Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was back in the crease at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, but this time as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Fleury, who led the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season back in 2017-18, was visibly emotional as the team played a tribute video to his time in Vegas, which included winning the Vezina Trophy in 2020-21.
Before the game, Fleury made sure to skate over to former teammate and goalie partner Robin Lehner. The pair had a lengthy talk near center ice.
Klingberg unhappy with contract negotiations with Stars
John Klingberg said he feels underappreciated by the Dallas Stars in their approach to contract negotiations.
The defenseman, who is in the final season of a seven-year contract he signed April 17, 2015, can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He said he believes Stars general manager Jim Nill hasn’t shown enough urgency on a contract since he was eligible to sign an extension after last season.
“Other guys have signed right before the season before. I wanted to do that as well,” Klingberg said after a 3-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. “Lately, it has been going more quietly and quietly. For me, as a player, I don’t feel that I’ve been appreciated in that way when we don’t even negotiate. It’s quiet.
“For me, as a player, my agent, we talked to Jim a couple months back. He agreed that we could start talking with other GMs and see where we were at. Negotiation-wise, the Stars have been very quiet.”
The Stars re-signed forwards Jamie Benn (eight years) in 2016 and Tyler Seguin (eight years) in 2018, one season before each could have become an unrestricted free agent.
“It’s not like I’ve been going out there and asking, ‘I want to get traded now,’ or something like that,” Klingberg said. “It’s something that’s been going on with the negotiations and stuff like that. I’m not going to lie, it’s been a few frustrating years individually. As a player, it all ends up coming to your next contract, obviously. I’ve been a Dallas Star since Day One.
“I’ve been pretty clear that I want to stay here. I grew up here. I had my daughter here and all that.”
Klingberg is in his eighth season with the Stars, who selected him in the fifth round (No. 131) of the 2010 NHL Draft. Although he said he would prefer to re-sign with them, the 29-year-old wonders how much they want to keep him with little progress in negotiations.
“They gave me one offer way back and they haven’t really moved at all,” Klingberg said. “On my side, on my agent’s side, I feel like we’ve been trying to move pieces, years, numbers and stuff like that. On our part, I feel like we’ve been trying to meet them in different ways. More and more, as it comes down to, it’s been more quiet. I don’t know really where they’re at, if they intend to sign me . … They have to make a decision if they see me as a future Dallas Star or what’s going on here.”
Klingberg has scored 17 points (one goal, 16 assists) in 26 games this season. He has scored 334 points (66 goals, 278 assists) in 504 regular-season games with the Stars and 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in 52 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Klingberg scored 21 points (four goals, 17 assists) in 26 playoff games to help Dallas reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2020, when it lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
Nill had positive things to say about Klingberg during an interview with NHL Network Radio on Sunday.
“I really can’t comment on the negotiations other than John, his agent and I have had a very open rapport,” Nill said. “I respect John lots, we have a great relationship. He kind of came on board when I came on board here in 2015. We have a good relationship. I fully understand John’s situation and he understands ours. John coming out yesterday [with his comments], that’s what makes John a great player. He’s very emotional and he’s very competitive. That’s what makes him a great player. We’ll get this figured out but other than that I can’t comment on too many other factors.”
Klingberg hopes that the sides can work out a contract, but is unsure about his future with the Stars.
“At the end of the day, it’s a business,” he said. “I understand it’s a business on both sides. I’ve got to take care of my part as well. It’s been standing still. I feel like I wanted to (sign a new contract), after last season. I was pretty clear that I wanted to start negotiating right away and see where we were out. They wanted some time with free agency and draft and stuff like that. I understand that.
“At the same time, I feel like I’ve been here proving what kind of player I’ve been for eight years now.”
Blues Winter Classic beachwear arrival inspires Missouri youth team
Hockey players everywhere are redefining “beach weather.”
A Missouri hockey team drew inspiration from the St. Louis Blues and dressed in beachwear before their outdoor game in the cold. The young players walked out of the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Missouri draped in towels, sunglasses and coolers.
Despite a record cold temperature for the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, the Blues showed up to the arena with everything but the sand. They stepped off the bus in Hawaiian shirts, shorts, sandals and sunglasses.
NHL DFS player picks, projections
NHL.com identifies daily fantasy hockey player picks, projections and strategies for DFS contests in the 2021-22 season. For more coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the “NHL Fantasy on Ice” podcast.
FANTASY RANKINGS: Top 200
Projected lineups, starting goalies
MON. JAN. 10
Erik Haula, BOS (at WSH) – The Boston Bruins center had one assist, two shots on goal and three blocks in their win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Haula extended his point streak to four games totaling one goal and three assists playing mostly on the second line with valuable wings David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall and is worth riding the hot hand at the Washington Capitals as the most affordable of those linemates in DFS.
