In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on the status of Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher after taking a cross check to the face. With that, is there any supplemental discipline coming for Matt Niskanen? In Edmonton, one scribe suggests the Oilers will kick tires on two big-name and expensive goaltenders. Finally, in Columbus, there is talk that head coach John Tortorella could get fined for walking off on reporters.
Could Tortorella Be Fined by the NHL?
After just 40 seconds of a post-game media avail, veteran coach John Tortorella walked out of his committed time with the gathered media, refusing to answer the second question asked. When Neal Mchale of Inside Hockey asked about what the team can take away from this unique playoff experience Tortorella said in frustration, “You know what guys? I’m not going to get into the touchy feely stuff and the moral victories and all that. You guys be safe.”
TSN’s Darren Dreger notes that he believes the NHL might have finally had enough of this kind of behavior from the coach and sees this as a slap towards everything the league has tried to do make hockey meaningful during a pandemic. Dreger said he thinks Tortorella will be fined and added the league might argue, “We’re trying to do something here to keep the game relevant, for the most part it’s been great, and we don’t need a poopy pants like you showing up the media 40 seconds in.”
Oilers Could Kick Tires on Markstrom and Lehner
In a recent article for The Athletic, hockey insider Pierre LeBrun suggested that Robin Lehner and Jacob Markstrom will be the two key goalies this offseason to watch and that their deals will influence what happens with the rest of the goaltenders.Wondering where they might land or who could show interest, LeBrun said, “Edmonton would be another possibility.”
LeBrun says about the Oilers:
Mike Smith, 38, is UFA this fall, so there’s a natural opening alongside Mikko Koskinen, 32, who still has two more years on his deal at a $4.5 million AAV. The problem, as it is for so many teams, is that the Oilers don’t have much cap flexibility. But if you’re looking to take the next step as an organization, finding a true No. 1 has to be a top priority. A Lehner-Koskinen tandem would do that.
By the way, if for whatever reason Markstrom isn’t able to re-sign with the Canucks, I think the Oilers will inquire on that front as well.source – ‘LeBrun: Lehner, Markstrom expected to set tone for UFA goaltending market’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 08/19/2020
This is quite the interesting take on the Oilers situation because the team is so tight to the cap and while the club needs to make a decision on the goalies, goaltending wasn’t a glaring weakness for the franchise this past season.
In other news, the Oilers loaned back Philip Borberg to Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League. It is expected, after how he impressed this season, that Broberg will return to Edmonton for training camp with a legitimate shot to make the team.
Flyers Niskanen Facing NHL Hearing
The Department of Player Safety has announced a scheduled hearing for today with Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen. As most people know by now, Niskanen cross-checked Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher in the face and while head coach Alain Vigneault says “in my estimation Gallagher seemed fine” and adds that it’s not Niskanen’s fault Gallagher is a shorter player who got cut on a “hockey play.”, the league doesn’t seem to agree.
Niskanen was not penalized on the play, but it certainly was a penalty.
Gallagher Could Have a Fractured Jaw
Following the game, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports tweeted that it was circulating that Gallagher allegedly sustained a fracture in his jaw. LeBrun tweeted on Thursday that Gallagher has been scheduled for a CT scan today but that it was his understanding that Gallagher would not have to leave the bubble.
If Gallagher misses any real time, that would be a huge loss for the Canadiens despite his only having one goal in the playoffs. It was on his back of his inspired play that the Canadiens found the energy to get a big win against the Flyers.
Hurricanes to see Big Changes
ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan speculates the Carolina Hurricanes could lose a few key pieces this offseason. She names pending UFA defensemen like Sami Vatanen, Joel Edmundson, or Trevor van Riemsdyk as potential exits and wonders if Justin Williams has played his final NHL game.
Kaplan also says she expects the budget-conscious Hurricanes to stick with their affordable goalie tandem of Petr Mrazek and James Reimer for one more season.
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Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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