Mike Halford

Los Angeles Kings v Calgary Flames
Getty Images

Flames waive Mason Raymond, again

1 Comment

For the second time this season, Calgary has exposed Mason Raymond to waivers.

That’s what Sportsnet reported on Monday — Raymond, who was initially placed on waivers prior to the start of the year, has been put back on.

Signed to a three-year, $9.45 million deal back in 2014 — one that carries a $3.15M average annual cap hit — Raymond has been a major disappointment in Calgary.

He was a bad fit for head coach Bob Hartley almost from the start. Though he produced reasonably well on offense — 12 goals and 23 points in 57 games last year — he sat as a healthy scratch on a number of occasions, including the start of the playoffs.

This season, he’s scored just four goals in 29 games, with his average TOI falling to 12:20 — the lowest of his career. Once again, he’s been a healthy scratch several times, and appeared in just six games in January.

It seems highly unlikely any team would take a flier on Raymond via waivers, especially given his cap hit. Should he clear, it stands to reason he’ll be off to Calgary’s AHL affiliate in Stockton.

 

After acrimonious January, Canucks waive Prust

Monreal Canadiens NHL hockey player Brandon Prust signs autographs for fans before practice in Brossard, Quebec, Monday, April 21, 2014. The Canadiens lead their best-of-seven series against Tampa Bay 3-0 in the first round of the playoffs. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)
Getty Images
13 Comments

Looks like Brandon Prust‘s time as a Canuck could soon be coming to a close.

Prust, who made waves last month about his displeasure with his role in Vancouver, was placed on waivers on Monday, per Sportsnet.

Back in mid-January, Prust was set to be a healthy scratch as Vancouver took on his former team, the New York Rangers.

Yet when the game arrived, Prust was in the lineup ahead of rookie Jake Virtanen — a move team president Trevor Linden described as a “delicate dance.”

More, from what Brough wrote back then:

“It wasn’t the plan,” said Linden of the decision to sit Virtanen. “We deviated for other reasons. It’s not ideal, obviously. He’s a young guy that was playing well, but we’re changing things up tonight. He’ll be back in against Boston (on Thursday).”

And what were those “other reasons”?

“Obviously, there was some talk about Brandon Prust coming out,” said Linden. “And being at his former team, we thought it’d be the right thing to have him in. As a coach, you want to do the right thing for your room sometimes.”

So, did Desjardins change his mind after he saw the way Prust reacted? Because, according to what was reported on the radio station, Prust didn’t take the healthy scratching very well.

“No, I just think, in retrospect, you have other thoughts, maybe you go down a certain path and you go back,” said Linden. “It’s a delicate dance with the coach and his group and his room [with] maybe the ideas that we may have, so we try to manage those things.”

One week after the incident in New York, Prust’s agent, Claude Lemieux, said that if things continued they way they were in Vancouver, his client would likely be on the move.

Acquired last summer in the Zack Kassian-to-Montreal trade, Prust, 31, is in the last of a four-year, $10 million deal with a $2.5 million cap hit.

If he goes unclaimed on waivers, it stands to reason he could be on his way to Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica — where he’d be skating with another veteran carrying a reasonably large NHL salary: Chris Higgins, who’s been with the Comets for the last few weeks.

Lemieux told Vancouver’s News 1130 Prust will report to Utica if assigned.

Related: Higgins clears waivers, Utica coach ‘excited’ to get him

Surging Ducks get key blueline piece back, as Fowler returns tonight

Cam Fowler
Getty Images
3 Comments

Winners in 10 of their last 14, the Ducks will get a big boost on defense on Tuesday when they take on the Sharks.

Cam Fowler, who’s been out of the lineup since late December with a sprained knee, missed 13 games with the ailment but watched the club go 9-3-1 in his absence. His return comes just games after another key blueliner, Simon Despres, rejoined the Ducks after missing 42 contests with a concussion.

Fowler, 24, had 12 points in 34 games prior to getting hurt, averaging a healthy 22:38 TOI per night.

Needless to say, he was and is a big part of what Anaheim does on defense — and he lauded his blueline mates for stepping up while he was out.

“I think it’s shows the depth of our team, with the people that we’ve had step in and play really big minutes for us, especially the young guys,” Fowler said, per the L.A. Times. “You can’t really replace having your full six to seven D-corps back together and healthy. That’s something that goes a long way, especially heading down the stretch that we’re in now.”

The only defensive regular out of the mix for Anaheim right now is Clayton Stoner, who’s sidelined with a hip problem.

As such, it looks like the Ducks will roll with a defensive unit comprised of Fowler, Despres, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa and Josh Manson tonight against the Sharks. Korbinian Holzer would (presumably) be the No. 7 while Shea Theodore — the ’13 first-round pick that played very well with Fowler and Despres out — looks as though he’ll stay in AHL San Diego.

