Saturday, October 4, 2014

Caps’ Ovechkin taking in marathon at Nationals Park

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was among the crowd toughing it out at Nationals Park Saturday night.

At least he got to see some history?

Ovechkin Instagrammed this video in the third inning of himself and the thousands in attendance enjoying the playoff atmosphere.

However as the game surpassed the five hour mark, Ovechkin appeared ready to head home:


For those wondering, the Capitals have their preseason finale at the Verizon Center in Washington at 3pm eastern time against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. I suppose Ovechkin has a valid excuse to sit this one out?

Video: Habs Subban shows patience setting up Markov

The Montreal Canadiens fell 4-2 to the Ottawa Senators in preseason action Saturday night, but defenseman P.K. Subban gave fans at the Bell Centre something to cheer about.

Subban practically skated from one goal line to the other, around all five Sens on the ice, before back-handing a feed to Andrei Markov, who one-timed it past a sprawling Craig Anderson for the Canadiens’ second goal of the game.

Unfortunately for the home crowd, Ottawa scored three unanswered third period goals for the win.

POST-GAME AUDIO: Alain Vigneault, Dan Girardi

Rick Carpiniello, 26, was born and raised in Harrison and began working in The Journal News' sports department (back when it was The Reporter Dispatch and eight other newspapers) in October of 1977 after a year of covering high school sports as a stringer. For more than 20 years he covered the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League. Carpiniello has been writing columns on everything from local sports to the big leagues since 2002. Copyright 2014 | Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, updated September 2010.

Rangers at Devils … It’s Go Time!

Preseason Game 6. Devils

Rangers at Devils.

This is it for ya boys. The final preseason game, and the final look for a bunch of players looking to earn spots before the Rangers make their cut down to 22 or 23 players Sunday or Monday and submit their cap-compliant roster to the NHL by Tuesday.

Cam Talbot starts in goal in this final tuneup for Thursday’s season opener in St. Louis.

Michael Kostka, Matt Hunwick and Steven Kampfer gets his final shot to earn the No. 7 spot on defense. Anthony Duclair and J.T. Miller, both of whom are almost certainly on the opening-night roster, each plays his fifth game.

Miller moves to the wing so Alain Vigneault can see Matt Lombardi, Oscar Lindberg and Chris Mueller in the middle one more time. Kevin Hayes, who was scheduled to play, is scratched with a shoulder injury, and replaced by Chris Kreider.

Jesper Fast, another who has probably earned a job, is also in the lineup, along with Marek Hrivik, Ryan Haggerty and veteran Ryan Malone, who helped his cause Friday with a tying goal in regulation, some physical play, and the ninth-round shootout winner against Chicago.


After the game, vote for the Three Rangers Stars in the poll on the left.

Twitter: @RangersReport.

Bruins reluctantly trade Boychuk to Islanders

BOSTON -- Teams with Stanley Cup championship aspirations don't generally kick off their season by trading a top-four defenseman.

But Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli did that Saturday when he traded Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders in exchange for the Philadelphia Flyers' second-round pick in 2015 (previously acquired by the Islanders), the Islanders' 2016 second-round pick and a conditional third-round pick in 2015 that they will receive if the Islanders trade Boychuk to another Eastern Conference team during the 2014-15 season.

Chiarelli conceded that by making this trade four days before the regular-season opener against the Flyers, he didn't make his team better.

"How does it impact our team? He's very well-liked and I'm sure the guys are bummed and they're probably a little bit bummed at me for doing it," Chiarelli said at TD Garden prior to the Bruins' preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings.

"You know it's about making the team better now, tomorrow, the next day, the next day. Arguably this doesn't make us better now, obviously. But it's something when I look at it in a series of steps, I think it was the right move."

Boychuk played five seasons with the Bruins and was a member of the Stanley Cup championship team in 2011. Chiarelli said that in the big picture of his team, "this may one in a series of two or three steps throughout the course of the year."

It's also getting difficult for teams to keep a roster that's won a championship intact within a salary-cap structure as players improve and expect increases in pay.

"I'd love to keep this team together player-to-player as long as I could if I felt it was prudent on the hockey front and the financial front," Chiarelli said. "I've tried to keep the critical mass together and will continue to provide the right moves for the organization."

During the past two seasons, Chiarelli made long-term commitments with extensions for defenseman Zdeno Chara, centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, and wings Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic. However, the Bruins had to let forward Jarome Iginla leave during the summer. Boychuk became another casualty of Boston's cap situation.

