Montreal Canadiens v Phoenix Coyotes

UFA of the Day: Radim Vrbata

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Check PHT each weekday for the first four weeks of June for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Radim Vrbata

There are only seven pending UFAs who scored at least 20 goals in 2013-14, and Vrbata was one of them. In 2011-12, he scored 35 times, tied for the 11th most in the NHL. But because he’s a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, he doesn’t get much publicity.

Vrbata’s expiring contract paid him $9 million over three years — a good deal for the Coyotes, general manager Don Maloney admitted in September.

“He’s been a very good player for us and we’ve had great value for what we’re paying him,” Maloney said, per Fox Sports Arizona. “I feel like we’re always fair in our contracts — my idea of fair and other camps’ idea may be different — but when you look at his numbers, he’s probably earned more.”

The player and club talked contract extension in the preseason, but nothing came of it.

Vrbata has scored 215 times in his NHL career, but the 33-year-old winger didn’t really hit his stride until 2007-08, when he potted 27 goals for the Coyotes. In fact, he never had much success with any of the other four teams (Colorado, Carolina, Chicago, Tampa Bay) he played for — a fact of which he’s aware.

“It’s not always about the money,” Vrbata said. “You want to be paid fair, but sometimes it’s better to take less and be in a good situation.”

If it’s not Phoenix, a “good situation” would be one where he gets time with the man advantage. This past season, half his 20 goals came on a much-improved Coyotes power play.

Habs grab rare back-to-back wins this weekend

Montreal Canadiens goalie Ben Scrivens falls after making a save while facing the Carolina Hurricanes during first-period NHL hockey game action, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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The Montreal Canadiens were a bit like Ben Scrivens (in his near-ideal state) this weekend: not always pretty, but they got the job done.

A day after Scrivens thwarted his former team in the Edmonton Oilers in a 5-1 win, the journeyed goalie was integral in Montreal scraping out a 2-1 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Now, it’s easy to scoff at two wins against two teams who are – let’s be honest – pretty unremarkable.

The Canadiens aren’t really in a position to laugh off any victory, however. That’s especially true when you consider the fact that this is their first set of consecutive wins since late November.

Even through all this frustration, certain top Canadiens stand out as keeping the team afloat. Andrei Markov hit an impressive milestone:

… While Max Pacioretty scored his 20th goal in emphatic fashion:

As P.K. Subban‘s numbers argue, Montreal’s biggest problem has been getting results from more under-the-radar players. In Sunday’s case, Scrivens delivered.

Montreal still faces an uphill battle, but perhaps a weekend like this might serve as a catalyst for a nice climb?

Malcolm Subban in stable condition, suffered fractured larynx

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The Boston Bruins updated Malcolm Subban‘s condition a day after the goaltending prospect was hospitalized after being struck in the throat with a puck.

“Malcolm Subban was struck in the throat with a puck Saturday night during pregame warmups. He was transported to Maine Medical Center and was diagnosed with a fractured larynx. He stayed overnight at Maine Medical Center and was transported to Mass General Hospital on Sunday for further evaluation. He is in stable condition and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team will provide additional details when they become available.”

Awful news, although at least he’s in stable condition.

PHT will stay tuned for further updates regarding the 22-year-old.

Subban did tweet a thanks for support:

A little context makes that a little sad, too.

P.K. Subban seems confident his brother will bounce back.

Fight video: Zack Kassian racks up penalty minutes, faces Brian Strait

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Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”

The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.

Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.

It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.

Could there be more?

Update: The game ended on a muted note. The Isles ultimately won 8-1.

Isles chase Nilsson from Oilers’ net in less than 12 minutes

Edmonton Oilers goalie Anders Nilsson, of Sweden, makes pad save against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.

Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.

He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).

Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.

As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.