NHL News & Notes to 27 Jan 2019

Here are some news & notes items from around the NHL.

League News

  • CBA negotiations: from recent reports, the 2-3 meetings the NHL and NHLPA had were positive and cordial. There is a feeling that with the financial prosperity of the game, both sides want to see it continue. There has not been much news around negotiations the past 2 weeks except that the two sides decided to shelve World Cup discussions for now and that means no World Cup in September 2020. There have been some discussion between the two sides about having a international event possibly mid-season in the 2020-21 season but no decisions have been made. The two sides are planning to meet again this week.
  • The 2020 Bridgestone Winter Classic Outdoor Game will be between the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators on January 1, 2020 at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. It will be the first outdoor game for both teams.
  • The Colorado Avalanche and LA Kings will play an outdoor game on February 15, 2020 at U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs.
  • NHL Global Series: in continuance with the NHL trying to grow their brand in Europe, next season there will be preseason games in Germany & Switzerland and regular season games in Prague and Stockholm. No teams have been decided yet.
  • Player and Puck Tracking: it was announced at the All-Star game the league will introduce player & puck tracking to start next season, the 2019-20 season. The company that built the tracking system is called Jogmo and their system was founded at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany (Fraunhofer is apparently the MIT of Germany). The Jogmo company is a Fraunhofer subsidiary organization. The system will require a new puck with a sensor inside and there will be antenna’s in the rafters of NHL stadiums as well as 4 cameras. The cameras will take readings of the puck at a rate of 2000 images per second plus images of player movement will be captured at a rate of 200 times per second. Players will also have a sensor in their shoulder pads. Apparently the most challenging part of the system technically is getting the real time stats. Other leagues, such as MLB &  NFL, have tracking systems but the NHL is the only system that works in real time. The gambling angle that the NHL is getting into was not related to the tracking software initiative but they may use the tracking data as part of offering gambling on games. The league and NHLPA have a detailed contract in place regarding player and puck tracking and, as part of that agreement, none of the player data will be used in salary negotiations or arbitration cases. Here is a very good fact sheet about the details of the player and puck tracking system.
  • The league is also rolling out an iPad application for coaches in the next couple weeks. The application was jointly developed by Apple and SAP. The NHL has really moved on using technology more in their business. Here is an article about the new coaches iPad app.
  • Quebec City: the league and the representations for the group pursuing an NHL team for Quebec City are still in regular contact but the league is not prepared to make any promises to them as this point. The two sides plan to stay in regular contact.
  • Women’s hockey is gaining more traction and has clearly caught the attention of the NHL. Having the two women hockey players participate in the skills competition will further help grow the profile of women hockey players. There is apparently two women’s league’s currently, the CHWL & NWHL, and Commissioner Bettman indicated they will continue to do all they can to grow the profile of the women’s game but it seems having two leagues is not want many people prefer and the NHL wants to wait until they have one women’s league before doing any possible partnering.
  • Nine of the top eleven points leaders in the NHL are age 25 or younger. I heard a report last week that the league’s second points leader, Mikko Rantanen, will be looking for minimum $10 M / season on his next deal. Rantanen’s entry level contract expires this summer. The player just turned 22 years old. In 50 games this season, the player has recorded 23 goals and 51 assists for 74 points or 1.48 PPG.
  • NY Islanders and location of their post-season games: it has not been determined where the New York Islanders will play their playoff games this season. The team has been splitting their home games between Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Apparently, there are more luxury boxes at Barclays and the revenue from playoff games is anticipated to be higher than Nassau but there are a loyal group of Islander fans that want the games on Long Island (at Nassau Coliseum). Commissioner Bettman indicated it’s a priority issue with the league to figure it out and they hope to make an announcement soon.
  • League attendance is down .5%; this seasons average attendance is 17,368 vs 17,453 last season. The Blackhawks have led the league in attendance for 11 straight seasons averaging 23,424 fans/game. The Colorado Avalanche have had the highest increase in attendance this season with a 14% increase. The Senators have had the most significant decline in attendance this season. They are down 10.9% to an average of 14,425 fans/game or 77% of capacity.
  • In addition to the 12 year $5.2 B broadcasting deal the NHL has with Rogers Communications, the league also has a 10 year $2 B ten year deal with NBC that’s set to expire at the end of 2020-21 season. Some people expect a possible new US TV deal to be more lucrative than the current one.
  • This season has seen the most comeback victories of any prior NHL season and there has been only two prior seasons where more teams came back from multi goal deficits to win.

