James O'Brien

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25:  Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers talks with Rick Nash #61 during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens in the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 25, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Kreider in, Nash out for Rangers on Sunday

It’s one power forward in, one out for the New York Rangers on Sunday, but the overall picture is positive.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: Rick Nash cannot play against the Ottawa Senators today. He’s day-to-day with what sounds like a lower-body injury after blocking a shot.

Even the bad Nash news is mostly OK: he’s likely to play on Monday.

Chris Kreider went on a hot streak (five points in four games up from Jan. 14-19) before dealing with neck spasms, and now he’s back in the lineup for this match against the Sens.

Here’s how the Rangers line will likely look:

Christian Thomas could see Coyotes debut after recall

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 14: Christian Thomas #60 of the Montreal Canadiens before the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs  at the Bell Centre on February 14, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
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The Arizona Coyotes reached their 23-man roster limit by recalling Christian Thomas on Sunday.

Thomas was traded to Arizona from Montreal for Lucas Lessio in mid-December.

The 40th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft generated two assists in five NHL games with the Habs. He’s been productive in the AHL, as well, playing nicely despite being on two AHL rosters and maybe soon-to-be two NHL teams.

Arizona plays two games before the All-Star break, including a Monday contest. We’ll see if Thomas debuts then, or if this was just a call up to get a look at the forward.

Here’s what the Lightning are reportedly offering Stamkos

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Look, we know Steven Stamkos is going to make buckets of money. The key questions are “Where will he sign?” and “For how much?”

The Tampa Bay Lightning still have time to re-sign him before the circus truly comes to town, and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman provides some interesting details on what their offer might be.

Friedman reports that the Lightning are offering a deal worth $8.5 million per season, and the Tampa Bay Tribune fills in some details that make it seem like it would be an eight-year, $68M deal overall.

What’s your initial reaction to that?

It says a lot about the money thrown around in modern sports that, personally, the gut reflex was “That’s not enough.”

Perhaps it’s just a matter of perspective; take a glance at the cap hit leaders, via General Fanager:

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane: $10.5 million
Alex Ovechkin: $9.538M
Evgeni Malkin: $9.5M
P.K. Subban: $9M
Sidney Crosby: $8.7M
Corey Perry: $8.625M
Henrik Lundqvist: $8.5M
Claude Giroux: $8.275M
Ryan Getzlaf: $8.25M

(Obviously, Anze Kopitar‘s eight-year, $80 million extension likely also makes a significant impact.)

When you look at that list, $8.5 million may still seem insufficient for Stamkos, but it’s probably not an insulting offer. Right?

We’re ultimately still at the same point: speculating about whether the superstar sniper would take a moderate “hometown discount” to stay with Tampa Bay or chase a splashier deal, perhaps closer to his hometown team with a certain obscure squad in Toronto.

Stamkos has said all the right things about staying with the Bolts. We’ve heard advice for Stamkos from guys with similar experiences, such as Zach Parise.

All we really know is that reported offer of $8.5 million per year.

Then again, isn’t that uncertainty is a big part of the fun (unless you’re an anxious Lightning fan)?

Yes, the league will have a hearing for Milan Lucic’s ‘sucker punch’

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In an announcement that likely surprises few, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety said that it will have a hearing with Milan Lucic for his sucker punch on Kevin Connauton.

OK, it’s a little surprising that the league actually deemed it a sucker punch in its official release, but it’s not all that astounding that Lucic’s latest scene of white-hot anger drew such attention.

There’s no clarification regarding whether or not this is an in-person or telephone hearing.

(Click here for Lucic’s reaction to the whole situation.)

It sounds like Lucic avoided injury from last night’s Arizona Coyotes – Los Angeles Kings game, although apparently his hand went numb.

Lucic is no stranger to calls from the league; heck, he even got some attention for a “sucker punch” many moons ago. He’s dodged suspensions quite a few times over the years – including for that memorable running of Ryan Miller – yet he’s also missed time here and there.

It will certainly be interesting to see what happens with this. You can watch that scene in the video above.

Even if you limit scary Lucic rage moments to the Kings, this hasn’t been the first time, as you witness here …

/hides

Could Gostisbehere be the Flyers’ first Calder winner?

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When you look at pure impact, Shayne Gostisbehere is right up there with the best rookies in the NHL so far this season.

The Philadelphia Inquirer brings up a fascinating question, even if it’s a far-flung concept: could he be the first player to win the Calder as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers?

The problem is in the name: he hasn’t been “here,” in the NHL, that long.

Just look at the top scorers among rookies. At a first glance, coming in at 12th overall seems to make his case laughable; Gostisbehere’s 19 points are a far cry from Artemi Panarin‘s rookie-leading 45.

Still, it’s resounding what he’s accomplished for the Flyers, especially in a short time.

In 27 games, he has three game-winning goals, all in overtime. His 10 power-play points ties him with Max Domi for third place among rookies.

It’s not on voters to penalize other rookies for playing in far more games, but Gostisbehere’s per-game impact really stands out. There are only two first-year players who’ve played in 10+ games who have more each night than Ghost’s .70 per game: Connor McDavid (.92) and Panarin (.88).

Like any good difference-maker, he’s generating a rave review quote from an opposing player, via the Inquirer:

“His shot … he’s got a bomb,” Kris Letang said. “For a young guy to come into the league and manage a power play with that much talent on it, it’s impressive.”

No doubt about it, “Ghost” is a long shot to win the Calder … or even be a finalist. Perhaps he should get a little more consideration, however, and that’s especially true if he keeps up this pace through the rest of the season.