Subban: Sticking with Montreal ‘wasn’t about the dollar signs’

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P.K. Subban insists that contract negotiations and the salary arbitration process weren’t personal. Instead, his latest talks with the Montreal Canadiens were “educational.”

(Others would use words like “profitable” being that the end result was an eight-year, $72 million blockbuster.)

As much as hearings can leave emotional bruises, the 25-year-old defenseman sounds excited to remain with the Canadiens and emphatically stated that there are no hard feelings on his end. He said that staying with Montreal is all he ever “really wanted.”

“It wasn’t about the dollar signs,” Subban said. “Listen, If I could do a 20-year contract with Montreal, I would.”

Subban joked that he wanted a long-term deal before he “deserved one.” He also showed quite a bit of savvy about what goes into contract negotiations, mentioning projections of salary cap increases related to TV deals and other factors. He even said all the right things about learning things from the more judgmental part of the arbitration process.

Maybe most importantly, he emphasized that he believes that his relationship with GM Marc Bergevin, head coach Michel Therrien and team president Geoff Molson remains strong.

“I think it’s a strong commitment … It sends a strong message to me that they want me here and appreciate everything that I’ve done to this point. They believe in me as a player,” Subban said. “People don’t have to speculate about how the Montreal Canadiens feel about me.”

As much as Subban said all the right things, he didn’t confirm or deny the existence of a no-movement or no-trade clause, stating that he’s leaving those kind of details to his agent Don Meehan.

With the contract talk out of the way, people can get back to what really matters: wondering if he’s worth what he’s currently getting paid.

Bolts close gap on struggling Bruins in playoff race

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Well, that was quite a third period.

For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.

Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.

The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.

Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.

And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.

Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)

The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.

Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.

From NHL.com:

The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.

The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.

Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.