Nashville Predators

Carolina won’t buy out Semin after season, says Francis

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We wrote yesterday about ‘Canes head coach Bill Peters possibly reaching his breaking point with struggling forward Alex Semin, who was a healthy scratch for Tuesday’s win over Tampa Bay.

Peters’ boss, Carolina GM Ron Francis, doesn’t appear to be as close to breaking.

From the Raleigh News & Observer:

The Canes’ options with Semin include placing him on waivers, sending him to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League or buying him out after the season.

Francis indicated the Canes would not do the latter.

“Alex is a part of the Hurricanes and we’ll continue to work with him and try to help him be the player we think he can be,” Francis said. “Things are different now in the way we are running things and what we expect. Our job is to continue to work with him and get the message through.

“We think we can do it. We’re not giving up on him at all.”

Not surprising to learn that Carolina’s passing on the buyout route. Since amnestying contracts is no longer on the table, utilizing a standard buyout for remainder of Semin’s five-year, $35 million deal would be a really expensive proposition for the ‘Canes — though to be fair, another team with financial issues, Arizona, used a one on Mike Ribeiro last June.

What Francis didn’t rule out, though, was the waiver route and a possible demotion to the AHL. In the world of guaranteed contracts and salary caps, it’s one of the few motivational tools general managers have at their disposal; we saw this recently with the L.A. Kings and forward Mike Richards, who was waived then sent to AHL Manchester after clearing.

Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said Richards needed to “re-find his passion and his love for the game,” while GM Dean Lombardi said “it’s up to Mike.”

Semin would almost undoubtedly clear waivers if placed on the wire. Could a wake-up trip to AHL Charlotte deliver the message Peters has been trying to send?

Goalie nods: Greiss starts for Pens, which has nothing to do with Fleury getting lit up at the All-Star Game

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Extinguishing fire before it starts

Thomas Greiss will be in goal for Pittsburgh tonight when the Pens host the Jets at Consol for their first game out of the All-Stark break.

In a related move, let’s throw cold water on a potential goaltending controversy.

Fleury is slated to start tomorrow in Washington on Rivalry Night (NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET), so Greiss gets the first — and, theoretically, less “important” — start of a back-to-back. It also gives Fleury an additional day off following a rough time in Columbus.

Fleury, as you may recall, struggled during the All-Star Game, allowing seven goals on 16 shots in the second period for a .562 save percentage. He was the recipient of a Bronx Cheer from the Nationwide faithful, and visibly displeased about how things went.

Here’s more, from Brough’s piece following the game:

Did it bother him?

“A little bit. I was getting a little mad,” he admitted. “You want to have some fun, but when you’re a goalie it’s frustrating when it goes in, right? I laughed for a few, and a few…”

He didn’t laugh.

That being said, Fleury wasn’t all that upset when the sellout crowd at Nationwide Arena, home of the Blue Jackets, started giving him the gears.

“It’s a good thing, because (it means) we beat them in the playoffs last year,” he said.

And when asked what he remembered, specifically, about the Columbus crowd in those playoffs?

“I remember them being quiet in the end when we won,” he cracked.

For Winnipeg, Ondrej Pavelec gets the start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Rangers at Isles: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Jaroslav Halak

Coyotes at Flyers: Ray Emery for Philly, no word yet on an Arizona starter.

Caps at Blue Jackets: Braden Holtby vs. Curtis McElhinney

Red Wings at Panthers: Petr Mrazek vs. Roberto Luongo

Stars at Habs: Carey Price for Montreal, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Bolts at ‘Canes: Ben Bishop vs. Anton Khudobin

Avs at Preds: Carter Hutton likely for Nashville, no word yet on a Colorado starter.

Sabres at Flames: Jhonas Enorth vs. Jonas Hiller

Wild at Oilers: Devan Dubnyk vs. Viktor Fasth

Ducks at Canucks: No word yet from either team.

Have ‘Canes reached breaking point with Semin?

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Alexander Semin’s nightmare campaign continued on Tuesday, as Carolina head coach Bill Peters explained why Semin would likely be a healthy scratch tonight versus Tampa Bay.

From Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer:

Semin, who’s only played in 26 games this year due to injuries and healthy scratches, is in the second of a five-year, $35 million deal that carries a $7M cap hit through 2018.  His first two years in Carolina were fairly solid — he scored 35 goals and 86 points in 109 games — but this year has been an unmitigated disaster; Peters, in his first year on the job, has responded by sending Semin a series of messages… none of which seem to have gotten through.

(Don’t forget that the ‘Canes are actually playing some good hockey lately. They’re 6-2-1 in January, most of which coincided with Semin being parked in the press box.)

Expect talk of parting ways with Semin to continue in Carolina, especially in light of Los Angeles waiving Mike Richards on Monday. Richards, like Semin, has an expensive contract — making $5.75M annually through 2019 — and, like Semin, was woefully underperforming compared to his price tag.

Update: To clarify the above tweet regarding buyouts — amnesty buyouts are no longer available, but clubs can still exercise regular buyouts on players, like Arizona did with Mike Ribeiro during last year’s NHL Entry Draft.

Supercut: Every goal from the highest-scoring period in All-Star Game history

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The 2015 NHL All-Star Game is now one for the record books.

During the second period of today’s tilt at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Team Toews and Team Foligno combined for 11 goals — the highest-scoring period in ASG history.

And now you can watch them all!

Today’s game eclipsed the previous record of 10 goals, set during the second period of the 1997 All-Star Game in San Jose. John Tavares and Steve Stamkos scored twice, with Ryan Suter, Claude Giroux, Tyler Seguin, Rick Nash, Filip Forsberg, Jakub Voracek, and Nick Foligno adding single markers.

As you can imagine, it wasn’t a banner 20 minutes for the goalies. Corey Crawford allowed four goals on 18 shots while Marc-Andre Fleury was ventilated for seven on 16.

Get your game notes: Team Toews vs. Team Foligno

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Today on NBC, it’s the Team Toews vs. Team Foligno in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game (NBCSN, 5 p.m. ET). Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL’s public relations department:

source:
NHL CLUB AND ALL-STAR GAME TEAMMATES

Team Foligno: D Duncan Keith and RW Patrick Kane (Chicago), LW Nick Foligno and C Ryan Johansen (Columbus), D Drew Doughty, C Anze Kopitar and head coach Darryl Sutter (Los Angeles) G Brian Elliott and D Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis)

Team Toews: D Mark Giordano and LW Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), G Corey Crawford, D Brent Seabrook and C Jonathan Toews (Chicago), G Roberto Luongo and D Aaron Ekblad (Florida), D Shea Weber, C Filip Forsberg and head coach Peter Laviolette (Nashville), G Jaroslav Halak and C John Tavares (New York Islanders)

NHL CLUB TEAMMATES WHO ARE ALL-STAR GAME OPPONENTS

Chicago Blackhawks: D Duncan Keith and RW Patrick Kane (Team Foligno) vs. G Corey Crawford, D Brent Seabrook and C Jonathan Toews (Team Toews)

St. Louis Blues: G Brian Elliott and D Kevin Shattenkirk (Team Foligno) vs. RW Vladimir Tarasenko (Team Toews)

Philadelphia Flyers: C Claude Giroux (Team Foligno) vs. RW Jakub Voracek (Team Toews)

ALL-STAR GAME OFFICIALS

The referees for today’s game are Chris Lee (#28) and Chris Rooney (#5). Lee, who hails from Saint John, N.B., made his NHL debut in 1999-2000 while Rooney, a Boston native, has worked NHL games since 2000-01. They are joined by linesmen Steve Miller (#89) and Tony Sericolo (#84). Miller, from Stratford, Ont., also started officiating NHL games in 2000-01. Sericolo a native of Troy, N.Y., is the senior member of the crew, having made his League debut on Oct. 21, 1998 (Edmonton at NY Islanders). All four officials are making their All-Star Game debut.

ALL-STAR ENTERTAINMENT

The 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game will feature performances from Grammy Award-nominated and multi platinum selling recording artist Fall Out Boy, rock band O.A.R. and power-pop band Locksley.