Datsyuk calls on Wings for more offense — ‘it would be a much easier game’

7 Comments

The Red Wings are coming out of the All-Star break in pretty good shape, sitting tied with Tampa Bay on 58 points for second spot in the Atlantic Division.

Yet to hear Pavel Datsyuk explain it, the club could be making life easier on itself.

“More scoring,” Pavel Datsyuk said of what the Red Wings need moving forward, per the Detroit Free Press. “We haven’t scored enough. Every game is (close). We need more scoring, it would be a much easier game. Every game is a one-goal game.”

The Wings currently sit 20th in the NHL in goals per game, at 2.47. Individually, the club is being led in scoring by a 19-year-old rookie — freshman phenom Dylan Larkin — and the goalsoring has been supplied primarily by four individuals: Larkin, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist and Justin Abdelkader.

(It’s been a tough slog for Datsyuk, who missed extended time to start the year with an ankle injury, and only has six goals in 34 games.)

All of this talk, inevitably, turns to goaltending.

In Detroit, the lack of offense has been masked by the terrific netminding of Petr Mrazek, who’s played his way into the Vezina conversation. Mrazek currently sits second in the NHL in save percentage, fourth in GAA and is coming off a January in which he went 7-1-1 with a .962 save percentage.

And in January, the Red Wings saw eight of their 11 games decided by one goal.

“In order to win in this league, most teams need elite goaltending,” head coach Jeff Blashill told the Free Press. “[Mrazek’s] given us elite goaltending, so that’s great.”

Related: Wings not willing to sacrifice defense to generate more offense

John Scott said ‘you can’t write this stuff,’ but John Scott kinda did

31 Comments

NASHVILLE — Coming into the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, there was one central theme at play:

Nobody knew how this was going to play out.

Nobody knew how the league’s new initiative, a 3-on-3 mini-tournament, would go.

Nobody knew how a weekend without superstars like Alex Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews in attendance would go.

And nobody — nobody — knew how this John Scott thing would go.

Including the man himself.

“I never, in a million years, believed I would’ve been in an All-Star Game,” Scott said, after capturing the most improbable MVP award in the event’s history. “To have the fans get behind me like that, to score two goals in a game, you can’t put it into words.

“You can’t write this stuff. It’s unbelievable how it happened.”

Unbelievable, yes. The lead-up certainly was.

First, Scott had to endure an online ballot-stuffing initiative from fans that seemed interested in both laughing with him… and at him.

Once voted in, there were cries to get him out. He’d ruin the integrity of the contest. Five goals in 285 career games? Players of his ilk didn’t belong.

They called him a goon — and, as we learned this week, there’s hardly a term more derogatory in his lexicon — and said he’d be embarrassed. Worse, his kids might be.

Then he was sent packing from Arizona to Montreal in a trade that reeked like Limburger.

“Enforcers don’t get traded midseason when their team is winning,” Scott said in his explosive Players’ Tribune piece. “If you know the league, you know that it just doesn’t happen.”

But then, the tide turned. The NHL said he was welcome to participate in Nashville, even though he was plying his trade in the American League.

And not long after Scott literally wrote his own story in the Tribune, he took control of how others penned the narrative.

Friday’s media availability at Bridgestone was a masterclass in public relations, in that it wasn’t a masterclass at all. None of it felt calculated, or planned — Scott was genuine, earnest, honest and funny, and it was all on display, in front of a massive media contingent that got to hear all the complexities stashed in his 6-foot-8, 270-pound frame.

He said he hated that people saw him as “an animal,” instead of “a family guy that’s worked his way up.”

He said he’d stay up nights worrying about his next fight.

He acknowledged the enforcer role he’s filled for the last eight years is going the way of the dodo. Yet he remained steadfast in his support of the tough guy, the grinder, the guy that’s willing to stick up for his teammates.

After winning the MVP, he re-iterated as much.

“You just work with what you have,” he explained. “I was given a few tools — my size, my strength, and I’ve worked on those. I worked my tail off throughout my career. I’ve been cut many times, sent down, this and that.

“If you’re a grinder or a fighter or a checker, go with it. Things will work out.”

Things certainly worked out this weekend.

One of the points Scott re-iterated throughout this event was that, y’know, he could actually play hockey — and on Sunday, it certainly looked that way, bagging a pair of goals while taking regular shifts against the best players on the planet.

And with that, the narrative around John Scott shifted once again.

He’s now forever immortalized among the elite, joining a list of All-Star MVPs that includes the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux. His helmet is off to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Endorsement deals are starting to come in.

For a guy that claimed you can’t write stuff like this, John Scott sure did a good job of telling his own story.