Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Turco, Morrison and Legg Hit Trifecta at Yost

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this:

Marty Turco, Brendan Morrison and Mike Legg did this:

They were good back then, and apparently they're still good now:

Let's Wait Another Week Before Pestering Mike Babcock about Frederik Anderson

In other words: HOLY SHIT -- it's been five games.

Classic Babcock. The Leafs coach dominated possession in this press conference.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Watch: Polak Rattles the Bones of Rasmussen

He's Roman Polak and he doesn't mess around.

And he rarely passes up a chance to mangle someone. The 30-year-old Czech and his burly 235-lb frame went all-out when he caught Hawks' forward Dennis Rasmussen with his head down in the neutral zone during second period action at the United Center on Saturday.

Polak got two for interference on the play. Jordin Tootoo is in the lineup for the Hawks tonight but he hasn't been let off leash to go sick on Polak by coach Q--at least not yet.

Sickness Alert: Beauty Dance and Feed from Panarin to Anisimov

Basically: Why we love watching the Kane-Panarin-Anisimov line any time it's on the ice. Check out this beautiful step-around move and pass by Artemi Panarin. Degree of difficulty off the charts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Laine Completes First Career Hat-Trick with OT Winner vs. Leafs

It was dubbed as the battle of No.1 and No.2 draft picks in the 2016 NHL draft, and it lived up to the hype in pretty much every way.

Patrick Laine scored with 55 second left in the game to tie it, then tallied again on two-on one just moments after Auston Mathews was stopped by Michael Hutchinson to give the Jets a dramatic 5-4 comeback win at MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

Despite a slow start in the first seven minutes, the Leafs were the better team through the first two periods and opened up a 4-0 lead behind two goals from Nazem Kadri and a goal and an assist from William Nylander.

But the Jets began chipping away late in the second when Tyler Myers scored on a pretty one-timer off a feed from Mark Scheifele.

Laine's first goal, a gorgeous turnaround roof job that Frederik Andersen had no chance on, closed the gap to 4-2 a minute into the third and Scheifele pulled the Jets to within one with a goal at 6:05 of the third.

With the Jets pressuring and Morgan Rielly in the box for crosschecking late in the third, Nikolaj Ehlers intercepted an errant clear from Connor Carrick, made a pretty fake and then found Laine open in his favorite spot at the top of the right circle. The 19-year-old Finn buried a one-timer into the open net, setting the stage for further heroics in the overtime.

And a whole lot of bedlam in Winnipeg.

Matthews was held to a single assist in the game, but he did have a team-high seven shots. The Leafs fall to 1-0-2 but remain undefeated in regulation. The Jets improve to 2-2-0.

Watch: Jets Ties Leafs Late on Laine One-Time

The Winnipeg Jets' magic at home continues.

Patrick Laine buries his second goal of the night to cap a comeback from 4-0 down against the Leafs at MTS Centre.

Laine's first goal may have been even more impressive:

Overtime is starting now -- gotta go.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

18-year-old Matthew Tkachuk Scores First NHL Goal

Highly touted first-round draft pick Matthew Tkachuk scored his first NHL goal during the third period of Tuesday night's battle against the Sabres at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Tkachuk is looking more an more like a shoe-in to stay with the flames beyond the nine-game mark, which is where he'd have to be sent down for the Flames not to burn one of his three entry-level paygrade years.

The 6'2, 200-lb winger was a minus-1 with seven shots in his first three games. His Flames, currently tied at 3-all with Buffalo, are looking for their first win tonight.

Panthers' Vincent Trocheck Awarded Ugliest Shootout Goal of All-Time

How does this pathetic excuse for a skillz competition goal by Florida's Vincent Trocheck count?

I mean, I get how it counts technically (explanation here)>>> BUT WHERE ARE THE STYLE POLICE?

Anyhoo, Tampa Bay, which got a goal by Steven Stamkos to tie it with :06 left in regulation, wins in the shootout. It didn't break the standings, it was funny--and nobody got hurt. So let's not get too irate. But by all means, change the rules so it never, ever happens again.

Marian Hossa Becomes Fourth Active Player to Reach 500 Goal Mark

Marian Hossa scored his 500th goal on Tuesday night at the United summer. Hossa takes a deflected feed from Artemi Anisimov and deposits a backhand through the five-hole of Michal Neuvirth as the crowd erupts in celebration.

Hossa becomes the 44th player in NHL history to score 500 goals.

It was a pretty cool scene in Chicago as the Flyers kind of retreated to their bench to let Hossa have his moment. The Slovakian has been one of the best two-way centers in the NHL for a long time. Hossa is a five-time all star and a three-time Stanley Cup winner that began his NHL career 19 years ago.

