Something (or someone) has to give as Drew Doughty negotiations remain stalled

Getty Images
4 Comments

Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi and Drew Doughty‘s agent Don Meehan are currently engaged in the multimillion dollar equivalent of a staring contest. Ideally, both sides will find a way to compromise, but it’s just as likely that only one will blink. Let’s just hope that Doughty doesn’t miss any regular season games in the process.

The latest news is that there really isn’t news; the impasse remains. There’s no denying Lombardi’s history with Meehan, either – it’s quite possible that the 2002 holdouts by Evgeni Nabokov and Brad Stuart cost him his job as the San Jose Sharks general manager. Lombardi isn’t exactly sitting idly by, though, as the blustery GM made a startling claim that Doughty’s cash reward will drop about $25,000 for every day that he goes without a contract. Lombardi’s reasoning is based on the CBA, but it’s hard to look at it as anything but tense negotiations leading him to play hard ball with a player who is probably the biggest asset on a rising team.

While Lombardi might look bad for pulling back the curtain on the contract talks – and let’s face it, he’s not known for being shy about making controversial comments (see: Jack Johnson and Dustin Penner) – Doughty faces the reality of missing training camp with teammates. Sometimes that can entail some ugly things being said, with words like “greed” (or worse) being thrown around.

Elliotte Friedman shares Marty Turco’s perspective on what it must feel like to be in a game of holdout chicken, especially once training camp begins.

“This is when it hits you,” Turco said Friday morning. “Your teammates are in training camp and you’re not. It’s scary. People start saying things. You hear it, take it personally.”

Turco was unsigned when camp began in 2003, at home in Sault Ste. Marie. The standoff lasted one week before he agreed to a three-year, $12-million deal.

“I’ve always lived my life to have no regrets, but at this time, you certainly wonder if you’re doing the right thing.”

Eventually, someone – or preferably all sides – will need to cave in and do just that: the right thing. The Kings might be wise not to assume that Doughty will follow in Bobby Ryan’s footsteps by negotiating his own (team-friendly) contract without Meehan. Some people might plead with Doughty to give in a bit while others might chide Lombardi & Co. for being too stubborn, but the longer this battle of attrition goes on, the worse all sides end up looking.

Maybe Doughty and Meehan should relax their monetary demands ever so slightly. Perhaps the Kings should shorten the term of the deal, even if that means accepting the reality of Doughty becoming an unrestricted free agent that much sooner. Either way, something (and someone) has to give in this situation.

If it comes down to an either/or scenario, which side should budge first? Should Doughty accept less than he might be worth or should the Kings just suck it up and pay their best player? Let us know if you lean one way or the other in the comments.

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

blackhawks
Harry How/Getty Images
13 Comments

CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

Getty Images
3 Comments

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

tampa bay lightning
Scott Audette/Getty Images
2 Comments

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.