If there’s something we’ve learned from watching the Los Angeles Kings the past few seasons it’s that keeping an eye on their young players is worth doing.
After watching Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson take the playoffs by storm this past season and Alec Martinez and Dwight King do the same in 2012, there’s always new faces to be mindful of. One such player next season could be defenseman Brayden McNabb.
The Kings acquired McNabb from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline this past season and at 23 years old, he’s got all the makings of being a new, physical force on L.A.’s blue line.
Last season, McNabb was an AHL All-Star with the Rochester Americans. In 38 games with Rochester, he had seven goals and 29 points. While he had a chance to play a bit in Buffalo (12 games, no points, six penalty minutes), he was sent to the Kings and broke out with the Manchester Monarchs.
In 14 regular season games there, he had three goals with seven points and 18 penalty minutes. He had one assist in four playoff games for the Monarchs and was a “Black Ace” for the Kings during their run to the Stanley Cup, but it’s his 6-foot-4 and 205 pound frame that has the team holding out high hopes.
The Kings lost Willie Mitchell to the Florida Panthers in free agency, potentially opening a spot in their top-six. According to those close to the team, McNabb will get every chance in training camp to win the job.
McNabb will have serious competition against veterans Robyn Regehr and Jeff Schultz, but even if he doesn’t win right away, we’ve seen what happens with young Kings players as the season winds down and the playoffs ramp up. With a heavy shot and a physical game, he could be paired with Slava Voynov at some point.
As much as many of us suffer during a trip to the dentist, few can fathom the horrors hockey players often go through when a puck, stick or fist finds their teeth/mouths. Consult this vintage PHT post from 2010 if you want to cringe, a lot.
Much like Eddie Lack “only” dealing with a neck sprain, it’s strange to be heartened to hear that Logan Couture can speak and eat after his own painful ordeal, but that’s the positive update from the Mercury News on Tuesday.
Couture, Wilson said, did not need to have his jaw wired shut after a deflected puck caught him in the mouth on Saturday when the Sharks played the Nashville Predators.
“Hey, he can speak and eat … and his jaw isn’t wired shut!” Yeesh.
To little surprise, Couture isn’t playing on Tuesday. As far as the Sharks next three games (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), that remains to be seen.
As an aside, consider this: on the same day Jonathan Drouin‘s celebrating his birthday after helping the Lightning win, Couture is lucky if he can force down some birthday cake. Life: it isn’t always fair.
PHT discussed his trip to the dentist on Monday.
More mouth pain: When David Backes felt like his face was falling off.
The Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings both exchanged signs of respect after Eddie Lack left last night’s game on a stretcher, but there’s a little controversy surrounding that situation … from the Red Wings’ perspective.
You see, Andreas Athanasiou may not have collided with Lack if not for a shove/cross-check by Hurricanes forward Victor Rask.
Athanasiou is out for the Red Wings tonight, and as the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James reports, he blames the Rask hit.
Here’s a screen grab of that moment via NBCSN/the Fox Sports broadcast:
Now, check it out in full motion:
It’s unfortunate that two injuries came of that overtime-clincher, though one may at least mildly defend Rask in noting that Athanasiou was really displaying his blazing speed on that play.
The Red Wings could very well be eliminated tonight, or soon, but Athanasiou has been a bright spot during a sometimes-glum season for Detroit. Hopefully, like Lack, this is merely a minor issue from an unfortunate collision.
Yes, it feels a little weird to “cheer” a neck strain, but such injury news feels pretty fantastic for Eddie Lack.
The Carolina Hurricanes announced that he’s dealing with exactly that on Tuesday morning, not that long after Lack’s scare after being stretchered off the ice following a collision with Detroit Red Wings Andreas Athanasiou.
Lack ended up being hospitalized, but as it turns out, that was a pretty short-term situation.
With the positive news in mind, it’s already appropriate to wonder when Lack might be back, particularly since he’s been on quite a tear during Carolina’s unlikely push for a possible playoff spot. The Hurricanes didn’t provide a window of time for his recovery, and Lack himself was vague-if-positive:
In the mean time, the Hurricanes recalled Alex Nedeljkovic, who one would assume would primarily back up Cam Ward.
So, long story short: things seem very positive for Lack, though his rehab process remains cloudy.
Update: As it turns out, Anton Khudobin might be the goalie dealing with an injury, according to the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy. So, tonight’s starter boils down to Tuukka Rask or Zane McIntyre.
(Rask it is.)
Tuukka Rask was supposed to be back in goal for the Boston Bruins tonight.
But then, just a couple of hours before their game with the Nashville Predators, the B’s announced they’d recalled goalie Zane McIntyre from the AHL on an emergency basis.
It’s not yet clear why McIntyre was recalled. Rask missed Saturday’s game in Brooklyn with a lower-body injury, but coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier today that Rask was healthy and ready to go.
“Tuukka is healthy,” said Cassidy. “That’s what he indicated to me and that’s all I needed to hear. He’ll be our starter tonight.”
If Rask is unable to play, expect Anton Khudobin to get the nod.
Khudobin backstopped the B’s to a 2-1 victory over the Isles on Saturday.