Summertime in the hockey world means foes become friends again. For Washington’s Tom Wilson, it means getting reacquainted with Wayne Simmonds, his on-ice rival from Philadelphia, but also a player who means a lot to the Capitals youngster.
Las Vegas’ NHL team has its first Stanley Cup winner.
Owner Bill Foley announced the hiring of David Conte yesterday, bestowing upon him the title of special advisor to hockey operations. I first reported the Vegas-Conte connection last week and now it’s official. But what should Las Vegas fans expect from the veteran hockey mind?
Training camps for the World Cup of Hockey are set to being in less than a month, and according to two Russian news outlets, Alex Ovechkin’s status for the tournament could be up in the air. However, the ‘Great 8’ says there’s no reason to worry.
Russia’s Sport-Express reported Tuesday that Ovechkin has suffered a lower-body injury during his off-season training, and the recovery time for the injury could be “at least three weeks.” The three week timeline would mean Ovechkin is back in time for the World Cup tournament, but it calls into question whether he’d be able to participate in training camp. But Russian news agency TASS said the injury “will prevent (Ovechkin) from playing in the World Cup.”
There’s no specifics regarding how the injury occurred, but a source reportedly told TASS that the injury is “muscle damage,” something that often happens when players are training.
However, shortly after news came that Ovechkin would be sidelined for the tournament, he released a statement through the Russian Ice Hockey Federation saying that he would be prepared for the season and no injury is hindering him. Read more
August marks hockey’s “silly season.” Very little happens. And idle hands are the devils’ playthings, right? Countless blog commenters and Twitter trolls dust off the “Slow news day?” insult whenever we find something to talk about. During the month before NHL training camps begin, fan bases twiddle their thumbs. And think. And overthink. And worry.
“Why hasn’t my team DONE anything this off-season?”
You know who you are. You, from that city with the sandwich everyone needs to try. Your team has been uncomfortably quiet this off-season, with nary a big trade or free agent splash. Should you panic over your team’s 2016-17 outlook? Or will you end up patting your favorite GM on the back for staying the course?
Here’s a rundown of the summer’s most tranquil teams – and whether their fan bases should worry.
The Capitals and Marcus Johansson were literally minutes away from arbitration, but the two sides have reached a deal that sees the versatile Swedish forward back in Washington on a three-year, $13.75-million deal.
Johansson, 25, was set to become the first player to head to salary arbitration this summer, with his hearing slated for 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. According to the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan, though, the Capitals and Johansson were able to come to terms on the new contract at 8:57 a.m. How’s that for taking things down to the wire?
The new deal is a successful one for the Capitals, especially when considering the difference in salary heading towards arbitration was $1.4 million. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman had reported that Johansson was seeking $5.25 million in arbitration, while Washington was hoping the deal would fall closer to $3.85 million per season. With a $4.58-million cap hit, the sides meet almost exactly in the middle.
“We started getting close to each other this morning,” Johansson said. “I think both parties were hoping we could figure it out before we went into the meeting, and I think both parties are really happy we did. A little bit of a tight schedule before the meeting, but I’m happy that we worked it out.” Read more
The Las Vegas expansion franchise will name the first GM in its history Wednesday, and while it appears that owner Bill Foley has scanned the hockey world interviewing candidates, things keep circling back to two prominent hockey names – Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby and former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee.
(UPDATE: I spoke with a very reliable NHL source at 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday who told me he has been told by four different people that McPhee will in fact be named GM.)
When the team interviewed candidates for the job recently, Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill put in a strong performance. But the sense in the hockey industry is that Foley and former NHLer Murray Craven, who is assisting him in the process, settled on Mellanby and McPhee early on as their frontrunners and someone would have to really impress them in order to unseat them from that position.
The most notable exclusion from the 24 players who filed for salary arbitration Tuesday was Petr Mrazek, but that doesn’t mean the Detroit Red Wings goaltender won’t be included in the process. Sources have told thn.com that the Red Wings will take Mrazek to arbitration before teams are required to file at 5 p.m. (eastern time) Wednesday.
This is a bit of a chess game here. Had Mrazek filed for arbitration, the Red Wings would have been able to choose either a one- or two-year reward. With the Red Wings filing, Mrazek will now have the choice of a one- or two-year award. Regardless, it means Mrazek is guaranteed to have a deal with the Red Wings for at least one season and will be available to the Red Wings for the start of the season. Mrazek is expected to be the Czech Republic’s No. 1 goaltender for the World Cup of Hockey.
It’s early July, so obviously there’s another important day coming up on the hockey calendar. Coming up next: the deadline for restricted free agents to file for arbitration, which is on the docket for Tuesday.
This will likely be a procedural day for many players because so few actually end up going the full distance in arbitration, but one thing it will do is tell us which players will definitely be in uniform for their teams at the start of training camp in the fall. That’s because arbitration forces a ruling on both sides, meaning the player is under contract for either one or two more seasons.