Roundtable: Vegas’ playoff hopes; who needs NHL lottery win the most?

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The Vegas Golden Knights. Do they get in? If not, how do you envision their offseason going?

Adam Gretz, NHL writer: At this point I do not see a path for them unless they beat Dallas tonight, win out, and get some help. That is probably asking a lot.

If they do not get in? I envision chaos. They operate this team like maniacs and with a sense of unpredictability even when they win. Who knows what happens here when they badly underachieve like this. The salary cap situation is a mess, goalie situation is a mess, and they will probably be getting a new head coach.
So I envision chaos. Major changes.

Sean Leahy, NHL writer: They pretty much have to win out and that begins tonight against the Stars and would end against a very good Blues team. They no longer control their destiny and with the way this season has gone, it doesn’t appear as if they have a miracle in them this week.

What should happen if they miss? While the first thought might be some cutthroat chaos, I have a suspicion this organization will chalk this up to some bad injury luck and not make many drastic changes in the summer. There will be some change, of course, given their salary cap situation, but I don’t expect GM Kelly McCrimmon to take a scalpel to this roster and make major moves heading into next season.

Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: I think they miss. At this point, the most realistic way into the playoffs is to pass Dallas, and the Stars have an easier remaining schedule. Even if Vegas were to beat Dallas, I still like the Stars’ odds given they close at home against Arizona and Anaheim, whereas the Golden Knights finish on the road against Chicago and St. Louis (who could still be playing for home ice in the First Round).

Looking ahead to the offseason, if history is any indication, it should be another turbulent offseason for the Golden Knights. They will finally have to come to grips with the many salary cap challenges they’ve created for themselves, so more significant player movement is likely on the horizon.

James O’Brien, NHL writer: Now that the Kings look back on track, there’s not much of a lane for the Golden Knights. I don’t think they can make it.

We’re at the point where it’s fair to ask: if the Golden Knights are going to be so ruthless in trading away players, shouldn’t Kelly McCrimmon and/or George McPhee face the same level of accountability?

Yes, injuries are a valid explanation for this season. A more patient team would take a step back and say, “We probably shouldn’t overreact.”

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, keep hitting the red button so often that it’s fallen off. Also, there’s making your own luck, and maybe making your own bad luck.

With the exception of 25-year-old Jack Eichel, this Golden Knights core is quite old. The downside to acquiring battle-tested veterans like Max Pacioretty (33) and Mark Stone (29) is that they bring their battlescars with them. (Obviously, Eichel’s also coming off major neck surgery.)

For all of the Golden Knights’ smashing successes, they haven’t developed a ton of younger difference-makers. As such, they’re a top-heavy team that was less capable of dealing with injuries. Also, some of those splashy moves didn’t work out as well as expected.

The Golden Knights would be better off just taking a breather and letting things settle — for once. I can just as easily see any (or all) of Peter DeBoer, Kelly McCrimmon, and/or George McPhee being shown the door.

And, in a sense, that might only be fair.

Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: The Vegas Golden Knights are in big trouble as they really have to win out to get into the playoffs. The big game is Dallas (they finish the season with three straight road games) and if they don’t win in regulation, I really cannot see them getting a wild card spot.

If they do not make the playoffs, look for Kelly McCrimmon and Peter DeBoer to be shown the door. McCrimmon had a great thing going in Vegas but his constant tweaking and getting rid of players who signed long-term deals with the Golden Knights only to be dealt elsewhere when a ‘better’ player became available, hurt the team as they lost players such as Nate Schmidt and most importantly Marc-Andre Fleury.
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Looking at the NHL draft lottery picture, who needs to get the No. 1 pick and Shane Wright the most?

Adam Gretz, NHL writer: The answer to who needs the No. 1 pick the most is absolutely the Arizona Coyotes. This rebuild is going to be major, the arena situation is again a mess, and they badly need somebody to build this thing around and something to give the fan base something to latch on to. Is it the perfect spot for the NHL? Probably not. But Arizona badly needs that pick.

James O’Brien, NHL writer: For all that’s gone wrong with the Coyotes, they’ve mostly done a great job steering into a rebuild, rather than ignoring reality. That reality is what it is, though: this team is largely bereft of talent.

If you read through a variety of takes on Shane Wright, excitement’s dimmed a bit. Many write-ups pump Wright up more for being a heady two-way player than an elite scorer. Superficially, that sounds a lot like what Matty Beniers brings to the table, so it would be kind of boring if the Kraken landed Wright instead.
So, let’s give the Coyotes someone to build some hope around, whether he helps fill a rinky dink rink right off the bat in 2022-23, or he parallels Owen Power by not making an immediate NHL jump.

Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: Buffalo. You might be thinking “why do the Sabres deserve the No. 1 pick again?” The answer is hockey karma. After surviving the Jack Eichel saga, and actually playing some decent hockey towards the end of the season as Vegas sputtered with Eichel, this would be the perfect ending to what was (is still?) one of the strangest rebuilds in hockey history. It would only be fitting if Shane Wright led Buffalo to the playoffs next season to end this epic drought.

Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: The Montreal Canadiens need to get Shane Wright as they desperately need another center to go with Nick Suzuki. The Habs are lacking in talent up front and while the rest of the bottom-dwellers in the NHL will wait for the 2023 Draft which will feature Connor Bedard, the Canadiens cannot afford to wait another year. Wright may not have the cache he did two seasons ago but he will still be a welcomed  addition in the Montreal lineup.

Sean Leahy, NHL writer: Only one of the bottom 11 teams will have a shot at the No. 1 overall pick thanks to the new lottery rules. It would be another boost of positive momentum for the Sabres if they should take their smallish percentage chance and get the lucky ball. Adding Shane Wright to a young roster that showed plenty of promise in the second half of this season would be just what they need. That market is screaming for a good hockey team again and to end their decade-plus-long playoff drought.

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    Coyotes minority owner suspended by NHL following arrest

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    NEW YORK — Arizona Coyotes minority owner Andrew Barroway was suspended indefinitely by the NHL on Friday following his arrest for domestic violence in Colorado.

    Online court records show Barroway was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of second-degree assault strangulation, a felony, and third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. He appeared in court Friday to be advised of the possible charges he is facing and is scheduled to back in court on April 3.

    Barroway spent Thursday night in Pitkin County Jail after police arrested him at an Aspen hotel, according to a police report obtained by the Aspen Daily News.

    “The National Hockey League is aware of the arrest of Arizona Coyotes’ minority owner Andrew Barroway,” the NHL said in a statement. “Pending further information, he has been suspended indefinitely.”

    The 57-year-old Barroway was arrested after a verbal altercation with his wife turned physical, according to the police report. He is prohibited from having contact with his wife, except when it involves their children, and can’t consume alcohol under a court order.

    A prominent hedge fund manager, Barroway owns 5% of the Coyotes.

    “We are aware of the allegation regarding Mr. Barroway and we are working with the League to gather more information,” the Coyotes said in a statement. “When we have enough information, we will have an appropriate response. Until the investigation is complete, we will have no further comment.”

    Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine out 2-4 weeks with triceps injury

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    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine is out 2-4 weeks after straining a triceps muscle in practice, yet another blow to the last-place team in the NHL that has been hampered by injuries all season.

    The Blue Jackets announced Laine’s absence before their home game against the New York Islanders.

    They already have 454 man-games lost to injury, one of the highest numbers in the league, and have a record of 22-41-7.

    Laine missed two separate stints with elbow and ankle injuries in the fall. The 24-year-old Finn is the team’s second-leading scorer with 52 points in 55 games.

    Columbus has been top defenseman Zach Werenski since November because of a torn labrum and separated shoulder. Forward Sean Kuraly recently went on injured reserve with a strained left oblique muscle but is set to return Friday.

    Tortorella earns 700th career win, Flyers top Wild 5-4

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    PHILADELPHIA — John Tortorella needed one word to sum up if 700 career wins meant anything to the Flyers coach.


    OK, then. Good thing the brusque Stanley Cup winner isn’t paid by the word.

    James van Riemsdyk scored the only goal in a shootout, and Philadelphia beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on Thursday night for Tortorella’s 700th victory.

    Tortorella is 700-573-181 in 1,454 games as an NHL head coach. His 700 wins rank 12th in NHL history and his career games rank ninth in NHL history. He led Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup in 2004. In his first season coaching the Flyers, Tortorella joined Peter Laviolette as the second American-born coach to win 700 games.

    “I think the culture’s kind of changed around here,” Flyers forward Joel Farabee said. “I think he’s done a really good job of keeping the group together.”

    Farabee, Scott Laughton, Rasmus Ristolainen and Tyson Foerster scored for Philadelphia. The Flyers have two straight games for the first time since Jan. 9-14 when they won three straight. Yeah, it’s been that kind of season.

    “Farabee’s starting to pop, he’s looking real good. Tyson is looking real good,” Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo said. “This is all about laying the foundation for next year but we get a lot of money to do this job. It’s something we love, so we’re gonna go out and give it our best every night.”

    Matt Boldy had two goals for the Wild, and Oskar Sundqvist and Marcus Foligno also scored.

    “We weren’t very good. They were good,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We knew they were playing well, they played well tonight. We were loose. We were not firm, turnovers, it didn’t look like our hockey club.”

    The Flyers and Wild were tied 1-all at the end of the first period, 3-3 at the end of the second and 4-4 headed into OT.

    The rebuilding Flyers have been plucky of late. They had won two of three coming into the game, with the lone loss in overtime. They showed some of that grit in the final two periods, scoring late tying goals.

