Jason Brough

Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings

The Wings’ search for a ‘top-three defenseman’ may last until training camp


Ken Holland would “love to get a top-three defenseman,” but it may not be until training camp that he can make his best offer.

Before he does anything too bold, the Red Wings’ general manager wants to know what he’s got up front.

“Part of this might be let’s get to September and see,” Holland told the Detroit News. “I’m hoping we’ve got 15, 16 NHL forwards and we’re positioned to do a deal.”

It was reported a couple of weeks ago that the St. Louis Blues had asked for Dylan Larkin in a potential Kevin Shattenkirk trade. Blues GM Doug Armstrong has since said he might not trade Shattenkirk at all.

It’s a game of chicken, basically. The Wings obviously aren’t giving up Larkin, the 19-year-old center who could be the next “face of the franchise.” But losing, say, Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar wouldn’t be so hard to swallow if a young prospect like Anthony Mantha came to camp looking ready to be an NHL regular.

Per General Fanager, the Wings have 15 healthy forwards under contract for next season. That doesn’t include Teemu Pulkkinen, a restricted free agent who may not be ready for camp after offseason shoulder surgery. But it does include Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, each of whom remain waivers exempt.

“If some of the kids come to camp and they haven’t taken a step forward and they can go back to the American league, then they’ll go back to the American league,” said Holland.

“We’ll make a decision in September.”

Related: Like Shattenkirk, Cam Fowler is also surprised he hasn’t been traded yet

Lou Fontinato, who feuded with Gordie Howe, died Sunday

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 22: Former New York Ranger Lou Fontinato attends the ceremony honoring Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell prior to the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers on February 22, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Former Rangers and Canadiens defenseman Lou Fontinato died Sunday in Guelph, Ontario, according to the NHL’s website.

He was 84 years old.

A tough customer during his playing career, Fontinato didn’t score many goals — just 25 in 535 NHL games — but he did amass 1,247 penalty minutes. It’s been written he had “a reputation for mayhem.”

From his obituary in the New York Times:

Fontinato, a popular player in New York, had a long-running feud with Gordie Howe, the great forward for the Detroit Red Wings who died last month. The two had several extracurricular physical exchanges on the ice, the most notable occurring at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 1, 1959.

In that encounter, in the first period of a game the Rangers won, Fontinato went after Howe — hardly a shrinking violet himself — perhaps in retaliation for a hard check by Howe on the Rangers’ Eddie Shack, perhaps coming to Shack’s aid in a fight that also involved the Wings’ Red Kelly. Accounts of the fight differ, but what is certain is that in the flurry of blows, Howe connected with what the N.H.L. website described as “one of the most famous roundhouses” in league history, flattening Fontinato’s nose.

His career ended on the ice at the Forum in Montreal on March 9, 1963. Playing for the Canadiens against the Rangers, he was checked into the boards by the Rangers’ Vic Hadfield, breaking his neck. His arms and legs were paralyzed for several weeks, though he eventually recovered, returning to Guelph and working as a farmer.

Related: ‘I hope he doesn’t elbow too many angels’ – Eulogizing Gordie Howe

Ray Bourque due in court on drunken driving charge

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31:  Ray Bourque #77 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic  Alumni Game at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) Former Boston Bruins star Ray Bourque (bork) is expected to appear in a Massachusetts court to try to resolve a drunken driving charge.

A spokeswoman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett confirmed that the office has been advised that Bourque will be in Lawrence District Court on Wednesday to try to resolve the case.

Bourque pleaded not guilty last week to operating under the influence of alcohol after his Mercedes-Benz rear-ended a minivan in Andover on June 24. No one was hurt.

Police said Bourque had a blood-alcohol level of 0.249, three times the state’s legal limit to drive.

Bourque said in a statement last week: “I am not happy about the situation I put myself into.”

Bourque helped the Colorado Avalanche win a Stanley Cup in 2001, then retired.

Devils re-sign RFA Kalinin for one year, $800,000

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 23: Sergey Kalinin #51 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates his goal at 17:16 of the third period against the New York Rangers at the Prudential Center on February 23, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Rangers 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have re-signed forward Sergey Kalinin to a one-year, $800,000 contract.

Kalinin, 25, was a restricted free agent. He had eight goals and seven assists in 78 games last season, his first in the NHL after coming over from Russia last summer.

The Devils still have one key RFA to sign. That would be leading scorer Kyle Palmieri, who has filed for arbitration. If possible, the club would like to lock the 25-year-old up with a long-term deal.

Winger Reid Boucher is also an RFA, per General Fanager.

Linden explains decision to not re-sign Hamhuis

Dan Hamhuis

First the Canucks didn’t get anything for Dan Hamhuis at the trade deadline. Then they let him walk away for nothing in free agency. Then they watched him sign a two-year deal in Dallas with a cap hit of just $3.75 million.

Suffice to say, there are fans in Vancouver who aren’t very happy with how the Hamhuis situation played out. The 33-year-old defenseman wanted to stay. He clearly wouldn’t have cost a fortune to keep. He’s still pretty good, too.

On Tuesday, Canucks president of hockey ops Trevor Linden went on TSN 1040 radio and explained what happened, per Today’s Slapshot.

“I think basically when we made the move for Erik Gudbranson, when we looked at our group – [Alex Edler and Chris Tanev] and Gudbranson – we wanted to go with a younger group,” said Linden. “There’s opportunity there for younger players. We didn’t have the room and the fit wasn’t right.”

The Canucks may have had no choice. As Linden noted, Edler, Tanev and Gudbranson weren’t going anywhere. Neither, of course, was young Ben Hutton. And they signed Philip Larsen to run the power play. And if Nikita Tryamkin is sent to the AHL, he can reportedly opt to go back to Russia. And Andrey Pedan will need to clear waivers next season. And Alex Biega has a two-year, one-way contract.

That’s eight defensemen already, and we haven’t even mentioned Luca Sbisa. If the Canucks were ever going to re-sign Hamhuis, they’d have likely needed to trade Sbisa, who has two years remaining on his contract with a $3.6 million cap hit — which would not be easy to trade.

And so the Canucks, a team that just gave Loui Eriksson a whole pile of money in hopes of making a return to the playoffs, will head into next season with a proven top pairing of Edler and Tanev, but big question marks below. The plan right now is for Hutton, a rookie last season, to form a second pair with Gudbranson. It remains to be seen who will be on the third pair once the regular season gets underway. The best guess is Sbisa with Larsen.

Perhaps it will work out. The veterans will stay healthy, and the youngsters will come through. That’s what the Canucks are banking on.

If not, expect to hear the name Hamhuis a lot, especially if he finds success with the Stars.