Seattle

  • The Seattle NHL team is targeting late summer 2019 to announce a team name.
  • The organization is also planning to hire a General Manager this summer, after the regular and post-seasons have concluded.
  • The team’s first season will be the 2021-22 season with an expansion draft held in the summer of 2021.

GM & Coaches

  • The Oilers relieved Peter Chiarelli of his duties as President of Hockey Operations & General Manager. Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson assumes the Chiarelli’s role temporarily. Keith Gretzky as an AGM with the Oilers but it does not appear as though he would be a candidate to take over as GM. Gretzky’s strength is reportedly scouting. Some knowledgeable people have said the Oilers would be better off to wait until the off-season to hire a new General Manager as others team’s don’t want to part with key management personnel mid-season.
  • Columbus has hired former NHL player Martin St. Louis as a special teams consultant. St.Louis will reportedly work with the Blue Jackets power play group which ranks 27th in the league. St. Louis is friends with Columbus head coach John Tortorella as they won a Cup with the Lightning back in 2004.
  • Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill is without a contract after this season and there have reportedly been no contract talks. There could be a number of moves around coaches this off-season as Blues Craig Berube, Kings Willie Desjardins and Flyers Scott Gordon all are “interim” head coaches. Additionally, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle has had a rough season. Anaheim’s AHL coach Dallas Eakins wants back in the NHL as a head coach and could be a candidate to replace Carlyle.

Player contract/trade scuttlebutt

  • It was reported last week that Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and the team have started initial discussions on new contract. Karlsson is an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019. He can sign a seven year deal with Sharks at any time but if he wants a 8 year deal (the max contract length under the current CBA), he has to wait to sign after the February 25, 2019 trade deadline. Karlsson has reportedly been the Sharks top player for the past 4-6 weeks. Karlsson recently expressed appreciation to the Sharks organization for being patient with him while he adjusted to his new team and city.
  • The Ottawa Senators reportedly offered Matt Duchene an 8 year deal at $8 M / season but it sounds as though that will not be enough to keep the player in Ottawa. Duchene is a pending UFA who will likely be moved at the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline.
  • It seems the number one priority for the Senators is getting forward Mark Stone signed to a new deal. He is also a pending UFA. The reported price to get Stone signed is $10 M / season. I’ve not heard how contract discussions are progressing. Stone leads the Senators in points with 50. Matt Duchene is 3 point back of Stone with 47 points.
  • The NY Islanders are reportedly still in contract discussions with their captain, Anders Lee. The player is a UFA on July 1, 2019 and has 37 points in 49 games this season. There have been no apparent contract talks with two others Islanders pending UFA’s, forwards Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson. Goaltender Robin Lehner is also a July 1, 2019 UFA. He’s having a career season with a 15-7-4 record with a .931 SV% and a 2.02 GAA. I’ve not heard anything regarding how Islanders GM Lamoriello will approach contract discussions with Lehner. Sergei Bobrovsky’s name gets mentioned as a possible Islanders add this summer (Goalie Bob is also a UFA) but it’s just rumor.
  • I heard that the agent for Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin is requiring another meeting with his client before advising the Blue Jackets whether or not Artemi is interested in entering into contract negotiations with the Blue Jackets. Panarin is a July 1, 2019 UFA and Columbus wants to retain him. Panarin, 27, leads the Blue Jackets in points this season with 19 goals, 34 assists for 53 points in 46 games played.
  • LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin has been mentioned in trade. Muzzin, 29, will be a UFA on July 1, 2020 and the Kings are reportedly looking to get a decent asset back for the player. Kings GM Rob Blake is reportedly asking for a first round pick and a prospect in return for Muzzin.
  • Seems the price to acquire Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds is a first round pick plus a prospect. With the Flyers out of a playoff position, it seems likely Simmonds, a pending UFA, will be dealt.
  • New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle is a pending UFA and is expected to move at the trade deadline. There’s been some rumbling the San Jose Sharks are interested in acquiring Boyle.
  • Carolina signed Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen to a 5 year deal at a annual rate of $5.4 M/season. In 50 games this season, Teravainen, 24, has recorded 11 goals and 32 assists for second on the team in points. In approximately 4 NHL seasons, Teravainen is a .59 PPG player. The Hurricanes are led offensively by Teravainen and Sebastian Aho, both Finns. Aho, 21, is a RFA this summer and the team has been discussing a long term deal with his agent. Aho has 57 points in 51 Hurricanes games this season to lead the team in points. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell recently indicated contract talks with Aho are ongoing and they fully intend to sign him to a long term deal.
  • Representatives for Sabres forward Jeff Skinner are reportedly going to meet with the Sabres in early February to talk about a new contract for the pending UFA. Reports seem to suggest Skinner is comfortable in Buffalo.
  • Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky name has been mentioned in trade with Dallas known to be heavily scouting the player. Burakovsky has 12 points on 6 goals this season. The player is from Sweden and a RFA at season’s end. He went 23th overall in 2013.

