Players of the Night:
Curtis McElhinney, Toronto Maple Leafs:
McElhinney turned aside all 41 shots that came his way as the Leafs shutout the Edmonton Oilers 1-0. The Leafs backup improved to 3-2-0 on the season and his save percentage jumped from .900 to 9.25. Toronto has now won three straight and six of their past 10.
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues:
Schenn notched his sixth goal in his past four games and extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with a goal 40 seconds into the game. The Blues are now winners of four straight and six of their past 10.
Eric Stall, Minnesota Wild & Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks:
Both scored twice for their respective teams in an entertaining 4-3 win for the Wild in overtime.
Highlight of the Night:
Vladimir Tarasenko catches the Sabres defense sleeping in overtime, scoring his first non-empty net goal in nine games:
Factoid of the Night:
Patrick Kane didn’t score, but his two assists were instrumental in giving the Chicago Blackhawks a victory on Sunday.
Blackhawks 3, Coyotes 1
Blues 3, Sabres 2 (OT)
Maple Leafs 1, Oilers 0
Wild 4, Sharks 3
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck
With one year left on his current contract, Eric Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes aren’t close to hashing out a new one, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Here’s what Friedman told The FAN 960 on Monday:
“I don’t think anybody is going to come out and say that, but I have heard they’re not really that close in negotiations,” Friedman said. “He has control. He has a no-move clause, just like Cam Ward does. Carolina can’t do anything without his approval.”
Staal has control … and he’s also “very comfortable” in Carolina. And, really, the “comfortable” thing to do would be to extend their captain.
Success in sports and “comfort” don’t always mix so well – competition tends to make you leave that security blanket behind, after all – so one has to wonder if it’s really the right decision for Staal or the Hurricanes.
Ever since the Hurricanes’ unexpected Stanley Cup win in 2005-06, this team has been sinking or swimming based on the play of Staal and Ward.
Let’s be honest: that hasn’t worked out all that often. Yes, there was a deep postseason run in 2008-09, but that was Carolina’s only playoff appearance since that title run.
Is that all Staal’s fault? Of course not, but the Hurricanes might just be better off passing the torch … and Staal could benefit in going from the guy in Carolina to just one of the guys on another team.
The Carolina Hurricanes endured a rough campaign in 2014-15 and their biggest overall issues surrounded their offense. Now going into his second season as head coach, Bill Peters hopes to address that.
“We’re going to tweak a few things from what we did last year, with an emphasis on being a more dangerous team offensively,” Peters told The News & Observer.
The Hurricanes had a number of key players that didn’t live up to expectations in that regard last season. Alexander Semin, who was bought out this summer, is the most obvious example, but Eric Staal led the team with just 54 points, which was his lowest total in an 82-game campaign since 2003-2004. Meanwhile, Jeff Skinner went from scoring 33 goals in 2013-14 to 18 last season and Jordan Staal was limited to 46 contests due to a fractured fibula.
There’s some hope that this season can be better though, in part because 20-year-old Elias Lindholm and 22-year-old Victor Rask may be ready to take another step forward.
As for the system itself though, blueliner Justin Faulk — who ranked second in the Hurricanes’ 14-15 scoring race — rose to its defense.
“It’s not a matter of trusting the system. It’s a matter of trusting the players to make sure everyone that’s in the lineup that night is ready to go,” Faulk said. “The system is there, it works. Guys believe that.”
The Carolina Hurricanes announced that they have inked Elias Lindholm to a contract extension that could prove to be a bargain.
Lindholm received a two-year extension that will come with a $2.7 million annual cap hit. He still has a season left on his entry-level contract, so he’s now signed through 2017-18.
“Elias played well last season, nearly doubling his offensive numbers from his rookie year,” said Hurricanes GM Ron Francis. “We expect he will be a very important part of the Hurricanes as he continues to develop as a professional.”
The 20-year-old forward had 17 goals and 39 points in 81 contests as a sophomore in 2014-15. He went on to score two goals and six points in eight games with Sweden during the 2015 World Championship.
Taken with the fifth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Lindholm has the potential to develop into a significant offensive threat.
The Hurricanes’ situation has only added to the importance of Lindholm’s continued development. Eric Staal has declined in recent years and might not even be with Carolina beyond 2015-16 as he’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. Carolina is also coping with the uncertain future of 23-year-old Jeff Skinner given his injury history and his disappointing showing in 2014-15.
Related: Hurricanes’ biggest question: Where will the goals come from?
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.
It’s looking more and more like Eric Staal and Cam Ward will enter the Carolina Hurricanes’ training camp without new contracts. (News & Observer)
Armed with a tryout contract, Tom Sestito hopes to earn a job with the Pittsburgh Penguins out of training camp so that he can “deter a guy from taking a run at the 90,000 stars on the team.” (Penguins.nhl.com)
The ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors have changed their name to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Their new logo features a rabbit who is wielding a mix between a hockey stick and carrot. (Greenville Online)
The Edmonton Oilers might be a significantly different team with a new bench boss, substantially changed front office, and a new hope in Connor McDavid, but one thing Andrew Ference doesn’t expect to change is his position as the team’s captain. (Edmonton Journal)
Ryan Johansen threw out the first pitch for Cincinnati on Monday and that event gave him a chance to talk with the Reds players about the differences and similarities between the two sports. (Bluejackets.nhl.com)
Finally, it was National Dog Day on Wednesday and that involved a lot of hockey-themed pictures. Here are some of the highlights: