When the Colorado Avalanche came out of the All-Star break, they were presented with a four-game home stand and a great chance to build an even bigger playoff cushion.
Last night, that home stand ended with a 3-1 loss to Vancouver. In the four games, the only point they managed came in a 4-3 OT loss to Dallas. Colorado’s still in a playoff spot, but only by two points over Minnesota, which has played three fewer games.
“Unfortunately for us, we had four games at home (and) a good opportunity to pick up some big wins, and we didn’t do it,” head coach Patrick Roy told the Denver Post.
The loss to Vancouver was painful for a number of reasons. First, the Canucks are one of the teams chasing Colorado for a wild-card spot; they’re now just four points back of Colorado, with three games in hand. Second, the Avs couldn’t convert on a pair of 5-on-3 power plays, which always hurts. Third, the Avs trailed 2-1 going into the third and couldn’t muster much of a push. In fact, it was Vancouver that scored the only goal in the final 20 minutes. And the Canucks had to play the period without two key players, Alex Edler and Brandon Sutter.
“I’m looking around the league, and everybody goes through tough times,” said Roy. “It’s not a period of time when you feel sorry for yourself. You have to find solutions and ways to bounce back.”
The Avs kick off a three-game road trip Thursday in Ottawa, with stops in Detroit and Buffalo on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Not surprisingly, Edmonton’s 8-1 loss to the Islanders on Sunday didn’t pass without consequences.
The Oilers announced this morning that defenseman Griffin Reinhart had been sent down to the AHL. Additionally, defenseman Justin Schultz is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight in New Jersey.
Reinhart was a team-worst minus-4 versus the Isles.
Schultz, whose name has been coming up in trade rumors…
…was a minus-2.
“He needs to watch a game and reflect on his play and what his impact is offensively and defensively,” coach Todd McLellan told reporters of the decision to sit Schultz against the Devils.
Darnell Nurse and Adam Clendening, scratches in Brooklyn, will replace Reinhart and Schultz in the lineup.
Kyle Turris was far from an accomplished NHLer when he requested a trade out of the Coyotes organization. In fact, when he was dealt to the Senators in 2011, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft had just 46 points in 137 NHL games.
Since then, Turris has emerged as Ottawa’s top center, with the promise of a big payday in the summer of 2018 when his current $17.5 million deal expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
It’s for that very reason that he can understand Jonathan Drouin‘s position with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.”
Though Turris, now 26, took a “lot of heat from the media…and people within the organization” and recalls the time after his trade request was made public as a “tough, tough go,” he believes the opportunity he received with the Sens “saved” him.
As we’ve written in the past, you don’t have to agree with how Drouin is handling things — maybe it ends up hurting him; he still has a lot to prove — but there have been young players who have chosen similar paths, and it’s worked out well for them.
Drouin, by the way, has 40 points in 89 NHL games.
What you’re looking at is an architectural rendering of TCF Bank Stadium for the upcoming outdoor game between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, Feb. 21.
The current forecast for that day in Minneapolis is a high of 27° F and a low of 19° F, with only a 20 percent possibility of precipitation, i.e. snow.
Which is to say, that guy in the Toews jersey is gonna be cold. At least roll up your sleeves, man. Don’t be a hero.
The game, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, will be broadcast live on NBC as part of Hockey Day in America, while Hockey Night In Canada and TVA Sports will have the action for the folks up north.
“This is the year of the great expansion. For the first time, the league will be composed of twelve teams.”
Those were the words of former NHL president Clarence Campbell as he ushered in six new franchises to join the Original Six for the 1967-68 season.
We only mention this because it was 50 years ago today, in 1966, that the league awarded conditional teams to Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul and St. Louis.
(To read more, click NHL.com’s anniversary piece. The Los Angeles Times also has a story on the birth of the Kings, while CSN Philly remembers the Flyers’ beginnings.)
For all you youngsters out there, San Francisco’s team, originally named the California Seals, ended up playing in Oakland, but not for long due to attendance issues. The franchise would move to Cleveland in 1976, where in 1978 it ceased operations and merged with the North Stars.
The North Stars also eventually relocated, though that didn’t happen until 1993 when they moved to Dallas. The expansion Wild were born a few years later.
Of the five surviving franchises of the “great expansion,” only the Blues have never won the Stanley Cup.
The Flyers were the first expansion team to hoist the Cup. They did it in 1974.
Related: Foley is ‘9.5’ out of 10 confident that NHL will expand to Vegas