Mike Halford

Patrick Roy

After ugly loss to Bolts, Roy shakes up Colorado blueline

The ramifications of Tuesday’s disappoint 4-0 home defeat to Tampa Bay were evident Colorado today.

In order:

— The club waived veteran d-man Nate Guenin.

— Fellow blueliner Brandon Gormley, who cleared waivers earlier this week, was dispatched to AHL San Antonio.

— Defenseman Nikita Zadorov, one of the key pieces acquired in the Ryan O'Reilly trade, was recalled from the Rampage.

— Also recalled was Chris Bigras, a 20-year-old blueliner that’s one of the club’s top prospects.

More, from the Denver Post:

Patrick Roy said Bigras and Zadorov would be in the lineup against New Jersey Thursday; that Guenin at least temporarily would remain with the team and be a healthy scratch if unclaimed; and that one more defenseman — either Zach Redmond or Andrew Bodnarchuk — also wouldn’t suit up.

Colorado is at the league maximum of 50 player contracts and would have to clear at least one to make a trade, but Guenin, 33, also could be sent down to San Antonio if he is unclaimed.

Colorado’s defense has been in a work in progress all season long, and is now in patchwork territory given veterans Erik Johnson and Brad Stuart are sidelined with injuries. All told, 10 different defensemen have dressed for the Avs this year — and Bigras will be No. 11, when he makes his NHL debut against the Devils.

 

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    After flurry of moves, Preds recall prized prospect Fiala

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    Looks like David Poile isn’t done shaking up his club.

    Having already pulled the Seth Jones-for-Ryan Johansen blockbuster and waived former first-round pick Cody Hodgson, Poile made more ripples Wednesday afternoon by recalling Kevin Fiala — the 11th overall pick in 2014 — from AHL Milwaukee.

    Poile also called up Cody Bass, put Colin Wilson on injured reserve and sent Viktor Arvidsson to the Admirals.

    The big story, though, is Fiala, the 19-year-old that nearly made the Preds out of training camp this year after making his NHL regular season and Stanley Cup playoff debut last season.

    “It’s difficult,” Preds head coach Peter Laviolette said upon cutting the Swiss teenager, per The Tennessean. “He’s a young player. He’s going to be a terrific player for us. We’ve got 23 spots on the roster that we can take players in, and at this point, this is where we felt we needed to be.”

    Fiala has spent all of this season with the Admirals, posting mixed results. It’s hard to overlook his minus-16 rating, though his point production (21 in 34 games) is pretty much on par with last season, his first in the AHL.

    Fiala admitted to having a “terrible” start to the year but, per Milwaukee head coach Dean Evason, really turned things around in December.

    It’ll be very interesting to see what impact Fiala can have on the club. The Preds are struggling right now, fighting tooth and nail for wild card positioning in the Western Conference.

    Related: The Preds are concerned, and they should be

    Sharks activate Torres, send him to AHL for conditioning stint

    Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Two
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    Raffi Torres took a significant step in his return from injury and suspension on Wednesday, as he was added to the Sharks’ roster and sent to the AHL Barracuda on a conditioning stint.

    “We’re proud of how hard Raffi has worked over the last four months to continue to rehab from his injury,” San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer said in a statement. “We know Raffi can be a very effective player for our team and this assignment will allow him to get back into game shape.”

    Torres has missed the last 41 games to suspension for a hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg during the preseason. During that suspension, the Sharks and Torres revealed he was still dealing with ramifications from his troublesome knee.

    Back in early December, DeBoer admitted the veteran forward was having issues with a surgically repaired ACL that’s undergone a variety of procedures over the last two years, costing Torres all of the ’14-15 campaign.

    Later than month, Torres admitted he probably wouldn’t be healthy by the time his suspension was lifted.

    It’s really not surprising the Sharks opted for a conditioning stint in the AHL. In addition to the knee issues, Torres’ last game of significance came in April of 2014, meaning he’s been out of game action (well, non-exhibition game action) for over 20 months.

    In another roster move, the Sharks put veteran forward Dainius Zubrus on IR today. Zubrus, signed midway through the year after joining the team on a professional tryout, has one goal and two points in 17 games this year.

    Galchenyuk apologizes to teammates for ‘distraction’

    Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators - Game Four
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    In the wake of an incident that saw his girlfriend get arrested follwing a domestic incident, Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk met with reporters on Wednesday.

    “I apologize for the incident,” Galchenyuk said, per the Canadiens’ Twitter. “The last thing I wanted was it to be a distraction for my teammates.”

    “I feel bad for [the] incident because it was made public, and I feel bad for teammates, for the organization and for the fans,” he added, per TSN.

    Details of the incident, per La Presse (translated):

    Based on information obtained by La Presse, [Galchenyuk’s girlfriend, Chanel] Leszczynski showed up at Galchenyuk’s residence on Sunday, one day after the Canadiens lost, 3-1, to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Galchenyuk, who lives in an apartment on Sherbrooke street West, was at his home with several other people including teammate Devante Smith-Pelly.

    For unknown reasons, a dispute occurred. One of Galchenyuk’s guests called 9-1-1 at around 8:00 am.

    Montreal police officers arrived on the scene. Based on our information, the police spoke to Galchenyuk, the people in his apartment and others who live in his building. Leszczynski was arrested after being identified as the one who instigated the incident.

    Galchenyuk didn’t press charges against Leszczynski and, according to La Presse’s Richard Labbe, isn’t facing any club discipline for the incident (neither is Smith-Pelly).

    That said, Habs head coach Michel Therrien had some words for both players following today’s practice.

    Report: Kings, Kopitar on verge of monster eight-year, $80M extension

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    Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and now, Anze Kopitar.

    On Wednesday, TSN reported that Kopitar’s on the verge of joining Kane and Toews as one of the NHL’s three $10-plus million cap hits — according to Bob McKenzie, Kopitar and the Kings are “very close” to locking in an eight-year, $80 million extension.

    It’s an absolutely massive deal, one that’s long been in the works.

    Kopitar, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and Selke finalist as the NHL’s best defensive forward, came into this season as a marquee pending UFA, along with Steve Stamkos.

    Yet unlike Stamkos, there was never a real sense the 28-year-old would leave the only club he’s known. Taken 11th overall by the Kings in 2005, Kopitar has been a staple of the club’s resurgence — he’s racked up 645 points in 725 career games, and another 60 in 70 playoff appearances.

    All of those games came in a Kings uniform.

    Yes, the negotiation process dragged on. And yes, there are questions about committing so much money and term to a guy that’ll be 29 in August.

    But at the end of the day, Kings GM Dean Lombardi understood it was vital to keep Kopitar in Hollywood for the long haul, and managed to get it done.

    And in that sense, Kopitar isn’t alone.

    The Kings, as has been well-documented, have a number of lengthy contracts on the books. Jonathan Quick‘s mega-deal goes all the way to 2023. Captain Dustin Brown is under contract through 2022, as is Jeff Carter. Alec Martinez and Marian Gaborik‘s deals run through 2021, while Jake Muzzin is locked in through 2020.

    All those players make between $4M and $5.875M annually, which gives you an idea of Lombardi’s challenge moving forward.

    Throw in Kopitar’s massive cap hit, and there has to be real questions about how the club will retain the likes of youngsters Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, or pending UFA forward Milan Lucic.

    Update: