In today’s roundup of notable Canadian NHL team news: Pacioretty and Gomez strike for the Habs in comeback win over Senators…Phaneuf unhappy over head shot penalty…Hagman having a promising preseason with Flames…Could Lee and Phillips become shutdown tandem for Senators?…Brule trying to earn roster spot with Oilers…Canucks head coach happy with play of Danish rookie…Five Jets hopefuls facing a big weekend.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: reports Max Pacioretty netted two goals, and Scott Gomez got the game tying goal as the Canadiens came from behind to defeat the Senators 4-3 in a shootout for the club’s first win of the preseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty has been arguably the Canadiens best forward of the preseason, and Gomez had a solid out in his first preseason game, including six shots. They’ll need to carry over those performances into the regular season in order to calm nervous Habs fans.
TORONTO STAR: reports Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf wasn’t pleased with getting called for a head shot penalty following a thundering open-ice hit on Buffalo’s Michael Ryan during the Leafs-Sabres preseason game on Friday night. Phaneuf claimed he hit Ryan’s body first.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the video of the hit here. Looks borderline to me, but the officials decided it was a head shot. Phaneuf, his teammates and other NHL players had better start getting used to this call, for as long as the officials are willing to make it. It remains to be seen if we’ll see that sort of call more frequently in the regular season.
CALGARY HERALD: reports Flames forward Niklas Hagman has been scoring at a torrid pace through the preseason thus far, netting two goals in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Vancouver and two more in an inter-squad game on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coming off his worst regular season performance last season, Hagman needs to score a lot if he hopes to stick with the Flames. A strong preseason certainly helps.
OTTAWA SUN: reports Senators head coach Paul MacLean is considering pairing Brian Lee with veteran Chris Phillips to see if the duo can become a shutdown tandem.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lee struggled under previous head coach Cory Clouston to establish himself. Getting an opportunity with Phillips could be his best chance of doing so.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: reports Gilbert Brule, despite his one-year, one-way, $1.85 million contract, still has to earn his spot on the lineup, and it’s possible he could become their fourth line center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is going to be a “make-or-break” season for Brule, a once-promising player who has struggled to establish himself in the NHL.
VANCOUVER SUN: reports Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault has been pleased with the performance thus far of Danish rookie forward Nicklas Jensen, though its expected he’ll be returned to junior for this season.
WINNIPEG SUN: reports this weekend will be a big one for prospects like Mark Scheifele and Patrice Cormier to make an impression on the coaching staff.