Author: Mike Halford

Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings

Weiss unsure about his spot in Detroit next season


Stephen Weiss appeared in just 52 of the Red Wings’ 82 games this season, and only two in a seven-game playoff loss to Tampa Bay.

So, not surprisingly, he’s a bit concerned about his future in Detroit.

“After the way things ended this year? No, not really,” Weiss told the Detroit Press, when asked if he thought he had a role on the team next season. “I gotta earn a spot, there’s no doubt about it.”

Signed to a lucrative five-year, $24.5 million deal in 2013, Weiss’ tenure in Detroit has been an injury-ravaged disappointment; the 32-year-old has missed 86 games to ailments (and, healthy scratches) since joining the club, tallying a mere 11 goals and 29 points.

Weiss carries the third-largest cap hit among Detroit forwards ($4.9M annually) and with some key RFAs needing new deals this summer — Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Jurco chief among them — it’s possible Weiss’ name will come up in buyout talks. Though the financial hit would be a tough pill to swallow and carry on for a lengthy period of time (click here for more detailed analysis), it’s important to remember that, during last week’s end-of-year media availability, Wings GM Ken Holland said “money is no object” when it came to retaining the services of head coach Mike Babcock.

Does the same mantra apply to the roster? If it’s in connection with keeping Babcock, one would have to think yes.

‘You can’t win,’ ex-NHL ref Fraser says of Prust incident

Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens - Game Two

Interesting piece here from the National Post, following Brandon Prust’s alleged dressing down from referee Brad Watson during Montreal’s 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday:

“You can’t win,” said Kerry Fraser, who officiated 1,904 regular season games and 261 playoff games, including 13 Stanley Cup finals, during his 37-year career. “What’s the end game to all of this? The end game is he questioned the integrity of an official and there’s not a win in that.

“Brandon Prust has engaged himself in something that’s going to take him into an area where he doesn’t want to be part of, because officials are human and they’re part of a team too. If you look at the team concept from a hockey players’ perspective, they stand up for their teammates. The same goes for officials.”

In the wake of an eventful night — Prust finished with 31 penalty minutes, tossed after a late-game altercation with Bolts goalie Ben Bishop and d-man Braydon Coburn — the Montreal forward made the rare move of calling out an official, claiming Watson launched into a verbal tirade while calling a penalty in the first period.

“He called me a piece of you know what, a [expletive], coward, said he’d drive me right out of this building,” Prust explained. “I kept going, ‘Yeah OK, yeah OK, yeah OK.’ He kept on me, he kept on me. I kept saying ‘Yeah OK.’ I wasn’t looking at him and he [added an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty].

“That’s the ref he is. He tried to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”

Many have suggested Prust will now face the same fate as Vancouver forward Alex Burrows, who infamously called out former referee Stephane Auger in 2010. Burrows was fined by the league for his comments but many suggested it was his reputation, not wallet, that took the biggest hit; there were whispers (loud, loud whispers) Burrows was — and still is — a marked man among NHL officials.

Video: Eichel notches first point at Worlds, U.S. takes 1-0 lead on Russia


It took three games, but Jack Eichel now has his first point at the 2015 World Hockey Championships.

Eichel, the Boston University standout projected to be the No. 2 overall pick at this June’s draft, registered an assist on Trevor Lewis’ opening tally as the U.S. jumped out to a 1-0 lead over Russia in today’s group action:

The tournament’s been an adjustment for Eichel thus far, as it’s the first time he’s played with professionals. He played 14:47 in the first game — a 5-1 win over Finland — but finished with a minus-1 rating and two PIM. In the U.S.’s second game, a 2-1 win over Norway, Eichel received more ice time (18:12) but took a pair of minor penalties.