<span class="vcard">Ryan Dadoun</span>

Rangers plan to use Lundqvist in roughly 60 games


The New York Rangers have a number in mind when it comes to Henrik Lundqvist and it’s 60.

That’s approximately how many games Rangers coach Alain Vigneault would like to see Lundqvist in over the course of the 2015-16 campaign, per The Record. The all-star goaltender played in significantly less than that last season, but that was due to injury. When healthy, Lundqvist tends to exceed the 60-game mark.

The temptation to lean on him further will be there given his impressive track record, but this season it might be particularly important for the Rangers to be comfortable starting their backup goaltender, Antti Raanta. The Rangers have 17 sets of back-to-back games and there are 15 times where they will play in three games over four days this season. That kind of schedule coupled with the Rangers’ aspirations to ride Lundqvist all the way to a Stanley Cup championship this season makes managing his playing time critical.

Lundqvist will get the first of those starts tonight when the Rangers take on the Chicago Blackhawks on NBCSN (8:00 p.m. ET). It’s his 10th straight opening game start, putting him just one behind Eddie Giacomin for the franchise record.

Glencross weighing options but ‘this could be the end’

Curtis Glencross
Getty Images

Curtis Glencross is healthy and just 32 years old, but after being released from two tryouts, he has to ask some hard questions about his future.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Glencross, per the Calgary Sun.

“I’m trusting that God’s plan for me and my family is bigger than what I can understand at this point. It’s definitely a setback and heartbreak for me knowing that this could be the end.”

He’s not sure if he wants to wait to see if an NHL opportunity comes his way or if he should head to Europe. Another possibility he’s mulling is looking for work in Calgary, where he’s spent most of his NHL career. He doesn’t think heading to the KHL or playing in the AHL are likely options for him though.

Glencross went into the summer seeking a multi-year deal that would come with an annually salary in excess of $4 million and under different circumstances, that might have happened. However, the salary cap’s raise for the 2015-16 campaign was modest and that contributed to teams being more conservative when dealing with free agents. In the end, quite a few veteran players found themselves still without a contract once September started.

Glencross has scored more than 20 goals twice in his career and is a veteran of 507 career games.

NHL on NBCSN ’15-16 coverage begins tonight with doubleheader

Corey Crawford, Derek Stepan
AP Photo

After months of waiting, we’re finally ready to begin the 2015-16 campaign and NBCSN will kick off its coverage with a doubleheader tonight.

The action will begin with the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the New York Rangers, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Chicago has been called a dynasty by some for winning the Stanley Cup three times over the last six campaigns, but one thing that the Blackhawks haven’t done is successfully defend a title. The last team to do so was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 before the salary cap era kicked off. That change was on display this summer as the Blackhawks were forced to move or otherwise walk away from Johnny Oduya, Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, and Brandon Saad in the name of cap compliance.

Even after losing all those pieces of their 2015 championship team though, Chicago has emerged from the summer with much of its core intact. It also has some promising new players, such as 23-year-old KHL star Artemi Panarin, who is attempting to make the leap to the NHL after outscoring former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk on his way to leading SKA St. Petersburg to a KHL championship.

The New York Rangers should be a great first test for the Blackhawks as they begin their new quest. The Rangers advanced to at least the Eastern Conference Final in three of the last four years, but they haven’t earned a championship since 1994. With Henrik Lundqvist set to celebrate his 34th birthday in March, the Rangers’ window for winning the Cup in front of their all-star goaltender is closing and thus the stakes are high for New York this season.

Starting at 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN will air the San Jose Sharks’ contest against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. This is the second straight year that these two teams have been matched for the opener, but this time it’s under much different circumstances.

A year ago, Los Angeles had its sights set on defending its title while the Sharks were seeking revenge after suffering a reverse sweep in the first round against the Kings. In the end, neither team had the season they were looking for as they both fell short of the playoffs.

For the Sharks, that miss ended a playoff streak that dated back to the 2003-04 campaign while Los Angeles suffered its first major setback since it celebrated its first championship in 2012. Both teams have to be hungry to bounce right back this season and given that each both of these squads are certainly capable of obtaining that goal. First though, they need to settle the latest chapter of their rivalry.

PHT Morning Skate: Remembering 10 years of Crosby, Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin
AP Photo

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Here’s a detailed look back at Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin‘s first 10 years in the NHL. (NHL.com)

Speaking of Crosby, he’s signed a multiyear partnership with adidas. (Newswire)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play a key role in easing Connor McDavid into the NHL. (Edmonton Sun)

After two polar opposite seasons, the jury is still out on Patrick Roy as a head coach. (Denver Post)

Marc-Andre Fleury enjoys pulling off pranks on his teammates. “I play better when I’m looser, laughing and having fun,” he said. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Art McDonald, a Canadian who won recently won a Nobel Prize, talked to the committee members about the Toronto Maple Leafs. (SB Nation)

Memorial Cup champion goalie Appleby signs with Devils

Ken Appleby
The Canadian Press via AP

Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.

Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.

Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.

Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.