The latest on P.K. Subban, Carey Price, Zach Bogosian, Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien, and more.
LA PRESSE: Marc Antoine Godin reports Sportnet analyst Nick Kypreos yesterday cited sources claiming Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word from the NHL, which plans to announce its award winners during the opening two games of the Stanley Cup Final. If Subban has won the Norris, he and his agent will seek a considerable raise from the Habs above the $2.875 million annual cap hit he’s making on his current two year deal when they next sit down with the Canadiens to negotiate a new contract. Those talks could start this summer.
CBC.CA: Former Montreal Canadiens goalie coach Roland Melanson believes Montreal goalie Carey Price’s performance deteriorated after Melanson left the team. The Canadiens recently fired goaltending coach Pierre Groulx, whom Melanson blamed for allowing Price to develop bad habits.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay that’s why the Canadiens recently let Groulx go. No word yet on his replacement.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets have begun contract talks with Zach Bogosian and Bryan Little. Gary Lawless, meanwhile, cites a rumor Dustin Byfuglien’s weight grew to 302 lbs by the end of this season, which would make Byfuglien “virtually untradeable”. A Jets spokesman said the team never comments on rumors started on Twitter. Lawless believes Jets management needs to reach the defenseman and get him into better shape and playing a more disciplined game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byfuglien has three more seasons at $5.75 million per remaining on his contract, and was inconsistent ( in part due to injuries) last season, which had Lawless stumping for the Jets to trade him. While I don’t doubt there’s unhappiness among the Jets front office over Byfuglien’s play, I’m not convinced they’re ready to give up and try to move him yet. I do agree, however, that if Byfuglien’s conditioning is the issue, he and the Jets coaching staff must work together to find a way to improve it.
SPORTSNET.CA: Mark Spector approves of the Edmonton Oilers hiring of Dallas Eakins as head coach, believing it signals the end of their recent dysfunction.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time will tell. In the meantime, new GM Craig MacTavish can help Eakins by bolstering their defense, checking lines and backup goaltending.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs are now considering their options to replace Eakins as coach of the Marlies.
VANCOUVER SUN: Elliott Pap has a “betting man’s guide” to the Canucks search for a new head coach, with Kings assistant coach John Stevens considered the favorite.