Word leaked out of Canada’s capital district of Ottawa about trouble between Senators management in negotiations with second-line center Kyle Turris.
A three-way trade involving Colorado and Nashville went through, with Sens GM Pierre Dorion trading Turris, a Top Six forward on the Senators.
It had been a fiasco from recent statements by Dorion that had sounded completely, well, idiotic. Dorion had told TSN of Canada he wanted to improve an offense (fourth in the NHL) and to deal his second-line center.
The problem was not about money and salary cap implications, but the terms. Ottawa offered 4-5 years. Turris wound up signing a six-year deal with Nashville and no longer had to worry about being tagged as an unrestricted free agent next summer. Dorian got the deal done before running out of time.
Ottawa obtained Colorado C Matt Duchene, who wanted out of Denver last season, yet GM Joe Sakic couldn’t find takers for the 26-year-old from Hamilton, Ontario who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Avalanche.
The Avalanche received multiple players and two draft picks. The club got off to a fast start while other Central Division teams are faltering.
The three-way deal makes sense as all sides were able to get equal value. Duchene is an unrestricted free agent until 2019.
One club not seeking talent is “my” Los Angeles Kings, which is offering their players a major change in philosophy after changes were made on the bench and the front office.
One reason Darryl Sutter was let go as head coach: he played too many veterans and refused to influx the roster with younger players. That left GM Dean Lombardi with the difficult task of telling Sutter to adjust because he was pressed against the wall with salary cap issues.
In the end, upper management moved assistant coach John Stevens to head man and assistant GM Rob Blake to the No. 1 slot, too.
Stevens installed a more aggressive offensive system that allowed the defense to overlap on offense, making Drew Doughty, the so-called Best Defenseman in the NHL, an even more dangerous player.
The forwards cover for Doughty when he charges to the net, but if they can’t, they still have Jonathan Quick in goal to rescue the few miscues.
No wonder L.A. is in first place. And it’s all three lines, too. The key is the No. 2 line – the 70s line – which saw C Jeff Carter and LW Kyle Clifford both join the IR.
Meanwhile, Marian Gaborik just started skating; he hasn’t played all season. Gaborik originally broke his leg during last year’s World Cup of Hockey, missing 21 games yet was never 100 percent.
Oh, L.A. remains a big, tough team, but with subtle roster changes. One Kings fan-site lists Stevens’ use of “youngsters with jump” to lift the veterans.
Anze Kopitar returns as Kings scoring leader with the thanks of rookie LW Adrian Kempe, who did little in 25 games under Sutter last season, yet is thriving under Stevens. With 10 points in 13 games, Kempe, who hails from Sweden, may be a fantasy player to check out. The key with this line is massive improvements in puck distribution.
While the offense is up, the defense anchored by Quick in goal ranks tops in the league, staking L.A. to a 5-point early lead over Vegas in the Pacific Division starting the week.
And when the 70s line (all three players wear numbers in the 70s) gets back together, the Kings may quickly return as a true Stanley Cup contender.
The Vegas Golden Knights scored an impressive rebound following a 0-3-0 start on their current six-game, East Coast road trip.
Clearly looking like a traditional expansion team, the door was wide open to take down a Boston Bruins club missing at least three centers.
David Backes went on the IR for eight weeks following colon surgery last week, joining Ryan Spooner (groin tear) and David Krejci (upper-body injury) on the shelf.
Still, Boston won 2-1, however like a veteran squad the Knights bounced back two nights later to win 5-4 at Ottawa in a game in which they never trailed.
Fourth-string goalie Maxime Lagace survived the frantic, final five minutes for his first NHL triumph.
Vegas returns home Friday as the league’s first Canada-based club, the Winnipeg Jets, come to town. Can’t confirm the rumor that Vegas’ own Celine Dion – a Quebec native – will perform “Oh, Canada.”
Pacific – Arizona: In the middle of a 12-of-15 stretch on the road, maybe the Coyotes are starting to come together. Thanks to the 10th goal of the season by Clayton Keller (plus a shootout tally, too), Arizona nipped Carolina to win for the second time in four starts following a league record-tying 1-11-1 start since trading for goalie Scott Wedgewood from New Jersey.
And now with a healthy Antti Raanta in goal, the team’s confidence level is rising, so the Coyotes could be a look-to team as they again head back onto the road.
Atlantic – Montreal: No one is stating the slow start by Carey Price in goal is the reason, but maybe the All-Star was more responsible than previously thought. Price is listed “day-to-day” with a lower back strain, but 3-4 games off provide a chance to piece together his game in practice.
Metro – Columbus: It took a month before the Blue Jackets could score a power play goal on the road, but when they finally did, the team looked like world-beaters. The Jackets scored two PPGs in a win at Florida, then salvaged a point at Eastern Conference leading Tampa Bay in a shootout loss in the battle of division leaders.
Central – Colorado: Since suffering a 7-0 drubbing to Vegas, the Avs are averaging five goals per game. With an upcoming home-and-home series against Ottawa this week, a Colorado/Over parlay could be a strong wager to consider.
Get OVER it
Another week of OVERs on the total was capped by an 8-4-1 record last Saturday as NHL scoring continues to befuddle the line-makers.