bringing things together … even if it’s difficult to nail down a specific title.
From the Department of Sights You Can’t Un-see: the Milwaukee Admirals are going to unleash hockey-playing bobbleheads for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton “this fall.”
The Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate continues the fine tradition of headline-grabbing and all-around-odd promotions from the league.
/Pours one out for the Bakersfield Condors and their Seinfeld “puffy” shirts.
Feast your eyes on the rather disturbing duo:
(The replies to that tweet aren’t too weird yet, but it would probably be wise to stay away nonetheless.)
Naturally, there are other bobblehead options available for the two Presidential front-runners, with the Trump ones being especially entertaining.