Watch: Orlov Flips Duchene with Open Ice Hip Check

Check out Dmitry Orlov's dangerous hip check on Matt Duchene during first-period action of tonight's battle between the Avs and the Caps at Verizon Center. Then check it out again. And again. And again. And again. Absolutely incredible showcase of the fast-paced, NUTSO caliber of hockey we're seeing in the NHL these days, with speed and physicality off the charts.

Now watch it again. And again. And again...

Five on the Fly: Burns' 800th, Kreider Smoking

Welcome to Five on the Fly, your daily stat rehash for NHL geeks and freaks.

1. Burns plays in his 800th NHL game

San Jose defenseman Brent Burns celebrated his 800th game by scoring two goals in a 7-4 loss to the Rangers on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. A quick look at Burns first 400 games vs. his last 400 games shows just how far he has come as an offensive threat in the league:

Is he putting up Norris trophy #'s now?

2. Kreider's fast start continues

Rangers' speed demon Chris Kreider is enjoying life on a line with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevic. Last night, with Buchnevic injured, Rick Nash joined him. Doesn't seem to make a difference. Either way, Kreider is flying--and scoring. He has 3-3-6 in his first three games. Last year it took him 17 games to get to the three-goal mark.

Kreider is currently 6th in the NHL in CF%, among players with 20 or more mins of ice time:

There's also this:

3. The six best PPs in the NHL (so far) are?

It's early, but Detroit stands out as a team that could have a much-improved PP this year. Looks like John Torchetti is a good hire in Detroit.

And PK Subban appears to be helping Nashville, but they were third-best PP in the NHL last year so it's not like they needed it.

4. Green's first career hat-trick

It's been a while since a defenseman scored a hat-trick for the Red Wings. One has to go all the way back to the time when a guy named Lidstrom played in Detroit. Heard of him?

5. Skjei and McIlrath struggle mightily for Rangers

Rough night for the Rangers' Dylan McIlrath and Brady Skjei, but San Jose was behind for much of the game so not sure how much stock we can put in these:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Jonathan Ericsson Takes a Puck to the Head in Detroit's Win over Ottawa

Red Wings' defenseman Jonathan Ericsson escaped a fight with Dion Phaneuf unscathed earlier in the game, but he could not escape this wayward puck.

He would return for the third period, finishing with 13:26 of ice time.

Jimmy Vesey Scores First NHL Goal in Rangers Win over San Jose

Highly touted rookie Jimmy Vesey scored his first NHL goal during the Rangers 7-4 win over the San Jose Sharks on Monday at the Garden.

Vesey, the standout free-agent that was being wooed by what felt like half of the NHL this summer, is starting to feel at home with New York after signing a two-year deal in August.

"I've felt more and more comfortable on the ice in all three games, so I think this just gives me more confidence," Vesey said. "I think just having the puck in the offensive zone I'm not really hesitant to make a mistake. I'm holding to on to it and making more plays."

Vesey played on a line with Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan. The 23-year-old is a plus-2 in his first three games, with one point.

Mike Green's First Career Hattie Powers Wings Past Ottawa

Mike Green has been in the NHL for more than a decade and scored 123 goals in a fantastic career as an offensive defenseman. But Green had never notched a hat trick until tonight. The 31-year-old lit it up in the final home opener at the Joe Louis Arena, notching a hat-trick that powered the Red Wings to a lopsided 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

Green scored two in the opening stanza then buried his third at 13:24 of the third.

The Calgary native is the first Wings' defenseman to score a hat-trick since Nicklas Lidstrom's on Decemeber 15, 2010.

Detroit (1-2) gets its first win of the season and drops Ottawa to 2-1.

Thomas Vanek had three assists in the game and has five points in Detroit's first three.

Watch: Landeskog Scores OT Winner in Avs Victory over Pens

Gabriel Landeskog scored the final two goals of the game to lift the visiting Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday at Consol Energy Center.

Colorado remains undefeated at 2-0-0, while the Pens drop to 2-0-1.

In the third period, Landeskog tied the gme with a power play goal at 6:32.

The Swede's OT Winner came at :22, and was assisted by Nathan MacKinnon and Erik Johnson.

Carey Price Skates, but Will Miss Habs' Home Opener

Was it just a dream, or did Carey Price backstop Team Canada to an inspiring World Cup title just a few weeks ago?

Some Montreal fans are wondering, as the team announced on Monday that Price will miss the team's home opener on Tuesday. Price skated for about 40 minutes on Monday but left the ice before the team practiced. It will be Al Montoya who gets the nod again when the Canadiens face Pittsburgh.

"He's not 100 percent," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said after practice Monday, according to NHL.com. "He had a pretty good virus. I know people who got this type of a virus, they know it's not taking 24 hours and [then] you feel great. So slowly … basically he's day to day. We'll see how he's going to be with his energy because he lost some weight."

