Jason Brough

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) controls the puck in front of New Jersey Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

McDonagh ‘doubtful’ for Game 3, but ‘stranger things have happened’

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of defenseman Ryan McDonagh playing in tomorrow’s Game 3 versus the Penguins.

This morning, Vigneault called that possibility “doubtful’; however, he added that “stranger things have happened.”

McDonagh (hand) practiced today, and was “flying around,” according to teammate Kevin Klein.

But McDonagh was paired with AHL call-up Raphael Diaz, while the three pairings that the Rangers used Saturday in their victory over Pittsburgh remained the same.

If McDonagh can’t play Tuesday, Game 4 goes Thursday at MSG.

Parayko’s ‘memorable’ season has extended into the playoffs


Among all NHL rookie defenseman this season, only the Blackhawks’ Trevor van Riemsdyk spent more time on the ice than the Blues’ Colton Parayko.

And while it’s the Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere who’s expected to be one of the Calder Trophy finalists (along with forwards Connor McDavid and Artemi Panarin), Parayko could very well join Gostisbehere as the other d-man on the NHL’s All-Rookie Team.

Indeed, it’s been a remarkable and unexpected season for Parayko, the third-round draft pick in 2012 that spent three years playing college hockey at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He turned heads in training camp, along with fellow rookie blue-liner Joel Edmundson. He ended up playing 79 games in the regular season, finishing with nine goals and 33 points.

“It’s been quite the journey, it’s been a whirlwind almost,” Parayko told reporters a couple of weeks ago. “I think at the end of the year I’m going to be looking back and it’s going to be pretty memorable and pretty cool.”

On Sunday, he added another memory, scoring a power-play goal in the Blues’ 3-2 win over the Blackhawks in Chicago.

For now, Parayko remains a bottom-pairing d-man who’s simply hoping to help St. Louis get over the playoff hump.

But that hasn’t stopped people — in particular, fans of other teams, and maybe their GMs — from wondering if his emergence could play into what happens this summer with Kevin Shattenkirk, who’s only got next season left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent.

Shattenkirk, 27, would be highly sought-after on the trade market, should his extension demands prove too hefty for GM Doug Armstrong. Theoretically, Parayko could help alleviate the loss of Shattenkirk.

Again, that’s not the concern right now for St. Louis. It’s beating the Blackhawks and avoiding another first-round defeat.

If the Blues can accomplish that goal, their depth on defense will undoubtedly be a big reason why, aided by a 22-year-old rookie on a whirlwind journey.

Report: Trouba to meet with agent to ‘strategize’ for contract talks with Jets

Anaheim Ducks v Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba and his agent, Kurt Overhardt, are “expected to meet this week to strategize” for contract negotiations with the Jets, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

Whenever the talks get underway, it could be an interesting negotiation, and not just because Ovehardt’s involved. (Ask the Columbus Blue Jackets about him.)

It could also be interesting because Trouba, 22, can become a restricted free agent on July 1, and he plays for a team that already has big money committed to defensemen Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers and Toby Enstrom.

Trade rumors surrounded Trouba for much of the season, many of them involving Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic. And when the Jets re-signed Byfuglien, the speculation only intensified.

Granted, there’s good reason for the Jets to consider re-signing the young blue-liner. Trouba was drafted ninth overall in 2012, and he’s shown great promise during his three pro years. In addition, not re-signing Andrew Ladd opened up some cap space for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.

At the same time, if Cheveldayoff doesn’t like the numbers that Overhardt throws at him, there would be no shortage of interest in Trouba on the trade market. The Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, and Detroit Red Wings are all desperate to upgrade their blue lines. And there would be more more suitors than that, because big, young defensemen that skate well are such a valuable commodity in today’s NHL.

So much so that, if you’ve got one, you’d better be pretty sure before you trade one.

Related: Morgan Rielly signs six-year, $30 million extension

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

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)

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.