Jason Brough

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Edler and Tanev dance around trade question

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Alex Edler chuckled before he answered the question.

Not a happy chuckle.

More like annoyed.

But it was the same question a lot of veteran Canucks have been asked the past couple of years — if management approached him, would he be willing to waive his no-trade clause?

“I don’t know,” Edler told TSN 1040 radio today. “You can ask me that question if they ask me. I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.”

Another veteran Vancouver defenseman, Chris Tanev, was part of the same interview. And with a modified no-trade that kicks in this summer, he got asked the question, too.

Though Tanev acknowledged the Canucks were “going in a new direction,” he didn’t sound desperate to jump ship.

“Right now, obviously me and Alex are happy to be here,” said Tanev. “(But) it’s a business. Anything can happen at any point. I think things happen when you’re usually not ready for them to happen.”

Edler, 30, is signed for two more seasons at a cap hit of $5 million.

Tanev, 27, has three more years at $4.45 million.

The Canucks, of course, have been hesitant to strip down their roster and undertake an aggressive rebuild, a la Toronto or Buffalo. Instead, GM Jim Benning has chosen to try and stay competitive, while bringing along young players at the same time.

But when Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows were dealt away at this year’s deadline, it may have signaled a slight shift in strategy.

And given Benning has said he’d be willing to trade a defenseman for help up front, well, that’s why Edler and Tanev got asked the question today.

It should be another interesting offseason in Vancouver.

Related: The Canucks have a big decision to make with Erik Gudbranson

‘Highly probable’ that Guentzel and Hainsey return for Pens tonight

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The injury-ravaged Pittsburgh Penguins — with hopes of being all “heaped up” in time for the playoffs — are expected to get two players back tonight in New York.

Rookie forward Jake Guentzel (concussion) and veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey (upper-body) are “highly probable” to return against the Rangers, according to head coach Mike Sullivan.

Still missing, though: Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Trevor Daley, and Carl Hagelin.

All the injuries have been catching up to the defending champs. They’ve lost four straight, their last two by a combined score of 11-3.

McDonagh out with ‘nothing serious’; Vesey likely a healthy scratch

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The New York Rangers won’t have their best defenseman for tonight’s home game against Pittsburgh.

Ryan McDonagh will sit out with an undisclosed ailment.

It’s “nothing serious,” according to head coach Alain Vigneault, but the Rangers might as well be cautious given they’re all but officially locked into the first wild-card spot in the East.

McDonagh logged 25:34 of ice time during Tuesday’s 5-4 loss in San Jose. He didn’t practice yesterday, with Vigneault calling it a “maintenance” day.

In other Rangers news, Jimmy Vesey is expected to be a healthy scratch against the Penguins after having “a real off night” in San Jose, per Vigneault.

Pavel Buchnevich is likely to replace Vesey.

Related: Lundqvist to start four of five remaining games

Flyers sign Vecchione to entry-level contract

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The Philadelphia Flyers got their man.

Rather, they got their Dutchman.

The Flyers announced today that they’ve signed forward Mike Vecchione to an entry-level contract. According to the Courier-Post, the one-year deal will begin this season, meaning he’ll play at least one NHL game. Then, this offseason, he can become a restricted free agent.

A 24-year-old undrafted free agent, Vecchione (5-10, 195) spent four years playing for the Union College Dutchmen. He had 29 goals and 34 assists in 38 games this season. For that, he was named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

Vecchione attended the Flyers’ development camp in 2016. He’s a former teammate of Shayne Gostisbehere at Union.

 

Pre-game reading: On Matthew Tkachuk, the NHL’s newest villain

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— Up top, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones were none too impressed with the Los Angeles Kings’ response to Matthew Tkachuk last night in Calgary. Milbury took aim at Drew Doughty for turning the other cheek, while Jones ripped Jake Muzzin for turning down a fight.

— Tkachuk is the “villain we need right now,” according to Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News. After watching the 19-year-old’s busy night against the Kings, Kennedy writes: “The kid is mixing things up. He’s the perfect example of the guy you want on your team but hate when he’s on the other side. And he’s just getting started.” (The Hockey News)

Brock Boeser has a bright future with the Vancouver Canucks, but his journey to the NHL hasn’t been all roses. In 2010, Boeser’s dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and in 2014, one of his good friends was killed in a car accident. “When you have experiences like that,” said his mom, “you can’t help but grow as you deal with them.” (National Post)

— TSN’s Gary Lawless wants the NHL to crack down on slashing. And we bet Johnny Gaudreau agrees. Johnny Hockey got chopped on the hand again last night. This time, the referee called a penalty. But too often slashing goes unpunished, just like hooking and holding used to. (TSN)

— A Q&A with Alex Radulov, who really wants to sign a contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens. “I would love to stay here. I like it here. I love the fans. I love this [training] facility. I come here even at night time; it’s all open doors. I can come and do whatever I need to. I really enjoy it, it’s really nice. You got everything here just to make yourself better.” All that said, contract talks are on hold for now. (Sportsnet)

Braden Holtby, fashion icon? Apparently, one of the best goalies in the NHL is also quite the clotheshorse. “I’ve always had an appreciation for things that are well-made, be it art or houses or carpentry, woodworking, clothes, I find the details very impressive for people putting their work into their craft. They see visions and they see those things come out, and you can see when someone cares about what they’re making. I think fashion’s a bit along the lines of that.” (Washington Post)

Enjoy the games!