In Chiarelli's view, the Bruins had to make this trade now because of the return he was able to get for Boychuk and to make sure the Bruins have flexibility to be cap-compliant for this season and beyond.

According to, the Bruins are still around $800,000 above the salary cap ceiling. They will be compliant after they place injured center Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve and remove his cap charge of slightly more than $4 million. Chiarelli said there are several combinations of his opening night roster that will require him to either put Savard on LTIR before or after the start of the season depending on which players make the team.

Looking beyond this season, Boychuk is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and Chiarelli did not attempt to re-sign the 30-year-old. With Boychuk gone, the Bruins still have centers Carl Soderberg and Gregory Campbell, and winger Daniel Paille scheduled to become UFAs. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, as well as recently re-signed defenseman Torey Krug and forward Reilly Smith, who signed one-year contracts, are scheduled to become restricted free agents. Several other prospects also are scheduled to become RFAs.

Chiarelli was convinced he wasn't going to be able to retain a player like Boychuk, who shoots right-handed, plays a physical brand of hockey and has a plus-89 rating in 321 regular-season games.

"Part of my job is projecting the market. And I see where Johnny's market's going, and all the strength to him. He's earned it. Like he's been in battles, he's a good player, he's earned it," Chiarelli said. "So part of it was that. Part of it was doing some housekeeping for our cap issues. And part of it was the strength of the return. That was strong return. You look at those three things, you make a decision to move forward."

Moving forward, the Bruins have several candidates to replace Boychuk, but none that can duplicate his skill set, Chiarelli admitted. Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who missed all but 34 games last season with a knee injury, is healthy again and set to anchor the second defense pairing behind the top two of Chara and Hamilton.

Seidenberg, a left-handed shot, can play the left or right side. If the Bruins decide to go for a more defensive partner for Seidenberg, they can turn to veteran Adam McQuaid or second-year player Kevan Miller. McQuaid missed all but 30 games last season because of injuries and had offseason ankle surgery. Miller has never played a top-four role before.

If the Bruins look for an offensive dimension, Krug could play to Seidenberg's left. After a 14-goal, 40-point regular season, Krug played an expanded role in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In addition to having two goals and 10 points in 12 games, Krug played more against tougher competition and killed penalties. However, he's never played a top-four role over the course of an 82-game schedule. Matt Bartkowski would also be a left-handed option.

"Trading away a good player like Johnny, who plays No. 3 minutes and plays that second-pair defending shutdown [role] ... we've got players that we feel that can fill, not with Johnny's shot, but with either their skating or their strength," Chiarelli said. "We're getting players back [from injury]. So it's a tough call."

Blackhawks, Bruins, Islanders solve problems with Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy deals

What's buzzing on Yahoo Sports:


View photo

Getty Images

Report: Drouin could start season on IR

Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Jonathan Drouin could start the season on injured reserve.

According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Drouin skated on his own Saturday, but did not participate in the morning skate group.

Tampa Bay plays its’ final preseason game tonight against the Florida Panthers.

Drouin, Smith reports, sill needs follow-up x-rays on his fractured right thumb.

The good news is Drouin hasn’t had any setbacks with the injury, but Smith says that GM Steve Yzerman could see the 19-year-old start the season on IR.

If Drouin is to start the season on IR, he could participate in American Hockey League games with the Syracuse Crunch on a rehab assignment with the Syracuse Crunch prior to making his NHL debut.

Drouin, the Lightning’s first-round selection (3rd overall in 2013), is coming off his final year with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where he scored 29 goals and 108 points in 46 games.

Game in 12: Leafs 5, vs Wings 1

Game Review: Preseason Game #9, Maple Leafs 5 vs. Red Wings 1

Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited unofficial team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast). Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, a weekly feature piece, the "Leafs Notebook", along with a Web TV show the "Maple Leaf Hangout".

Saturday Mashup: Final Rosters to come shortly

Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited unofficial team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast). Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, a weekly feature piece, the "Leafs Notebook", along with a Web TV show the "Maple Leaf Hangout".

Isles Get Boychuk From Bruins, Leddy From Hawks

October 4, 2014, 1:59 PM ET [124 Comments]



The Islanders have answered their need for defensive help by acquiring defenseman Johnny Boychuk from Boston for a pair of second round picks and a 2016 conditional pick and Nick Leddy from the Blackhawks for defenseman TJ Brennan, goalie Anders Nilsson and defensive prospect Ville Pokka.

Boychuk is a UFA at the end of this season and makes complete sense for the Islanders, who are looking for stability on the blueline and to win now, as they do not have their top two picks in the 2015 Draft.

The Leddy trade makes sense for both sides. Chicago badly needed to shed salary and add a young Finnish prospect in Pokka along with Brennan, who may replace Leddy as a bottom pairing defenseman after being named the AHL's top defenseman last season.

GM Garth Snow took advantage of having plenty of room under the salary cap, adding two salaries totalling over $6 Million, but succeeded in dramatically upgrading their blueline.

More to come

Join the Discussion: » 124 Comments » Post New Comment

Leddy Trade On The Horizon?

October 4, 2014, 12:19 PM ET [7 Comments]



Quick Update.....the Hawks are looking to remedy their cap issues this weekend and moving defenseman Nick Leddy appears to be the solution. Three Eastern Conference teams have expressed interest in the 23-year-old blueliner, who has a cap hit of $2.7 Million in 2014-15 and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

A deal may include a Hawks forward in addition to Leddy and could happen as soon as today.

more to come

Join the Discussion: » 7 Comments » Post New Comment

Risk Factors: Edmonton Oilers edition

From the same bunch of pessimists who brought you “Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup,” PHT presents a new series called “Risk Factors,” i.e. three reasons to be worried about each NHL team in 2014-15.

Edmonton Oilers

Is Dallas Eakins the right guy in Edmonton? Of all the coaching hires prior to the 2013-14 season, there was probably none that compared to the fanfare for Dallas Eakins. He’s now only 47 years old. He appeared ready to step up from the American Hockey League and the Toronto Marlies. He said a lot of the right things, especially when he was hired in June of 2013, vowing that his team was going to compete.

If he didn’t say the right thing, at least he was quotable.

But for all the hype surrounding his hire in Edmonton, and with the Oilers out of the playoffs for seven straight seasons following the 2013 campaign, the team was a disaster. It finished at the bottom of the Western Conference standings – by 10 points.

And you could certainly question his ability to get the best out of his players. The fans in Edmonton grew increasingly frustrated with the team’s performance. There was an incident in which a fan, so disgusted, threw their Oilers jersey onto the ice after a loss, prompting Eakins to publicly call that fan a “quitter.”

Nail Yakupov, Edmonton’s first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, struggled drastically under Eakins in their first year together.

He scored only 11 times, down from 17 the season before. And there seemed to be a running misunderstanding between the two. Another Edmonton player, Anton Belov, bolted for the KHL in the spring, after the Oilers were left out of the playoffs, because he reportedly didn’t want to play for Eakins.

The sophomore NHL bench boss appears ready to tone down his lengthy dialogue with the media.

“Listen, we’re in a passionate market. And I truly love it. For people who work in a non-traditional hockey market, I just feel like they’re missing out on a lot,” Eakins told the Edmonton Sun in September.

“With the passion, people care what you do every day. When there’s tough times, there’s going to be some negativity and people pushing you along.

“I don’t ever want to turn into a coach who says ‘work hard and give 100%.’ I think our fans deserve more than that. But I did find out about how people can shorten your quote or message and turn it into something else. So maybe I learned not to speak so much.”

That’s great. Maybe not for media types.

But the important question really is: Can he get the best out of his players?

Didn’t happen last season.

And even though he received a vote of confidence from management this past spring, what would it mean for his job security if the Oilers are either slow out of the gate or begin to falter to the bottom of the standings at some point in the season?


We touched on this already.

Nail Yakupov endured his share of struggles last season under Eakins. Not only that, but an ankle injury and a concussion meant two different disruptions.

Not to mention the healthy scratches and trade rumours.

There’s no denying Yakupov’s talent. And he’s just 20 years old, so there’s still plenty of potential for him and his career.

But that talent didn’t translate into much offence last season. His 11 goals in 63 games was a sharp decrease from the 17 he had as a rookie in the lockout-shortened campaign.

The Oilers are loaded with young forwards. They’ve got Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and another good prospect in the mix, Leon Draisaitl, the third overall pick from June’s draft.

The Oilers are still in the process of teaching the defensive side of the game to Yakupov. And that’s where some of the issues may have stemmed from last season. But it also sounds like the young Russian will get a chance to play with some of the top players on the team, including Hall and Nugent-Hopkins.

At least the coach sounds confident.

“He’s come such a long way. there were times last year where there was maybe a misunderstanding of where he should be in the D zone,” Eakins told the Edmonton Sun.

“But I have no qualms about him in our defensive zone this year. He’s learned a ton. He continues to ask questions. His relationship with our staff is amazing.”


