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Flames training camp could be interesting with PTOs

On Tuesday, PHT discussed a few lingering “bargain bin” free agents. The bargain bin looks a bit like the bread aisle before a storm after teams got done with it by Wednesday.

The Calgary Flames were handing out the most tryouts (or PTOs), as they invited these four players: Tobias Rieder, Devante Smith-Pelly, Zac Rinaldo, and Alexandre Grenier.

Reider and Smith-Pelly are the most intriguing names, as while Rieder served as a surprising scapegoat for the Oilers’ failure after what was undoubtedly a brutal season for the winger, he does bring the sort of speed and skating that can be valuable for Calgary. Smith-Pelly, meanwhile, is a rugged player who scored some big goals during the Washington Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup run, although he struggled to make it into the lineup during much of 2018-19.

It doesn’t hurt to take a look, and the Flames are doing just that, even if it’s tough to imagine many spots being open on the team that finished atop the West regular season standings — although they’re likely not lingering on that accomplishment after the Avalanche launched them out of Round 1 in a staggering fashion.

Other teams made some mildly interesting PTO invites, too, in the last day or two:

  • The Dallas Stars might find some cheap defensive forward help with Stefan Noesen.

  • Dale Tallon loves his former Blackhawks, so the Panthers are giving it a whirl once again with Troy Brouwer on a PTO. Brouwer played in 75 games for Florida last season.
  • The Minnesota Wild are taking a look at Drew Stafford, who’s fallen on tough times lately.

Sometimes PTOs are just filler for split squad exhibitions and training camp competition, but every now and then, a team stumbles upon a gem. We’ll see if any of the names above, or maybe someone else, can be diamonds in the rough.

• ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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    The Buzzer: Cirelli, Lightning cruise past Jets; Crosby tallies OT winner

    Anthony Cirelli #71 of the Tampa Bay Lightning
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    Three Stars

    1) Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Cirelli recorded his first NHL hat trick as the Lightning steamrolled the Winnipeg Jets Friday evening. The 22-year-old scored twice in the opening period as the Bolts jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back. Cirelli hammered a feed from Ondrej Palat 9:27 into the game and then converted a nifty forehand-backhand maneuver to close out the first 20 minutes. Cirelli would complete the hat trick midway through the third period.

    2) Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

    Malkin recorded two power-play assists to set up Pittsburgh’s two goals in its 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings. Sidney Crosby has received a lot of attention since returning from a 28-game absence earlier this week and added the game-winning goal Friday. However, it was Malkin who looked off the defender and delivered a perfect pass to set up the Penguins captain. Malkin has recorded 10 points in the previous six games.

    3) Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

    The 26-year-old winger scored twice in Tampa Bay’s 7-1 win. Cirelli and Kucherov alternated goals as Tampa Bay jumped out to a 4-0 lead, including three in the opening period. Kucherov buried two tap-in opportunities to record goals 21 and 22 on the season. The Russian winger has five goals in his previous three games and the Lightning improved to 12-2-0 in the previous 14 games.

    Highlights of the Night

    Crosby extended his goal-scoring streak to three games when he buried a pretty feed from Malkin to propel the Penguins in overtime.

    Sam Steel fired the OT winner after Andrei Svechnikov‘s costly turnover.

    Stats of the Night


    Pittsburgh Penguins 2, Detroit Red Wings 1 (OT)

    Anaheim Ducks 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1 (OT)

    Tampa Bay Lightning 7, Winnipeg Jets 1

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    Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

    Predators’ Arvidsson fined $2,000 under NHL diving policy

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    NEW YORK (AP) — Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson has been fined $2,000 by the NHL under the league’s rules regarding diving and embellishment.

    NHL Rule 64 was designed to penalize players who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. A player gets a warning for a first citation and a $2,000 fine for the second citation.

    League officials said Arvidsson received a warning following an incident Dec. 27 against Pittsburgh. His second citation occurred during an incident in the first period of a Jan. 7 game with Boston that resulted in coincidental minor penalties on Arvidsson and Bruins forward Brad Marchand.

    Fine proceeds go to the players’ emergency assistance fund.