Oilers

  • Vegas AGM Kelly McCrimmon seems to be the leading candidate to replace fired GM Peter Chiarelli. It’s not clear of Vegas GM George McPhee wants to let McCrimmon go mid-season, though. The Oilers may have to wait until the off-season to hire a GM but it’s too early to tell.
  • The team has lost 9 of their past 11 games at home and are still just 3 points from a Western Conference wildcard spot.
  • The team’s number one defenseman, Oscar Klefbom, will reportedly be ready for the team’s first game after the All-Star break, Saturday, February 2 against the Flyers in Philadelphia.
  • The team signed goaltender Mikko Koskinen to a 3 year, $13.5 M contract or $4.5 M a season. Koskinen’s numbers this season, 14-11-1 with a 2.79 GAA and a .910 SV%. The Oilers other goaltender Cam Talbot is a pending UFA. He’s not had a strong season so not sure if there would be a market for him. Some experts thought the Oilers overpaid on the contract as Koskinen now makes just $500 K less than Freddy Andersen and Koskinen has been in the NHL just half a season.

Sharks

  • Captain Joe Pavelski is on pace for a career high 45 goals this season.
  • Czech forward Tomas Hertl is one point from his career high in points (46 points) with 30 games remaining in the season. He has also tied his career high in goals with 22. The player has recorded two hat tricks in his past 5 games. Czech born Hertl was a first round selection of the Sharks back in 2012 (17th overall). I read where a Sharks reporter who has covered all of their games this season says Hertl has been the team’s most consistent forward (he added Karlsson has been the team’s top player).

Leafs

  • Forward Mitch Marner became the first Leafs player to record three 60 point seasons to start his career. It’s awesome that Marner is from Toronto and such a proud Leaf. He could be one of the top Leafs players all-time if he stays with the organization.
  • It was reported last week that Auston Matthews is looking for a 5-6 year deal. No numbers were mentioned but it’s expected to exceed teammate John Tavares’ $11 M /season. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was hoping to get some financial details from both the Matthews and Marner camps on what they are looking for in a new deal as Dubas wants to know by the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline how much salary he can afford to bring on (particularly for next season). Marner’s made it clear he does not want to start negotiations until the off-season. Some experts say the young RFA’s may not be looking for the max 8 year deals instead asking for a 5-6 year deals. This could be related to the US TV deal and the expectation of revenues growing. Some of the contracts signed by Gaudreau ($6.75 M /season for 6 years) and MacKinnon ($6.3 M /season on a 7 year deal) could leave them underpaid in a year or two’s time.
  • William Nylander is starting to collect points including a career high 3 assists in the final Leafs game before the All-Star break (against Washington). Nylander had just 3 points in his first 19 games of the season and had recorded 4 in his last 5 periods of play.
  • Defenseman Morgan Rielly reached the 50 point mark after his 49th game. Only 3 other Leafs have reached 50 points faster:
    • Borje Salming (42 games in 1976-77)
    • Babe Pratt (44 games in 1943-44)
    • Bryan McCabe (45 games in 2005-06)
  • Rielly is additionally the first Leafs defenseman to post back to back 50 points seasons since Tomas Kaberle did in 2005-06 and 2006-07.
  • Goaltender Garret Sparks is back as the team’s number two goaltender. Sparks missed about 10 days recovering from a concussion.
  • Forward Andreas Johnsson has missed games recently with a concussion. No word on how the player is doing. Hopefully the recent All-Star break helps Johnsson recover. Marlies forward Trevor Moore was recalled to cover for Johnsson.
  • Jake Gardiner was suffering from back spasms and had missed two games before the All-Star break. No word is he’s been feeling better but I’d guess the recent bye week would help him heal up.
  • Forward John Tavares recorded his 30th goal last week in a game against Arizona. It’s JT’s fifth 30 goal season in his career.
  • The Leafs resume their schedule this Friday, February 2nd against Detroit in MoTown. They then play 3 at home, against the Penguins on Sat. Feb. 2, Ducks on Monday, Feb. 4 and finally against the Senators on Wed. Feb. 6. The team then heads out on the road for a tough season long 6 game road trip.

