All posts by Josh Gold-Smith

Flyers sweep Western Canadian road trip after 10-game losing skid

The Philadelphia Flyers' double-digit run of defeats is now firmly in the rear-view mirror.

Claude Giroux notched a goal and an assist, and Jakub Voracek chipped in three helpers of his own as the Flyers dumped the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Thursday night.

Philadelphia extended its win streak to three, with all of those victories coming on the road against Western Canadian clubs this week.

The Flyers snapped their 10-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday, doubled up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Wednesday, before beating the Canucks one night later.

Philadelphia begins a five-game homestand Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Blues season-ticket holder dresses as emergency goalie

Tyler Stewart had a night to remember.

The St. Louis Blues season-ticket holder - who's a vending machine worker by day, according to The Associated Press - briefly served as the club's backup goaltender Thursday night.

So how did that happen?

Goalie Carter Hutton got hurt in the morning skate, and while the Blues called up Ville Husso from their AHL affiliate, he couldn't make it to the arena in time for puck drop.

That gave Stewart the unlikely opportunity to hear head coach Mike Yeo's pregame speech, speak to several Blues players, and warm up alongside starter Jake Allen.

The 25-year-old signed a tryout contract Thursday afternoon.

Stewart watched the first period from the Blues' dressing room, and Husso made it to the arena with about five minutes left in the opening frame.

"It's something I'll never forget," Stewart said, according to the AP. "This was my Christmas present."

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Quebec City won’t be considered for NHL expansion yet again

Seattle has the green light, but a certain Canadian city has once again been left waiting at a stop sign.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that the league is only looking at Seattle for potential expansion, meaning Quebec City is not a possibility this time around, according to TSN's Frank Seravalli.

Related: NHL opens application process for Seattle expansion franchise

Bettman said he doesn't know where this leaves Quebec City going forward, per TSN's Pierre LeBrun, and added that the former NHL city is still on the league's radar, according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen.

Quebec City submitted an expansion application in June 2016, but the NHL deferred it and chose Las Vegas as the only new franchise destination.

Quebecor, a local media company, oversaw the construction of the $370-million Videotron Centre, which opened in fall 2015.

The NHL's Nordiques left Quebec City for Denver and became the Avalanche in 1995.

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Bettman confirms Hurricanes’ sale agreement, insists they won’t relocate

The Carolina Hurricanes have an agreement in place to sell the team, and Gary Bettman is adamant that they're not going anywhere.

The NHL commissioner confirmed that the club's signed a purchase agreement with its prospective new owner, Dallas-based businessman Tom Dundon, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

Bettman added that the sale won't be officially closed for a few weeks, but insisted "this is not a team that will be moved," according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Dundon signed the purchase agreement with longtime Hurricanes chairman Peter Karmanos on Wednesday night. Dundon is the chairman and managing partner of Dundon Capital Partners, a private investment firm.

Under the new agreement, Dundon will own 52 percent of the team, while Karmanos will own 48 percent, and Dundon will have an option to buy out Karmanos' share in three years' time, LeBrun added.

Karmanos has owned the franchise since the Hartford Whalers days, purchasing it along with Compuware partner Thomas Thewes and now-Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford in 1994.

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McDavid, Subban, Ovechkin, Stamkos lead after 1st week of All-Star voting

The early returns are in, and a formidable quartet stands above the rest in the NHL All-Star Fan Vote.

Connor McDavid, P.K. Subban, Alex Ovechkin, and Steven Stamkos lead their respective divisions after the first week of voting to determine the captains for the 2018 All-Star tournament in Tampa Bay.

Here's the full list of how fans have cast their votes so far:

Atlantic Division

1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
4. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
5. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

Central Division

1. P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators
2. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
3. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
4. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
5. Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets

Metropolitan Division

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
3. John Tavares, New York Islanders
4. Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins
5. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

Pacific Division

1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
2. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
3. James Neal, Vegas Golden Knights
4. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights
5. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

Fans have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 1, 2018 to make their selections. The All-Star Game, which will once again consist of a three-on-three tourney between the divisional squads, takes place Jan. 28 at Amalie Arena.

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Price to start Saturday after missing 10 games with injury

Carey Price is back.

The Montreal Canadiens' star goaltender will make a return to the crease Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres, the Canadiens confirmed after practice Friday.