    Fans troll with Tkachuk billboard, charities end up the big winners

    Tkachuk billboard Kassian Flames Oilers
    via CJAY 92

    Matthew Tkachuk‘s trolling made a great impact, and not just by earning the Flames a power play. Thanks to enterprising Flames and Oilers fans, a drive to put up a Tkachuk billboard in Edmonton morphed into something much more, raising a ton of money – more than $50K overall, it seems – for charitable causes.

    It’s the sort of thing that might even make Zack Kassian smile.

    [Catch up on the feud: Kassian threatens Tkachuk after suspension; witness the carnage]

    This began with a modest Tkachuk billboard meant to gently torment

    The ball really got (t)rolling when Mohamed Elsaghir (self-proclaimed “second most-hated man in Edmonton after Matthew Tkachuk) started a GoFundMe drive to put up Tkachuk billboards to torment Oilers fans.

    CTV’s Glenn Campbell chronicles how that amusing idea morphed into something much bigger. Not only are Tkachuk billboards going up, but the process looks like it will raise at least $20K for ALS research.

    The viral sensation drew the attention of Calgary radio station CJAY 92, which is owned by Bell Media. That connection made the billboards happen, and oh are the designs ever glorious:

    With the billboards taken care of by CJAY 92/Bell Media, Elsaghir instead shifted the focus of that $10K donation drive to combating ALS. Elsaghir noted that proceeds will be donated to Snowy Strong for ALS in honor of Flames assistant GM Chris Snow’s battle with the disease. To make it even better, entrepreneur W. Brett Wilson pledged to match that $10K, pushing the money raised to $20K and counting.

    Oh, and even that doesn’t cover the extent of the money raised by the raised ire between Tkachuk and Kassian.

    Oilers fans get into the charitable, trolling spirit, too

    Edmonton resident Samantha Costa made about a $25 donation to Calgary charity Brown Bagging It “in honor of Kassian.” That charity seeks to serve needy children with lunches. With that in mind, Costa ended her tweet with a nice barb:I chose @BrownBaggingIt so that kids can get a proper meal and grow up to be tougher than Tkachuk.”

    Well, Costa’s tweet went viral, too.

    To make this all more delightful, Brown Bagging It has been sharing updates that indicate this side of “The Charitable Battle of Alberta” will be competitive, too.


    Flames and Oilers meet again soon, and will get to see the Tkachuk billboard

    Other NHL trash-talkers need to step their games up now, to be frank. Brad Marchand needs to lick this one now, is what I’m saying.

    The Tkachuk billboard notes that the Flames – Oilers “the friendship tour” continues in Edmonton on Jan. 29. After that, the two teams meet in Calgary on Feb. 1. They also close out the regular season in Calgary on April 4.

    Kassian vs. Tkachuk Part II already ranked as must-watch hockey, and a potential mess for the NHL. Following this inspiring charitable drive, it’s even more exciting. Honestly, “The Battle of Alberta” just keeps piling on reasons to cross our fingers for a playoff series.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Pass or Fail: LA Kings’ 2020 Stadium Series jerseys

    adidas / Kings

    One day after the Colorado Avalanche showed off their jerseys for next month’s Stadium Series game, the Los Angeles Kings revealed what they will wear when they hit the ice at at Falcon Stadium on Feb. 15 (8 p.m. ET; NBC).

    As is tradition for Stadium Series games, the design is very unique and out there. The black, white, and silver is there along with the LA from their regular jerseys “taking flight” since the game will take place on the campus of the Air Force Academy.

    adidas / Kings

    Now while you’re maybe distracted by the black and white of the jerseys and the sweet white gloves, do not overlook one neat feature: the shiny silver helmets.

    adidas / Kings

    Some additional notes from adidas:

    Crest: A new L.A. crest takes flight on diagonal bisected blocking, inspired by aircraft battle stripes.

    Design: The architecture of the venue’s Air Force Academy, coupled with a pilot’s ambition to push to the edge, inspired the oblique angles used to shape the jersey’s typography and numbering. A checkerboard design graphic is implemented along the neckline.

    What do you think? The black, white, and silver against the burgundy, blue, and white will be an interesting look on the ice.

    MORE: Avalanche reveal 2020 Stadium Series jersey

    The 2020 Stadium Series game between the Avalanche and Kings will take place Feb. 15 at Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo.. The game will air on NBC at 8 p.m. ET.


    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.