The Oilers went out this summer and signed Mark Fayne. They acquired and signed Nikita Nikitin. They already have Andrew Ference.

So, they’ve added some veterans to the blue line. Eakins was after some veterans, more experienced players in the off-season.


The next concern: Can this team defend?

It’s pre-season, but certainly the example in the photo below – taken seconds before Nick Bonino, left wide open in front of the net, scored for Vancouver – is how NOT to defend. And this came with the Oilers on the power play.

Last season, the Oilers, with a more inexperienced group of defensemen, gave up a league-worst 3.26 goals against. Meanwhile, the top teams in the Pacific Division, the L.A. Kings, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, finished in the top 10 in the league in this category.

“You start putting your lineup on the board and these are established NHL players that give you some comfort,” Eakins told this summer.

“There’s not an unknown so much with them. For us, especially on our back end, I thought our biggest problem last year was breaking the puck out. That led to us spending a lot of time in our own zone. With the additions of those players, and then with all of our other guys getting another year of experience, it’s a step in the right direction.”

They have yet to take a step in the regular season. We”ll find out more beginning next week.

Letang: Possibility of another stroke ‘always in the back of my mind’

Kris Letang is just 27 years old. But at such a young age, he suffered a stroke last season and missed nearly three months of the 2013-14 regular season.

His wife, Catherine, found him on their bathroom floor. Letang was alert but unable to function, based on the reports from last February, when he met with the media for the first time since suffering the stroke.

Amazingly, that’s all the time he missed – 26 years of age at the time – before returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup just before the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But despite his return, which included six points in 13 post-season games, as the Penguins made it to the second round, and going through the rigors of another training camp, the veteran defenseman is still concerned about the possibility of another stroke.

“Yes, I’m worried every day,” Letang told Yahoo Sports.

“The percentage of that happening was point zero one percent. So the percentage of that happening again for me is still there. It happened once. Why not twice? That’s always in the back of my mind.”

It’s still the pre-season, but Letang has been paired on the blue line with the offensively dynamic defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the two have almost been inseparable on the ice, finding themselves together in a number of different situations, including power play – no surprise – and the penalty kill.

“We’re still learning what the other guy is going to do in certain situations, but that’s going to get better if we play together more,” Ehrhoff said told the Tribune-Review.

“So far, the chemistry has been pretty good.”

Gunnarsson won’t be ready when Blues start the season

As NHL training camps were about to begin in the middle of September, new St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson had hopes he’d be ready for the start of the season.

It now appears that won’t happen. Gunnarsson is coming off hip surgery completed at the end of last season. And his absence from the lineup when the season begins could be a big opportunity for 21-year-old prospect Petteri Lindbohm, a sixth-round pick of the Blues from 2012.

The Blues acquired the 27-year-old Gunnarsson from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Roman Polak at the NHL Draft in June.

Gunnarsson had said this summer that he was on schedule with his recovery.

Video: Blackhawks prospect Teravainen all hands for shootout goal

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen showed some nifty hands with his shootout goal against the New York Rangers on Friday.

We’ll refer you to the adage that the hand is quicker than the eye. The 20-year-0ld Teravainen, Chicago’s first-round pick, 18th overall, from the 2012 NHL Draft, capped off his stickhandling display by dragging the puck back to his backhand, then going top corner on Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

However, he was the only Chicago player to score in the game-deciding skills competition, which lasted nine rounds. The Rangers took this one by a final score of 3-2.

Sharks’ McLellan: Couture isn’t carrying ‘baggage’ after difficult last season

A nagging hand injury that required surgery mid-season, being left off Canada’s gold-medal winning Olympic hockey team and a devastating team loss in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

There were plenty of difficult times – individually and on a team basis – for San Jose Sharks’ forward Logan Couture during the 2013-14 season.

It began to unravel somewhat in January for the 25-year-old Couture, who scored 23 goals and 54 points but only appeared in 65 regular season games.

News of the hand injury came on the eve of Canada’s Olympic hockey team announcement. He wasn’t named to the team, which he felt he should’ve been. And the season came to a bitter end when the Sharks coughed up a 3-0 series lead and lost in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings.

Couture, obviously very disappointed with the way the season ended, seems to have moved on, according to his head coach in San Jose, Todd McLellan.

“It piled on, but I don’t think he is carrying that baggage with him at all at this point. I haven’t sensed it,” McLellan told CSN Bay Area.

“He hasn’t expressed to me at all that that’s the case. We look at a pretty refreshed young man that’s ready to play.”

