Author: James O'Brien

Evgeni Nabokov, Ben Bishop

End nearing? Lightning waive Nabokov


In an ideal scenario, the Tampa Bay Lightning likely envisioned Evgeni Nabokov providing veteran experience behind Ben Bishop, at least until Andrei Vasilevskiy was ready for the jump.

That just hasn’t been the case in reality, however, and the Lightning responded as such by placing him on waivers Sunday (according to a wide variety of reporters including Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman).

The team hasn’t officially backed that up yet, so we can’t be sure that Vasilevskiy, 20, will get the call to back up Bishop. That would certainly seem to be the logical case, especially since the promising prospect has three wins in four starts this season.

Hey, at least Bishop is playing extremely well:

Looking further, it’s difficult to shake the impression that Nabokov, 39, is approaching the end of the line.

The veteran netminder’s overall numbers are lousy (3-6-2 with a .882 save percentage). He hasn’t won since Dec. 11 and only saw the ice for two abbreviated appearances in January.

Nabokov floundered a bit in his third season with the New York Islanders in 2013-14, managing just a 15-14-8 record with a mediocre .905 save percentage. That disappointing output limited his offseason options to backup gigs, and now we’ll need to wait and see how many opportunities he gets going forward.

Of course, there’s always the chance a team scoops him up at full price and he shows that he still has something left in the tank …

Pens updates: Ehrhoff undergoing testing, Malkin targets Wednesday

New Jersey Devils v Pittsburgh Penguins

As they gear up for this afternoon’s game against the Nashville Predators, the Pittsburgh Penguins have almost as much going on when it comes to injury updates. Let’s go one-by-one, then:

A lot to soak in, huh?

To the Penguins’ credit, they’re still generating a nice amount of standings points with all of these injuries. The Predators (and returning forward James Neal) should present plenty of competition today, though.

Report: Rob Blake hasn’t spoken with Leafs, wants to stay with Kings

Rob Blake

Whether the Toronto Maple Leafs want to hire Rob Blake from the Los Angeles Kings or not, it doesn’t sound like the idea is getting much traction.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Blake hasn’t been contacted by the Leafs, and furthermore, he wants to stay in Los Angeles anyway.

“He’s in a great spot with the Kings,” Friedman told host George Strombolopolous on Hockey Night in Canada. “He has a home out there. He’s not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.”

Of course, those who might be confident in Toronto’s seductive powers may argue that a simple conversation – perhaps with Brendan Shanahan – could very well change Blake’s mind (or at least make him more open to the idea).

Then again, Blake may understandably prefer to stay in sunny California with a franchise that has two recent Stanley Cups rather than land in the pressure cooker that is Toronto.

Anyway, it sounds like those rumors can be put to bed, or at least put on pause.