Jason Brough

Brent Burns ‘can’t say enough’ about Paul Martin

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When Paul Martin signed with the Sharks on July 1, it didn’t exactly knock the hockey world off its axis.

It was a “nice” signing. That’s how a lot of people described it. And then they forgot about it.

But never underestimate the value of a reliable, top-four d-man.

“Paul Martin…I can’t say enough about him,” his defensive partner, Brent Burns, told the Hockey News. “How well he reads and reacts to plays – I’m an aggressive player, a little bit off-the-wall – and he knows the game so well.”

Martin — who’d often paired with another right-shooting, offensive defenseman in Pittsburgh by the name of Kris Letang — has logged just over 20 minutes a game for the Sharks. His ice time is down slightly compared to what he received with the Penguins, but that’s probably for the best as he just turned 35.

The Sharks don’t need him to play massive minutes anyway. Assuming no injuries, they’ll head into the playoffs with considerable depth on the back end. In addition to the Martin-Burns pairing, there’s the other top pairing of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun, plus a bottom tandem of Brenden Dillon and Roman Polak.

Flames will ‘cast a wide net’ to find a goalie

Calgary Flames' new General Manager Brad Treliving speaks at a press conference after being introduced in Calgary, Alberta, on Monday, April 28, 2014. Treliving spent the past seven seasons as an assistant under general manager Don Maloney, helping guide the Phoenix Coyotes.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Larry MacDougal)
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OK, so it’s not exactly news that the Calgary Flames will have to address their goaltending this summer. Their team save percentage is a league-worst .894, both Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller are pending unrestricted free agents, and there isn’t an obvious replacement starter in the minors.

Just don’t expect the Flames to limit their options to James Reimer and Frederik Andersen, the two names that get mentioned the most as potential candidates. (Reimer is a pending UFA and Andersen is a pending RFA whom the Ducks may not be able to afford.)

“We will leave no stone unturned and see where we go,” GM Brad Treliving told the Calgary Sun. “It’s obviously a critical position and we’ll cast a wide net.”

The Sun lists 10 potential targets, including Reimer and Andersen, but also Ben Bishop and Jimmy Howard. (The Bolts only have Bishop under contract for one more season, with young Andrei Vasilevskiy waiting in the wings; Howard, with poor numbers and a big contract, has become the No. 2 in Detroit behind Petr Mrazek.)

We’ll add a couple of more names to the Sun’s list — the Wild’s Darcy Kuemper and the Blues’ Brian Elliott.

So there are definitely options for Treliving to pursue. The question is whether he can identify the right one.

Suspended Landeskog takes responsibility for ‘really, really, really dumb play’

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog says he is embarrassed by the cross-check he delivered that drew a three-game suspension from the NHL.

The Colorado forward hit Anaheim defenseman Simon Despres in the neck with his stick in the third period Wednesday. There was no penalty on the play.

After practice Friday, Landeskog said there was “no excuse for anything like that. …It was just a really, really, really dumb play on my part.”

Landeskog plans to reach out to Despres when things settle down. And while he will accompany the Avalanche on their four-game trip, Landeskog won’t play again until March 20 in Edmonton.

His absence is a big blow for Colorado, which is in a tight race with Minnesota for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Sharks are going to try and fix their ‘garbage’ ice

Chicago Blackhawks v San Jose Sharks
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Combine a bunch of rain with a pair of professional hockey teams sharing the same arena and you get the recipe for some bad ice.

That’s what the San Jose Sharks have found out this season. The playing surface at SAP Center has been “pretty garbage,” according to forward Logan Couture.

Club COO John Tortora is hoping there’s a solution on the way.

“The increased rains the Bay Area has received this year, along with the humidity that comes with it, has made it more challenging to keep building conditions at an optimal level,” Tortora wrote in an email to CSN California. 

“Recently, we made the decision to implement a supplemental dehumidification system, much earlier than we have in the past. The system is expected to be installed and online within the next two weeks.”

The Sharks share SAP Center with their new AHL affiliate, the Barracuda. On some days, like last Saturday, there have been two games in one day.

Consider this goal last month by the Buffalo Sabres:

“It just goes to show how bad the ice is here on a nightly basis,” d-man Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “I’m not saying that’s the reason why [we lost], but yeah, it bounced over [Brenden Dillon‘s] stick.”

San Jose’s next home game is Saturday night versus the Capitals. There is no Barracuda game that afternoon.

No charges against Evander Kane after investigation into sexual encounter

Evander Kane, Jared Cowen
AP
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From the Buffalo News:

Buffalo Sabres star Evander Kane has been cleared after an investigation into a sexual encounter in December.

No accusation was ever made against Kane, but an investigation started when a young woman who spent the night with him sought medical treatment at Erie County Medical Center and said she could not remember what happened.

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office and the Buffalo Police sex offense squad determined nothing illegal occurred.

The newspaper’s story has a few more details, as well as quotes from acting district attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr., who could not say too much as “these matters need to be handled with the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality.”

Kane insisted when the investigation became public that he’d “done nothing wrong.”