Price, who hasn't played an NHL game since last November, was diagnosed with the flu on October 10. The Canadiens also announced that 18-year-old defenseman Mikhail Sergachev will be in the lineup on Tuesday. He was a healthy scratch for the Habs' 4-3 shootout loss in Ottawa on Sunday.

McLellan on Oilers: We Looked Like Bad News Bears

If you didn't get a chance to see the Edmonton Oilers suffer their first loss of the season on Sunday night, don't worry about it. Oilers head coach Todd McLellan gave the media a thorough rundown after the 6-2 shellacking.

"We had guys falling all over the place, we didn't execute, our passing was poor," he said. "I think each and every game you learn lessons. We learned a lesson that we're not quite ready to take a step. We can't handle prosperity yet. We just kicked right between the legs and we deserved it."

Come for the team talk, stay for McLellan's lambasting of Oilers' forward Benoit Pouliot.

The Oilers dropped to 2-1 on the season.

In other Oilers news, the team decided to cancel a league-mandated day off to practice on Monday, and the NHLPA is looking into that decision to determine whether or not the team is commiting an infraction.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook Sing "Take Me out to the Ball Game"

Blackhawks' stars Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook did the honors at the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field tonight.

Because I'm a great singer I don't feel bad saying this: They were horrible. As in beautifully horrible.

Ah, but I like the spirit, and Toews was funny, swaying like he had a few too many Old-Style's.

They actually harmonized a bit on the last few notes and Seabrook shouting "get some runs," was a nice touch as well.

Watch: Josh Bailey Give Islanders OT Win over Ducks

Josh Bailey notched this pretty overtime winner to give the Islanders a 3-2 win over the Ducks on Sunday at Barclays Center.

The Islanders had built a 2-0 lead mid-way through the third but Anaheim tied things with a minute left on a Ryan Getzlaf one-timer that beat Jaroslav Halak.

Here's a couple different looks at Bailey's Beauty:

Watch: Talbot Fooled by O'Reilly's KNUCKLEPUCK

Well, you have your softies, and then you have this.

Cam Talbot gives up the softest softy during second period action at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Thank you very much, says Buffalo's Ryan O'Reilly, who has two goals tonight.

Looks like the Oilers are headed for their first loss of the season as Buffalo now leads 6-2 in the third.

Watch: Oilers' Gustavsson Shaken up after Collision with Adam Larsson

Tough collision for Edmonton goalie Jonas Gustavsson as his defenseman Adam Larsson backs into him while defending a two-on-one and jars the Swede's neck pretty bad.

Gustavsson tried to remain in the game, but was eventually pulled and replaced by Cam Talbot.

Many were surprised the Gustavsson remained in the game at all, and it's not clear whose decision it was to finally pull him.

Barzal's Debut Marked by Head-Scratching Infraction

If there is one thing that could sum up the Islanders lacklustre 0-2 start to the season, it is this penalty by rookie centerman Mathew Barzal. The 19-year-old is just about to get released from a minor penalty during first-period action of the Isles 2-1 loss in Washington and he plays the puck with his feet still inside the penalty box (nice tape-to-tape pass though).

Bad rookie! Bad, bad, bad rookie!

Barzal took three penalties on the night, but did not impact the scoresheet in any other way. The No. 16 overall pick in the 2015 draft was paired with Anders Lee and Ryan Strome, and ended up with a +2 Corsi on the evening in just over ten minutes of ice time.

Another look at the penalty:

Mitch Marner's First NHL Was a Beauty, too Bad Mom Missed it

Auston Matthews isn't the only ridiculously talented rookie on the Toronto Maple Leafs. In fact he's one of five rookie forwards on the roster at the moment, joining Matthews, William Nylander, Zach Hyman and Connor Brown. While Matthews comes into the league with more fanfare (and more goals), Marner is a first-round draft pick (No.4 overall) as well, and he's going to be one heck of a player.

He scored his first goal during Saturday's 4-1 win over the Bruins. Check out the finessed little self-tap by Marner after he receives the pass from Nikita Zaitsev, so he doesn't have to break stride. The rest is history. The 19-year-old Thornhill, Ontario native was off on the rush and buried this wrister, using defenseman Brandon Carlo as a screen.

Too bad his mom wasn't around to see it:

Watch: Loui Eriksson Scores His First Goal into Wrong Net

Yikes. This is not the way you want to score your first goal in your debut with a new team. Ah, but at least he didn't have to suffer the indignity that Erik Gudbrandson did. Gudbrandson spend a few quality moments in his own goal during his debut with the club.

Not a nice photo op, but a photo op nonetheless.

Watch: Zdeno Chara Plays with Dolls

Matt Martin is an absolute beast, and anybody who has watched the Windsor, Ontario native in an Islanders' uniform since 2010 knows that. But he's a ragdoll compared to Zdeno Chara. Now we know that, too.