Time has come for Kings' Doughty to claim Norris

In two of the past three Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty has been a near consensus choice as the best defenseman in the tournament.

In each of the past two Winter Olympics, Doughty has been a near consensus choice as one of the best defensemen in the tournament.

Doughty has evolved into one of the best players in the world at his position. What is missing from his dossier is a Norris Trophy, given annually to the top defenseman in the NHL as judged by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

He is's preseason choice for the award in the 2014-15 season.

Doughty has been a finalist once in his career, and that was in 2009-10 when he had his best offensive season by traditional statistical standards. Doughty had 16 goals and 59 points that season for a decent Kings team that lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Doughty has since evolved into one of the best players in the League at any position. The numbers on the back of his hockey cards have slipped a little, and that's the biggest reason he hasn't been nominated again for the Norris.

The two reasons the time is now for Doughty are the shifting landscape of evaluating defensemen and perception. Analytics in hockey have provided a different way to quantify which players are elite, and the change has been more radical with defensemen than forwards.

Players like Doughty, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Mark Giordano are earning more praise on a national level because of their gaudy advanced statistics. In the past, a beat writer in San Jose or Los Angeles could spend the season praising the work of someone like Vlasic or Doughty, but when it was time to vote for the awards, those "hockey card" stats were all that really mattered.

Goals and assists certainly still matter, but those numbers can fluctuate wildly for defensemen because of reasons beyond their control. Now when someone makes the argument a player like Doughty is the best defenseman in the League despite a lower point total, there is hard evidence to support such a claim.

The other reason Doughty should be the favorite to win the Norris is the perception it is time for him to do so. The amount of momentum for one player or another around awards time can be a weird deal, but the idea of "Drew Doughty, best NHL defenseman" has arrived after his incredible performance in the 2014 postseason.

Doughty, along with Anze Kopitar, fuels the Los Angeles possession machine. The Kings, with a full season of Marian Gaborik, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, are going to score more goals this season. That also means the potential for more assists for Doughty.

He doesn't need to significantly add to his 37 points from 2013-14 to be in the running for the Norris, but expect Doughty's total to rise and for this to be the season he adds the biggest accolade missing from his already incredible resume.


Shea Weber , Nashville Predators -- Weber has been a finalist for the Norris three times and finished second in the voting twice. Though most of the other elite defensemen around his age are smaller, Weber is the best "throwback" player at the position under the age of 35.

He's big and mean and possesses a booming slap shot. Like Doughty, he was fantastic for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, further solidifying his place among the League's elite.

Weber has had plenty of goals and points in the past, but what has held him back a little since Ryan Suter left for Minnesota is non-elite possession numbers. There are a combination of factors that could lead to Weber's improvement in that area in 2014-15.

The continued development of Roman Josi, Seth Jones and Ryan Ellis is one reason for optimism. The addition of better offensive depth up front is another. Then there is new coach Peter Laviolette, who could help the Predators become a more offensive-minded team.

Victor Hedman , Tampa Bay Lightning -- Speaking of massive defensemen, Hedman had a breakout season in 2013-14 for the Lightning. He had career highs in goals, assists and shots, and did so in both a total and per-game basis.

When Steven Stamkos was lost to a broken leg last season, the Lightning actually improved as a possession team to help offset his absence. Hedman was a big part of that, and a couple of offseason additions on defense could help there be more offensive opportunities available.

Anton Stralman is a darling of the analytics community, and his play for the New York Rangers during the 2014 playoffs could be an indicator of how he can help the Lightning spend more time on offense. Jason Garrison's hard shot from the point could also mean more chances for assists, especially if he and Hedman spend some time together on the power play.

ALSO IN THE MIX: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators; P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens; Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Friday, October 3, 2014

Randy Carlyle Post Game – Maple Leafs 5 vs. Red Wings 1

Randy Carlyle addresses media following the Leafs 5-1 win against the Red Wings in the final game of preseason on Friday night.

Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited unofficial team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast). Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, a weekly feature piece, the "Leafs Notebook", along with a Web TV show the "Maple Leaf Hangout".

POST-GAME AUDIO: Alain Vigneault, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Malone, Martin St. Louis

Rick Carpiniello, 26, was born and raised in Harrison and began working in The Journal News' sports department (back when it was The Reporter Dispatch and eight other newspapers) in October of 1977 after a year of covering high school sports as a stringer. For more than 20 years he covered the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League. Carpiniello has been writing columns on everything from local sports to the big leagues since 2002. Copyright 2014 | Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, updated September 2010.