Jason Brough

Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, rear, shoots the puck against Los Angeles Kings defenseman Kevin Gravel (53) during the second period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Report: Kings to recall Gravel, raising more questions about Martinez


The day after Kings defenseman Alec Martinez was unable to finish Game 1 of his team’s first-round series with the Sharks, it sounds like reinforcements are on the way to Los Angeles.

LA Kings Insider is reporting that d-man Kevin Gravel is on his way up from AHL Ontario.

From the report:

Gravel’s recall raises questions about the availability of Alec Martinez that the team, because of the guarded nature of injury information in the playoffs, would prefer not to answer. After being deemed “day-to-day” and missing four games due to an undisclosed injury, Martinez returned to action in Thursday’s 4-3 Game 1 loss to San Jose but logged only 11:43 of ice time through the first two periods and did not return to the bench in the third.

Martinez did not skate today at practice, after which head coach Darryl Sutter was asked about his defensive depth.

“We’ve used a lot of guys,” he told reporters. “If you look over the course of the year, we’ve used, what is it now, 12? Whatever it is. I don’t know, count. I’m not really sure. We’ve used a lot of the kids. …  So we’ve used a lot of guys. It’s the toughest position, but hey, you still need them to give you, whether it’s 10 minutes or 15 minutes, they’ve got to be quality.”

Sutter also pointed to the loss of Martinez as a significant factor in the Kings’ 4-3 loss in Game 1.

“Last night it was the difference in our game when we went down to five defensemen, clearly,” he said. “The second period, it was clearly the difference in our game.”

Game 2 goes Saturday evening at Staples Center.

Related: Kings’ defensive depth goes under the microscope

Flyers announce Couturier to miss two weeks with upper-body injury


Last night’s report was accurate — Flyers forward Sean Couturier will indeed miss the rest of the first round after getting hurt on a hit by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.

The Flyers announced today that Couturier will miss two weeks with an “upper-body injury.” Based on that timeline, his return to the lineup during the playoffs would require Philadelphia to battle back from a 1-0 series deficit and eliminate the heavily favored Capitals.

It’s a huge loss for the underdogs. The 23-year-old two-way center had an excellent regular season, even generating some Selke Trophy talk down the stretch.

“Yeah, he’s been a top defensive forward for a number of years now,” goalie Steve Mason said prior to the playoffs. “I think he’s also realizing some offensive potential that I think he wants to take advantage of as well. He’s only 23 years old too, which is more impressive, I think, to be in such a primary role.”

It was reported by CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio that Couturier’s injury was an “A/C sprain to left shoulder,” which is another way of saying that Couturier separated his shoulder.

Gibson to start Game 1 for Ducks, but Andersen ‘ready for the playoffs as well’


Frederik Andersen‘s shutout in the final game of the Ducks’ regular season didn’t change Bruce Boudreau’s mind.

John Gibson was reportedly the first goalie off the ice this morning in Anaheim, confirmation that he’ll be the Ducks’ starter tonight in Game 1 of their series with Nashville.

On Sunday, Andersen made 24 saves in a 2-0 win over the Capitals in Washington. The 26-year-old finished the season 22-9-7 with a .919 save percentage.

From Sunday’s story in the Los Angeles Daily News:

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said he had John Gibson penciled to start Game 1 and hasn’t changed his mind. But there are also four days until then. “Got a long ride home though,” he said.

“Freddie was tremendous,” Boudreau said. “That could have been as good as I’ve ever seen him. His movements. He was square to the puck. There was no extra movements in his game. It certainly was sending a message to us that I know he hasn’t played for a little bit but he’s ready for the playoffs as well.”

Like Andersen, Gibson enjoyed a fine season, the 22-year-old finishing 21-13-4 with a .920 save percentage.

Unlike Andersen, Gibson is the goalie the Ducks have been grooming to become their starter since drafting him 39th overall in 2011. He’s signed through 2018-19 for a cap hit of just $2.3 million.

Andersen, meanwhile, is a pending restricted free agent who, based on speculation, could end up on the trading block in the offseason.

Of course, a lot could happen between now and the summer. Gibson is the man now. But with Andersen available, Gibson better be good.

Chris Bourque named AHL MVP

Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals

Hershey Bears forward Chris Bourque has been named the American Hockey League’s most valuable player.

From the league’s press release:

The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

Bourque is vying for his second career AHL scoring title in 2015-16, heading into the final weekend of the regular season with a career-high 30 goals and a league-best 79 points in 70 games played.

Bourque, 30, is the son of Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque. In July, he signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Capitals. Before that, he was part of the Rangers organization.

Bourque has appeared in 51 career NHL games for the Capitals, Penguins and Bruins, scoring twice with six assists. He’s also spent time playing in Europe.

The list of past AHL MVPs includes Tyler Johnson (2013) and Jason Spezza (2005).

Before hockey fans freak out about the NBA’s experiment with jersey ads…

Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Gary Bettman was right — the NHL “won’t be the first” of the Big Four professional sports league to have advertising on their jerseys.

That’s because the NBA will be the first. The basketball league announced it today.

From the NBA’s press release:

The NBA Board of Governors approved the sale of jersey sponsorships, beginning with the 2017-18 season, as part of a three-year pilot program. The sponsorship patch will appear on the front left of the game jerseys opposite the Nike logo. Patches will measure approximately 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches and be adjusted to fit the dimensions of each sponsor’s logo. 

Now, let’s face it, the NHL may go down a similar path in the future, because….money.

But for now, just keep in mind what the commissioner said in September when the league announced its deal with Adidas.

“There have been some suggesting this deal means it is inevitable there’ll be advertising on uniforms – and that’s just not true,” said Bettman, per the Globe and Mail.

“Our sweaters, among all the other sports, are I think iconic, which is why I’ve previously been quoted as saying, ‘we certainly won’t be the first’ and you’d probably have to drag me, kicking and screaming [to do it], which would take a lot – a lot, a lot – of money.”