The Buffalo Sabres are going to make some trades prior to the March 2 deadline. Of that you can be sure. The NHL’s worst team has a lengthy list of pending unrestricted free agents, and in an interview with WGR 550, GM Tim Murray promised he’s “not going to lose a guy for nothing, if I can help it.”
The problem for Murray?
“It’s been quiet, to be frank,” he said. “It’s been very, very quiet. We’re fairly close to the deadline and I didn’t expect it. I don’t expect every team to be active, but there usually are a small amount of teams that don’t wait for the deadline, that like to get it done before the deadline.”
In December, there were reports that Murray was asking too much for the likes of 27-year-old winger Chris Stewart, who many believed would be traded to the then-struggling Boston Bruins.
Did Murray overplay his hand? Too early to say. But it sure sounds like he’s in the mood to make some deals.
Stewart, by the way, has scored in consecutive games for the Sabres.
Montreal blueliner Alexei Emelin won’t face any supplemental discipline for his hit on Dallas’ Jason Spezza from Tuesday night, per La Presse.
Here’s the hit in question, which earned Emelin a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct:
Spezza’s nose was cut on the play, but he did return to action.
As for Emelin, the decision not to punish further comes after he’d already run afoul of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety earlier this season. In November, the 28-year-old was fined $11,021.51 for an illegal check to the head of Buffalo Sabres forward Brian Gionta.
After a one-game ban for returning to the team late following the All-Star break, Sabres rookie d-man Nikita Zadorov is no longer suspended:
Zadorov, 19, was punished by the club after failing to show up to Monday’s practice. He was reportedly bumped off an oversold return flight form the Dominican Republic — where he was vacationing with his girlfriend — and while the club said his actions weren’t intentional, Zadorov still needed to be reprimanded.
“The kid did not do this purposefully, but there’s still a lesson to be learned,” Murray said, per WGR Radio.
Sabres head coach Ted Nolan, who watched his Zadorov-less troops fall 4-1 in Calgary last night, said the Russian blueliner is eligible to play Thursday in Edmonton.
“He’s here,” Nolan explained, per the Buffalo News. “We’ll have a good talk, sit down with him and have a grown-up talk.”
Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin was ejected from tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars for a hit from behind on Jason Spezza during the second period.
Emelin received a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct for the hit.
Spezza suffered a cut on his nose, but remains in the game.
Emelin has already had a run in with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety once this season.
The 28-year-old was fined $11,021.51 for an illegal check to the head of Buffalo Sabres’ forward Brian Gionta in November.
Latvian hockey fans could soon have another NHLer to cheer for.
The San Jose Sharks announced Monday the signing of free agent Nikita Jevpalovs to an entry-level contract.
Jevpalovs, a native of Riga, Latvia has 38 goals and 71 points in 45 games with Blainville-Boisbriand of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“Nikita is a big-bodied forward who has a good combination of size and scoring ability,” said Sharks general manager Doug Wilson. “He has represented his country numerous times and impressed against some of the world’s top young talent and we’re excited to add a young forward with his skill set to our organization.”
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound forward has 84 goals and 164 points in 166 career QMJHL games.
Jevpalovs has represented Latvia internationally on several occasions. He won silver at the 2014 Division I world junior championship, played in two U-20 world junior hockey championships (2013, 2012) and the 2012 U-18 world championship.
Fellow Latvian, Zemgus Girgensons, won the All-Star fan voting this month as his home country stuffed the ballot box. Girgensons led all vote-getters with 1,574,896 votes.