James O'Brien

Evander Kane, Jared Cowen

Jets fans welcome Evander Kane back to Winnipeg with #TrackSuitNight


We are mere hours away from Evander Kane‘s return to Winnipeg as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, and while Kane expects a hostile atmosphere, so far it’s more on the … humorous side.

Maybe such mockery is downright hostile, but either way, Jets fans seem to be having fun with #TrackSuitNight.

TSN’s Gary Lawless passed along some highlights, including these:

Kane, for his part, is playing the indifferent card.

… And that includes the subject of #TrackSuitNight.

For more fun, click here (for tracksuits) or here (for more from Kane).

Update: Literally a bumpy start for Kane.

Stars send Radek Faksa down to the AHL, again


The Dallas Stars demoted forward Radek Faksa to the AHL once again on Sunday.

There’s obviously still potential there as a 2012 first-rounder (13th overall), but Faksa hasn’t made much of an impact at the NHL level.

He’s played in four games in his most recent recall, managing an assist while averaging 8:35 time on ice per game.

It’s likely more beneficial to Faksa’s development to get more reps in the AHL, where he currently has 13 points in 19 games.

This also means that Ales Hemsky‘s likely to return to the Stars lineup soon.

Jakub Kindl clears waivers; Red Wings likely to send him to AHL

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl (4) of the Czech Republic skates with the puck during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Detroit, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015.  The Bruins beat the Red Wings 4-3 in overtime.  (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Blame it on the price or some other factor, but Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl cleared waivers on Sunday, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

During Saturday’s Headlines segment, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Red Wings would likely go all the way with demoting Kindl to the AHL.

On that price:

Now, perhaps the Red Wings could trade Kindl at some point, but apparently other teams didn’t want to take on the blueliner at that full cap hit.

It’s possible that Kyle Quincey‘s potential return (and the $4.25 million cap hit) is causing some of Detroit’s cap crunch, which necessitates this move … and maybe others?

Again, more on that here.

Predators should probably be more concerned about goaltending

Arizona Coyotes' Tobias Rieder (8) celebrates his first goal during the third period against Nashville Predators' Carter Hutton, left, with teammates Martin Hanzal (11) and Zbynek Michalek (4) in an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Rieder scored two goals in the third period, and the Coyotes defeated the Predators 4-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Nashville Predators’ recent play has been worrisome, and the splashy trade to land Ryan Johansen hasn’t steered them back on a winning path.

Saturday represented another troubling loss, as the Predators dropped their third straight game (and fifth loss in six games) in humbling fashion. The Arizona Coyotes beat them 4-0, culminating with a salt-in-the-wounds goal by Anthony Duclair.

In fact, that defeat bumped Nashville out of the West’s playoff mix as of last night.

The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan caught up with multiple members of the team who recognized a problem … though specifics were scarce.

(More here.)

Perhaps they’re not willing to confront their most glaring problem, though?

The elephant in the room

When you look at the Predators’ possession stats, they don’t really strike you as a “bad team.”

They may be a team suffering from bad luck, with bottom-third numbers in shooting and save percentages, giving them a low “PDO.”

Johansen and simple bounces may help the shooting side … but what about Pekka Rinne‘s failings, and the shortcomings of Nashville’s goaltending in general?

Rinne wasn’t in net last night, but the team uses him like a workhorse, making his struggles that much more glaring. His record isn’t very good (16-13-6, leaving among the NHL’s biggest losers) and his .906 save percentage falls in the “bad backup” range.

It makes sense to stick with a $7 million guy, especially since the team doesn’t seem to have much trust in Carter Hutton, but maybe GM David Poile should try to work the phones for a better second goalie option?

Ultimately, the Predators’ biggest concern might just be their lack of concern in net.

That said, feel free to float other hypotheses in the comments.

Here’s what Lightning reportedly want for Drouin (Hint: not Shattenkirk)


Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said what you’d expect about trading (or not trading) Jonathan Drouin, but really, what would it take to pry that promising player away?

Well, we can narrow it down in one way: not a piece like St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, as had been rumored before.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman laid out the blueprint for landing Drouin during Saturday’s Headlines segment: the Lightning want “young for young.”

More precisely, Friedman notes that the Lightning want a young player whose contract they can control. That’s why Robby Fabbri‘s name is coming up, according to Friedman.

(Again, check out the full segment here.)

It’s easy to see why this is the asking price, with an emphasis on price. While Shattenkirk is quite the steal at a $4.25 million cap hit, the Lightning need to save every nickle and dime to re-sign the likes of Steven Stamkos, not to mention other prominent players who are only a season or two away from expiring contracts.

That’s all pretty reasonable, yet it’s specific enough that it might be a trickier asking price for some teams, especially if Yzerman is picky about the type of prospect he’d take in return.

Speaking of Shattenkirk: Friedman notes that the Blues are getting calls about Shattenkirk now that his name surfaced in rumors, and he was possibly being floated for Ryan Johansen.

Really, that could be just as interesting to watch as Drouin trade scuttlebutt, at least if St. Louis is truly serious about moving its underrated scoring blueliner.