- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
Cory Sarich last played an NHL game on April 1, 2014. He didn’t finish the final seven regular season games for the Colorado Avalanche nor did he play in their seven-game first-round series against the Minnesota Wild.
Nearly a year and a half later, the 37-year old defenseman is hoping to make a comeback after a severe bike accident last summer.
Sarich was hit by a truck while biking in Invermere, British Columbia in July 2014. After being transported to a Calgary hospital, he was diagnosed with five fractured vertebrae and suffered a head wound, burns to his shoulder and wrist along with road rash. He also battled a staph infection during his recovery.
Before the accident, Sarich knew he would be hitting the open market after the Avalanche told him they wouldn’t be bringing him back. After that, he told the Denver Post he wasn’t ready to hang up his skates. By November he was back on the ice.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
As the Chicago Blackhawks ascended to the Stanley Cup, goalie Antti Raanta was dropped down the depth chart. The goalie had been seen as a potential challenger to Corey Crawford’s status as a starter; instead, he was practicing with the Black Aces, as journeyman sensation Scott Darling had won the backup job.
Naturally, this didn’t sit well with Raanta, and he spoke about it to Finnish paper Satakunnan Kansa with stunning candor: The Chicago Blackhawks goalie was rooting against the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs.
From reader Ju Pa, via Iltasanomat.fi (currently down):
“I was really hoping Nashville would beat us in four games and I could get back to Finland. I was [so pissed off] about how Chicago was treating me.”
According to Raanta, Blackhawks were suffering of weak team spirit and head coach Joel Quenneville didn't seem to like him.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador played 15 games last season, missing the glut of the campaign with a bulging disc in his back. That’s after playing just 40 in the previous season.
Read the entire piece to get a sense of just what Salvador was experience health-wise.
Salvador was another case of Lou Lamoriello handing out questionable contracts to veteran players in his final years in Jersey. There’s no doubt Salvador earned another deal with the Devils after his 2012 playoff performance; but did a 36-year-old defenseman really need a three-year deal, even if the hit was just $3.16 million annually?
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy20 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 Daddy20 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 Daddy21 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 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 Daddy22 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 email@example.com 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 Daddy23 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 Daddy23 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 Daddy1 day 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.