With 2016 approaching, NBCSN presents a doubleheader for the last 2015 edition of Wednesday Night Rivalry.
First, the Tampa Bay Lightning host the New York Rangers in what is indeed becoming a budding rivalry in the East. You can watch the game on TV or stream it via the link below.
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That’s not all, as you can watch the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Sharks in San Jose for some late night action. Follow the link for that one, too.
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Want a preview for the two games? Check that out here.
Sometimes you have to sit a guy, even when it makes you look almost as foolish as the guy perched in the press box.
Paying Matt Moulson $5 million per year already must sting a bit for the Buffalo Sabres, but they finally bit the bullet and made him a healthy scratch on Wednesday, with Marcus Foligno taking his place.
More than a few observers believe that it’s a move that has been in the making.
Moulson is paid to produce offense, but instead he’s been doing very little with the often-limited ice time he’s received.
He’s currently on a seven-game pointless streak and only has an assist in his last 11 games. Even his simple chances are drying up, as he failed to even get a shot on goal in two of his last three games.
(His possession stats seem acceptable, but they aren’t really going to force him to stay in the lineup, either.)
Moulson’s $5 million cap hit runs through 2018-19, so the Sabres have to hope that this is merely a lull rather than a sign of things to come.
Aside: perhaps it’s a slightly unhealthy scratch too? It sounded like Moulson was dealing with an illness earlier this week.
Either way, Buffalo has to hope for better things from him in the future.
Sometimes a young player needs a wake-up call, and few things set off an alarm quite like a healthy scratch.
Perhaps that’s the message the New York Rangers (and particularly head coach Alain Vigneault) are trying to send to Kevin Hayes, as he’s headed toward being a healthy scratch on Wednesday.
It sounds like this has been brewing for a while, too.
Vigneault believes that things have come to a “tipping point” with Hayes, that he hasn’t worked hard enough so far in 2015-16, according to the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross.
There’s almost a sense of exasperation.
After a solid start to his season (15 points in 25 games), Hayes really has gone cold with just two points in 12 December contests.
He’s far from the only problem for the Rangers – just ask Henrik Lundqvist – yet it could be crucial to get a spark from a talented, young forward like Hayes.
Sometimes a little break doesn’t hurt matters, either.
Even on the occasions when Tyler Johnson has been healthy enough to play this season, he hasn’t seemed like that Tyler Johnson.
You know, the one who lead the Tampa Bay Lightning in scoring last season. The guy who was one of the biggest catalysts in Tampa Bay’s run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
So, that was the big question as he returned in the Lightning’s eventual 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens last night: is he going to play at a high level again or will it be another setback for Johnson?
Now, sometimes players have a tendency to get a little optimistic about their recoveries, but it’s better to hear positive things than negative ones. Johnson sure seems positive, too, as he told reporters that his wrist is feeling 100 percent again.
As Tampa Bay scratches and claws to get in playoff contention, this is the best news in a long time.
Now they just need to hope that his diagnosis is correct.
One hidden gem of Epix’s Road to the 2016 Winter Classic came when Boston’s mayor (Marty Walsh, pictured) and Montreal’s mayor (Denis Coderre) rolled out what they’re wagering for the Jan. 1 game.
This time around, it’s not about sending local food or flying flags. The two exchanged some playful barbs and came up with the verdict: the loser must list 10 great things about the winner’s city.
You can watch their amusing exchange in the tweet below from the NHL.
Anyone a little disappointed that chowder and poutine weren’t specifically mentioned?