Watch: Sedin Line Scores after Marathon Shift in Vancouver

There's 5:23 left in the game when the video starts.

There's 3:51 left when Daniel finally scores.

Bow down. And keep bowing down.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Five on the Fly: Chicago PK Woes, McDavid's Latest Milestone

Welcome to Five on the Fly, TSP's daily hit of relevant NHL stats:

1. Hawks' PP off to a Slow Start

PK Subban (pictured above) had a good time with the Chicago penalty kill on Friday, but the Hawks themselves are not having any fun at all. The Blackhawks have allowed six ppg in 11 shorthanded situations in their first two games, losses to St. Louis and Nashville. That puts them worst in the league among teams that have been shorthanded more than once:

The good news? The Hawks have scored three and allowed zero even strength goals. Kinda weird, but it's early.

2. Four Teams have more than two power play goals so far this season

Good starts on the power play for St. Louis, Edmonton, Nashville and Tampa, but only one of the four has given up two shorthanded goals. That would be Edmonton...

3. Connor McDavid keeps proving that he's better than Wayne Gretzky

I mean, can we just end the debate? Just kidding everybody. But seriously, another impressive start for the 19-year-old McDavid, who has six points in two games and is the first Edmonton Player to start a season with back-to-back three-point games.

He's also the first Edmonton player to register six points in his first two games of the season since ole what's-his-name did it in 1987.

4. Edmonton Wins the games, Calgary wins the even-strength Corsi

So the fancy stats tell us that Calgary is controlling the puck, but it must be Kris Russell's magic that has lead the Oil to wins in both games over Calgary. Here's the proof:

5. Hossa going for 500th goal

The 37-year-old has two assists on the season but has yet to register his 500th career goal. When he does he will become the fourth active player to crack the 500-goal plateau. Here's the top 10 active goal scorers in the NHL at the moment:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Quick's Injury is Long-Term

The lower body injury that L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick suffered during Wednesday's season opener in San Jose is long-term and could require surgery to repair.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Quick is now seeking the opinion of several doctors on how he should proceed. The organization is being careful with their No. 1 goalie, who is signed with the team through 2022-23 on a deal with a $5.8 million AAV.

Quick suffered a Grade II groin strain and missed nearly two months three years ago, but the Milford, Connecticut native returned that season and guided the Kings to the Stanley Cup.

Kings Insider Jon Rosen had more to say about the issue on NHL Network on Friday.

"It's not good right now," he said. "This is going to be a long-term injury. Dean Lombardi spoke with us this morning and he said that the injury is in the same area as the groin injury that he suffered three seasons ago back in Buffalo."

Rosen added: "It's not to say that it's a groin injury, just somewhere in that lower to middle body area. The Kings are going to do their due diligence on this. They want to get an executive decision made rather expeditiously--they don't want to have to wait several weeks before they choose the right course of action."

Rosen mentioned nothing about surgery, but according to SportsNet's Darren Millard, surgery is a real possibility:

The Kings will use off-season acquisition Jeff Zatkoff and recent call-up Peter Budaj as their goaltending tandem while they figure out the severity and timetable for Quick's injury.

Five on the Fly: Radulov's Line Strong, Marchand the Maniac, Jets' Crazy Comeback

1. Strong start for the Habs No.2 line

Alexander Radulov, Thomas Plekanec and rookie Artturi Lehkonen combined to give Montreal some really strong possession numbers.

Of note: rookie Lehkonen got five shots in his NHL debut.

2. A look at the rooks

Last night's rookie stats, broken into forwards and D, thanks to Corey Pronman (click tweet and scroll through to see it all):

3. Marchand cashing in on World Cup momentum

Bruins' Brad Marchand is still on fire. After scoring the World Cup winning goal in Toronto, he begins his campaign with a five-point night. Not quite as impressive as Auston Matthews' four-goal effort, but the effort puts him in pretty limited company:

Marchand played with David Pastrnak (2g, 2a) and David Backes (2g, 1a) and the trio combined for 6-6-12.

4. Mikhail Sergachev Breaks a Canadiens franchise record

Rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev became the youngest defenseman to ever play a regular season game for the Habs last night.

He paired with Alexei Emelin primarily, logged 11:48 of ice time and blocked two shots. He also got a little over a minute on the PP.

5. Jets notch improbable comeback in opener

The Winnipeg Jets became just the third team in NHL history to win their first game by overcoming a three-goal deficit in the third period.

