The Kings are playing a risky game with Drew Doughty, Capitals defenseman Tom Poti fails his medical, Predators defenseman Ryan Suter avoids free agency talk, and Senators blueliner Filip Kuba might become a candidate for a trade deadline deal.
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TORONTO SUN: Helene Elliott and Steve Simmons offered up differing opinions of the current standoff between defenseman Drew Doughty and Kings management. Elliott suggested Doughty is hurting his conditioning and preparation for the upcoming season, but also suggested the Kings management may be hurting the team by trying to score points at the negotiating table, rather than having Doughty scoring points on the ice for the Kings. Simmons, meanwhile, was more blunt, criticizing GM Dean Lombardi for his “pettiness” by threatening to penalize the defenseman for each day he’s absent, and potentially poisoning Doughty’s relationship with the team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It takes two to tango here, and while I agree with Simmons’ take that penalizing Doughty for each day he misses is petty, Lombardi has made a very generous offer, and while I also understand Doughty’s desire for a shorter term to qualify sooner for free agency, he also has to take into consideration the team. At some point, Doughty has to consider if he’s really interested in making the Kings a Cup contender, or if it’s more important for him to be the highest paid Kings on a five year contract. I’m all for players getting the best deal they can, but I also believe they need to balance that with being a team player. I do expect at some point this will be resolved and Doughty will return to the Kings, but I also feel this has the potential to jeopardize his long-term future with the club.
WASHINGTON POST: Katie Carrera reports Capitals defenseman Tom Poti has failed his team medical, which will result in his being placed on long-term injury reserve, providing the club relief under the salary cap.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, forget those silly trade rumors claiming the Capitals will shop Alexander Semin to get under the salary cap.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper reports Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter declined to discuss his eligibility for UFA status next summer, other than to say he’s not concerned about it, believes things will be worked out, and hopes to remain with the Predators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Predators will get Suter re-signed. Weber, on the other hand, is another matter, one I’m less certain about.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan reports on the efforts of Senators defenseman Filip Kuba to improve his conditioning, avoid injury and try to return to form this season. Brennand did suggest Kuba could be a candidate to be dealt at the trade deadline in February, believing it “unimaginable” management would re-sign him after this season. GM Bryan Murray is believed to have tried to shop Kuba earlier this year, but given his injury history, decline in production and remaining salary ($3.7 million), couldn’t find any takers.