On Toews, Kane and the $10 million cap hit


Contract extension talks in Chicago are underway for both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and, if reports prove accurate, they could be two of the richest deals in NHL history.

The pair have reportedly opened negotiations by each asking for $12 million annually in salary, per TSN. While it’s expected both will come down from that number, TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggests both could still average out $10M on a yearly basis:

The NHL’s current highest cap hit belongs to Alex Ovechkin at $9.53M, followed by Evgeni Malkin at $9.5M. As such, Kane and Toews potentially breaking the double-digit threshold is big news — lest we forget that, at the time of writing, only nine players total across the league carry a cap hit of $8 million or higher: Ovechkin, Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Henrik Lundqvist, Claude Giroux, Eric Staal, Ryan Getzlaf and Phil Kessel.

You’ll also note that only two sets of those — Perry and Getzlaf, Crosby and Malkin — play on the same team.

‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman, who held a pre-draft conference call on Thursday, refused to comment on negotiations regarding any of his players, so reporters got little on where contract talks stand, or if McKenzie’s report was accurate.

Bowman’s silence won’t quiet the rumors surrounding his team, however. Even though agent Rick Curran angrily shot it down, a report of Chicago making Patrick Sharp available via trade gained plenty of steam this week and if this Kane/Toews report proves true, it’ll only get steamier — Sharp is on the books at $5.9 through 2017; Kane and Toews each have one year left at $6.3M and are obviously going to get more.

Given the hefty deals already in place for Corey Crawford ($6 million annually), Brent Seabrook ($5.8), Duncan Keith ($5.5) and Marian Hossa ($5.275) well…you can do the math.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT

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Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)