Price missed the last 10 games with an injury the club both initially and subsequently deemed "minor."

Much like the team itself, Price struggled before sitting out with the ailment, going 3-7-1 with an .877 save percentage and a goals-against average of 3.77.

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Subban-for-Weber trade still looms large amid Canadiens’ downward spiral

As the Montreal Canadiens continue to underperform, it's impossible not to look back at the P.K. Subban-for-Shea Weber trade as the most glaring of Marc Bergevin's ill-advised moves, and the one that precipitated the club's descent.

Subban will host the Canadiens for the first time Wednesday, when his Nashville Predators - winners of seven of their last 10 games - meet a Montreal squad that's lost four in a row and now has the NHL's fifth-worst record.

While it's not productive to fixate on the past, the matchup is yet another reminder of the controversial blockbuster and the fact that it's a major reason the Canadiens are where they are at the moment.

Yes, Montreal's general manager made a handful of disastrous decisions before and after the Subban-Weber transaction: Dealing away Mikhail Sergachev, letting Andrei Markov and Alexander Radulov walk, giving Karl Alzner a five-year contract, trading for and signing Andrew Shaw long term.

And yes, Carey Price's latest injury has exposed the Canadiens' flaws and once again forced them to forge ahead without their star goaltender.

But nearly 17 months after the Subban-for-Weber trade, the swap still stands out as an inescapable factor in Montreal's downfall.

The Canadiens undoubtedly appreciate Weber's blistering slap shot, his ability to score goals, and his experience, but they're a slower team without Subban, who's producing at a higher per-game clip than Weber on the offensive end and providing the Predators with further defensive stability.

Nashville's previously steady blue line transformed into the NHL's best last season with the addition of Subban, who helped the Predators reach the Stanley Cup Final after the Canadiens were bounced out of the first round by the New York Rangers.

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Now that the Canadiens' situation has only gotten worse more than a quarter of the way into the 2017-18 season, Montreal's recent slide only further underscores that they were the losers in the deal.

It not only hurt Montreal in both the short and long term (have a look at their respective contracts for evidence of the latter), but it was also the most blatant example of how Bergevin's misguided vision for retooling the roster only made it worse.

That strategy, namely valuing physicality and strength over speed and skill, is arguably the biggest reason why the Canadiens have taken a significant step backward, and the Subban-for-Weber move was the largest in a series of actions Bergevin took to mold the team in that way.

Weber is dealing with an injury and may not play Wednesday, but the game will be compelling regardless. It's a reminder that the Canadiens gave up on Subban, and that they're worse off in so doing.

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Report: Shipachyov to retire from NHL

A resolution has reportedly been reached in the Vadim Shipachyov saga.

The Russian forward will file retirement papers with the NHL to ensure his departure from the Vegas Golden Knights, via Sportsnet's Eric Engels.

Once the 30-year-old retires, his NHL rights will belong to Vegas until he's 35, Engels adds.

TSN's Pierre LeBrun was first to report that the NHL and NHLPA had agreed to a solution to facilitate Shipachyov's exit, and he added that it's expected to come Monday.

The NHLPA reportedly got involved in the process because it did not want Shipachyov to repay his $2-million signing bonus in the event he was claimed on waivers or signed by another NHL club.

He apparently went back to Russia after the Golden Knights suspended him for leaving their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.

Vegas signed Shipachyov to a two-year, $9-million contract in May.

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Report: Potential 3-team deal sending Duchene to Senators falls apart

Talks on a proposed three-way trade that would have sent Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators ended with no deal, TSN's Darren Dreger reports.

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has been pursuing Duchene since mid-September and discussions heated up in the last couple of weeks, according to Dreger.

More to come.

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Matthews in rarefied air with 50th career goal

Auston Matthews' talent is unquestioned, and his ability to produce early on in his NHL career is nearly unmatched.

The Toronto Maple Leafs star notched his 50th career goal Thursday night on a penalty shot against the Los Angeles Kings, joining Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin as the only two players since 1994 to score that many in their first 96 games, according to The Athletic's James Mirtle.

Matthews' goal production in that span exceeded the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos, and Connor McDavid, among others.

It was Matthews' 10th goal in 14 games so far this season.

He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 2016-17, piling up 69 points and playing all 82 contests.

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