- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy6 hrs ago
Hopefully Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has an electric foot massager or one of those lavender scented happy eye pillows, because the stress on this guy just keeps increasing.
On top of the Slava Voynov decision, on top of his decision to terminate Mike Richards’ contract and the NHLPA fighting it, on top of trying to get a defending champion that missed the playoffs to climb back on the throne, he has to find a way to get his best offensive player under contract in a long-term-yet-fiscally-sane manner – and it’s not really going that well.
Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider reports that the gap between center Anze Kopitar and Lombardi is rather large as he enters the last year of a seven-year, $7.6 million contract that pays him a $7.7 million salary this season:
The Kings and Kopitar are “not even in the ballpark” in their discussions, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi told LA Kings Insider over email when asked whether the two sides were “close” to reaching an agreement.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy6 hrs ago
Watching Vladimir Putin play ice hockey is both a joy and a treat. It’s like Christmas (or Hanukkah) come early – or at that very moment he decides to lace ‘em up.
He netted a shootout winner in his post-inauguration hockey game featuring the legends of the sport. He notched 11 points last year in a festival of hockey. Now watch the Russian president play with Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Bure and Alex Mogilny against a bunch of younger players.
The greatest image of this is at the 56-second mark when Putin ‘fires’ a wrist shot into the youth goaltender. And by fires we mean … softly flicks the puck on net.
So if you were a young netminder and the Russian president with dictatorial tendencies shot the puck at you, would you make the save? Umm, no.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy7 hrs ago
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at email@example.com.
• Steph Curry will get his own San Jose Sharks bobblehead on October 5. [Sharks]
• How are those Anze Kopitar contract negotiations going, Dean Lombardi? “[N]ot even in the ballpark.” Oh. [LA Kings Insider]
• Why the Dallas Stars should pair Patrick Sharp with Tyler Seguin, not Jason Spezza. [TSN]
• Bobby Ryan bought a used RV and drove from Idaho to Ottawa with his wife. [Ottawa Sun]
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy8 hrs ago
It's a Tuesday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at noon ET/9 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more.
Special Guest Star: Bill Torrey, Islanders GM great, on the late Al Arbour.
• Making 2015-16 NHL predictions. Oh joy.
• NHL Free Agency!
• Hockey News and Views
Question of the Day: We're GOING POSTAL! Ask us anything! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek. Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
43-26-13, 99 points, No. 2 Wild Card in West
About the same, although there are some changes from the group that was swept away by the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round.
Jack of all trades Michael Frolik signed a five-year deal with the Calgary Flames. Veteran energy forward Jim Slater was unsigned. Rentals Lee Stempniak (10 points in 18 games) and Jiri Tlusty (8 points in 20 games after coming over from Carolina) were unsigned.
It’s not to say these aren’t impactful losses, because they are, but they’re still role players. Balancing those departures: The return of Alex Burmistrov, back from a two-year sabbatical in the KHL and ready to bring his skill to a third-line role.
1. Dustin Byfuglien, D/F
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
The investigation into what happened inside Patrick Kane’s Hamburg, N.Y. home on Aug. 2 continues, but the specter of rape charges hasn’t stopped NHL teams from contacting the Chicago Blackhawks and expressing interest in acquiring the star forward.
According to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times, five NHL teams have called the Blackhawks since the news broke and expressed interest in Kane should the franchise decide to move on from the 26-year old.
Travis Yost nails it:
- Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
It's every Winnipeg columnist's dream: a Jets team minus All-Star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.
And it could be a reality sooner than later.
Byfuglien is entering the final season of his current contract — a five-year deal that pays him at a $5.2 million AAV, and the actual dollar value trending up to this coming season's $6 million — and is already north of 30. The question for the Jets, who have a solid if young defensive corps that seems poised to be built around Tyler Myers for the foreseeable future, is whether they think Byfuglien is going to be worth the significant raise and years-long commitment likely required to retain his services.
This is a rather similar situation to what the Calgary Flames faced vis-a-vis Mark Giordano until they re-signed him to that irrational contract (which is exactly what it is, even if no one in the hockey media seems willing to say that). There are, however, a number of notable exceptions.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
We’ve written about a lot of shocking stories here, but perhaps none more confounding as what you’re about to read.
OK, deep breath:
A 23-year-old, who gets his summers off work, is having parties until 6 a.m. in August and failing to properly clean up his trash.
And that’s why we have capital punishment, people.
The true patriot who brought this story to our attention is Richard Peddie, former CEO of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a man who stands next to a brick wall for his Twitter avatar. At around 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning (when we assume the party ended), he snitched on Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin, who is in Yorkville this summer and has apparently been having some all-night ragers:
Tyler Seguin now behaving himself? Yorkville neighbours sure don't think so. Lots of loud noisy parties to 6am Lots of garbage left behind
Clearly, Seguin needs to be the Zac Efron to Peddie's Seth Rogen and invite him to the kegger.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy20 hrs ago
Milan Lucic has yet to play his first game as a member of the Los Angeles Kings, and already his thoughts are drifting to where he’ll play next.
OK, that’s the pitiless summary of what Lucic said on “The Bro Jake Show” on TSN 1040 during Monday’s interview, but it captures the spirit of the thing: Lucic, a Vancouver native, was asked if he’d ever play for the Canucks and he said it’s been his dream since he was a child … and that he’s a UFA next summer.
The question: “Do you think we’re ever going to see you here, in a Canucks jersey, ever?”
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 day ago
There’s an expectation that Phil Kessel is going to reach new and exciting offensive heights with the Pittsburgh Penguins. His career best numbers were achieved in 2011-12: 37 goals and 45 assists for 82 points in 82 games. (Although he had a higher points-per-game average of 1.08 in 2012-13 and a higher goals per game average in 2008-09 with the Bruins, 0.51.)
There’s also an expectation that Phil Kessel might not immediately find his fit with the Penguins. Coach Mike Johnston will start him with Sidney Crosby in camp, but no one would be surprised if he settled in as Evgeni Malkin’s triggerman like James Neal was before he was traded to the Nashville Predators.
Then there’s the expectation that Steven Burtch of Sportsnet has for Kessel, which is that his game will be elevated by either Sid or Geno, because that’s what they do for wingers, but that breaking 40 goals might still be a challenge despite the upgrade in talent around him.
From Burtch, the good news for Phil: