Carolina could prove to be one of the more intriguing teams to watch at the NHL Draft next weekend.
Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer says GM Jim Rutherford could be looking to move out of the fifth overall spot in the first-round and move down if the player they’re looking for is gone. He adds the team also isn’t looking to move up to get said player. That’s a bit of ambivalent way to look at the draft, but unless you know who they want, the door is open for teams to pitch an offer.
The Hurricanes are in dire need of top-level defensemen. Dangling the No. 5 pick to a team with a defenseman to spare that’s looking to move up in the draft could be the plan here. With top-pair blue liners coming at a premium, finding a team lower in the draft with one to spare that’s looking for a potential future elite forward is the key.
Hey, isn’t Kris Letang maybe available? Pittsburgh and Carolina sure did nice business last summer.
After a thrilling Game 4, the Bruins and Blackhawks are back in Chicago to see what they can do to top the excitement from Wednesday night.
Game 5: Chicago Blackhawks host Boston Bruins (8 p.m. ET — NBC/Live Extra)
Series tied 2-2
Game 4 left all of us feeling giddy about what a fun up-and-down game that was. At the end of the night, Bruins fans were left feeling bummed out after seeing Chicago win it in overtime 6-5, but it’s set things up so the end of the series is a best-of-three and winning tonight is of the utmost concern.
For the Bruins, coach Claude Julien insists they don’t panic in big moments and considering how they’ve handled being down in big games already, you have to believe them. That said, a small change could be on the way to their lineup tonight with Carl Soderberg getting a spin on the fourth line at practice yesterday. If he slots in, Kaspars Daugavins could be the odd man out.
Making a small move like that could help a little bit, but after losing Game 4, Bruins players insisted that tightening up their defense and eliminating turnovers would do them a world of good.
For Chicago, you’d like to think they’ve got momentum on their side after such a thrilling victory, but the questions about Corey Crawford’s glove hand will persist. They’ll have some other things to work through in tonight’s Game 5 as well.
For one, Nick Leddy was buried on the bench in Game 4 for poor play but figures to get back out there tonight. As for Marian Hossa, he didn’t practice yesterday but that’s not an indication that he’s hurt again and expects to be back at it tonight.
One thing to watch for: How Jonathan Toews and Zdeno Chara battle each other. While you have to expect Joel Quenneville to do his part to keep his captain away from their captain, Toews didn’t shy away from engaging Chara.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty says it’s a mistake for Toews to “poke the bear” but Chara was on the ice for five goals against on Wednesday. Maybe just poke him a little then?
The way Game 4 played out for the Boston Bruins, you could wonder about how they’re handling things. After all, they appeared to have issues with Chicago’s speed and made countless errors on defense that led to being beaten 6-5 in overtime.
Coach Claude Julien says he’s not sweating how his team handles things headed into tonight’s Game 5.
“We’ve had our ups and downs. Are we disappointed when we struggle, absolutely, but I don’t think there’s ever been a panic where we’re concerned,” he said.
“It’s a combination of a lot of things, but panic isn’t something that our team does.”
That ability to stay even-keeled is something Boston will need to draw from in front of a raucous crowd at United Center tonight. Of course, getting their defensive play tightened up and cutting down on the turnovers would do wonders as well. But hey, playing cool in a big spot is important as well.
Phoenix getting head coach Dave Tippett to commit to them for five more years yesterday was quite the coup for the franchise whose future is still up in the air. To get him to come back, they may have had to pay up in a big way.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports that Tippett’s five-year contract is worth $2 million per season and has a out clause after each season if he doesn’t like new ownership or relocation. If true, that’s the sort of deal you can command when you’re the coach who has, up until this point, saved hockey in the desert. That’s also the same kind of money Alain Vigneault is reportedly getting to coach the New York Rangers.
In four seasons as Coyotes head coach, Tippett is 156-96-42 and has led the team to the postseason in three of those years. To say he’s not worth that kind of cash would be wrong, but for a team that’s still having its financial decisions made by the league, it seems like a huge payout.
Lost in the Bruins’ 6-5 overtime loss to Chicago in Game 4 was the lack of playing time for their fourth line. Part of the problem there was the dicey play of Kaspars Daugavins. Boston coach Claude Julien may have an answer for that in Game 5.
Rookie forward Carl Soderberg, he of all of six games played in his NHL career, skated on the fourth line at practice today with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton signaling the possibility he gets the call tomorrow night. Julien told reporters today, as shared by NHL.com’s Matt Kalman, that he was giving things a different look.
“Just trying something else here,” Julien said before boarding the bus in front of a throng of fans outside the Garden. “Again, I’ll make that decision [Saturday]. But just get a different look at what that would look like, that’s all.”
In his six games this season, Soderberg has no goals and two assists as well as six penalty minutes. He played third line type minutes averaging nearly 15 minutes of ice time per game, but he’s yet to appear in the playoffs.
Limiting minutes for fourth line players isn’t hard to do, but Julien may be looking to give his three better lines more of a break by having a better fourth.