Cam Tucker

2014 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
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Canucks GM Benning denies a deal is done with Tryamkin

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Earlier in the day, it was reported that the Canucks had struck a deal with prospect Nikita Tryamkin and that the towering defenseman was on his way to Vancouver.

The Canucks selected Tryamkin, listed at six-foot-eight-inches tall, with the 66th overall pick in the 2014 draft. His season in the KHL had just wrapped up and the rebuilding Canucks do intend to get him under contract — perhaps before the end of the NHL regular season.

However, later Friday afternoon, Canucks general manager Jim Benning denied that a deal had been done between the two sides, as per Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun.

If they do get him signed before the end of the NHL season, Tryamkin will report to the Canucks. His KHL contract doesn’t expire until April 30.

Related: Linden claims ‘complete autonomy from ownership,’ but perception says otherwise

Penguins’ Porter out 12 weeks after undergoing ankle surgery

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without Kevin Porter for about 12 weeks, according to head coach Mike Sullivan.

Porter, the 29-year-old center, underwent surgery on his injured ankle Friday.

“It’s a longer-term injury probably around the 12-week mark,” said Sullivan, as per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “So it’s a tough setback for him and for us.”

From the Penguins website:

Porter was hurt late in the first period of Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win when he got tangled up with Rangers forward Viktor Stalberg and went into the boards feet-first. Porter needed assistance down the runway to the locker room and did not return.

With Porter out, the Pens currently have just 11 forwards on their roster. Sullivan said they have not yet made a decision on which player(s) to recall from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

In 41 games with the Pittsburgh this season, Porter has yet to score a goal. He has three assists. He’s also spent a portion of this season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL.

Eric Fehr, who hasn’t played since Feb. 2 due to a lower-body injury, and Beau Bennett, out since Jan. 23 after Sullivan said he aggravated a previous injury, both took part in Friday’s practice.

Video: Max Domi suspended one game for instigating after he jumped Ryan Garbutt

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Arizona Coyotes rookie Max Domi has been automatically suspended one game for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of regulation.

The league’s Department of Player Safety handed down the punishment on Friday. The incident occurred Thursday when Domi jumped Ryan Garbutt after the Anaheim Ducks forward threw a big hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson late in the third period of that game.

Immediately after the hit, Domi went charging after Garbutt, starting from inside the Anaheim zone before eventually grabbing Garbutt at center ice. Gloves off, Domi began throwing punches before the two hit the ice.

As a result of the suspension to Domi, Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett faces a $10,000 fine in accordance with Rule 46.22 in the NHL rule book.

 

Caps didn’t play with ‘a ton of emotion’ in win over Maple Leafs

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WASHINGTON (AP) Another blast from the point by Matt Niskanen on the power play got the Washington Capitals another victory in a season full of them. But pulling one out of the fire against the NHL’s last-place team didn’t make anyone all that thrilled.

The Capitals beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Wednesday night to match the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings’ mark of 47 wins through 63 games. Washington is lapping the rest of the field and cruising toward home-ice advantage, yet that’s not what players are thinking about.

“We didn’t have a ton of emotion tonight, a ton of fight in our game,” Niskanen said. “We’re struggling with that part of it right now. We’re winning. But I think we all know deep down that we’re much better than we’ve showed.”

The youthful yet physically overmatched Maple Leafs put 29 shots on net to the Capitals’ 23. Washington backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves, which teammates said was the key.

Perhaps more importantly, the Capitals continued to flex their muscles on the power play. After Nikita Soshnikov and Colin Greening erased the 2-0 lead built on goals by Taylor Chorney and Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals won the game in the third period 11 seconds into their fourth power play.

“The power play here has found different ways to score goals,” said forward T.J Oshie, who set a screen on Niskanen’s goal. “Obviously, you got (Ovechkin) over there on the side, that’s always your No. 1 option. But there’s so many different ways we’ve been scoring them, and that’s going to be huge at the end of the season here and into the postseason.”

With the playoffs in mind, Capitals players expressed concern over their recent play. Chorney, whose goal was his first since Feb. 15, 2011, lamented a lack of full, 60-minute performances of late.

“We’ve been fortunate where we got enough firepower where we can kind of find a way to win, but we know down the stretch and in the playoffs it’s not going to be that easy,” Chorney said.

It wasn’t even easy against the Maple Leafs, who have a league-worst 52 points in 62 games. This is a rebuilding season for Toronto, which had four young prospects playing their second NHL games in Soshnikov, William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen and Zach Hyman.

“I thought some of us were pretty good, and some of us got to compete harder,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said of his young players. “If you’re not going to compete, it doesn’t matter how much skill you have, you’re not going to play in the National Hockey League very long.”

Mentoring the kids is one reason the Maple Leafs took on Brooks Laich in a trade with the Capitals on Sunday. Washington got Daniel Winnik in the deal for Laich, who was honored with a video tribute Tuesday night in his quick return after 12 years with the Capitals.

Laich and the Capitals should get some closure, with the 32-year-old turning his focus toward his next job and his former teammates setting their sights on the playoffs. The game against the Maple Leafs was not a positive sign on the road there.

“We weren’t very good tonight, I don’t think,” Winnik said. “I think the shots kind of showed that. They were holding us at bay, but that’s what they do. Maybe just a lull in our game tonight in back-to-backs.”

That can explain a lot, given that the Capitals played the Pittsburgh Penguins the previous night. Still, a one-goal game against the Maple Leafs wasn’t a cause for celebration.

“Give them some credit, they have a bunch of young guys in there full of energy and excited as all hell to be in the NHL,” Niskanen said. “They gave us all we could handle tonight. Grubi was really good and we won. I guess at the end of the day that’s what really counts.”

NOTES: Capitals D Nate Schmidt was out with a lower-body injury. … Connor Carrick, the defenseman Washington sent to Toronto with Laich for Winnik, picked up a secondary assist on Greening’s goal.

Ducks continue march up the standings after ninth straight win

Montreal Canadiens v Anaheim Ducks
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The Anaheim Ducks just keep on winning.

After struggling to Christmas, the Ducks have rapidly ascended through the Pacific Division and Western Conference standings. They’re the hottest team in the National Hockey League right now with nine straight victories. They came back to beat the Montreal Canadiens by a final score of 3-2 in the shootout on Wednesday.

They now move into a tie with their rivals, the L.A. Kings, for first place in the Pacific Division. Both teams are even with 78 points.

Corey Perry, who was left off Team Canada’s preliminary World Cup roster, scored the tying goal — his 27th of the season — and Jakob Silfverberg scored the winner in the shootout.

That race in the Pacific has tightened considerably over the last few weeks. Previously considered the weaker of the divisions in the league, the fight for top spot has become between three teams, while Vancouver, Arizona, Calgary and Edmonton have all fallen well off the pace.

And those top three California teams now have 20 games remaining on each of their respective schedules to try to win the division and avoid what would likely be a physically brutal opening round confrontation.

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