Author: Mike Halford

New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres

Veteran d-man Meszaros signs in KHL

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After failing to catch on with Colorado out of training camp, Andrej Meszaros is headed overseas.

On Friday, KHL club Sibir Novosibirsk announced it had signed Meszaros through the remainder of this season.

Meszaros, 30, spent last year with Buffalo, scoring seven goals and 14 points in 60 games. Despite those relatively decent offensive numbers, his lack of foot speed and defensive inefficiencies kept him from landing a contract in free agency, which led to attending Avs camp on a PTO.

The Slovak d-man was dropped from camp at the end of September.

Meszaros heads to Russia with a fairly impressive NHL resume. He appeared in 645 games for the Sabres, Bruins, Lightning, Sens and Flyers, with his best years coming in Ottawa and Philly.

He finished seventh in Calder voting during his rookie year with the Sens — scoring a career-high 39 points — and was tied for the lead among d-men scorers during the Flyers’ 2011 postseason.

Injuries really slowed Meszaros in the latter half of his career, especially a torn Achilles in ’12.

Preds in ‘ongoing’ contract talks with Seth Jones

Seth Jones

On the heels of Mattias Ekholm’s six-year, $22.5 million extension, the focus in Nashville now turns to yet another talented young defenseman — Seth Jones.

“Ongoing conversations with Seth’s agent,” Preds GM David Poile told The Tennessean this week. “But there’s clearly nothing imminent. I have no timetable on it.”

Jones, the fourth overall pick at the ’13 draft, is a pending restricted free agent and one of the best young blueliners in hockey. The 21-year-old has been a lineup fixture right from his rookie campaign, and avoided the dreaded sophomore slump last year by upping his goal (eight) and point (27) totals from his freshman year.

If Poile sticks with his playbook, Jones could be in line for a long-term deal.

Nashville’s made a habit of gambling early on its defensive prospects, opting to give them term at a relatively young age. Two summers ago, Poile signed then 23-year-old Roman Josi to a seven-year, $28 million deal.

This summer, Poile inked Ryan Ellis, also 23, to a five-year, $12.5 million deal.

In both instances, the Preds’ moves paid off. Josi, who plays alongside captain Shea Weber, scored a career-high 55 points last year and finished fifth in Norris voting — all for the price of $4 million annually.

Ellis has emerged as a good offensive d-man, scoring nine goals and 27 points last year in just 58 games. Again, he’s at tremendous value at just $2.5 million per.

Locking up Jones long-term would also stabilize the Nashville defense for years to come. Weber, Josi, Ellis and Ekholm are all currently signed through 2019.

Will Boudreau still be coaching the Ducks by Sunday?


Following Anaheim’s loss in St. Louis last night — one that dropped the Ducks to an ugly 1-7-2 on the year — the question was asked of Bruce Boudreau:

Do you still expect to be coaching the team for its next game, at home, on Sunday?

His answer?

“Until somebody tells me (I’m not), I’m coaching the team,” Boudreau said, per the OC Register.

By now you’ve heard all the issues plaguing the Ducks — they can’t score goals, they can’t win games, they’re frustrated. Boudreau sounds like a coach that’s entirely out of answers; following the loss to the Blues, he all but acknowledged the club’s success is partly beyond his control.

“We do need a break,” he explained. “And we’re not getting them right now, and that’s what usually happens when a dark cloud is over you.”

Which begs the question: When will that dark cloud be lifted?

Some have pointed to Sunday’s game against 7-1-1 Nashville as the one in which Boudreau’s tenure could end. The Ducks will be back in Anaheim after a five-game road trip and, as callous as it may sounds, it’s easier — at least from a logistical standpoint — to relieve a coach of his duties at home.

Easier to call a press conference, easier to deal with the administrative stuff, etc. etc.

(Columbus turfed Todd Richards right before heading out on its current four-game road swing, for what it’s worth.)

It’s also widely assumed that Anaheim already has its next head coach in Paul MacLean, currently serving as Boudreau’s assistant. MacLean’s had plenty of success as a bench boss, highlighted by winning the Jack Adams in ’13.

If Boudreau is dismissed, it’ll be a tough and ultimately unfair ending for a guy that won 163 games as Anaheim’s head coach, and took the Ducks to within one game of last year’s Stanley Cup Final.

But for GM Bob Murray, an unfair ending might be the only option.

Benn keeps rolling, leads Dallas to OT win over Canucks

Jamie Benn, Alex Goligoski,Jordie Benn

DALLAS (AP) — Jamie Benn scored midway through overtime and the Dallas Stars rallied to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Thursday night.

Patrick Sharp twice tied the game with goals for Dallas. The Stars have won two in a row by overcoming multiple-goal deficits.

Sharp’s second score tied it with 4:35 left in the third period, erasing what had been a 3-1 Canucks lead. Jason Demers had scored about 5 minutes earlier.

Alexandre Burrows, Alexander Edler and Radim Vrbata scored for the Canucks.

Vancouver was held without a shot on goal for nearly 12 minutes to start the game.

Benn scored after skating out of the corner with the puck, shooting from just inside the right faceoff dot 2:28 into overtime.

The Canucks scored first on Burrows’ penalty shot, the first awarded in the NHL this season.

Sharp tied it with 4:05 left in the first, but Edler scored early in the second and Vrbata got his goal 10 seconds into the third to build a 3-1 lead.

Dallas’ Antti Niemi made 29 saves. Vancouver’s Ryan Miller had 25.

Benn, the NHL scoring leader with 17 points, assisted on Sharp’s second goal. The Canucks’ Daniel Sedin had two assists.

Stars had a 10-0 advantage in shots until Burrows skated in on Niemi and shot into the goalie’s pads.

Dallas’ Alex Goligoski slashed Burrows on that look, leading to the penalty shot. Burrows skated across from the right and sent a left-handed wrist shot between Niemi’s legs.

The Stars tied the game on Sharp’s wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. Jyrki Jokipakka sent a back-hand pass from the blue line across to Sharp to set up the goal.

By that time, the Canucks were controlling the game. Dallas’ second penalty led to Edler’s slapshot goal on the power play at 5:38 of the second. Vancouver outshot the Stars 12-5 in the period.

The Stars’ best chance in the second came when Tyler Seguin sent a rebound wide left.

Vrbata scored by putting in the rebound of Daniel Sedin’s shot. It was the fastest third-period goal allowed by the Stars since they moved to Dallas in 1993.

Demers took a cross-ice pass from Johnny Oduya and sent a drive from the right point past Miller at 10:06. Sharp tipped in John Klingberg‘s shot from the blue line.

NOTES: Vancouver C Brendan Gaunce made his NHL debut. His brother Cameron Gaunce formerly played for Dallas. . Demers returned after a two-game suspension for elbowing. . Sharp has scored three goals in the last two games after an eight-game drought to begin the season. . Dallas outshot Anaheim 17-2 in the third period on Tuesday, so the Stars had held opponents to two shots in 31 minutes. . The Canucks went to overtime for the fifth time in 10 games; Dallas was playing in the 3-on-3 overtime for the first time. Vancouver is 1-0-4 in OT.

King Leon: Draisaitl sparks three-goal comeback as Oilers stun Habs


Yesterday, Leon Draisaitl was plying his trade for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

Today, he’s the toast of Edmonton.

Recalled on Thursday afternoon, Draisaitl scored twice on Thursday night — including the game-winning tally with 62 seconds left — to give the Oilers an improbable 4-3 win over Montreal at Rexall.

It was a memorable evening for the Oilers and their fans — though for the first 39 minutes, it sure didn’t feel that way.

The Canadiens jumped out to a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from Brendan Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell and Alex Galchenyuk. They looked very much like the team that started the year 9-0-0, and very much like a team looking to bury Tuesday’s disappointing 5-1 loss in Vancouver.

But then, things changed.

With less than a minute to go in the second period, Draisaitl scored his first of the night on assists from Taylor Hall and Oscar Klefbom. That gave the Oilers life heading into the third, when the Connor McDavid show took center stage.

McDavid reclaimed the rookie scoring lead with a pair of assists, first setting up Brandon Davidson to cut Montreal’s lead to one, then assisting on Benoit Pouliot‘s game-tying goal at 10:43.

Edmonton kept pouring on the pressure — they out-shot the Habs 22-10 over the final two periods — and were rewarded late, when Draisaitl scored his second of the evening off assists from Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

It was a wild, crazy game that could go a long way in defining the Oilers’ season.

And at the very least, it’s something the club can look back on fondly.

“Nobody was happy with our start, but we stuck with it,” head coach Todd McLellan said afterward. “It’s something we can be proud of and build on.”