Here's what it looked like when Mark Scheifele notched the OT winner in Winnipeg:

Also of note from Winnipeg's win: No. 2 overall pick Patrick Laine chipped in with a goal and an assist in his debut (both came in the third period). The Finn logged 18:27 of ice time and got two shots on net.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Five on the Fly: Opening Day Statisfaction from Matthews and More

With the spotlight shining bright, the NHL season began on Tuesday night. Here's five stats that caught our eye from the NHL's opening night:

Special thanks to Naturalstattrick.com for most of these screen caps

1. Auston Matthews may never do this again

Nobody could have predicted that Auston Matthew's NHL debut would be this strong. Now, we start to predict what type of a season he will have. Will the 19-year-old encounter a few speed bumps along the way or is he headed for a 300-goal season? Ah, he'll be fine. It's the Leafs we're worried about. How do you lose a game when one of your players pots four? The last time it happened was in January of '14 when Eric Nystrom had four in Calgary.

We're sure you've read enough about Matthews today, so we'll leave you with this one stat before we move on:

2. Blackhawks' Schmaltz, Hinostroza Struggle in Opener

The Blackhawks have left the door open for kids like Nick Schmaltz, Tyler Motte and Vincent Hinostroza to make a difference in the early going. They're up against the cap and they need some entry-level deals to make the cut. Well, the kids opened to some mixed results on Wednesday in Chicago. Ryan Hartman scored his first career goal in his 9th NHL game, Tyler Motte bagged an assist and rookie d-men Gustav Forsling and Michal Kempny looked pretty solid. But Schmaltz and Hinostroza, who played with Jordin Tootoo, had a rough night against the Blues. Check out these possession numbers for the three:

3. Sharks Drive Possession vs. Kings

The L.A. Kings were the best possession team in the NHL regular season at 5 on 5, holding a corsi for of 56.4% in 2015-16, while the Sharks came in at 9th with a CF% of 51.7%. Small sample size, one game is, but are the Sharks and the Kings teams headed in different directions this year? The score was tight in San Jose's 2-1 win, but San Jose drove possession all night. New additions Mikkel Boedker and David Schlemko seem to be fitting in nicely. Here are the possession numbers from last night's game:

4. Three rookies scored in their NHL debut last night

Auston Matthews wasn't the only one who lit it up last night. Edmonton's Jesse Puljujarvi and Chicago's Adam Hartman also broke through to notch their first NHL goals. Here's all the rookies who scored points:

File under: Aberration?

Kyle Brodziak, Ryan Reaves and Scottie Upshall were absolutely fantastic for the Blues last night in Chicago. Upshall even chipped in a goal. How often will we see Brodziak and Co. driving possession better than Tarasenko this season?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Watch: Sabres' Eichel Suffers High Ankle Sprain in Practice

The Buffalo Sabres will be without their prize center Jack Eichel for tomorrow's season opener against the Montreal Canadiens. Eichel got tangled up in practice on Wednesday and ended up falling awkwardly on his left leg.

Later in the day the team announced a diagnosis via Twitter:

Eichel, the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, went 24-32-56 in 81 games in his rookie season for Buffalo.

Watch: Hunwick Bloodied and Knocked out of Game by Hit from Neil

Matt Hunwick's season got off to a very slow start. The 31-year-old defenseman was slow to react on this play during the first period of the Ottawa Senator's 5-4 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, and he paid the price in a big way.

Hunwick was hammered by Sens' agitator Chris Neil and suffered a cut above his right eye on the play. He would leave the game and not return.

Watch: Fan Jumps Glass at OHL Game

This guy clearly saw that there were two less players on the ice for Mississaugua and decided to go lend a hand during Mississaugua's 11-3 win over Guelph on Wednesday.

In the name of safety, the players and officials let him have run of the rind for a while.

We're not sure how it all turned out, but we did notice that this fan was not named one of the three stars of the game.

Auston Matthews Becomes First Player to Ever Score Four Goals in NHL Debut

No. 1 overall draft pick Auston Matthews is making his NHL debut tonight in Ottawa. And... it's going pretty well, thank you. The 19-year-old has scored each of Toronto's four goals, becoming the first player in NHL history to score four goals in his league debut.

The best thing about it? He has another period to go.

The Leafs lead the Sens, 4-3, after two. Matthews, playing on a line with William Nylander and Zach Hyman, has six shots on goal in 11:13 of ice time. This is a line that has 38 NHL games under their belt, combined!

Here's a snippet of the Twitter reaction from other, highly envious NHL players:

Oh, and this is funny:

Here's the 4th goal:

Here's the third goal:

Here's the second goal:

And here's his first NHL goal:

We'll be back to update this post as soon as he scores again!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wild Claims Pulkkinen off Waivers

The Minnesota Wild have plucked Teemu Pulkkinen off waivers. The 24-year-old winger went 11-9-20 and plus-7 in parts of three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. The analytics community has been a little up in arms about the fact that Detroit waived the Vantaa, Finland native.

Reportedly it is Pulkkinen's lack of footspeed that has NHL GMs shying away from him.

In today's NHL the mantra is get faster or die trying, and Pulkkinen, despite his booming shot and great success at the AHL level and in brief NHL stints, isn't a no-brainer to many GMs.