Gabriel Landeskog, COL (vs. SEA) – The Colorado Avalanche wing scored two points (one goal, one assist) and six SOG in their win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Landeskog has scored eight points (five goals, three assists) with 16 SOG in four games since returning from a lower-body injury and has points in each of his past 14 games played since Nov. 22 (21 points in span). Landeskog is a DFS lineup lock in his usual spot on the top line with elite forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen against the Seattle Kraken, who are allowing the third most goals per game (3.67) in the NHL.
Ryan Lindgren, NYR (at LAK) – The New York Rangers defenseman scored two goals on three SOG in their win against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. Lindgren has scored three points (two goals, one assist) with four SOG and three blocks in his past three games averaging 19:56 per game in the span on mostly the top pair with elite defenseman Adam Fox, who’s tied for the most points in the NHL at the position this season (36 in 36 games).
NOTE: Pick will be added once more starters are announced.
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Kaprizov placed on IR by Wild with upper-body injury
Kirill Kaprizov was placed on injured reserve Saturday by the Minnesota Wild after he sustained an upper-body injury in a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
The forward was injured when he was hit along the left boards by Boston forward Trent Frederic at 10:09 of the second period after getting his skates caught up with Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. Kaprizov skated slowly to the bench before being helped down the tunnel to the locker room.
Kaprizov and forward Joel Eriksson Ek (upper body), also placed on injured reserve, missed a 3-2 shootout win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. Each is eligible to return for Minnesota’s next game, Jan. 14 against the Anaheim Ducks.
“It’s so hard to give a time frame, right? We’re going to see,” Wild coach Dean Evason said of Kaprizov before the Capitals game. “Again, he’s not in tonight. Again, very disappointed. … We’re going to move forward. He’s not in tonight. We’re hoping whenever we play next, we’re hoping he’s in but I don’t know.”
Kaprizov leads the Wild with 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 32 games this season.
“You’ve got a guy as gritty and determined as he is, if he can’t play, then no, we’re not optimistic at all,” Evason said Friday. “Like I said, the nice thing is we’ve got a week to heal up. Hopefully it’s not serious and he can — it’s serious enough that he’s not going to play tomorrow — but hopefully it’s not more serious than that that he misses more time than that.
“I’d like to reiterate, we certainly didn’t like the hit. Thought it was an unnecessary hit on a vulnerable player.”
Frederic was assessed a minor penalty at 10:12 for boarding on the play and a fighting major against Wild defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
“I hope [Kaprizov] is all right,” Frederic said. “Obviously, I didn’t mean to hurt him. I was just going to make a hockey play and finish a check. I haven’t seen it. I think he kind of fell as I was doing it, so it’s hard to pull off it.”
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said, “I didn’t see it live. … It looks like [Kaprizov] turned away from [Grzelcyk] in a 1-on-1 situation, and Frederic was tracking back into the zone. I don’t know if Kaprizov stumbled or ducked from the hit. I don’t know the player well enough, but Frederic sort of leaned into him. I don’t think there’s any malicious intent other than separating him from the puck, which you better do, or he’ll hurt you. You just have to do it in a legal matter.
“It looked clean from my point. They didn’t see it that way. Obviously, Minnesota is going to react. It’s one of their best players, so I get that. We’d do the same. [I] didn’t think there was anything malicious in the hit, personally.”
The Wild are also without goalie Cam Talbot (lower body), defenseman Jared Spurgeon (lower body) and Alex Goligoski (NHL COVID-19 protocol), and forwards Nick Bjugstad (upper body) and Jordan Greenway (COVID-19 protocol). Forward Brandon Duhaime was removed from protocol Saturday but did not play against the Capitals.
“The whole League’s gone through it,” Evason said. “… The world has gone through different stuff, so we are all trying to make the best of it. Our group has done a tremendous job of not letting those distractions affect as a group. We go out, we play hard, we play right, hopefully that’s enough to give us an opportunity to have success. It did last night. We’re looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.”
Korpisalo, Fucale, Campbell all make must-see, highlight-reel saves
There must have been something in the water bottles behind the nets on Saturday.
Washington Capitals goalie Zach Fucale, Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo and Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell all made incredible, highlight-reel saves in different games that have to be seen to be believed.
Let’s start with Fucale because his came in overtime. Right as the extra period began, the Minnesota Wild got a good scoring chance as Mats Zuccarello fed Ryan Hartman who seemingly had an open net. But Fucale dove across the crease to his left, losing his stick in the process, to get his blocker on the puck and send it out of play. The crowd at Xcel Energy Center even rose in a moment of premature celebration, only to be silenced a second later when they realized what had happened.
As for Korpisalo, he didn’t dive, but he did go into a full split for an incredible glove save against the New Jersey Devils.
In the final seconds of the second period with the game tied 3-3, Devils forward Nico Hischier fired one destined for the net, only to have his hopes dashed by Korpisalo at the final moment.
Campbell combined the two strategies of his counterparts, robbing Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews of a goal by diving across the crease to his right and catching the puck in his glove backhanded.
Forget the best save of the year conversation, it is hard enough just deciding which was the best save of the night.
Rask return to Bruins could be delayed because of AHL postponements
Tuukka Rask’s return to the Boston Bruins could be delayed after two American Hockey League games the goalie was expected to play in this weekend were postponed.