Canucks

  • The Canucks are tied for the final wildcard spot in the West and the team recently got back their star forward Elias Pettersson.
  • Goaltender Thatcher Demko played in his first NHL game on January 18th and collected the win. With the January 2 trade of Anders Nilsson, Demko has been given the role as the Canucks back-up. Demko is a second round selection of the Canucks from back in 2014.
  • Canucks GM Jim Benning and ownership have reiterated the organization’s plan is to develop their core players (Pettersson, Horvat, Boeser) and continue to build through the draft. The team is expected to a get a player in the 15 to 20 spot in the first round of the June entry draft that’s being held in Vancouver.

Flames

  • The team went 9-1-1 in January and shows no signs of slowing down.
  • The team has five players with 50 or more points after 50 games played this season. It’s the second time in franchise history they’ve achieved that, the other was the 1987-88 season.
  • Forward Johnny Gaudreau recorded 18 points in 8 games in January. Johnny is tied for 3rd overall in the league in points with 73.
  • The organization will retire Jarome Iginla’s #12 jersey on March 2, 2019 before a against the Minnesota Wild. I believe the organization would be open to Iginla joining the Flames in a management capacity but he’s currently living in Boston and involved raising his 3 children.
  • Defenseman TJ Brodie has 11 points in 11 games since the start of the new year.
  • The team has reached the 70 point mark in the second fastest time in the organization’s history. They have 70 points this season after 51 games. In 1988-89, the team reached in the 70 point mark in 50 games.
  • Rookie defenseman Juuso Valimaki is making progress recovering from a high ankle sprain that’s caused him to miss 27 games. Valimaki just last week starting practicing with the team. The organization sent him to the club’s AHL affiliate in Stockton before the All-Star break to get into some game action. I expect he’ll be recalled soon. Valimaki is probably the organization’s top prospect.
  • Second line center Mikael Backlund recently recorded his 300th career point.
  • The team leads the league in short handed goals with 15. Forth line center Mark Jankowski has scored 4 of his 8 goals this season short-handed.
  • The team is on their mid-season break until Feb. 1 when they play against Washington in DC. Capitals star Alex Ovechkin will not play in the game because he chose to skip the All-Star game.
  • Carolina Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland name has been mentioned as a player the Flames could be interested in acquiring at the trade deadline. Contract talks between Ferland and the Hurricanes have not gone well. Ferland is a pending unrestricted free agent. The Penguins have also reportedly discussed acquiring Ferland. I believe if the Flames did acquire Ferland, it would be for the post-season only as he reportedly is looking for around $5 M /season on a new contract.
  • Some people see the Koskinen signing in Edmonton, 3 seasons at $4.5 M/season, as a rate Flames goaltender David Rittich may use in his negotiation. Rittich is a restricted free agent this summer. Rittich, 26, has a record of 19-4-4 with a 2.47 GAA and a .918 SV%.

Chicago

  • Captain Jonathan Toews scored his 20th goal of the season last week which matches his total from all of last season.
  • Goaltender Corey Crawford is skating and recovering from another recent concussion. Crawford seems to be making progress but is not yet practicing with the ‘Hawks.