The Buffalo Sabres have come to terms with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen on a six-year $32.4 million contract.

"Rasmus has already proven to be a pivotal player on our blue line, and we are eager to have him back with the team," Sabres general manager Tim Murray said. "This deal is a reflection of the hard work and improvement Rasmus has shown since being drafted, and we hope to see him continue on this trajectory moving forward."

Ristolainen will turn 22 on Oct. 27. He was the 8th overall pick in the 2013 draft by Buffalo. The 6'4" Finn has 19 goals, 46 assists and 65 points in three seasons with the Sabres. Ristolainen dressed for every game last season and led Buffalo defensemen with nine goals, 32 assists and 41 points. He also led the team in average ice time per game (25:16) and ranked 10th among NHL defensemen.

Ristolainen, a restricted free agent, had been skating with the team in good faith while waiting for a deal to get done.

Lightning Sign Kucherov to Three-Year Deal

The Tampa Bay Lightning took a big step towards remaining a cup contender when they locked up 23-year-old winger (and playoff sensation) Nikita Kucherov to a three-year deal that is just shy of $14.3 million.

Kucherov lead the team with 66 points in the regular season and 19 in the playoffs. It comes as a slight surprise that the Moscow native didn't hold out for a longer term or more money. Most felt that Kucherov was in line for about $6 million for six years, but Lightning GM Steve Yzerman seems to be riding the hot hand in Tampa at the moment, as he also got Victor Hedman and Steve Stamkos to sign for less than expected (though both got long-term deals).

Kucherov's logic is that the shorter term gives him a chance to earn more when his contract is up, but still, less than $5 million a year seems a little low for a player of his caliber. His situation also isn't helped by the fact that he's a restricted free agent with very few options other than holding out.

Kucherov's salary will increase in each of the next three seasons (according to General Fanager), from $4.25 million this year, to $4.5 million next season, to $5.5 million in 2018-19. When the deal expires, the Moscow native will still be a RFA.

Sidney Crosby Skated Today, and Feels Pretty Good

After scaring the bejeezus out out of the hockey world on Monday, Sidney Crosby alleviated a lot of fears on Tuesday. The superstar center skated for an hour with Bryan Rust before his team took the ice and afterwards addressed his concussion diagnosis with the media.

"I was happy to be able to skate today," he said.

Crosby suffered a concussion on Friday in practice and said he didn't think much of it until he woke up on Saturday with a headache. "Woke up Saturday morning and didn't feel great," he said. "Got tangled up in practice on Friday and didn't think really didn't think anyhing of it... Saturday didn't feel great, and having been down this road before, just talked to the trainers and they felt it was best to keep me out and go through the protocol here."

Crosby suffered concussions in each of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. He needed 11 months to fully recover from the first one, but was sidelined again about a month of his return and needed another three months. Since then Crosby has been concussion free.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Ben Street Is Okay after Skate to Neck Incident

Red Wings' forward Ben Street is okay after taking a skate to the neck during Friday's game in Hamilton, Ontario. The skate of Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl clipped Street's neck. Medical personnel quickly treated the cut and he was taken to a hospital.

Wings' coach Jeff Blashill said Street is making a full recovery.

“Ben was cut in the neck,” Blashill said. “They explored the wound. There was no major damages. He was taken to hospital last night to make sure. He was released from the hospital last night and he is on his way home. We would like to thank the Toronto doctors. They did an outstanding job. Our medical staff couldn't say enough good things about them. He is going to be just fine.”

Watch: Huberdeau Injured in Scary Skate-on-Leg Collision

Rough moment for Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who had Sergey Kalinin’s skate land on the back of his ankle after the two battled along the boards during Saturday night's game at West Point. Kalinin's right leg lands on the back of Huberdeau's left leg and the 23-year-old hobbles off the ice, exhibiting pretty extreme duress.

He left the game and wold not return. The Panthers defeated New Jersey, 4-2.

Huberdeau's injury could be the second significant issue the Panthers have suffered this preseason. Nick Bjugstad went down with a broken hand and is expected to miss more than a month.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Yakupov Dealt to Blues

Forget about those Yakupov to Chicago rumors--Nail's going to St. Louis. 23-year-old winger Nail Yakupov, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft, was dealt to the St. Louis Blues for prospect Zach Pochiro and a conditional third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft.

According to Nick Kypreos, the Oilers pick will turn into a second-round pick if Yakupov scores 15 goals or more next season. The Russian has put up 50 goals and 61 assists in 252 games for the Oilers, but never appeared to fit into the scheme in Edmonton. Well, the same could be said for a lot of players. The Oilers have piled of first place draft picks and been a cellar dellar for quite some time now, so it will be nice to see Yakupov, who comes with a $2.5 million cap hit and will be an RFA after the season, get a chance to play with a proven winner.

"I can use my speed and I can use my shot," said Yakupov. "Different place, different coaches, and I'm pretty sure it's a little bit different system, so I have to get used to that."

He added: "I think it's awesome, because I don't know what winning is, and I'd like to feel that, and I think this is a team where you can feel it."

Flyers Defenseman Del Zotto to Miss 4-5 Weeks

Flyers defenseman Michael del Zotto will miss the first month of the regular season with a lower body injury, Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced on Friday.

According to Flyers' Insider Tim Panaccio Del Zotto's injury is to the left knee.

According to Panaccio, the injury to Del Zotto could be a blessing in disguise, as it will allow Hextall to at least temporarily get the team under the cap by placing the injured d-man on the long-term injured reserve. Del Zotto has a $3.875 million cap hit according to General Fanager.

The injury to Del Zotto also pretty much assures that defenseman Ivan Provorov makes the opening day roster.

Provorov, 19, was the seventh pick in the 2015 draft, and had 73 points in 62 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the OHL last season. He also played a key role for Team Russia in the u-20 Worlds, earning 8 assists in 7 games.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Watch: Auston Matthews Scores his First (preseason) Goal as a Toronto Maple Leaf

It's only preseason, but here is Auston Matthews first goal in a Leafs uniform. Watch him rifle a wrister past Carey Price on the power play to pull Toronto within a goal against the Canadiens in the first period of Toronto's preseason game the the Canadiens at Bell Centre. Nice shot. The kid made it look easy.

Montreal leads 4-1 after two periods of a game that has also seen Shea Weber score his first goal in a Canadiens jersey. Here, have a look:

Matthew Tkachuk Likely to Start Season with Flames

No. 6 overall pick Matthew Tkachuk will begin his NHL career when the Calgary Flames break camp next week.

“I don’t think it’s out of the realm to say that he’s going to be here for Game 1 if things are status quo,” said Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan, according to Sportsnet's Erik Francis. “And we’ll play from there. You guys know the magic number so there’s no harm in that and we’ll see where it goes.”

The 18-year-old Scottsdale, Arizona native is the son of former NHL power forward Keith Tkachuk. He scored 40 points in 18 playoff games with the London Knights of the OHL last season, and in the preseason he has been a solid player for the Flames, netting two goals in for games in the preseason and regularly mixing it up in the high-rent district in front of and around the oppositions net.

The primary concern is that the 18-year-old will find himself outmatched in the strength department in those areas, but the Flames should get a good gauge on Tkachuk's ability to match muscle with the NHL's premier defenseman as the youngster goes through what is essentially a nine-game tryout at the NHL level.

“I worry about strength because he plays in those gutsy areas,” Gulutzan said. “This is still pre-season so once the season starts he’s getting [Duncan] Keith and [Brent] Seabrook and [Drew] Doughty and [Jake] Muzzin and that’s a different ball game.”

Blackhawks Kicking Tires on Yakupov

Reports have surfaced that the Chicago Blackhawks are considering make a deal for Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov. The first overall pick in the 2012 draft has never met expectations in Edmonton. He's picked up 111 points and gone minus-88 in 250 games for the Oilers.

The Chief at Barstool Sports first broke the news, which was later confirmed by TSN's Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet's Mark Spector.

Chicago is in a bit of a bind up front and has been looking for contributions from rookies Nick Schmaltz, Tyler Motte and Vincent Hinostroza after another season of salary cap madness. They are reportedly asking Edmonton to eat some of Yakupov's salary in exchange for some talent.

Yahoo's Puck Daddy Greg Wyshinski points out that Yakupov might be a good fit in Chicago because he wouldn't be expected to do too much, plus he'd be playing in a lineup that is well-coached and structured, and on a roster with some other Russian players.

It would certainly be interesting to see how the wildly talented Russian winger fits in on Madison.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Kings' Tanner Pearson Suspended Two Regular Season Games for Hit on Brandon Davidson

Los Angeles Kings forward Tanner Pearson was suspended for the remainder of the preseason and two regular season games for his head shot on Oilers' defenseman Brandon Davidson. Pearson has never been suspended before. He joins Andrew Shaw and Niklas Hjalmarsson as players to have been hit with suspensions during the preseason. Shaw got three preseason games for boarding Washington defenseman Connor Hobbs. Hjalmarsson was suspended for the rest of the preseason and one regular season game for a head shot on Blues' forward Ty Rattie.

Connor McDavid Becomes Youngest Captain in NHL History

A new era of Edmonton Oilers captaincy has begun. Can't miss kid Connor McDavid was named the franchise's 15th captain today, joining Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Kevin Lowe on the list. At 19 years and 266 days, McDavid becomes the youngest player to captain any franchise:


Connor McDavid, 19 years 266 days
Gabriel Landeskog, 19 years 286 days
Sidney Crosby, 19 years, 297 days
Vincent Lecavalier, 19 years, 315 days
Jonathan Toews, 20 years, 80 days

McDavid has registered 48 points in 45 NHL games and was a finalist for the Calder Trophy last season.

