Jason Brough

Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game in Detroit Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Larkin admits it’s ‘kinda crazy’ to hear the Yzerman comparisons


NASHVILLE — For the first time since 1984, the Detroit Red Wings will have a rookie in the All-Star Game.

Back then, it was 18-year-old Steve Yzerman. This year, it’s 19-year-old Dylan Larkin.

“It’s still kinda crazy every time I hear our names in the same sentence,” Larkin said today. “He’s a great person and a great player, so he set a great path for me to follow.”

Despite being compared to one of the greatest players in Red Wings franchise history, Larkin doesn’t seem at all bothered by the expectations for his career, which have been growing higher and higher all season.

In December, Wings GM Ken Holland said that Larkin had “face of the franchise” potential.

“I don’t feel pressure,” Larkin said. “To me, it doesn’t really mean anything. I have to be myself. Nothing is set in stone with him saying that.”

For now, he’s just happy to be at the All-Star Game, hanging out with the best players in the world.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “As a young guy, you want to learn as much as you can from these guys. Just soak it in.”

Larkin could be a key player in Sunday’s 3-on-3 tournament, where his speed and young legs have the potential to be a huge asset for the Atlantic Division squad, which includes 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr.

“We only have six forwards, so it’s going to be tough for 20 minutes of 3-on-3,” he said. “Luckily I’m young and have pretty good stamina. I’ll be able to go the full 20 minutes.”

Guy Carbonneau took a few shots at the Habs’ roster

MONTREAL, CANADA - APRIL 24:  Guy Carbonneau of the Montreal Canadiens answers questions after posting a victory against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 24, 2008 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Guy Carbonneau sees what a lot of people see when they look at Montreal’s current roster.

For Carbonneau, who coached the Canadiens from 2006-09, the roster shortcomings are actually quite familiar.

“You see the same thing we’ve seen over the last 10 years, which is no No. 1 center, no No. 1 right-winger,” he told the Montreal Gazette. “And that’s not to disrespect the guys that they have there. But we keep talking about this, we keep mentioning it. When you don’t have that and you lose your best player and probably the best player in the NHL (Carey Price) for a long period of time.”

Though some may take issue with the assertion that Brendan Gallagher is not a “No. 1 right-winger,” Carbonneau is certainly not the first to argue that the Habs lack an elite center. It’s why Alex Galchenyuk‘s development has been so closely watched since he was drafted in 2012. It’s why people wonder if Steven Stamkos might sign with with the Canadiens this summer.

In addition to pointing out the flaws up front, Carbonneau also took GM Marc Bergevin to task for not having a more capable backup for Price.

“If they expected Mike Condon to replace Carey Price they were mistaken,” he said. “I don’t know who made that decision, but there was something wrong.”

Not that many, if any, goalies could truly “replace” Price, but remember that Condon had never played an NHL game prior to this season. Though the undrafted 25-year-0ld has fared OK at times, his .904 save percentage is the lowest of the 26 netminders with at least 25 starts. And Ben Scrivens hasn’t been the answer either.

The Canadiens went into the All-Star break losing back-to-back games to Columbus. They’re back in action Tuesday in Philadelphia. After that, they have three home games against teams not currently in a playoff position: Buffalo, Edmonton, and Carolina.

Related: Therrien gets vote of confidence from Bergevin

Melnyk says he won’t sell the Senators ‘at any price’

OTTAWA - OCTOBER 8:   Ottawa Senators team owner Eugene Melnyk attends an event before the home opener against the New York Islanders at Scotiabank Place on October 8, 2009 in Ottawa, Canada.  The Ottawa Senators defeated the New York Islanders 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
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In case you didn’t hear him the first time, Eugene Melnyk repeated it yesterday — the Ottawa Senators are not for sale.

“I don’t have any intention of selling the team at any price,” Melnyk said. “I have no intention of moving into anyone else’s place.”

Why does he keep having to say this?

The answer is LeBreton Flats. There are two proposals to develop the Ottawa neighborhood — one backed by the Sens, the other by some very wealthy businessmen from Quebec.

Both proposals include an NHL arena.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

The battle to develop LeBreton Flats is shaping up as a fight between a team with deep roots in Ottawa and an ambitious and creative group bankrolled by wealthy outsiders.

That, at least, was one narrative that emerged Tuesday after the RendezVous LeBreton Group, which includes Senators Sports & Entertainment, and the Devcore Canderel DLS Group, backed by Quebec billionaires André Desmarais and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, unveiled their visions for the long-vacant land just west of Ottawa’s core.

Despite Melnyk’s insistence that 1) the Sens aren’t for sale “at any price” and 2) he has no interest in moving into an arena he doesn’t control, the DCDLS group has not yet been dissuaded.

“Our intention is to have discussions with Mr. Melnyk, whatever those may be, with respect to the Senators moving downtown,” said vice-president Daniel Peritz. “We believe firmly that’s where they should be.”

Click here to watch Peritz suggest that Melnyk is bluffing about his unwillingness to sell the team, which Melnyk quickly denies.

Melnyk, for the record, is no longer involved in horse-racing

Over half of NHL head coaches are picking the Caps to win the Stanley Cup


TSN’s Bob McKenzie published his annual All-Star break coaches’ poll today.

We won’t copy and paste all the results, but we will share this one:

Projected Stanley Cup winner
Washington 16; Chicago 9; Los Angeles 1, Tampa Bay 1

Four teams received consideration, but the Capitals (16) were the decisive choice over the Blackhawks, Kings and Lightning.

Fourteen coaches chose a Washington-Chicago Cup final, but those 14 were split right down the middle on the winner. Seven took Washington; seven took Chicago.

Three of the 30 head coaches did not participate in the poll, in case you’re wondering why the votes only add up to 27.

For the record, only one PHT staffer picked the Caps to win the Cup at the beginning of the season. Two voted for the Ducks, the other for the Lightning.

The Caps have not been past the second round of the playoffs since 1998, when they lost to Detroit in the finals. They’ve never won the Cup.

Coyotes expect to make arena announcement by end of regular season


Back in November, things were “moving pretty quickly” in the Arizona Coyotes’ search for a new home in the Phoenix area.

In December, things were upgraded to “very progressed.”

Today, we heard another optimistic update.

“I’m very positive that we will have something out in the community if not in the next month or two but certainly by the end of the regular season,” Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

“We need to partner with a community or institution that wants to partner and that’s the first and foremost thing. The good news is that all of the discussions we have had have been pretty open as have other organizations — be it the city of Phoenix or Tempe or Arizona State. Everybody has been pretty open that we have had discussions with and they have all been immensely positive.”

Wherever the hockey team ends up — and there have been all sorts of potential locations thrown around — LeBlanc reiterated that it won’t be outside the state of Arizona.

The Coyotes’ lease in Glendale expires after next season.

Related: Back downtown for the Coyotes?