Tag: Marcel Goc

Jori Lehtera

Blues without Jori Lehtera for Game 5 vs. Wild

The St. Louis Blues are looking to build off of their commanding 6-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild, but they’ll have to do so without Jori Lehtera. The 27-year-old forward absorbed a shot from teammate Jay Bouwmeester during the final frame of Wednesday’s contest and is sidelined as a result.

Lehtera also missed St. Louis’ morning skate, but at the time Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wasn’t ready to completely rule him out.

“I’m thinking he’s 50-50 to play, but we’re leaning more toward playing him than not,” Hitchcock said after the practice, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’ll see how it goes.”

With Lehtera unavailable, Paul Stastny is projected to play alongside Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko. Marcel Goc will reenter the lineup after being scratched in Game 4 and he’s likely to center the third line.

Lehtera, who made the move to St. Louis this season after excelling in the KHL, scored 14 goals and 44 points in 75 contests in the regular season. He’s recorded two assists in four playoff games.

Minnesota and St. Louis’ series is tied at 2-2.

Pens and Blues combine for another trade, flip Bortuzzo for Cole

Pittsburgh Penguins v Minnesota Wild

The Blues and Pens have combined for another deal.

Just one month after the Marcel Goc-for-Maxim Lapierre trade, the Pens sent Roberto Bortuzzo to St. Louis in exchange for Ian Cole. The Blues also get a seventh-round pick at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Bortuzzo, 25, has appeared in 38 games this year, averaging 15:28 TOI while scoring six points. His most noteworthy moment came in early December, when he was suspended a pair of games for a hit on then-Devils forward Jaromir Jagr.

Cole, 26, is a former first-round pick (18th overall, 2007) that’s had his finest NHL season to date this year, posting career-highs in games (54) and goals (five). He’s been in and out of the St. Louis lineup lately, though, dealing with an upper-body injury while occasionally serving as a healthy scratch.

Monetarily, this deal is a wash. Cole is a pending RFA in the last of a two-year, $1.65 million deal with an $825,000 cap hit, while Bortuzzo is also a pending RFA with a $600,000 hit.

Rutherford: ‘Good chance’ Pens are done dealing after Winnik trade

Jim Rutherford

Wednesday’s acquisition of Daniel Winnik sounds like it’ll cap off a two-month flurry of transactions from Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.

“There’s a good chance that we’re done,” Rutherford said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We’ll keep our ear to the ground. If something comes along we think we can improve our team a little bit, we’ll take a look at it.

“[But] there’s nothing we’re looking at right now.”

Rutherford’s action got underway in early January, first acquiring David Perron from Edmonton; then, at the end of January, he flipped Marcel Goc to St. Louis in exchange for Maxim Lapierre. Today, he paid a fairly significant price to acquire Winnik — Zach Sill, a second-round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth-round draft pick in 2015 — but feels he accomplished his goal of building a better bottom-six forward group than the Penguins have had in previous campaigns.

“I feel the team we have now has as good a chance (to win the Stanley Cup) as any other team,” Rutherford explained.

With this move, Pittsburgh’s bottom-six forward group will likely be comprised of Winnik, Lapierre, Brandon Sutter, Nick Spaling, Steve Downie and Beau Bennett. (Veteran Craig Adams can serve in a depth role.) It’s a good group that’s got a decent amount of postseason experience; Lapierre has played 75 playoff games and Winnik has been to the postseason in each of the last three years.

Report: Pens made offer for Winnik prior to Lapierre trade

Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs

Say this for Jim Rutherford — he’s putting in work.

Having already made one significant deal in acquiring David Perron earlier this month, the Pens GM obtained another forward on Tuesday night by getting Maxim Lapierre from St. Louis in exchange for Marcel Goc.

And, it seems, Lapierre wasn’t the only forward Rutherford was in on.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins, a week ago, made an offer on Daniel Winnik,” TSN’s Darren Dreger reported last night. “Obviously, it wasn’t good enough for Dave Nonis and the Maple Leafs to bite.”

Winnik, 29, is having a fairly solid year with the Leafs this season, having appeared in 46 of 48 games while sitting eighth on the team in scoring with 20 points. A big body — 6-foot-2, 210 pounds — the well-traveled journeyman seemed like an ideal fit for Rutherford, who as repeatedly said he’d like to increase secondary scoring, most notably in his bottom-six forward group.

“If we could get some more offense from our fourth line, that would be good,” Rutherford said on Tuesday night after last night’s trade.

Safe to say that, despite the Perron and Lapierre acquisitions, Rutherford could still very well be in the mix to made more deals.

NHL on NBCSN: Penguins kick off Rivalry Night vs. Capitals

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Washington Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Verizon Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight as part of a back-to-back set of games on NBCSN on Wednesday. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have held up their end of the bargain in maintaining one of the NHL’s most organic rivalries, yet they’re waiting for the Washington Capitals to fully rebound to the form that had hockey fans daydreaming about perennial playoff matches between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

The two teams will renew acquaintances on Wednesday night, as “Rivalry Night” presents quite the appetizing double-header of games.

It’s unclear if Crosby will be able to play tonight, as he’s targeting either Wednesday or Friday as a return date from the lower-body injury that caused some controversy.

The Penguins showed that they can still win down some key players last night, as they cooled the hot Winnipeg Jets 5-3 on the strength of Kris Letang’s impressive five-assist output. With Patric Hornqvist back in the mix, it’s still a group that demands respect from opponents.

Washington shouldn’t be short on respect for the Penguins anyway, as Pittsburgh had won eight straight regular season matchups before a Dec. 27 win by the Caps.

After a stretch in which they earned a point in all but one of 19 games (going 14-1-4), the Capitals are struggling right now, dropping four straight losses. They fell 4-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, even with Sergei Bobrovsky on the mend for quite some time.

On the bright side, Ovechkin has been scoring at a very nice clip. While he didn’t generate a point last night, Ovechkin went into the All-Star break on a three-game multi-point streak (five goals, one assist). With both teams dealing with similar fatigue challenges, Ovechkin could very well be that much tougher to handle.

The Penguins followed Tuesday’s win by trading Marcel Goc for Maxim Lapierre, so we’ll see if the pest makes his Pittsburgh debut tonight.

Thomas Greiss went for the Penguins last night, so one would expect Marc-Andre Fleury to be in Pittsburgh’s net. Similar logic would indicate that Justin Peters may get the nod for Washington, although Braden Holtby’s been enough of a workhorse that both possibilities seem reasonable.

There’s enough on the line that the two squads can really start to rekindle the rivalry tonight. It probably wouldn’t take much to fan the flames there, after all.