- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy59 mins ago
Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers have decided to end the wait, end the speculation and end the questions about whether or not a looming contract extension was weighing too heavily on the franchise goalie.
Lundqvist has agreed to a 7-year, $59.5-million contract with the Rangers that will run through his 38th birthday. He previously had a 6-year, $41.25-million deal that ran through this season.
That’s an average salary cap hit of $8.5 million, putting Lundqvist fifth overall in terms of cap hits for the 2014-15 season, when the contract kicks in. Only Alex Ovechkin ($9.54 million), Evgeni Malkin ($9.5 million), Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million) and Corey Perry ($8.625 million) carry a higher hit.
Lundqvist has the richest contract, from a cap perspective, in NHL history for a goaltender. Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators previously shared that distinction at $7 million.
A few thoughts/concerns/reactions to the deal …
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Currently sitting on Dan Bylsma’s laptop are 10 NHL games waiting to be watched. They’re not solely for the purpose of scouting upcoming Pittsburgh Penguins opponents; instead, it’s video of players he must evaluate, deciding whether or not they will make the final cut for Team USA's roster in the Sochi Winter Olympics.
In a month’s time, the 12 participating countries in the February tournament will announce their rosters. The IIHF extended the original deadline of Dec. 31 to Jan. 7, but USA Hockey will still be unveiling their squad at the conclusion of the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.
Wearing two hats between his duties with the Penguins and now running the Americans’ bench, Bylsma is aided by his support staff: Team USA general manager David Poile; assistant GM Ray Shero; director of player personnel Brian Burke; and assistant coaches Todd Richards, Tony Granato and Peter Laviolette.
With Laviolette the only member of the staff not currently with an NHL team, he’s been a focal point in gathering information on the pool of players they will choose from.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
No. 1 Star: Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
The Nashville Predators’ tormentor was at it again, scoring two third-period goals to give the Canucks a 3-1 win. He now has 14 on the year and back-to-back 2-goal games.
No. 2 Star: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars
The Stars goalie turned away 47 of 50 shots on the road, as the Stars won at the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-3. Antoine Roussel scored the game-winner on a penalty shot. Alex Chiasson scored his eighth.
No. 3 Star: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Sid’s unassisted wrist shot beat Anders Nilsson at 3:44 of overtime as the Penguins topped the New York Islanders, 3-2. Crosby now has 15 goals on the season, having previously scored to force OT. Evgeni Malkin had two assists in the win.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
Antoine Roussel of the Dallas Stars had a rather eventful night at the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
His fast-fisted fight with Andrew Shaw nearly took out a pair of linesmen in the first period.He elbowed Jonathan Toews in the second period, leading to a Patrick Sharp power-play goal that helped spark a three-goal Blackhawks rally.
Then, at 3:01 of the third period, Roussel earned a penalty shot against Corey Crawford, beating the Chicago goalie for the eventual game winner … and then taunting the United Center after his tally.
“I usually know what I’m gonna do, but I’m still looking in case something opens up. I used the Fiddler move. It was perfect,” said Roussel after the 4-3 win, referencing teammate Vernon Fiddler’s shootout move.
Brad Gardner of Defending Big D didn’t appreciate the NBC analysts making Roussel the focus of criticism after the Blackhawks rallied … making the taunt all the sweeter:
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy14 hrs ago
Jimmy Buffett concerts are a great excuse to relax and imbibe any number of mind-numbing creations.
Well, here’s our advice, Minnesotans: Take all of the mind-numbing things. Put them in a blender. Render a frozen concoction. And then slam it before you feast your eyes on the jersey bestowed upon Larry David … er, Mr. Buffett before his show at Xcel Center on Tuesday night:
Via the Xcel Center
Yes, it’s a custom Hawaiian Minnesota Wild sweater, that appears to have been stitched together from the lobby carpet of a Ramada.
Here’s another look:
— Xcel Energy Center (@XcelEnergyCtr) December 3, 2013
For those wondering, this isn’t a Foul. Any jersey bestowed upon a person from a team, personalized or otherwise, is never a Foul.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not just … foul, in and of itself.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy14 hrs ago
As part of the NHL’s “mandatory helmet” rule for hockey fights, linesmen have been instructed to step in to stop a fight if a helmet comes flying off one of the combatants.
That’s what Andy McElman (#90) and Vaughan Rody (#73) did when Andrew Shaw’s lid came off during a brawl off the faceoff with Antoine Roussel of the Dallas Stars.
Only the players weren’t done punching, and weren’t about to let the zebras get in the way of their pummeling. So they punched over, around and through them.
Two words: Hazard Pay.
Typically, the linesmen step in when a helmet is intentionally removed, and when it’s safe for them to do so But considering the NHL is being sued for player safety measures, including its approach to fighting, mayhaps they’re being more vigilant about it.
Whatever the case, Rody took some stiff shots to his protected head during the tussle, while McElman might have a future in rodeo with that tackle on Shaw. Oh, if only they were mic’d up here:
- - - - - - -
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy14 hrs ago
As Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno buried this between-the-legs beauty against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, goalie Ben Bishop was wise to his trickery.
You can see Bishop reach out with this stick and attempt to poke the puck away as the Jackets forward makes his move.
Alas, Foligno was about to put him on the highlight reel:
Kudos to Ryan Johansen for making that whole play possible with an offensive zone steal from Valtteri Filppula and that sweet dish to Foligno, who did the rest.
Alas, not goal celebration of note. Maybe he’s out of practice.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy16 hrs ago
When Wayne Gretzky coached (well, tried to) the Phoenix Coyotes, he was compensated handsomely. And we’re talking love child of Adam Levine and Henrik Lundqvist handsome: He earned between $7-8 million per season, a good seven times the average salary for an NHL coach back in 2009.
But when the Coyotes went bankrupt, Gretzky resigned as head coach, after taking over in 2005 when he was also an owner and managing partner for the team.
The NHL eventually took over the franchise, but the money owed Gretzky by former owner Jerry Moyes wasn’t reimbursed. The NHL Board of Governors felt the salary was absurd, and as the 29 owners of the Coyotes, they didn’t want to ante up.
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy16 hrs ago
Josh Harding was a shoo-in for the Masterton trophy last season, awarded to the player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey." What did he do? Oh, he just continued his NHL career despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and undergoing treatment during the season .
Yeah. That'll do it. Almost every other team's player submission should have been accompanied by the caveat, "Like, he doesn't have MS or anything but…"
But, incredible as it sounds, Harding is on track to somehow outdo last year's story.
As he said, he's done talking about his MS: "I don't want people treating me different, I don't want people feeling bad for me, I don't want people moping around." Maybe that's why he's thrust himself so forcefully into the chatter for different award this season.
Through the first two months of the 2013-14 campaign, he's this year's Vezina front-runner.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy17 hrs ago
Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.
Create-a-Caption : "Leafs coach Randy Carlyle at practice."
• • •
Preview: San Jose Sharks at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Ottawa Senators at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET
Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. ET
Preview: Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks, 8 p.m. ET