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from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has a lot of work to do over the next month in preparing for the March 3 trade deadline, deciding who to re-sign and who to move while trying to reach common ground on a contract extension for captain Dylan Larkin.
Derek Lalonde and the coaching staff have their priorities. No. 1 is gaining traction. The Red Wings haven’t won more than two games in a row since November. They have been inconsistent. They’ve looked good in beating top teams like Toronto and Vegas only to lose to bottom-feeders like Columbus and Arizona.
They have improved slightly in most areas but aren’t flourishing in any aspect – ranking 22nd in goals per game, 21st in goals against, 21st on the power play and 20th on the penalty kill.
With 50 points, the Red Wings (21-19-8) are only two points ahead of their pace following 48 games a season ago.
But unlike 2021-22, when they collapsed down the stretch, going 11-19-4 the rest of the way and getting blown out a few times, the Red Wings expect to be more competitive and at least remain in the postseason conversation much longer.
They are seven points out of the final wild-card spot but would need to pass five teams to get there, making the task more difficult despite having up to four games in hand on a couple of those clubs.
“How inspiring he is,” said the Stanley Cup champion MacKinnon. “It’s inspiring to see someone be that great. It makes you want to get better. That’s how I feel when I see him. It makes you want to strive for something.
“Greatness in any sport is special, for me, it’s awesome to see. It’s really cool. I know I won’t be as good as him no matter how hard I work but I appreciate what he’s doing and how he does it.”
-Nathan MacKinnon on Connor McDavid. Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun has more from other players on McDavid.
To this point in time, 14+ minutes to watch.
* The NHL’s biggest stars will be shining Friday during the 2023 NHL All-Star Skills presented by DraftKings Sportsbook beginning at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN+, Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
* The League announced participants for each Skills event, with the GEICO NHL Hardest Shot and Upper Deck NHL Fastest Skater assignments each including a previous winner. The Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting will feature 10 players and be guaranteed a first-time champion.
* The Great Clips NHL Breakaway Challenge will return for a second straight year and include Florida favorite Matthew Tkachuk along with a tandem attempt featuring Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. Three other events will debut in the Enterprise NHL Splash Shot, Chipotle NHL Pitch ‘n Puck and Discover NHL Tendy Tandem.
from Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,
"I've said it all along, and I stand by it: I really see myself as a Red Wing. [But] there's contract negotiating to be done," said the Detroit center, who was named to the Atlantic Division team for this weekend's NHL All-Star Game. "This is my first time in this position as an unrestricted free agent. But I doubt contracts really ever go smoothly until they're done."
The Detroit Free Press reported Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman had offered Larkin an eight-year contract worth $64 million. Speculation about an impasse between the sides has grown, especially with the NHL trade deadline approaching on March 3. Larkin has a full no-trade clause this season.
"I wouldn't say that, like, the [contract news] that's been made public is really the most truthful," Larkin said. "It just seems people are fishing and speculating. I don't really want my business out there. I understand we're in the spotlight and fans want to know. They deserve to know. But I think it's not really the most truthful, you know? It's just speculation, and I don't really read into that too much."
Larkin said being able to focus on hockey has "been a blessing" as the talks have continued. He said he doesn't take his role as team captain lightly.
When can we expect the NHLPA to make their leadership decision? What kind of offer would the Habs need in order to trade Josh Anderson? Will Dylan Larkin be dealt before the NHL trade deadline, or will he resign in Detroit? How will Vegas adjust to the loss of Mark Stone for the foreseeable future? TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Chris Johnston and Pierre LeBrun discuss this and more.
Wheatley is a former Michigan football player and he also played in the NFL.
from Samantha Pell of The Washington Post,
Eight months removed from hip resurfacing surgery, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has no aches or pains, no more trouble sleeping or walking and has no problem bending forward to tie his own skates. The 35-year-old says he is completely pain-free and is enjoying a taste of normalcy as he remains a crucial piece in Washington’s late-season push toward the playoffs.
