In Keith Yandle, the Phoenix Coyotes have one of the best power-play quarterbacks in the league and a blueliner that can make things happen offensively, but it comes at a price.
The 27-year-old defenseman hasn’t been nearly as effective without the puck, which is part of the reason why he ranked dead last in Phoenix with a minus-23 rating.
“There’s always that risk-reward factor in it,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “With Yands, his power-play play this year went to another level, went to a level we hadn’t seen before. He took a responsibility for improving our power play and a leadership role and did a very good job.
“That being said, his defensive play is still — it’s inconsistent.”
Yandle acknowledged that he has room for improvement defensively, but he also feels he’s already gotten significantly better. Meanwhile, trade rumors will continue to swirl around him as the Coyotes look to make changes after missing the playoffs for two straight seasons.
He has two campaigns left on his contract at an annual cap hit of of $5.25 million.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.