James O'Brien

Rich Peverley, Lindy Ruff

Peverley’s future still looks cloudy, says agent

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Rich Peverley is “still undecided about his future,” according to what his agent Allain Roy told the Boston Globe.

Back in mid-May, the word was that he could still play, although it sounded like the 33-year-old would need to jump through a few hoops to do so. He’s been sidelined since March 2014 after a frightening “cardiac incident.”

Peverley’s three-year, $9.75 million contract expired this summer, with his salary ending at $3.375 million in 2014-15.

One wonders if a team – whether it be the Dallas Stars or someone else – would want to take on the risk of Peverley suffering from another heart-related issue.

There may be some time until the versatile foward would get an answer, anyway, at least if he doesn’t want to make the retirement call himself. We’re at the point in free agency where many hopefuls are likely pondering the unpleasant thought of training camp tryouts and other late fixes.

The odds seem long, but there’s no shame in Peverley refusing to leave any rock un-turned, either.

(H/T to Puck Daddy.)

Hextall: It’s status quo between Flyers, Lecavalier

Vincent Lecavalier
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We’ve seen quite a few “impossible-to-move” contracts actually get traded lately (see: Chris Pronger’s dead money), but it sounds like Vincent Lecavalier and the Philadelphia Flyers are stuck together. For now.

GM Ron Hextall described the situation as “status quo” on Friday, as CSNPhilly.com notes.

“We’re status quo,” Hextall said. “We’re planning on going into the season with Vinny and see what happens. Do I get a call with interest? I don’t know. At this point, we’re status quo.”

Tough sell

Simply put, it’s not easy to market a 35-year-old who was an occasional healthy scratch on a non-playoff team and also happens to carry a $4.5 million cap hit through 2017-18.

Hextall was describing the salary cap situation as a whole when he called it “not ideal” yet manageable, but perhaps those descriptions work best for Lecavalier’s situation.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

One thing to note is that Philly has already stomached some of the biggest financial burdens of his deal, so his contract might be easier to move later on.

After receiving $6 million in salary during 2013-14 and 2014-15 (not to mention hefty signing bonuses), Lecavalier’s receiving $4.5 million in salary in 2015-16 and already received his $2 million bonus in July, according to CSNPhilly.com.

Things get more affordable toward the end of the deal: he receives $3 million in salary in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and his final bonus is a little easier to stomach: $500K in July 2016. Teams hoping to save some cash while getting to the salary cap floor in 2016-17 may just find Lecavalier more interesting right after he gets that half-million bonus next summer.

Waiting another full year to get rid of Lecavalier’s contract obviously isn’t the most desirable thought, but it might be the most realistic scenario.

You can bet that Hextall will take other general managers’ calls about the floundering veteran whenever they come, though.

Related: Flyers are still stuck in salary cap jail

Rather than firing staffers, Blue Jackets chalk up insane run of injuries to bad luck

150719_BlueJackets
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Instead of giving the 2014-15 Columbus Blue Jackets a failing grade, it’s tempting to hand them an “incomplete” considering the absolutely ridiculous run of injuries.

Of course, every good organization has to ask a soul-searching question in such times: is it blind, cruel luck or do some people need to be replaced?

As ugly as that spate of injuries was, the Blue Jackets aren’t being reactionary with firings and scapegoating, as the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports.

“We’ve studied our doctors, we’ve studied our trainers, we’ve studied how our players are conditioned,” Team president John Davidson said. “It’s just flat-out bad luck what we went through last season.”

GM Jarmo Kekalainen observed that “nothing was out of order” when the team studied how the medical and training staffs handled various situations. While he believes the franchise is always looking for ways to improve, it doesn’t sound like he’s blaming anyone … except maybe the hockey gods?

This year-by-year injury breakdown shows just how extraordinary this past season really was for Columbus:

By finishing 2014-15 strong and adding Brandon Saad to the mix, the Blue Jackets are one of those teams that have real potential, although we’ll need to wait and see if that is only realized in video games where you can turn injuries “off.”

Toews says Ducks, not Lightning, were Blackhawks’ toughest opponent

150719_JonathanToews
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There’s a scene in “Talladega Nights” where Will Ferrell’s character deeply insults someone, but feels like he can get away with it by saying “with all due respect.”

It was hard not to think of that moment when Jonathan Toews praised the Anaheim Ducks’ efforts just a little bit more than the Tampa Bay Lightning’s opposition at a Blackhawks fan convention.

“No disrespect to Tampa because I think they far exceeded our expectations for what they were able to do and how difficult they made things on us,” Toews said, according to the Associated Press.

Still, he said the Ducks series “stands out to me in the last number of years as far as the challenges.”

(Attention Los Angeles Kings fans: you might be able to really stretch the limits of context and get mad about this, too, if you’re really bored.)

One can nitpick certain aspects of Blackhawks – Ducks and Blackhawks – Lightning to praise one over the other. Every game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final was tight, while the Western showdown featured some high-scoring contests, especially when Chicago ran away with things at the end.

Still, it’s no secret that many believe that the West is still the best of the two conferences, possibly by a large margin.

It would be silly to make too much bulletin board material out of these comments, but maybe there is the sense that “Captain Serious” agrees about one conference standing head and shoulders above the other.

In an amusing bit of scheduling, the Blackhawks’ first games against those two opponents are consecutive contests at United Center, as they host the Lightning on Oct. 24 and the Ducks on Oct. 26. Maybe the 2015-16 versions of these teams will make a different sort of impression on Toews?

PHT Morning Skate: Seguin admits Sharp dethrones him as the sexiest Star

seguingetty
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Tyler Seguin on the burning question in Dallas: is Patrick Sharp better looking than he is? (Dallas Morning News)

Former NHL-er (and Calder Trophy winner) Bryan Berard’s story keeps getting sadder. (National Post)

The case for signing Brad Boyes. (TSN)

Enjoy this spirited Q & A with NBC’s beloved Doc Emrick. (Sportsnet)

Update: Frederik Andersen still loves Legos. (The Hockey News)

What it was like for one fan/blogger falling in love with the Detroit Red Wings. (Winging It in Motown)

The AHL provided this handy guide of NHL affiliations, in case you’ve (understandably) had difficulty keeping track of the changes.

This seems like the perfect thing to stare at while you’re not really working on Friday morning.