Capitals

  • Washington has lost 7 straight games and in 4 of their past 5 games they’ve given up at least 6 goals against.
  • Alex Ovchekin is tied with Sergei Federov for most points from a Russian born player

Trades

  • Carolina and Minnesota swapped forwards, going to Carolina was Nino Niederreiter with Victor Rask going to the Wild. Niederreiter was playing on the Wild’s 4th line and making $5.25 M this season (with 3 years left on his deal) so I understand the move from Minnesota’s side was about shedding salary.

Streaks & Milestones

  • Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl recorded his 100th career goal last week. He reached the milestone after 315 career games.
  • Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad recently became the franchise leader in goals for a defenseman with 62.
  • Senators forward Mark Stone is one point from 300 for his career. There are only 10 Senators players all-time with 300 career points with the franchise.
  • Montreal goaltender Carey Price has tied a Canadiens record for most 20 win seasons with 9. The record is held with former Canadiens goaltenders Jacques Plante and Patrick Roy. Price has won 13 of his past 19 starts and has a .929 GAA over that stretch.
  • Canucks franchise cornerstone Elias Pettersson has 23 points (10 G, 13 A) in his last 17 games.
  • Vegas forward Alex Tuch has 14 points in his past 13 games. Vegas GM George McPhee is one of the league’s top general managers. Tuch, 22,  is the team’s points leader and has a team friendly good contract -$4.75 M /season for 7 seasons.
  • Minnesota Wild forward Mikko Koivu recorded his 200th career goal last week which places him second in franchise history in goals. Marion Gaborik is the franchise leader with 219 goals.
  • Predators head coach Peter Laviolette became the 7th active head coach with 600 wins. The others:
    • Oilers Hitchcock 837
    • Islanders Trotz 791
    • Jets Maurice 679
    • Leafs Babcock 674
    • Montreal Julien 610
    • Columbus Tortorella 603
    • Predators Laviolette 600
  • Colorado is 4-10-2 in their last 16 games. They are 22nd of 31 teams in goals allowed. The Avalanche get the Senators first round selection in this years draft (part of the Matt Duchene trade) and Ottawa is 30th in the league.
  • Canucks forward Bo Horvat recently recorded his 200th career point. Horvat, still  just 23 years old, has already played 346 games. He second on the Canucks in points this season with 41 points in 51 games played. He’s also one of the league’s top face-off players.
  • Flyers center Claude Giroux recently recorded his 500th career assist. The only other Flyer with 500 assists with the franchise is Bobby Clarke. There are only 12 active players with 500 career assists.
  • Islanders forward Jordan Eberle recently recorded his 200th career goal  joining Steven Stamkos as the other other player from their 2008 draft class to reach as many goals.