Fall Out Boy will perform during the first intermission followed by a performance from Ohio State alumni O.A.R. during the second intermission.

Locksley will perform “The Whip,” its hit single and the song performed after every Columbus Blue Jackets goal, during the NHL All-Star player introductions. Twelve local boys and girls, between the ages of eight and 13 years old, will take part in the player introductions as part of McDonald’s “In the Lineup” program.

NHL SCORING LEADERS AT THE ALL-STAR BREAK

Goals: 1. (tie) Rick Nash, NYR (Team Toews) and Tyler Seguin, DAL (Team Toews), 28; 3. Alex Ovechkin, WSH (Team Foligno), 27.

Assists: 1. Jakub Voracek, PHI (Team Toews), 39; 2. Sidney Crosby, PIT, 36; 3. (tie) Ryan Getzlaf, ANA (Team Toews) and Claude Giroux, PHI (Team Foligno), 35.

Points: 1. Jakub Voracek, PHI (Team Toews), 17-39–56; 2. Tyler Seguin, DAL (Team Toews), 28-24–52; 3. Patrick Kane, CHI (Team Foligno), 22-29–51.

ALL-STAR GAME QUICK HITS

* Twelve players in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game are under age 25. Thirty-two of the 41 players on both rosters have yet to celebrate their 30th birthday. The youngest 2015 NHL All- Stars are 18-year-old Aaron Ekblad (Florida Panthers/Team Toews, born 2/7/96) and 20-year-old Filip Forsberg (Nashville Predators/Team Toews, born 8/13/94). Ekblad will be the second 18- year-old to skate in the past three NHL All-Star Games, following Jeff Skinner in 2011 in Raleigh, N.C.

* The oldest player among the 2015 NHL All-Stars is 38-year-old Patrik Elias (New Jersey Devils/Team Toews, 4/13/76). Elias leads players from both rosters in career games (1,192), assists (604) and points (1,003).

* The 2015 NHL All-Star with the most career appearances in the midseason classic is Rangers forward Rick Nash (Team Toews) who will be skating in his sixth career game. Following Nash is Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (Team Foligno), who will play in his fifth NHL All-Star Game.

* Nash holds the NHL All-Star Game record for the fastest goal from the start of a game, tallying just 12 seconds into the 2008 contest in Atlanta.

* The 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game MVP will be determined by fans in-arena via a Twitter vote. Three finalists will be announced during the third period. The winner will receive a 2015 Honda Accord EX-L, made in Ohio.

* The last player to win NHL All-Star Game MVP honors in front of his home fans was Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev, in 2009 in Montreal.

* It has been 19 years since a defenseman captured NHL All-Star Game MVP honors (Ray Bourque, 1996) and 21 years since a goaltender won the award (Mike Richter, 1994).

* Penguins forward Mario Lemieux became the first rookie to earn NHL All-Star MVP honors in 1985. Lemieux, 19, notched 2-1—3 in leading the Prince of Wales Conference to a 6-4 win over the Campbell Conference.

* Blue Jackets forward and hometown star Ryan Johansen was the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings, held on Friday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Team Foligno won a ‘puck toss’ to pick first overall, with Nick Foligno selecting linemate and first-time All-Star Johansen. Team Toews chose Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel as its first choice and the second overall selection. Kessel later was traded to Team Foligno in exchange for Stars forward Tyler Seguin, marking the first trade in NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft history.

* The NHL became the first professional sports league to implement an All-Star player fantasy draft to determine team rosters, in 2011 in Raleigh. Eric Staal of the Hurricanes, one of the NHL All-Star captains, selected Hurricanes teammate Cam Ward with the first overall selection. Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings, the other captain, nabbed Steven Stamkos of the Lightning with the second overall pick.

* In 2012 in Ottawa, NHL All-Star captain Zdeno Chara of the Bruins made Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings the first overall selection, followed by captain Daniel Alfredsson of the hometown Senators selecting teammate Erik Karlsson with his first pick.