Backstrom — who suffered chronic hip pain for years — has started to look like his old self since making his return to the Capitals lineup in early January. Just being on the ice is a feat for the veteran center, who faced significant doubt — even from inside the Capitals’ organization — that he would be back in the NHL so soon.
“It’s amazing,” Backstrom said. “It’s been a long journey for me getting back, but at the same time I am here and I am the kind of guy that loves to live in the present and the type of guy that loves to play hockey. Body feels better and better every day. Getting more comfortable out there. It is just [about] starting to trust yourself.”
NEW YORK (Feb. 2, 2023) – The National Hockey League (NHL) today announced the entertainment lineup for the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The two-day showcase of top NHL talent begins with the 2023 NHL All-Star Skills™ presented by DraftKings Sportsbook on Friday, Feb. 3 (ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports) and concludes with the 2023 Honda NHL® All-Star Game on Saturday, Feb. 4 (ABC, ESPN+, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports) at FLA Live Arena, home to the Florida Panthers.
NEW YORK (Feb. 2, 2023) – The National Hockey League (NHL®) today announced the player assignments for the 2023 NHL All-Star Skills™ presented by DraftKings Sportsbook, featuring seven events that will showcase hockey’s top talent on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN+, Sportsnet, TVA Sports) at the home of the Florida Panthers, FLA Live Arena, in Sunrise, Fla.
Most of you know The Athletic is counting down the 99 top NHL players of the modern era.
On January 20th, they selected Steve Yzerman at #15. Since then...
They have already announced Gretzky is #1 and so only 2, 3 and 4 remain and names like Howe, Orr and Lemieux have yet to be ranked. I am not sure about Howe after reading this...
Our thorniest and most complicated choices involved players who straddled the two ends of the spectrum. Some slipped through the cracks because their greatest impacts came prior to 1967. Some, who will eventually qualify, didn’t make the list because they are still in the early stages of their careers.
My question is the ranking of Yzerman. I would have put him ahead of Lafleur and Sakic but I know that is a judgement call.
How do you feel about it. Clicking the link will take you to the player page and remember The Athletic is subscription only.
7 1/2 minutes to watch.
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings today activated right wing Filip Zadina from injured reserve and assigned him to the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins for conditioning.
from Nick Kypreos at the Toronto Star,
With 30 games left after the all-star break, it remains to be seen if last Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators will go down as the Maple Leafs’ worst defeat of the season. But the fallout from that game is still very much a topic of conversation.
It begs the question: How will Matt Murray’s unexpected missed start shape the way Leafs management views this team’s goaltending situation heading into the final stretch of the season?
Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins didn’t exactly help the case for Ilya Samsonov, who allowed three goals on seven shots in the third period. How comfortable will they feel with whoever is staring down Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Ironically, the current situation is eerily similar to the one that played out with former Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen in the Amazon Prime docuseries “All or Nothing” that followed the team during the 2020-21 season.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Larkin has been a key part of the rebuild since the former management group chose the metro Detroit-area native with the No. 15 pick in 2014. He was named captain by general manager Steve Yzerman in January 2021, and now it’s on Yzerman to find a way to fit Larkin into the budget beyond this season. ...
The Wings have offered the 26-year-old an eight-year, $64-million contract. The $8 million annual average value would give Larkin a nearly $2 million raise and would give Yzerman flexibility as he faces extending the contracts of young stars Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond, both soon-to-be restricted free agents, next season.
Larkin’s side — he switched representation last May from KO Sports to CAA — can counter with a comparable courtesy of New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello: Last October, the Islanders signed Mathew Barzal for $73.2 million over eight years, which averages out to $9.15 million per season (with the extension kicking in for the 2023-24 season). Barzal is a year younger than Larkin, was drafted at No. 16 in 2015, and has 103 goals among 354 points in 413 career games.
Teams can offer their own pending UFAs an eight-year contract, while no other team can offer more than seven. A seven-year offer at $9 million per year works out to $63 million, $1 million less than the Wings’ total offer. The Wings’ offer comes with something Larkin can’t do anywhere else: Captain his hometown’s Original Six franchise.
from Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now,
The uncertain future status of captain Dylan Larkin and frequent linemate Tyler Bertuzzi is drawing most of the attention among the plethora of impending unrestricted free agents currently populating the roster of the Detroit Red Wings.
While that’s certainly understandable, there’s another UFA in Red Wings colors who is an absolute must sign for the club.
That would be defenseman Jake Walman.
Enjoying a breakthrough season as an NHLer, Walman is performing with poise and confidence. He’s competing and battling between the boards, an aspect of his game that’s been crticized in the past. His strong and consistent play is earning Walman top-pairing work alongside reigning Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider.
“He’s a really strong skater,” Seider said of Walman. “Very talented. Can outskate everyone in the league. That gives him confidence and I think he’s been playing with that a lot lately.
“You see that he’s hard to defend in the O zone. We’ve been doing a really good job of shutting the top line down.”
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
We apparently have Weeknight Flu in this town. I just watched the Sabres play last week on a Monday night in Dallas in front of a roaring crowd of more than 18,000. And that's a city that's far pricier, has much worse traffic and was charging $35 for its garage parking. ...
Folks here just want Friday nights or weekend afternoons. As someone who travels, I can tell you that's a Buffalo thing. The buildings are full in most cities on most nights.
The Sabres are 29th out of 32 teams in total attendance and dead last in attendance percentage. They went into Wednesday's game playing in front of just 76.4% of capacity. There are 17 teams at 96% and up, and 22 teams at 93% or higher.
The Sabres aren't revealing their season ticket base but judging by their lowest numbers of the season, you can interpolate it's grown from about 6,500 last year to somewhere around 9,000 this year. Obviously, they have to work to get that higher, whether it's through new purchasers of the full package of lots of folks combing from packs of various sizes.
Winning helps that. Entertaining hockey helps that. You'll have to wait for next season, based largely on the result of this one, to see what kind of bump they get.
You do wish people would be more interested in seeing the Sabres now, and not so focused on the opponent. But people have been burned so much the last 11 years, and even some nights this season, that a big buy-in is simply not going to be automatic.
There is a lot of crabbing about individual game pricing and it's justified. The dynamic pricing model, which makes the price of a hockey ticket play hopscotch over the course of a day, is becoming an industry standard in sports and it's a scourge.
The Sabres should be above it. It comes off as a scam. If I want to see Carolina on Feb. 1, the price of a ticket should be the same on Nov 1, Dec. 1 or Jan. 1. It's not. There shouldn't be upwards of 30 prices for tickets for a game based on location, row number. That's too many.
* Sebastian Aho and Brent Burns continued their recent strings of success as the Hurricanes captured their seventh straight victory and entered the All-Star break with their second double-digit point streak of the season.
* Defensemen accounted for two of five goals as the NHL-leading Bruins bested their division rivals to secure their 39th win of the season and join rare company in the process.
NEW YORK (Feb. 1, 2023) – New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes, Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak and Seattle Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the month of January.
from Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now,
One NHL source though confirmed that the Detroit Red Wings were also in on the Horvat NHL trade sweepstakes at one point, but opted out earlier than the Bruins and the other mystery teams because they weren’t allowed to speak to Horvat and his agent Patrick Morris about an extension.
Could the Red Wings’ interest in Horvat pave the way for the Bruins and other NHL teams to make a push for Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin?
The 26-year-old, 6-foot-1, 198-pound center is in the final season of a five-year contract that carried a $6.1M AAV and has a no-trade clause that kicked in this season. After scoring 31 goals and finishing with 69 points in 71 games last season, Larkin has 15 goals and 28 assists in 47 games this season. His best season came in 2018-19 when he had 32 goals and 41 assists in 76 games.
“By all accounts, it doesn’t look good for Dylan Larkin staying in Detroit,” the source said of the negotiations between Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman and the pending unrestricted free agent. “That’s why they’re exploring other options there.”
According to Larkin’s agent Pat Brisson though, things don’t seem as dire between the Red Wings and his client.