The 34-year-old unrestricted free agent signed a professional tryout contract with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence on Thursday and said it would take him 1-2 games to be ready to play in the NHL. Later Thursday, the AHL announced Providence’s games against Lehigh Valley scheduled for Friday and Sunday were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers affiliate. Providence’s next scheduled game is Jan. 14.
“To be honest I’m not sure when he’s going to play,” coach Bruce Cassidy said prior to the Bruins game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. “Sunday’s game got washed as well. So that’s a discussion they will have to have. Right now I can’t give you the definitive plan. He’s practicing and we’ll try to get him in some game actions wherever he can. He might have to start playing here and miss some assignments in Providence. We’ll have to come to that decision this week when we get back.”
When asked whether Rask could possibly play for Maine in the ECHL, Cassidy said, “I don’t know if it would be a waste of time. Live action anywhere is a good thing. Risk of injury … you always want to be careful your first game back, no matter where you play. I don’t think it’s been discussed, but I can’t say for certain. I think that’s got to be Tuukka’s call at the end of the day. With Providence being a wash, does he feel like he can go right back into the live action? We’ll have to make that call accordingly if we agree with him.”
Rask had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip in late July and has been working out at the Bruins practice facility through his rehab. He began informally practicing with Boston in early December and said he was ready for his first game action since June 9.
“I feel great,” Rask said. “The biggest issue for me was the catching of the joint and the pain that that created. So that was gone. It makes a huge difference because every time I go to the butterfly (position) and get up, I don’t have to think about it locking up on me again and creating that pain. I feel great.”
The Bruins play at the Washington Capitals on Monday before returning home for three scheduled home games next week, against the Montreal Canadiens (Jan. 12), Philadelphia Flyers (Jan. 13) and Nashville Predators (Jan. 15). Cassidy said Dec. 26 that the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden on Jan. 18 could potentially be targeted for Rask’s return.
The Bruins (17-11-2) are fourth in the Atlantic Division, 15 points behind the first-place Lightning.
“Obviously, he’s been cleared medically to play, which is a great sign,” Cassidy said. “The next step is getting himself ready to be an NHL goaltender again.”
Rask said the pain had been an issue for most of last season and not before, calling it a “wear-and-tear” problem. He said it hadn’t been a factor in his life outside of hockey and that, had he not wanted to continue playing, he did not need to have surgery.
As a result, Rask never considered retirement after going 15-5-2 with a 2.28 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and two shutouts in 24 games last season. His last game was a 6-2 loss to the New York Islanders in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Second Round.
Ultimately, Rask said he wanted to return for another chance at the Stanley Cup with forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, his teammates for more than a decade. Rask was the backup to Tim Thomas when the Bruins won the Cup in 2011, then was the No. 1 goalie when they reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2013, losing in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks, and 2019, losing in seven games to the St. Louis Blues.
“I didn’t want to flirt with the opportunity to go anywhere else,” Rask said. “It’s a business, like everybody knows, but for us players when we’ve had a team like the Bruins, a bunch of us have grown up together here and you feel that brotherhood with the guys and you don’t want to leave guys on bad terms. I just wanted to try and come back and be helpful and maybe finish it up with a bunch of those guys who I’ve played with my whole career.”
As for signing a contract, Rask said, “We have a plan in place. It shouldn’t be an issue.” He repeated that he is not looking for a big-money contract and said he’s not contemplated his playing career beyond this season.
Rask, who has played his entire 14-season NHL career for the Bruins, is 306-163-66 with a 2.27 GAA and .921 save percentage in 560 games (540 starts). He is their all-time leader in wins (306) and is second in shutouts (52) behind Tiny Thompson (74).
The Bruins have been using goalies Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark this season. Swayman is 8-6-2 with a 2.26 GAA, .918 save percentage and one shutout in 16 starts. Ullmark is 9-5-0 with a 2.58 GAA and .917 save percentage in 14 starts.
In late November, Boston general manager Don Sweeney said the goalies had been “OK.” Since then, Swayman and Ullmark have performed better, but what the Bruins will do with them remains in question.
“The obvious is that this is a world-class goalie that’s getting closer and closer,” Cassidy said. “We sat down with Jeremy and Linus at the start of the year, before opening night, kind of spelled out what Tuukka’s plan would be here. And the focus was on Ullmark and Swayman first, they were Boston Bruins.
“Tuukka is a great pro, and he was going to use the facility and rehab and see where it led. He had a timeline I think everyone was aware of, including those two, that he may or may not come back and play. So they knew from Day One.”
Swayman is a rookie. Ullmark, in his seventh NHL season, signed a four-year, $20 million contract July 28. The former can be sent to Providence without waivers.
“We’re top 10. We want to be top five,” Cassidy said. “We want to be one of the elite teams in the League and we’re trending toward that, so that’s a good thing. And Tuukka, we would assume, can only help us with that, if in fact he ends up being a Bruin. So for me, I think it’s a good problem to have.”