"I think that first game back he showed he was ready to take charge and he was ready to play," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan, according to NHL.com. "I think at that point his play evolved. He was confident. The way he carried himself in the locker room, the way he interacted with his teammates, through some of the meetings at the end of the season, players that aren't ready don't share a lot and he was really open with us. We were open with him. At that point it was real evident he was ready to lead this group."

Also on Wednesday, Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were named alternate captains.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Watch: Montreal's Daniel Carr Dangles, Dekes and Scores

Your NHL preseason goal of the night goes to Daniel Carr of Les Habitants. Carr, 24, broke a 3-3 tie at 15:10 of the third to give the Canadiens a lead they would not relinquish. Carr maneuvered neatly around Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid before beating Tuukka Rask. Both Chara and McQuaid ended up on the ice as the crowd at Centre Videotron in Quebec burst into celebration.

Carr signed a two-year deal with Montreal this summer. He went 6-3-9 in 23 games for the club last season.

He is one of the forwards on the bubble at the moment in Montreal. The Canadiens have trimmed their roster down to 27 but will be sending two more forwards down to the minors before breaking camp. Does this goal help his cause? Surely it can't hurt.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Kyle Connor Is Lighting it Up for Winnipeg in Preseason

Highly touted rookie Kyle Connor is making a push to grab a spot on the Winnipeg Jets roster this preseason. The 19-year-old, who notched 71 points in 38 games with Michigan as a freshman last season, tallied his third goal in as many games during the Jets' 4-2 win over Ottawa at MTS Centre.

Connor clearly has the attention of Jets coach Paul Maurice, who says that it isn't a must for Connor to take a top-six role in order to make the team. But he wouldn't tip his hand about how he intends to shape the roster when he talked to media after the game. Instead he gave a thorough breakdown of Connor's game and hinted that there is a lot to learn regardless of how good he appears to be after three preseason NHL games.

"We've seen the speed and you saw that shot tonight. We're excited about this young man on those fronts," Maurice said. "The other question is what all young players have to answer: How ready are they for the battles along the wall, (or) getting pucks out? It's almost like having a confidence not to make plays. … When a guy hits that peak level of confidence, they won't force anything."

The Jets have two preseason games remaining, at Edmonton on Thursday and at Minnesota on Saturday. Winnipeg begins its regular season on Thursday October 13 with a home game against the Caroline Hurricanes.

Watch: Gudas Welcomes Vesey to His World

Welcome to my world. My NHL. That's what this hit by Flyers' defenseman Radko Gudas says to New York Rangers' rookie forward Jimmy Vesey. It's nothing new for Gudas, who has developed a reputation as one of the NHL's most dangerous players. The 26-year-old Czech is an absolute monster on the ice. He loves to hit and he does it as though his life depends on it. More often than not, however, Gudas tends to cross the line. Last year he was suspended after popping Ottawa's Mika Zibanejad with a forearm shiver to the head.

What's confounding about Gudas' noteworthy hits is that he really seems like he just wants to make a good old-fashioned hit, but when his opponent moves ever so slightly he never has the sense to pull back and just let it go. Here he recieves five for boarding as well as five for fighting and a game misconduct.

Vesey would return to the game and score a late goal for the Rangers to tie the score at three. The Flyers won in OT on Jakub Voracek's winner.

Gudas, who has been a menace to the NHL for quite some time now, has racked up 340 penalty minutes in four seasons with Tampa and the Flyers. He'll certainly be hearing from the league on this incident, but it's unclear if the NHL will levy a big suspension or let Gudas go, saying that Vesey put himself in a vulnerable position by turning at the last second. It might be true the Vesey made Gudas' life more difficult by not giving him the target he initially sought, but doesn't the fact that Gudas exploded through the hit and tried to basically send Vesey through the glass make it a suspendable boarding violation?

I guess we'll find out soon enough.

If suspended, Gudas would join Andrew Shaw of Montreal and Niklas Hjalmarsson in the suspension column. Yep, it's been a rollicking pre-season in the NHL.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Predators Extend Laviolette Through '20-'21 Season

The Nashville Predators announced on Saturday that they have rewarded head coach Peter Laviollete with a two-year extension that locks him up through the 2020-2021 season.

Laviolette, who took over for Barry Trotz in May of 2014, has guided the Predators to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons.

The former coach of the Islanders, Hurricanes and Flyers won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with Carolina.

The Preds have gone 88-52-24 under Laviolette. They lost in the first round of the 2014-2015 playoffs to the Blackhawks and in 2015-2016 they fell in seven games to the Sharks in the second round.

According to CapFriendly, Laviolette was to make $2million for each of the next three years prior to the extension.