Posts Tagged ‘Oliver Ekman-Larsson’

Top Line: Roberto Luongo injury scare; Voracek glad to be alive; more links

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Goalie Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks has a lower body injury

The ranks of injured goalies grew when Roberto Luongo was sidelined by a lower body ailment. (Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

An abbreviated but annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

• Roberto Luongo left Sunday night’s game early with an undisclosed injury, raising questions for both the Canucks and Team Canada. We should know more today about his condition and how it might impact his plans for the next six weeks or so.

• The buzz continues to build around Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. At this point, his game shouldn’t be taking anyone by surprise, especially not the voters who are responsible for choosing this season’s Norris Trophy winner. With every team visiting every NHL city this season, there’s no excuse to overlook a talent like OEL.

• Eric Duhatschek looks at the growing prominence of backup goalies, including the Kings’ Martin Jones, who will be trying to make history with his next start. Jones’ success will put Los Angeles in an interesting position when Jonathan Quick returns to the lineup.

• Ken Campbell uses Jones’ instant success to make the case against offering long-term contracts to such goalies as Henrik Lundqvist.

• A near-fatal car crash changed the perspective of the Flyers’ Jake Voracek, helping him to work through an early season slump and finally regain his world-class form.

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  • Published On Dec 23, 2013
  • Top Line: Bettman eyes ejection for NHL fights; salary cap hot topic; more links

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    Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks and Antoine Roussel of the Dallas Stars do not like each other.

    Once again, the NHL’s debate about how to handle fighting is on the front burner. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    The Hockey News teased its upcoming interview with Gary Bettman in which the NHL’s Commissioner discussed the possibility of ejection for fighting and what the league is doing for retired players. As far as teases go, this one is pretty good.

    • The salary cap, player safety, and updates on Sochi will be on the agenda of today’s NHL Board of Governors meeting in Florida. Bettman is expected to ballpark what the cap will be next season in order to give general managers a chance to do some planning. Look for a number around $70 million.

    • Is it still considered a “staged fight” if the two participants genuinely don’t like one another? We might find out Tuesday night in Dallas.

    • This could get awkward for Team Canada. Bruins coach Claude Julien had some harsh words for James Neal after the Pittsburgh winger said he didn’t notice Brad Marchand lying defenseless on the ice before delivering a knee to the Boston pest’s head on Saturday night. Not sure anyone’s buying Neal’s “I didn’t see him!” excuse.

    • Steve Buffery says the shameful behavior in Boston on Saturday had nothing to do with fighting. Hard to believe that point needs to be made, but clearly it does based on all the anti-fighting diatribes that sprang up in the aftermath of the Shawn Thornton/James Neal escapades.

    • Any joy the Blackhawks felt after snapping a three-game losing skid last night against Florida was tempered by an injury to goaltender Corey Crawford. Coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t seem too concerned, but the Hawks mirror the general mood around Columbus right after Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky suffered a little tweak that’s now on course to become a month-long stint on the IR. Rookie Antti Raanta is the go-to guy for Chicago if Crawford is out.

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  • Published On Dec 09, 2013
  • Phoenix Coyotes, Oliver Ekman-Larsson both win with six-year extension

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    (Norm Hall/Getty)

    The Coyotes elected to ink Oliver Ekman-Larsson before he hit free agency this summer. (Norm Hall/Getty)

    By Allan Muir

    Some teams choose to play hard ball with their own free agents, looking to take advantage of the new CBA to control the costs associated with a player’s second contract.

    And some teams can’t be bothered to mess around.

    Count the Phoenix Coyotes among the latter group. With franchise defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson headed to restricted free agency this summer, the team made a bold move to lock up his services with a six-year extension Friday night.

    The Coyotes didn’t release terms, but
    TSN’s Darren Dreger
    put it at $33 million, for an annual hit of $5.5 million. That’s a pretty nice upgrade over the $900,000 he earned in each of his first three years in the league and puts OEL in line behind Drew Doughty ($7 million) and Erik Karlsson ($6.5 million) as the top earners among young defenders.

    It’s also a very different way of doing business than how Montreal handled P.K. Subban and Colorado bungled its dealings with Ryan O’Reilly over the past couple of months. That aggressive approach probably won’t win Phoenix GM Don Maloney many friends, but it is one that makes perfect sense for this franchise. This isn’t a pay-for-potential deal. Ekman-Larsson isn’t just one of the game’s best young defensemen…he’s one of the best, period. This is value for now and moving forward. Wherever this team winds up playing, he’s the core for the next six years.

    Could the Coyotes have pushed for a cheaper “bridge” contract? Maybe, but doing it this way allowed Maloney to set up a deal he was willing to live with. Ask Colorado GM Greg Sherman some time about the pros and cons of allowing some other team’s offer sheet to control your payroll. Maloney wasn’t going to let that happen to him.

    No fans are more put upon than the Phoenix faithful. Nice to see them get something to cheer about for a change.

  • Published On Mar 15, 2013