Odds & Ends

  • Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said at the All-Star game he wants to retire a NY Ranger. Lundqvist is 6th all-time in wins with 446.
  • The Detroit Red Wings are retiring former Wings player Leonard “Red” Kelly’s #4 jersey on Friday, Feb.2 before the start of the Leafs / Red  Wings game. Kelly, 91, won 8 Cups in his career and recorded 162 goals and 310 assists in 846 Red Wing games. Kelly was a member of the last Leafs team to win the Cup, the 1966-67 team. Overall, he won 4 Cups as a member of the Wings and 4 as a member of the Leafs.
  • Ducks forward Ondrej Kase requires shoulder surgery for a torn labrum and will miss the rest of the season.
  • The ECHL affiliate of the Leafs, the Newfoundland Growlers, require a new head coach after Ryane Clowe stepped down. Clowe reportedly is still dealing with concussion-related problems from his playing days. Growlers assistant coach John Snowden has been named the team’s new head coach. Leafs Director of Player Development, Stephane Robidas, has also been working with the Growlers acting as a temporary assistant coach.
  • There was a report that former NHL star Pavel Datsyuk would consider a return to playing in the NHL next season. Datsyuk turns 41 in July and his KHL (playing) contract is expiring. Datsyuk’s agent indicated the only team he would consider playing for is the Red Wings.
  • Ducks Corey Perry is ahead of schedule recovering from his knee injury suffered in the preseason. Perry could be back in game action in 2-3 weeks. Some experts see it as a huge challenge for Perry, 33, to return to decent form. Perry has two seasons left his deal at $8.625 M/season. In 71 games last season, Perry recorded 17 goals and 32 assists for 49 points. His skating speed has apparently declined in recent seasons. The Ducks may need to make a roster move to bring on Perry’s salary as he was on long term injury reserve.
  • Chicago Blackhawks young forward Alex DeBrincat is having an impressive start to his career. DeBrincat, 21, has 25 goals in 51 ‘Hawks games this season. He recorded 28 goals last season, his rookie season. DeBrincat was a line mate of Connor McDavid in junior with the Erie Otters.
  • The Anaheim Ducks finally won a game last week stopping their franchise record 12 game losing streak. The Ducks amazingly are just a point from a Western Conference wildcard spot.
  • Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask tied a Bruins record for most wins with the organization. Both Rask and Cecil “Tiny” Thompson have recorded 252 wins in a Bruins uniform. Rask suffered a concussion before the All-Star break but recent reports indicate he has been feeling better.
  • Former Dallas Stars assistant coach Curt Fraser has taken over as the new head coach of the China-based KHL’s Kanlun Red Stars.
  • Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck is back playing after missing 2 1/2 months with a broken ankle.
  • The New Jersey Devils assigned goaltender Cory Schneider to their AHL affiliate to get some work in. In 9 Devils games this season, Schneider is 0-5-1 with a 4.66 GAA and a .852 SV%. Schneider, 32, has not won an NHL game since December 2017. He had hip surgery this off-season and it seems it’s been tough for him to get back to his usual form.
  • Penguins forward Phil Kessel has recorded 11 straight seasons of at least 20 goals. Kessel also recently recorded his 350th career goal. Would be awesome if Kessel could reach the 500 career goal milestone before his career concludes. Only 45 players all-time have reached the milestone.
  • Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said he hopes to be in consideration for the Selke trophy as the league’s top defensive forward. The chances seem good that he’ll accomplish his goal as he has achieved just about every award in hockey. If he could capture a Selke, he’d the the first player all-time to win a Hart, Art Ross, Conn Smythe and Selke.
  • The Flyers have turned the net over to their top prospect, goaltender Carter Hart. Hart was drafted in the second round of the 2016 entry draft. In 12 games so far this season, the 20 year old has 6 wins, 5 losses, a 2.66 GAA and a .918 SV%. There have been only 8 goaltenders since the 1997-98 season to make 12 starts before turning 21 years old.
  • Sabres former forward Patrik Berglund said recently he lost his interest in playing hockey and that’s why he walked away from the Sabres. Berglund has returned to Sweden and says he’s not going to be playing hockey anywhere for a while. Berglund was in the 2nd year of a 5 year contract that paid him $3.85 M a season. He was acquired in the off-season from St. Louis.
  • Lightning forward Brayden Point is the only player with 30 goals and 30 assists and he’s tied with Bruins David Pastrnak for most PP goals with 13. Point, 22, is a RFA at season’s end.
  • Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu has asked the Sabres to trade him as he hasn’t been playing much for the team. In 26 games this season, Beaulieu has recorded 3 goals and 4 assists. He’s averaged 14:45 of ice time in the 26 games. He’s a former first round selection of Montreal (17th overall) in 2011. He’s an RFA in the summer.
  • Dallas Stars rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen has been a terrific story. He’s just 19 years old and one of the Stars top defenseman. He’s averaging 23 minutes of ice time per game just 49 games into his NHL career. He was the Stars representative at the All-Star game. Canucks forward Elias Pettersson will win the Calder as the league’s top rookie but Finland-born Heiskanen is going to be a star in the NHL. I heard where Stars GM Jim Nill compared him to a mix between Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer. Nill know Lidstrom’s game well as Nill was a Wings front office executive in Detroit during Lidstrom’s playing days.
  • Leafs star Auston Matthews made the top move at the All-Star game putting on a Patrick Marleau jersey during the accuracy shooting competition. Hard to quantify all that Marleau has brought to the Leafs in his one and a half seasons. I liked this quote from Matthews on Marleau. “He’s an amazing teammate, he treats everybody so well. It doesn’t matter who you are, a random person on the street or a teammate that plays with him, he treats everybody so kindly & he’ll do anything for everyone.” Matthews had the San Jose all-star players, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns plus Leafs all-star John Tavares, sign the Marleau jersey and he said they plan to auction it off at a charity event in the near future.
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