NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 24: David Booth #7 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 24, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. The Canucks defeated the Devils 3-2 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Will anyone give David Booth a shot?

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I was in Seattle this weekend to watch some baseball games. The Mariners were hosting the best team in the majors, the Oakland Moneyballin’ Athletics, who went into the All-Star break with a 59-36 record, despite having one of the lowest payrolls in the league.

While I didn’t get to see Scott Kazmir pitch for the A’s, baseball fans know his comeback story well by now. A couple of years ago, this guy was throwing for the Sugar Land Skeeters. Today, he’s a Cy Young candidate.

I don’t know if there’s a future Kazmir in the NHL right now. The Anaheim Ducks are hoping so with Dany Heatley.

But another, perhaps stronger, candidate is David Booth, the 29-year-old winger who was bought out by the Canucks after failing to produce in Vancouver at the same level he did in Florida, where he scored 87 goals in 309 games with the Panthers.

Booth’s stint with the Canucks was marred by injuries, bad luck, and, on occasion, simply poor play. He was an occasional healthy scratch and spent time this past season in the AHL on a conditioning assignment. Oh, and John Tortorella called him a “weird dude.”

When Booth’s Vancouver career came to an end, the Michigan native had scored just 26 goals in 134 games. He’ll be best remembered by Canucks fans for his hunting pictures.

In fairness to Booth, though, he suffered a serious ankle injury in March of 2013 — one the doctor told him would take a year to fully heal — and didn’t get near as much time on the power play with the Canucks as he did with the Panthers.

“I was playing 22 to 23 minutes and on 5-on-3s in Florida, and I haven’t had that opportunity this year,” said Booth. “You can’t expect 30 goals on the third line and not getting out on the power play.”

Despite the challenges he faced, Booth still managed to be a positive possession player with Vancouver. And before getting bought out, he finished 2013-14 with four goals in his last 10 games.

Speaking to the Vancouver Sun, Booth’s agent, Mike Liut, called the buyout “an opportunity to start over again” and said his client is “excited about it.”

“The way the season ended for him, in his mind, he knows he can play,” said Liut. “He’s getting back to 100 per cent and it’s a new challenge.”

Will anyone give Booth a shot? We’ll have to wait and see. Maybe he’ll have to accept a tryout, like another former much-maligned Canuck winger, Mason Raymond, did last year with the Maple Leafs. Raymond then scored 19 times for Toronto, earning a $9.5 million deal with the Flames.

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

Here’s the goal:

Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.