“I’m not alarmed at all,” Brisson told hall of fame puck scribe and Detroit Hockey Now Red Wings reporter Kevin Allen last Thursday. “We are talking more the last few weeks.”
That hasn’t quelled the NHL trade speculation around Larkin though, and on Tuesday an NHL pro scout opined to BHN that he thinks Larkin could make tons of sense for the Bruins if they feel like there’s a strong chance Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron and fellow center David Krejci are in their last hurrah.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- Clearly, the Canucks have identified their core — Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Miller, Andrei Kuzmenko. Things can change if someone gives them reason to pivot, but actions speak and these are the key Canucks. (There are conversations about extending Ethan Bear.) Other than that, they’re listening on a few interesting things.
Let’s see how things play out when goaltender Thatcher Demko returns. The fact he’s signed with a bit of term makes him attractive, and teams will want to get a feel for what Vancouver is thinking. Buffalo, Columbus, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh all make sense. The Sabres and Blue Jackets can afford to be patient — they are thinking long-term — but others would need to know he can make a spring 2023 impact, particularly with the price to be paid. Will there be enough runway before March 3 to convince buyers Demko is ready?
There are repeated rumblings linking Brock Boeser and Minnesota, but the math doesn’t make sense as things stand. I do think there are teams who like Tyler Myers’ nastiness, but in a tight cap world, that might wait until the summer.
- Carolina wasn’t adding Horvat without the possibility of an extension. Depending on how roles shake out on Long Island, would the Hurricanes pivot to Pageau? Certainly feels like a Rod Brind’Amour-esque player.
- I wouldn’t say New Jersey is the team to beat on Timo Meier, but it’s clear teams know the Devils are very much in it. The biggest balancing act for them might be their salary structure. It sounds like they prefer to have no forwards above Jack Hughes’ $8-million AAV — or at least not blowing that out of the water. That’s not only a consideration for Meier, but also Jesper Bratt.
- The biggest challenge for the Golden Knights is mental. They went through this last year, seemingly safe in January, only to get riddled with injuries and cap pressures, completely submarining their season — missing the playoffs. Calgary is five back with a game in hand, Nashville eight with three in hand for the wild card. It’s not DEFCON 1, but four points in their last eight games brings back the bad memories, the jitters, the doubts, “Are we doing this again?” You’ve got to block out the negative. Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll had a great saying: You don’t have to be extraordinary. You just have to do the ordinary things extraordinary well.
from John Niyo of the Detroit News,
For Yzerman, though, that’s just one of many inflection points here. Is Bertuzzi part of the true core of the Wings’ next Cup contender or a bridge that’s about to be crossed? And what about selling high on Filip Hronek, who has been one of Detroit’s most effective players this season and won’t be a restricted free agent until 2024? The Wings reportedly were in the bidding for Vancouver's Bo Horvat, a top-line center who was dealt to the Islanders on Monday, so is Yzerman, who also has plenty of cap space to work with, ready to make a similar splash at the deadline?
We’ll know a lot more about where Yzerman thinks the Red Wings really are in another month. And as Larkin noted before heading to Florida as the Wings’ lone All-Star for a second straight year, there’s still time to influence his decisions, perhaps.
“That’s my hope," Larkin said, "is to see this thing through and to stay in it and make going to the rink meaningful every day down the stretch."
But, if that sounds like a stretch, well, it probably is. Because, as Perron, one of Yzerman's key additions back in July, put it Friday night after the loss to the Islanders, “There’s a reason why we’re not there yet in the standings. And that means usually you’re not there yet as a team.”
* The Hurricanes erased a multi-goal deficit in the third period to win for the second time in five days and Sebastian Aho scored in overtime to help the club match its best 50-game start to a season in franchise history.
* Carolina recorded the NHL’s 96th multi-goal comeback victory of 2022-23 – tied with 2018-19 for the third most in a single campaign before the All-Star/Olympic break. The 2009-10 (99) and 2005-06 (98) seasons are the only ones with more.
* Thirty years ago today on Feb. 1, 1993, Gary Bettman took office as the first Commissioner in NHL history and has since presided over 55% of all games in League history.
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