Game recaps featuring American NHL teams, reaction to some of yesterday’s notable moves, updates on Patrice Bergeron and Patrick Sharp, and more.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clowe snapped his season-long goalless drought, and for one game at least, the Rangers were boosted by the strong play of their newcomers. If they carry over this performance over the remainder of this season, the Rangers will clinch a playoff berth. As for the Penguins, they’ve been listless since losing Sidney Crosby to injury.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS/MINNESOTA WILD: A beautiful end-to-end goal by Dan Boyle was the highlight as the San Jose Sharks doubled up the Minnesota Wild 4-2. The Wild also lost Dany Heatley to injury late in the game.
TAMPA TRIBUNE: Martin Fennelly believes the Lightning’s acquisition of goalie Ben Bishop is an admission by Bolts GM Steve Yzerman last summer’s acquisition of Anders Lindback wasn’t good enough to improve their goaltending.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know a number of Lightning fans weren’t pleased with giving up Cory Conacher for Bishop as they feel Lindback was doing ok before his injury, plus he wasn’t getting much help from the club in front of him. They fear bringing in Bishop could hurt Lindback’s confidence. I disagree. I believe the Bolts now are much deeper in goal, which was a problem area for some time. Bishop makes them better, and he’ll push Lindback. If the latter has any competitiveness within him, he’ll push back. It could result in a problem every GM wants to have: two strong young goalies boosting your club’s fortunes.
WASHINGTON POST: By trading away highly touted prospect Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat, Capitals management is sending the message they believe they can win now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Marc Pitonzo noted on The Face Off Hockey Show last night, the Capitals win this trade if Erat helps them win the Stanley Cup. Otherwise, this is a move the Capitals could regret in a few years. Forsberg has drawn favorable comparison to a young Corey Perry. If Forsberg plays half as well as Perry when he eventually debuts in the NHL, people will be praising Predators GM David Poile for stealing him from the Capitals. As I noted on the show last night, this move had the whiff of panic to it. Yes, the Capitals have improved and are close to a playoff berth and Erat could help them clinch it, but it wasn’t worth giving up what I consider an important chunk of their future for a short-term quick fix.
BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron suffered a “moderate concussion” in the Bruins recent game against Ottawa and is sidelined indefinitely.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron suffered three previous concussions, so even a “moderate” one is cause for concern. Here’s hoping he makes a smooth, swift recovery with no lingering effects. His absence hurts the Bruins, as he’s their best all-round forward.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The long, strange saga of Steve Mason is over in Columbus.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot of folks were chuckling over the Flyers dealing for Mason. Understandably so, considering the Flyers last June shipped Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus for draft picks (and not, as I originally stated, in the Jeff Carter deal in 2011. Boy, was my face red on that one.), and he’s been among the best goalies in the league this season. Here’s hoping Mason can salvage his NHL career in Philadelphia.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Despite the Carolina Hurricanes recent swoon, GM Jim Rutherford insists their season isn’t over.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hey, Jim, look up. Do you see pyramids? If so, you’re in denial. Thank you! I’ll be here all week, tip your veal, try the waitress. Bad joke aside (and yes, I deliberately switched the wording for “try the veal, tip your waitress”. Just a bit of fun, not trying to be sexist. You can try your waiter if you prefer. Everyone relax), the Hurricanes have been in free-fall since mid-March. Joni Pitkanen’s season-ending injury could also end their season. They’re in big trouble, and while Rutherford’s belief is admirable, honestly, what did you expect him to say to the fan base? That’s it, we’re screwed, you might as well stay home? The reality, however, is the Hurricanes will need a significant turnaround over the remainder of this month, and hope division rivals Winnipeg & Washington collapse, and the Rangers and Islanders struggle, if they’re to clinch a playoff berth now.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Coyotes decide to sell, even with their playoff hopes still flickering.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t blame Coyotes GM Don Maloney (one of the shrewdest GMs in the league) for shipping out pending UFAs Raffi Torres, Matt Lombardi and Steve Sullivan. He knows that, while his team still has a shot at a playoff berth, those hopes are fading. Still, he hung onto Mike Smith and Boyd Gordon, two players he’ll try to re-sign before free agency this summer.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Marian Hossa is expected in the Blackhawks lineup for tonight’s game against the Blues after missing six games with a suspected shoulder injury, but Patrick Sharp (left shoulder) remains sidelined.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers signed prospect Nick Bjugstad to a three-year entry level contract. He will make his NHL debut on Saturday against the Capitals.