The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article.
The playoffs are losing bodies left and right. Connor McDavid might opt for a five-year contract like other superstars have. Sweden wins the World Championships. Phil Kessel is there for a teammate during a time of need.
Playoff Injury Woes
I am forever thankful for the support and well wishes I have received the past few days. Feeling much better now.
— Ryan Johansen (@RyanJohansen19) May 20, 2017
The 2017 Stanley Cup might as well be handed to the team with the last player standing. We’ve seen some important players get injured early and team’s rosters are getting thinner by the day. Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray got hurt at the start of the playoffs but has since returned, although, the defense in front of him is hurt, but somehow holding it together. Half of Nashville’s centers have disappeared, and this was with rookie Kevin Fiala already out for the season. Erik Karlsson didn’t return for the third period in a blowout loss in Game 5 against Pittsburgh, but said he’d be okay for Game 6. Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves won’t make the trip to Nashville for Game 6, but John Gibson will after being replaced by Jonathan Bernier on Saturday night.
Staying healthy throughout the playoffs might be more important than anything at this point. Crucial injuries have occurred, but both Pittsburgh and Nashville see themselves one win away from the Stanley Cup Final despite missing key pieces. Sure, their rosters aren’t fully healthy, but either team only needs five more wins at this point and it might be possible without Ryan Johansen or Justin Schultz (or Kris Letang) in the lineup.
5 years for McDavid?
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 21, 2017
On Saturday Headlines, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests that there’s a theory that McDavid might follow other superstars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Patrick Kane, and elect for a five-year contract. This would take him to unrestricted free agency at age 25 and he could then sign a huge eight-year deal at that point.
Friedman notes that Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers would basically give McDavid whatever they want, but signing for five years could be more beneficial for McDavid. Nick Kypreos also said that the talk of McDavid getting 12-13 million or the max is just not going to happen, and the difference between McDavid and Draisaitl’s contracts might not be all that much more than a million or so dollars. This is interesting because McDavid could command a whole lot more, even while only signing for five years. This could mean Leon Draisaitl’s contract will be for more than originally thought, but it sounds like McDavid’s contract could come at a significantly lower price than a lot of people were expecting.
Sweden Wins the Worlds
Ugh. Shootout. Sweden wins World Championship Gold. Very impressive performance by Pickard, though.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 21, 2017
After a grueling game against Canada, Sweden prevails in the shootout.
It always feels odd when games like these are deciding in the shootout, but those are the IIHF’s rules. Mitch Marner’s last attempt sealed the fate for Canada and they went home with second place. It’s hard to compete with a blueline featuring Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jonas Brodin, Alex Edler, and John Klingberg. Oh yeah, then Henrik Lundqvist in net. Sweden wins it. The Russians place third, and all eyes are firmly on the NHL playoffs now.
Bonino Hitches a Ride
Bonino on where his car is: "It's at a dealership. It shutdown on the way to the game. Great teammate Phil Kessel came and picked me up."
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 21, 2017
The Pittsburgh Penguins have had their share of injury problems, but now players are even finding it difficult to make it to the games. Luckily for Nick Bonino, Phil Kessel was there to save the day and provide him with a ride to the Penguins’ arena.
Phil Kessel had 18 points in 17 playoff games this year, and he’s quite literally helping on and off the ice during this playoff run.