Author: Jason Brough

Andrew Ladd, Anze Kopitar

Ladd will ‘consider’ shutting down contract talks with Jets

A pending unrestricted free agent, Jets captain Andrew Ladd says he doesn’t want his contract situation to become a distraction. As such, he may shut down negotiations when the regular season starts next week.

“It’s certainly something I have to consider,” Ladd told the Winnipeg Free Press. “My contract and the business part of things can’t become a distraction to me or to my teammates. So setting it aside once the season starts is something we’ll (Ladd and his agents) have to discuss.”

It’s certainly possible that Ladd is trying to put pressure on the Jets by creating a deadline of sorts. The 29-year-old winger was Winnipeg’s leading scorer last season, with 24 goals and 38 assists for 62 points.

From the Free Press:

Both the Jets and Ladd have openly stated they want to sign an extension and talks have been ongoing since the draft back in July. The two sides started apart on both term and money. The club wanted a shorter deal and Ladd was originally pushing for an eight-year deal. They seem to have found middle ground at six years but remain apart on the yearly salary.

Neither side is talking in specifics but the comparables are obvious and $6 million per season is the watermark. Ladd wants to be above that number per year and management is holding fast for an average annual value south of $6 it.

The Jets, of course, have two high-profile pending UFAs, the other being defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.

Why Yakupov is still on the third line, despite Eberle injury

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Edmonton coach Todd McLellan wants to put Nail Yakupov in “situations to succeed.”

Oddly enough, those situations may not be in the Oilers’ top six, even after winger Jordan Eberle was lost to injury.

Tonight against Vancouver, Yakupov — the first overall draft pick in 2012 — will skate on a third line centered by Anton Lander, with rookie Anton Slepyshev on the other wing.

“I think we’re trying to create some chemistry with Anton,” said McLellan. “Believe it or not, Anton is our leading scorer (5G, 1A) through exhibition season. I’d want to play with that type of guy, if I had Yak’s skillset.”

But it also comes down to match-ups. Theoretically, playing down the lineup should keep Yakupov away from the opposition’s top players, who are more likely to be deployed against Taylor Hall, Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on Edmonton’s top two lines.

“In my opinion, Yak’s strength is with the puck and on the offensive side,” said McLellan. “He’s working on his defensive game. And sometimes who you match up against is important.”

Related: Where does Draisaitl fit for Oilers?

‘Unfair’ to say Julien’s on the hot seat: Neely

Claude Julien

Claude Julien isn’t on the hot seat, according to Bruins president Cam Neely. To assume so would be “unfair to Claude,” Neely told reporters today in Boston.

Still, you can’t blame people for thinking it.

Julien, the longest-tenured NHL head coach, has been behind the Bruins’ bench since 2007-08. He led the B’s to a Stanley Cup title in 2010-11, another finals appearance in 2013, and a Presidents’ Trophy in 2013-14.

But last season did not go well. General manager Peter Chiarelli was fired after the Bruins missed the playoffs, and new GM Don Sweeney did not immediately commit to bringing Julien back.

Regardless of the temperature of his seat, Julien may be hard-pressed to turn around a team that’s seen two top-4 defensemen, Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton, traded in the last year.

Related: Claude Julien is under pressure

Report: NHL has ‘no desire’ to settle concussion lawsuit

Gary Bettman

Just because the NFL settled its concussion lawsuit, don’t be so sure the NHL will do the same.

According to an internal memo that was distributed to the Board of Governors this week and acquired by Yahoo Sports, the NHL believes it has a stronger case than the NFL did and that “despite extensive discovery to date, we have yet to find any document or other evidence that would tend to support the plaintiffs’ theory of the case.”

Due to the lack of “smoking gun,” the hockey league has “no desire” to engage in settlement talks.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has maintained all along that the plaintiffs’ case is without merit.

Related: Former players argue they had ‘no knowledge’ of concussion science

Lack of goals ‘a concern’ for Coyotes

Jordan Martinook, Henrik Sedin, Jake Virtanen

The Arizona Coyotes have played five preseason games.

They’ve only scored four goals.

And they’ve only scored once at even strength, by rookie Anthony Duclair.

“It’s a concern, but we knew that coming in,” coach Dave Tippett told the Arizona Republic. “We’ve got young players in key roles that are supposed to help provide that offense. That doesn’t exclude any veterans but really the way our schedule has set up, we’ve had one game with our whole lineup in and I like how many chances we created in that game. So that gives me some hope but all that being said, when you get opportunities, you have to capitalize on them and we certainly haven’t done enough of that.”

That “game with our whole lineup” was Monday in Vancouver, where the Canucks beat the Coyotes, 1-0, on the strength of a 32-save shutout by Jacob Markstrom.

The Coyotes — a popular pick to finish dead last in 2015-16 — only have one preseason game left, tomorrow at home versus San Jose.

After that, they’ll face a tough start to the regular season, with seven of their first 10 games on the road:


While Tippett believes  the Coyotes will be “fine,” it seems like it could be another long season in the desert.

Related: Strome surviving camp cuts ‘on merit’