Mike Halford

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators - Game Four

Galchenyuk apologizes to teammates for ‘distraction’


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


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.


Experiment over: Preds waive Hodgson


Cody Hodgson‘s time in Nashville could soon be up.

The former first-round pick, acquired on the cheap by Preds GM David Poile this summer, has been placed on waivers, per The Tennessean:

Hodgson, signed to a one-year, $1.05 million contract on the opening day of free agency, was expected to enhance the Predators’ scoring depth, but failed to deliver in that regard.

In 39 games, Hodgson scored three goals and eight points, recently enduring a three-game stretch as a healthy scratch.

Now 25, Hodgson’s stock has plummeted a long way from 2008, when Vancouver made him the 10th overall pick at the draft.

His trade to Buffalo and subsequent time there was a disaster, ending with the Sabres buying out his six-year, $25.5 million extension last June.

There was hope Hodgson could rediscover his game with the Preds, and provide a quality scoring option in the club’s bottom-six forward group. That plan never came to fruition, however — in addition to the meager production, Hodgson only averaged 10:44 TOI per game, the lowest full-season total of his NHL career.

Should Hodgson clear waivers, his next stop would (presumably) be Nashville’s AHL affiliate in Milwaukee. It’s the same place another one of Poile’s offseason gambles — KHL scoring sensation Steve Moses — ended up, before ultimately terminating his deal with the Preds, and returning to Russia.

Coyotes claim Connauton off waivers from Columbus

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 17:  Kevin Connauton #4 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 17, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Blue Jackets defeated the Coyotes 7-5.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Kevin Connauton‘s NHL journey will see him head back West — on Wednesday, the Coyotes claimed him off waivers from Columbus, per TSN.

Connauton was deemed expendable by the Jackets in the wake of the Seth Jones acquisition and the activation of Cody Goloubef (broken jaw) off IR.

That left CBJ with a surplus of blueliners — previously, Andrew Bodnarchuk had been claimed by Colorado — and the decision was made to expose Connauton on the wire.

And that’s when Arizona swooped in.

A decent offensive defenseman — he had eight points in 27 games this year — Connauton is still relatively young and has over 100 games of NHL experience. The 25-year-old is also in the last of a three-year, $2.05M deal with a $683,333 cap hit, and will be a nice insurance policy on Arizona’s back end.

Veterans Nicklas Grossmann and Zbynek Michalek have dealt with injuries this season, combining to miss 16 games.

For Connauton, the move back West should be familiar. He began his NHL career with the Vancouver organization, before spending a few years in Dallas.

Devils’ Farnham to have disciplinary hearing for Jaskin hit


New Jersey forward Bobby Farnham is being called to the carpet for his actions in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to St. Louis.

On Wednesday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Farnham would receive a hearing for his heavy hit on Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin, which occurred midway through the third period of last night’s game.

Farnham received an interference major and 10-minute misconduct on the play. Jaskin was shaken up and sat out for a while, but did return for one final 36-second shift at the end of the contest.

Farnham doesn’t have a history of supplemental discipline with the DoPS. He was, however, fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment earlier this season.