Mike Halford

Zdeno Chara, Beau Bennett
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WATCH LIVE: Penguins at Bruins

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Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be in for a tough test as they take on Eastern Conference rival Boston at TD Garden. You can catch the game on NBCSN starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, or watch live online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

Malkin, Bonino could return Saturday for Penguins

Lovejoy injury ‘long term,’ Pens confirm

The Bruins got smoked at home again

Video: Marchand sets career-high for goals in style

 

‘Canes still haven’t asked Eric Staal to waive no-trade

Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers
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The trade deadline is just five days away and, over in Carolina, one of the biggest chips in play still hasn’t been asked if he’s willing to move.

On Wednesday, ‘Canes captain Eric Staal told the News & Observer GM Ron Francis hasn’t asked him to waive his no-trade clause yet, but added he may be willing to — depending on the situation.

“Ultimately, we’ll see what management wants to do and what they see is best for this organization and this team, and we’ll go from there,” Staal said. “Obviously it depends on the situation and where it would be. But I think we’ve got a pretty good relationship where we can talk it out and figure it out.

“I’m not going to be trying to hold anything back, but it’s got to be the right situation for myself, as well.”

Though this isn’t an especially huge development — Francis could orchestrate a trade tomorrow, ask Staal to waive, and boom, trade’s done — it could shed light on the current state of the trade market. Things have been fairly slow thus far, with only depth rentals like Shawn Matthias, Roman Polak, Nick Spaling and, from the non-Leafs division, Mike Weber changing addresses so far.

As such, Francis could be playing the waiting game, hopeful that prices will drive up as Feb. 29 draws closer.

The News & Observer mentions Nashville, Florida and the New York Rangers as teams rumored to be interested in the 31-year-old’s services. Staal is a desirable asset, but it won’t be simple to orchestrate a deal — his $8.25M cap hit means Carolina would likely need to retain some salary.

At first glance, that might appear a non-issue because 1) the ‘Canes aren’t near the ceiling, and 2) Staal’s contract is up at the end of the year. But Francis is already retaining salary from two other trades — Jay Harrison to Winnipeg, Tuomo Ruutu to New Jersey — and teams are only allowed to keep money from three contracts.

If Staal is No. 3, it would prevent Francis using the mechanism for other deals.

Mike Yeo discussed his firing, and Adam Oates came up a couple times…

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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It’s been roughly two weeks since the Wild fired head coach Mike Yeo and now, for the first time since being dismissed, Yeo has spoken about his time with the club.

It’s an interesting discussion, to say the least.

Arguably the most intriguing topic was the looming presence of former Washington head coach Adam Oates, who was working with Zach Parise as an individual skills coach (Oates also gave Parise and Ryan Suter power play tips during training camp.)

In his “meaty” blog, the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo noted that Oates showed up at a Wild morning skate in January.

So he asked Yeo about it:

When you say things never felt right, did this start with the Adam Oates stuff? “Yeah. I thought we dealt with it. We talked with Zach, and we had no issues with it after that. And talked with some players, and … Whether it’s something like that, whether it’s the trade rumors, whatever it is, when there’s things that might cause a little unrest, they kind of sit there and they hang out. When things are going well, they’re forgotten and pushed to the side. But when things don’t go well, quite often they come back.”

Did it bother you that Oates came to the Buffalo morning skate? That was at the start of the tailspin? “I’m not going to even comment on it. But I would say, that I would not do the same thing.”

For clarity’s sake, it’s tough to gauge the context of that last quote — whether Yeo was referring to Parise (for having Oates at the skate), or Oates (for going to the skate). But either way, it’s obvious Yeo took issue with it.

And here’s where things get tricky.

Oates has developed a positive reputation across the league for his one-on-one coaching acumen — Scott Gomez said “that guy brought me back from the dead,” and credited Oates for him landing a contract in St. Louis.

Gomez also revealed that a number of high-profile players are utilizing Oates’ expertise as a personal consultant, including Alex Ovechkin and Steve Stamkos.

So in that regard, working with the likes of Parise and Suter isn’t abnormal.

Thing is, Minnesota wasn’t a normal situation.

Yeo had been on and off the hot seat since last season, and Oates is on record saying he wants to be an NHL head coach again. There was also that very awkward time back in late November when Suter — an Oates guy, don’t forget — ripped into Yeo and the coaching staff, saying “I don’t know what they’re thinking.”

And if you want to read deeper into the Oates/Parise/Suter dynamic, consider what Yeo said about the Wild locker room.

“It just felt like there were almost two groups,” he explained. “There were younger guys and there were the older guys. It wasn’t just a group.”

The oldest guy in Minnesota is Jason Pominville, who’s 33.

Parise and Suter are 31.

Habs apologize for re-tweeting questionable user names

Marc Bergevin
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MONTREAL (AP) The Montreal Canadiens have apologized after the team’s Twitter account issued automated responses to messages containing racial slurs and offensive user names.

The Canadiens announced on Twitter early Wednesday that they have corrected what they called a “filtering issue,” saying the problem won’t happen again.

The problem occurred when the Canadiens launched a campaign to thank fans for the team reaching 1 million Twitter followers. Fans who tweeted the Canadiens’ account with a hashtag received automated responses including videos of Montreal players thanking them and a picture of a team jersey with their user name printed on the back.

A number of questionably named accounts — one featuring a racial slur — was included among the responses.

Many of the automated responses have been removed.

Wild put Zucker (concussion) on IR after Rozsival hit

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On Wednesday, Minnesota put forward Jason Zucker on injured reserve with a concussion, stemming from the big hit he took from Chicago blueliner Michal Rozsival during Sunday’s outdoor game at TCF Bank Stadium.

Zucker was severely shaken up on the play, which netted Rozsival a game misconduct. The Wild forward needed assistance leaving the ice, and appeared to have struck his head on the playing surface after being checked.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in Minnesota’s loss to the Isles on Tuesday.

Looking ahead, two things to monitor: 1) how long Zucker will be out of the lineup, and 2) if his absence will force Wild GM Chuck Fletcher into making a move by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

Zucker had a highly productive season last year, with 21 goals in 51 games, and had 22 points through 58 games this year.

To fill his spot on the roster, the Wild have recalled Jordan Schroeder from AHL Iowa.