Jason Brough

AP

Report: Karmanos wants to sell ‘Canes, even if it means relocation

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According to a report by 98.5 Sports in Montreal, Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos wants to get his money out of the team, even if it means the ‘Canes are sold and relocated.

Today’s report comes on the heels of an apparent settlement in the lawsuit involving Karmanos and his three sons — a settlement that could make a sale more likely.

The question all along has been whether Karmanos can find a new owner that’s willing to keep the team in Raleigh.

Karmanos, who moved the franchise from Hartford in 1997, has guaranteed that “the Hurricanes will not become the Nordiques.”

But the 73-year-old has also been trying to sell the team for quite some time.

“I’m looking for the proper way to make sure the team has continuity, hopefully with people in North Carolina,” he said in 2014.

Like Karmanos, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has insisted that the ‘Canes are not going anywhere.

The relocation speculation is only natural, however, when Quebec City has a brand new arena with no team, while at the same time Carolina is sitting dead last in NHL attendance (11,189).

Moreover, moving the ‘Canes — an Eastern Conference team — to Quebec City would not further imbalance the league’s conferences. Quebecor’s recent bid for an expansion team was in part deferred for geographical reasons.

“Unfortunately the state and volatility of the Canadian dollar undermined the achievement of that objective relative to the Quebec City,” said Bettman. “Moreover, the league’s geographic imbalance with 16 teams already in the Eastern Conference and 14 — now to be 15 — teams in the Western Conference undermined the achievement of that objective relative to Quebec City’s application, as well.”

The ‘Canes host the Montreal Canadiens tonight, making today’s report all the more pertinent back in Quebec.

Hurricanes president Don Waddell declined to comment when contacted by Montreal’s La Presse newspaper.

Benning says Canucks could trade a d-man for scoring help

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Would Jim Benning trade a defenseman to get a goal-scorer?

The Canucks’ general manager certainly didn’t shoot it down when presented with the idea this morning on TSN 1040 radio.

“We have depth on defense,” Benning said. “We’ve rebuilt our defense. (Nikita) Tryamkin is 22 years old, (Troy) Stecher is 22 years old. (Alex) Edler at 30 is our oldest defenseman, so we have a young, good group back there. We have depth back there. So if we look to make a move, we’d have to use some of our depth on the blue line to add a forward.”

So, who might be on the move?

Well, Edler has a no-trade clause in his contract, which runs through 2018-19 for a cap hit of $5 million, and he’s never indicated an interest in leaving Vancouver.

Chris Tanev is the second oldest regular d-man at 26, but Benning has said the Canucks have no desire to move him.

And Benning probably didn’t acquire 24-year-old Erik Gudbranson to flip him less than a year later — not after saying he envisioned Gudbranson wearing a Canucks sweater for the next decade.

Nor would Benning trade Olli Juolevi, the 18-year-old he drafted fifth overall in June. And the way he mentioned Tryamkin and Stecher, it doesn’t sound like he wants to trade them either.

Luca Sbisa, meanwhile, is not going to garner a significant return; nor would Philip Larsen or Alex Biega.

Which brings us to Ben Hutton, the 23-year-old who scored the winning goal on a penalty shot last night against the Coyotes. Hutton’s name was thrown into the speculation earlier this week, and Benning’s remarks today won’t do anything to quell it.

Both Hutton and Gudbranson are pending restricted free agents, and that could play into all this. If the Canucks can’t unload Sbisa, who’s signed through next season for a regrettable cap hit of $3.6 million, and if they re-sign Gudbranson and if Edler stays put, then it’s possible, we suppose, that Hutton could be the chip that Benning plays.

But the Canucks would have to think long and hard about trading a young, mobile defenseman who finished tied for second in assists among all rookie blue-liners last season.

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That Hutton was able to rack up 25 assists on a team that scored the second-fewest goals in the league was especially impressive. No other Canuck d-man came close to 25 assists. The next highest was Edler, who had 14.

Related: About those Evander Kane trade rumors…

With injuries mounting, the Wings could be in trouble

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You’re probably aware that the Detroit Red Wings have a rather impressive playoff streak going.

You may also be aware that the streak is in jeopardy. The Wings barely made it 25 straight last season, and then Pavel Datsyuk went to the KHL. Playing their last year at Joe Louis Arena, it almost just feels like the end of a great era.

The Wings did start out pretty well this season — 6-2-0 after eight games — but with injuries mounting, they’re only 8-8-1 heading into tonight’s game in Washington.

“We know we have to win games to get back into the race here,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said, per MLive. “It’s still early, but we don’t want to drop back too far.”

The Wings are currently three points back of a wild-card spot, and four back of third place in the Atlantic Division.

According to the analytics, they are simply not a very good team. Almost a quarter of the way through the season, only the Coyotes have a lower score-adjusted Corsi than the Wings, who are tied with the Islanders — and that’s not the kind of company you want to be keeping.

While puck possession isn’t everything in hockey, there are certain things that need to be done in order to win in spite of not owning the puck.

Early on, the Wings were surviving largely on goaltending, buoyed especially by the surprising play of Jimmy Howard. He’ll get the start tonight, his first since giving up five goals in Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Montreal. Petr Mrazek, meanwhile, has allowed four goals in each of his last four starts, all regulation losses for Detroit.

The Wings had also been surviving on opportunistic scoring, including four goals on just 13 shots by Thomas Vanek. But after seven games, Vanek had to be placed on LTIR, and then Andreas Athanasiou and Darren Helm got hurt too. Combined, those three have 12 goals, more than a quarter of the team’s 42 total.

With that in mind, it would be nice for the Wings if guys like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Justin Abdelkader, and Anthony Mantha could start chipping in a little more. This is a particularly big opportunity for the latter, who at 22 needs to start proving he can score at the NHL level.

After tonight’s game, the Wings return home for a winnable match-up Sunday against Calgary.

“You can’t keep losing games if you want to be a team battling for the playoffs,” Zetterberg told reporters after Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay.

And it really is as simple that.

Oilers drop their fifth straight, now barely above .500

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LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Kings returned to their hard forechecking ways and got a needed win.

Jeff Carter scored the tiebreaking short-handed goal midway through the second period and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2.

Derek Forbort and Tyler Toffoli each had a goal and an assist and Devin Setoguchi and also scored for Los Angeles. Peter Budaj made 26 saves.

After going winless in their last four games on the road, the Kings (8-9-1) returned to Staples Center and found the key piece of their game that had eluded them on the road.

“For us, it’s the read, shutting down and getting in on the forecheck,” Setoguchi said. “When we forecheck well, that’s usually when we create our opportunities.”

Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom scored for the Oilers (9-8-1), who have now lost five straight games to fall to 2-7-1 since starting 7-1-0. Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves.

Read more: McLellan doesn’t like how much the Oilers rely on McDavid

Oilers coach Todd McLellan said Carter’s short-handed goal hurt the most but Edmonton was ultimately doomed by another slow start.

“It seems to vary from night to night positionally,” McLellan said. “Whether it’s a D-man with a turnover, the forwards coughing something up and not getting in position at the right time. It’s certainly something we’re aware of, we’re concerned with and trying to fix.”

Trailing 2-0 after the first period, the Oilers scored twice in the second to tie it before Carter scored at 9:06 of the middle period.

Nurse made it 2-1 with a shot off the crossbar 3:44 into the second. A little under five minutes later, Klefbom tied it when he caught a pass in the slot and lifted an impressive backhand shot off the crossbar and behind Budaj.

But just 34 seconds later, Carter won a faceoff and Toffoli led a 2-on-1 rush that resulted in Carter’s game-winner.

“We didn’t get the save, but there were other mistakes on it,” McLellan said. “I thought it sucked the life out of us for a little bit.”

Setoguchi scored off a rebound with 6:45 left to play to make it 4-2, his third goal this season and third since the 2013-14.

“I didn’t think we were that good in the first couple of periods,” Setoguchi said. “Then, in the third we had a couple good shifts back-to-back and we were able to score on one.”

Forbort scored his first goal of the season to put the Kings on the board 5:09 into the game. Toffoli then gave Los Angeles a 2-0 lead a few minutes later when he tapped in a centering pass from Carter.

“There was a bunch of traffic down there, (Kyle) Clifford made a good play and I was lucky it went in,” Forbort said. ”

 

The Winnipeg Jets are earning respect

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The Winnipeg Jets, after an up-and-down start to the season, are beginning to gain some respect.

“Boy, they’re going pretty good from what I’ve seen in the last couple of outings. Pace, speed, aggressive, D up ice and involved as much as I’ve seen,” said Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, per the Winnipeg Sun. “Obviously, their top point-producing line tends to get a lot of, and deserves, an awful lot of the spotlight, but (it’s) a pretty damn good, four-line team.”

The Jets (9-7-2) play tonight in Philadelphia, in search of their third straight win. They’ve earned points in five straight, including an 8-2 destruction of the Stars last Tuesday. Center Mark Scheifele is tied for the NHL lead with 21 points, while his linemate, rookie Patrik Laine, leads all scorers with 12 goals.

Read more: New wave of fantastic Finns taking the NHL by storm

That the Jets — who started 2-4-0, including that disappointing outdoor loss to the Oilers — have turned it around without injured forward Bryan Little is all the more impressive. Little is an underrated two-way center who put up 42 points in 57 games last season. When he gets back, and it shouldn’t be too long now, they stand to be even stronger.

Of course, Winnipeg did get defenseman Jacob Trouba back, and he’s averaged 25:01 of ice time in the three games he’s played. Trouba has been thrown right into the fire, thanks to an injury to Tyler Myers.

Per TSN.ca, the injury list is still a long one:

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But compared to seasons past, the Jets have so much more depth at their disposal. In Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Chicago, Nicolas Petan logged 13:31 and scored a goal — a goal that was assisted by Marko Dano, who logged 13:30. Both Petan and Dano started the season in the AHL, as did call-ups Quinton Howden and Andrew Copp.

Is it any wonder that Alex Burmistrov is reportedly on the trading block? There’s just no room for him anymore. Not will all the young forwards that have already been mentioned, plus Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, and Nikolaj Ehlers.

Meanwhile, rookie defenseman Josh Morrissey has also performed well. The 13th overall draft pick in 2013, he spent last season developing in the AHL, and now the Jets’ patience is being rewarded.

“His consistency,” said head coach Paul Maurice, when the Winnipeg Sun asked what’s been impressive about Morrissey. “It’s funny, because the things I worried most about Josh in his early years and early training camps, the things I thought he might struggle with in the NHL have become his strengths. On breakouts, on dumped pucks into his corner, on battles down low, he’s as good as anybody we have in our lineup right now.”

On top of all that, Connor Hellebuyck is starting to find his game. The young goalie stumbled out of the gates, after the Jets waived veteran Ondrej Pavelec. But Hellebuyck has responded well, his save percentage climbing to .916 after Tuesday’s shut out of the Blackhawks.

“I’ve been chasing it for a while and now I got the monkey off my back,” Hellebuyck told reporters.

He added that the win over the ‘Hawks was a “statement…that we’ve figured it out, and now we know how to play, and now we know we can play it.”