NHL Rumors: Devils, Lightning, Bruins, Blackhawks, Penguins, More

in today’s NHL rumor rundown, a few comments by Taylor Hall revealed the New Jersey Devils didn’t ever get as far as making him an offer to stay, Tampa Bay’s GM has virtually suggested there’s no way the Lightning’s coach is getting fired, and did Dylan Larkin’s comments upset some of the Detroit fan base regarding the All-Star Game? Finally, is Sidney Crosby closer to a return and are the Bruins and Blackhawks working on something?

Hall Never Asked to Stay in New Jersey

More often than not, when a player who’s about the become an unrestricted free agent is moved before his contract expires that summer, it’s because the team that traded him was unable to make an extension work. Not so in the case of Taylor Hall.

Taylor Hall New Jersey Devils
Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Hall said during a recent media availability that he had never received an offer of any kind from the Devils. Instead Hall believes the Devils knew they weren’t a playoff team, felt Hall was likely to decline an offer and trade offers from other teams started coming in. Once that happened, both the agent and the Devils figured, ‘Why bother?’

“Yeah there wasn’t any offers, it never got to that point,” admitted Hall as per TSN. He added:

“I think Ray [Shero] is a patient guy and he wanted to see how the year went and I was in the boat. Ray and I have a great relationship and I think him and my agent get along very well as well, I think we both wanted to see how the year went and they knew that what I wanted to do this year was to play in the playoffs, to have a chance to go as deep as I could. It seemed like that might not be possible in New Jersey so we started talking about options and I think he got a couple of good offers and he sat me out and I was on my way.”

For the Devils, moving Hall was not likely about giving him a chance to play in the postseason at the detriment to the organization and making a less-than-deal trade, but the Devils not making the playoffs was probably a clear indicator Hall wasn’t going to think of them as a long-term fit.

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Jon Cooper’s Job Completely Safe

While being asked other questions as part of a Q&A with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois made it pretty clear that his head coach, Jon Cooper, is not in jeopardy of losing his job.

Jon Cooper Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper (James Guillory-USA TODAY)

While the Lightning don’t have the record the team would like nor are they playing as well as many expected, Cooper is not being blamed and his job is not on the hot seat.

BriseBois tells LeBrun that Cooper’s job security “shouldn’t come up” and said:

“…last year I think our record outperformed our play. This year our play has outperformed our record. Hopefully there’s going to be some sort of regression to the mean and our record is going to catch up to our play.

source – ‘LeBrun: Q&A with Julien BriseBois on the Lightning learning from last year’s loss, analytics and the trade deadline’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 12/30/2019

Related: Red Wings: What the Numbers Say Thus Far

Larkin Says, “Don’t Vote For Me”

While a candidate to be voted in by the fans as a Last Men In voting poll, Dylan Larkin has asked the fans not to vote. He said, “Please don’t vote. I like the days off more.”

Dylan Larkin - Red Wings
Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings – Dec. 18, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While some can understand players looking for rest and a chance to recoup instead of joining the All-Star game, there isn’t a lot in Detroit to be excited about these days. Fans getting a chance to vote in one of their players might be considered a highlight and now their team star doesn’t want them to.

Not all is lost. Tyler Bertuzzi was selected to go from the Red Wings roster so the team will have a rep there in some fashion.

Related: Top 5 Goaltenders of the 1960s

Crosby Nearing a Return?

For a minute, there was some hope in Pittsburgh as Sidney Crosby took the ice with his teammates in a white jersey. The white jersey either signaled “no contact” or something else, but it led reporters to ask if he was closer to a return.

Crosby replied there was no timeline on his return and that no, he wasn’t closer. Only that the ice time with his teammates was the only ice time available to skate and that he would resume skating on his own the next day.

He did say things were improving, but he’s not there yet.

Blackhawks Looking Closely at Bruins

Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now noted that the Chicago Blackhawks have been scouting the Boston Bruins heavily over the past couple of weeks. The Blackhawks had at least one scout at the Bruins’ previous four home games. “Yeah Stan Bowman has been hot on the trail at a lot of their games,” one NHL pro scout acknowledged to Boston Hockey Now.

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