    “It’s a credit to their group, to their coaching staff, that they’ve got them playing the right way,” Evason said.

    Boldy poked a backhander past Carter Hart with 6:28 left for a 4-3 lead. The Flyers, playing more for the No. 1 pick and for pride, tied the game on Foerster’s second goal of the season.

    Farabee tipped in Cam York’s shot early in the second for a 2-1 lead.

    The Wild got going when Boldy ripped one top shelf past Hart for his 24th goal of the season that tied the game 2-all. Foligno scored his seventh goal for the 3-2 lead.

    Ristolainen buried a hard slapper from the blue line on the power play for the tying goal with 23 seconds left in the second.

    “I think it’s good to try to lay this foundation, kind of get ready for next year. You see guys getting confidence,” DeAngelo said.

    The Flyers only played ahead in the first period.

    Laughton scored off the rush for his 17th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead. Sundqvist celebrated his birthday with a deflection for the tying goal with 3:24 left in the period.

    The Flyers had been one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL until the start of this seven-game homestand (3-2 so far). They have scored at least three goals in every game and at least four in the last four.

    “We have definitely gotten to the net better,” Tortorella said. “We have spent a lot of time on the ice and with tape as far as getting to that area.”


    Wild: Host Chicago on Saturday.

    Flyers: Host Detroit on Saturday.

    Crosby reaches 30-goal mark, Penguins knock off Avalanche 5-2

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    DENVER – Sidney Crosby wasn’t even aware of reaching yet another milestone. He’s simply locked in on helping the Pittsburgh Penguins make a 17th straight postseason appearance.

    Jeff Carter had a pair of goals, Crosby scored on a nifty backhand shot in the second period to reach the 30-goal mark for an 11th season and the Penguins beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.

    Crosby moved into a tie with Hall-of-Fame center Mario Lemieux for the most 30-goal seasons in Penguins history. Another milestone reached – it came as news to him.

    “I think the most important thing for me is just try to be consistent and if that reflects that great,” said Crosby, who turns 36 in August.

    Even more, Crosby’s the first player in league history to post a 30-goal campaign at 18 years old and again when he was 35-plus, according to NHL Stats.

    “It means I’ve been in the league for a while,” Crosby cracked. “That’s been the thing that’s driven me since since I got into the league – in your first year, you want to prove that you belong. Even at 35, I still think you want to prove you belong, because it is a younger league.”

    Jake Guentzel also scored and Bryan Rust added an empty-net goal for the Penguins, who snapped a four-game slide and moved back into a wild-card spot in the East.

    “It’s definitely a big one for us, for sure,” Guentzel said. “Defending champs, coming to their building, you know how good they are. Top to bottom, we defended hard and that’s what we have to do at this time of the year.”

    Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry stopped 28 shots in improving to 11-4 this season against teams from the Western Conference.

    J.T. Compher and Devon Toews had goals for the Avalanche, whose six-game winning streak was halted. Nathan MacKinnon had an assist to extend his home points streak to 18 games.

    It was a missed opportunity for Colorado, which could’ve pulled into a three-way tie with Dallas and Minnesota in the Central Division with a victory.

    “We knew they were going to play with urgency,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “But I didn’t feel like there was any reason why we couldn’t, either. … We didn’t get it done. Hopefully we get another one.”

    Alexandar Georgiev made 40 saves, including several critical ones in a second period controlled by the Penguins, who outshot the Avalanche by a 21-9 margin. It could’ve been more than a 3-1 deficit heading into the third period.

    Toews’ power-play goal made it 3-2 with 9:32 remaining. But Carter wrapped up the win with his first multigoal game in the regular season since Jan. 11, 2022.

    “I’m thrilled for him. We’re all thrilled,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Carter. “He cares about the Penguins. He wants to win, and he wants to contribute in helping us win so we couldn’t be happier for him.”


    Bednar was appreciative of the three-year extension he signed Tuesday that goes through the 2026-27 season. In his seventh season, he’s the third-longest tenured coach in the NHL behind Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper (March 2013) and Sullivan (December 2015).

    “It’s not a forgiving league or sport, for the most part, but obviously that’s part of the reason why I’m so grateful and thankful,” Bednar said. “Because there were times over my tenure that got a little hairy and management could have made another decision. But obviously they didn’t.”


    Avalanche D Cale Makar missed a second straight game with a lower body injury. “I still have him as day-to-day,” Bednar said. … F Darren Helm returned after missing 64 of 69 games this season with a lower-body injury. … Penguins D Jeff Petry (upper body) skated in the morning but sat out his third straight game. … The Penguins are 11-1 against the Central Division this season. … Penguins standout Evgeni Malkin assisted on Guentzel’s goal to reach the 50-assist mark for a seventh time in his career.


    Penguins: At Dallas on Thursday night.

    Avalanche: Host Arizona on Friday night.