I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.
The Washington Capitals re-assigned defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler from Zurich in the Swiss league to the AHL on Monday.
Siegenthaler takes the next step to the big time as a second-rounder (57th pick) from 2015.
He actually managed to get a little bit of AHL experience last season, generating an assist in six games. In 28 games so far in 2016-17, Siegenthaler had a goal and six assists for seven points.
From the sound of his Hockey’s Future “talent analysis,” the 19-year-old defenseman boasts the sort of skills that could translate very well to the modern style:
Siegenthaler plays the game of a defensive defenseman. He has soft hands, handles the puck with care and keeps his plays simple. The good-sized Siegenthaler is a smooth skater with tremendous mobility. He makes soft passes, but lacks strength in them and needs to work on his timing for longer stretch passes. The missing power also hurts his shooting abilities and gives him only limited offensive upside.
The Buffalo Sabres will make their final visit to Joe Louis Arena to face the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, airing on NBCSN.
The Sabres are closing off a four-game road trip, having beaten the Ducks in a shootout on Friday (just their third win since Feb. 19). Meanwhile, the Red Wings aim for their third consecutive victory.
You can watch Jack Eichel & Co. take on Henrik Zetterberg and the Red Wings on NBCSN, watch it online and also via the NBC Sports App.
Click here to watch the livestream.
Thomas Greiss did what he could – and helped the New York Islanders earn a “charity point” – but eventually he couldn’t contain Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
John Tavares scored the goal that sent a fairly one-sided game (Columbus generated a 38-22 shot advantage) to overtime, but ultimately the Blue Jackets edged the Islanders 3-2 in OT on Saturday afternoon.
With that, a variety of races get more interesting. Let’s begin with the top of the Metro (and generally the top of the East/NHL):
1. Capitals- 98 points, 70 games played
2. Blue Jackets – 98 points, 70 GP
3. Penguins – 97 points, 70 GP
Yes, that’s a tight squeeze, especially since both Washington and Columbus boast 44 regulation/overtime wins, the first tiebreaker. One would think that the Blue Jackets winning in overtime was a totally crummy break for the Caps, but there is this fun caveat: with a victory tonight, the Caps can be the league’s first team to clinch a trip to the playoffs.
As far as the three-team race for the top spots in the Metro goes, some teams will get more of an opportunity to “control their own destiny” than others:
The Blue Jackets thwarted the Islanders’ attempt to climb back into the East’s final wild card spot:
Final wild card: Maple Leafs: 78 points in 69 GP
Islanders: 78 in 71 GP
Lightning: 77 in 70 GP
Yeah, that’s a skin-tight race too, with this loss really stinging for an Islanders team that now must watch the Bolts and Maple Leafs while biting their nails a bit more.
If you want to witness an unfortunate fan accident that’s probably less likely than someone getting hit by lightning, Saturday’s Colorado Avalanche – Detroit Red Wings game provided such a moment.
Avalanche defenseman Francois Beauchemin was attempting to make a clear passing, only the puck went through a hole in the glass designed for a camera and hit a fan.
Actually, allow a moment for proper emphasis: the puck went through a hole in the glass designed for a camera and hit a fan. That’s better.
For what it’s worth, Beauchemin tried to make that unlucky fan’s afternoon a little better:
Here’s hoping we just witnessed the unluckiest fan of the day (and that said fan ends up OK).
There’s no denying that the Pittsburgh Penguins are banged up, but unlike the Tampa Bay Lightning, they received some heartening injury news on Saturday morning.
(Granted, they share a thing in common with the Lightning in still having quite a few guys expected to miss at least a bit of time.)
The most important: Evgeni Malkin‘s injury isn’t serious and is considered day-to-day, according to head coach Mike Sullivan.
Sullivan also seems quite happy about Bryan Rust‘s progress, as the forward at least resumed skating. That said, he didn’t give a precise timeline of when Rust might return, noting that he must take the next step in absorbing contact.
So, while these updates amount to a “work in progress,” at least it’s easy for Pittsburgh to see that things are on an upward climb. Their next game comes against the Florida Panthers on Sunday afternoon.