James O'Brien

Justin Abdelkader

Report: Red Wings, Abdelkader closing in on seven-year extension


The Detroit Red Wings aren’t shy about locking players up to long-term deals, especially if the cap hit seems manageable.

Justin Abdelkader might be the next guy to become a true core player, as he’s closing in on a seven-year extension that may carry at least a $4 million cap hit, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

To save you some math, that means he’d get a minimum of $28 million, probably more.

On one hand, that could turn out to be a steal for a guy who’s become something of a Robin to Henrik Zetterberg‘s Batman. That’s not a bad rate for a guy who’s easily serving as a top-six forward.

On the other side, Abelkader’s physical style could really start to take its toll, so a lengthy extension would carry arguably even more risks than usual.

The Red Wings have seen lengthy deals work out well, yet they also likely rue Johan Franzen‘s monster deal and maybe regret Jimmy Howard‘s contract, too.

As always, this report doesn’t say a deal is done. Should Red Wings fans be happy if it happens?

Oilers down Ducks in battle of red-hot lines

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Teddy Purcell stole the final spotlight with an electrifying overtime goal, but it was all about two fantastic lines in Wednesday’s Anaheim – Edmonton thriller.

The Ducks and Oilers saw great work from their top trios on Wednesday, although to some extent, Anders Nilsson was the true difference in a 4-3 OT win.

It’s not just that Nilsson generated a bucketful of saves; he also kept the puck alive during the overtime sequence that eventually resulted in Purcell’s clincher, which you can watch in the video above.

Let’s not ignore the contributions of each big combo.

Ryan-Nugent Hopkins: one goal, one assist; Leon Draisaitl: one goal, two assists; Taylor Hall: one assist.

Corey Perry: two goals; Rickard Rakell: two assists; Ryan Getzlaf didn’t score.

This was a 1-1 contest heading into the third period before the fireworks really began.

For the Ducks, this is yet another night of frustration. This is the second 4-3 overtime loss in a row for Anaheim.

On the Oilers’ end, they get a reward for continued hard work. It’s also a reminder that Connor McDavid wasn’t the only guy who was producing big offense for Edmonton.

It also may be a signal that Draisaitl is for real.

Penguins find a way to come back vs. Habs


The Pittsburgh Penguins have traveled some bumpy roads to their victories, but the bottom line is that they’re now looking quite nice at 10-5-0.

That’s an especially strong mark considering their 0-3-0 start.

In the case of Wednesday night, the Penguins managed to hang with the cream of the East crop, besting the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 via a shootout.

It was a busy game in which players suffered bumps and bruises while tension sometimes ran over, particularly for Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby during a tenuous second period.

Pittsburgh managed to avoid too much damage in that middle frame, however, and ultimately rode Patric Hornqvist‘s third-period tally to tonight’s victory.

Comebacks haven’t always come easily for Pittsburgh, apparently.

Naturally, there are still things to work on.

The Penguins still have those moments of temper. Their power play also failed to win the game during a 4-on-3 OT opportunity.

Either way, they continue to win in bunches, and Crosby came through with a two-assist night (while also scoring the shootout winner).

There’s no “style points” category in the standings after all, right?

Rakell returns to Ducks’ lineup

Rickard Rakell, Andrew Shaw

After missing three games, Rickard Rakell is back for the Anaheim Ducks, who take on the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

The Ducks have been on a roll lately, although they did lose a 4-3 overtime decision against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

Rakell isn’t a big name, yet he received some looks as a top-line center when Ryan Getzlaf was sidelined. He may help boost Anaheim’s scoring depth, often a concern for the Ducks.

Marc-Andre Fleury laughs off being bloodied

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Let’s all say it together: “Hockey goalies are tough.”

Marc-Andre Fleury experienced a busy first period even before he was getting patched up. Those repairs were needed when Ben Lovejoy accidentally high-sticked his own goalie, which managed to get under his mask and cut him up.

Fleury missed a little bit of time getting repairs, forcing Jeff Zatkoff to make three saves.

Pittsburgh’s workhorse seemed fine, essentially laughing it off … while bleeding.

Yes, that’s hockey.

Video is likely to come.

Montreal’s goalie Mike Condon stood out himself, even if he didn’t get wounded.

The second period’s been one of frustration for the Penguins, including Kris Letang getting frazzled because of the hit Andrei Markov delivered leading into Brendan Gallagher‘s goal: