Jason Brough


Barzal, Strome, Patrick among invitees to Canada’s World Juniors camp

Mathew BarzalDylan Strome, Nolan Patrick, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Tyson Jost, Sam Steel, Jake Bean and Thomas Chabot are among the recognizable names that have been invited  to Canada’s World Juniors selection camp in Blainville, Quebec, from Dec. 10-14.

Canada is hosting the 2017 tournament (in Montreal and Toronto), hoping to bounce back after getting knocked out in the quarterfinals by Finland in 2016.

Patrick, likely to be selected first overall in the 2017 NHL draft, is the youngest invitee. The 18-year-old forward is currently out with an upper-body injury, so his participation at the camp remains in question.

Click here for the full camp roster.


Isles return Barzal to junior club

Coyotes send Dylan Strome back to junior

Draft-day shocker: Blue Jackets take Dubois over Puljujarvi

Overtime is ‘killing’ the Dallas Stars

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The Dallas Stars lost in overtime last night.

This is not a recording.

But it could’ve been, because last night’s 4-3 loss in St. Louis was the sixth time this season that the Stars (9-8-6) have fallen in sudden death, against just one victory.

“Overtime is killing us right now,” captain Jamie Benn told reporters after Vladimir Tarasenko won it for the Blues.

The Stars’ six OT losses are the most in the NHL. New Jersey is next with four, followed by three teams — Columbus, Anaheim and Carolina — with three.

Granted, the Stars may have been fortunate to get even a single point last night. They were outshot 31-21 by the the Blues, who had a 3-2 lead before Jamie Oleksiak tied it with 50 seconds left in regulation.

But we’ve seen in the past how costly too many overtime losses can be. In 2014-15, the defending champion Los Angeles Kings missed the playoffs by two points after finishing 1-7 in OT (and 2-8 in the shootout).

The Stars currently occupy the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference; however, they’re just one point up on the Predators, who have two games in hand.

Rutherford admits Penguins’ goalie situation not ideal


Marc-Andre Fleury has had a rough November. After allowing six goals to Minnesota on Friday, his save percentage for the month fell to .889.

Sharing the net with Matt Murray, Fleury just hasn’t been able to get into a groove. And that’s a problem, admits his general manager.

“Despite the fact I like having the two top goalies, it’s difficult when both goalies are used to playing the majority of the games,” Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Monday. “You get into weeks where they’re splitting and going every other game. That hasn’t worked, at this point, as well as I thought it would.”

Read more: Five goalies off to surprisingly tough starts

Murray, for the record, has been just fine. The 22-year-old has a .939 save percentage since returning from a broken hand.

But Rutherford’s remarks will only serve to further the speculation about a potential trade.

From the Post-Gazette:

The Penguins can only protect one goalie in the expansion draft and, at this point, it would have to be Fleury, because his contract includes a no-movement clause. He could be asked to waive that clause, although there’s no indication such a request has been made.

Rutherford declined to say whether other teams have inquired about trading for Fleury or Murray, and said the Penguins’ inconsistent play through 22 games is not reason to make a major personnel move.

It seems unlikely that a trade would occur now, just a quarter of the way through the season. Fleury is signed through 2018-19 for a cap hit of $5.75 million; his contract would take some maneuvering to move.

But this story won’t be going away. Even without the expansion draft, the Penguins would have one starting goalie too many. It’s not the worst problem to have, but it’s a situation that will require a resolution by June 17 at the latest.

Related: Don’t assume Fleury will be traded, says Penguins GM

Pre-game reading: Did Gerard Gallant deserve better?


— Up top, NBC’s promo for a couple of outdoor games.

— ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun argues that Gerard Gallant deserved better from the Panthers. That’s a common refrain we’re hearing from the media after a “philosophical divide” led to the coaching change in Florida. But here’s the thing: If Gallant wasn’t on board with management’s plan, what choice did management have? For a team to be successful, everyone has to be rowing in the same direction, and clearly Gallant didn’t agree with everything that the front office was doing. That being said, Tom Rowe better start winning, or the Panthers are really going to look bad. (ESPN)

Ben Bishop is 7-8-4 with a .902 save percentage. “Bad bounce, tips, goals off my own players. It kind of seems like it happens every single game, but nobody is going to feel sorry for you.” The fact Andrei Vasilevskiy has been near unbeatable (6-1-1, .951) makes Bishop’s struggles seem even worse. (Tampa Bay Times)

— A list of the 10 types of terrible contracts, and how NHL general managers can avoid them. The “No-Choice Extension” certainly applies to Brent Burns, whom the Sharks just signed until he’s 40. The challenge is avoiding them. Burns had all the leverage in negotiations. What were the Sharks gonna do: trade him? (Sportsnet)

— The Vancouver Canucks do not have a very happy camper in Jake Virtanen. The 20-year-old winger has already spoken out about his lack of ice time this season, and he’s still talking while down in the AHL. “I dunno exactly what (the plan is); they didn’t really communicate with me as much.” Virtanen has no goals and just two assists in seven games with the Utica Comets. (Hockey News)

— Is Sidney Crosby under-appreciated as a goal-scorer? Well, that depends — do you think he’s a good goal-scorer? If you don’t, the answer is yes, because he scores a lot of goals. (Canadian Press)

Jets could get big boost with return of Little


The Winnipeg Jets ended a five-game losing streak Sunday, but the fact Connor Hellebuyck had to make 42 saves in the 3-0 shutout of the Predators wasn’t all that encouraging.

So here’s something that is encouraging — Byran Little practiced today and might be ready to play tomorrow when New Jersey pays a visit to MTS Centre.

“(I feel) good,” the veteran center said, per NHL.com. “To actually get in there, play on a line and get some bumping and a real practice under my belt… If it was up to me, yes (I would play tomorrow).”

Read more: Sorry about the jinx, Winnipeg Jets

Little put up 42 points in 57 games last season, so his absence after getting hurt in the first game of the season was bound to be felt. If he plays, the 29-year-old is likely to center Blake Wheeler and Drew Stafford, filling a spot that was previously held by youngster Nic Petan.

Mark Scheifele will continue to center the top line with wingers Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers. That trio has not been scoring quite so freely lately, though Scheifele is still an impressive third overall in points (24), while Scheifele and Laine are tied for third in goals (12).