Is Drouin destined for the Washington Capitals?

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin is in some hot water after demanding a trade and refusing to show up for an AHL game after he was sent down — but there is still demand on the market for him, and one of those teams could be the Washington Capitals.

The problem for Drouin, of course, is that the Lightning don’t appear to have any interest in acquiescing to his trade demands, sticking him in the minors and then suspending him when he didn’t show up for a game, according to a Stars and Sticks report.

Drouin, who is a former No. 3 overall draft pick, has lots of upside but has so far disappointed in his stint with the Lightning. Still, his caliber of talent is likely to attract some attention from teams looking for a forward with high upside as long as he comes at the right price.

In 89 games with the Lightning, Drouin has just 40 points, although he was often used in the bottom six as he never clicked with his coach. He was sent down to Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, which clearly did not make Drouin happy.

The Washington Capitals are the NHL’s No. 1 team in terms of standings points right now, but they might pick up the phone for the talented forward who is currently just 20 years old. If Tampa Bay decides it wants to get rid of Drouin and at least get something in return, the Capitals could get him at a bargain.

But there appears to be a strong possibility that’s going to happen — not this year, at least. Tampa GM Steve Yzerman doesn’t have any reason to flip him in a trade for too little because he isn’t even on an NHL roster, and the organization will likely be wary that teams will be looking to get him for cheap.

Fortunately, the Capitals have time to wait for Drouin to come on the market — so while it may not happen tomorrow, it could happen at some point.


Jonathan Drouin wants out of Tampa Bay — will it happen?

The Tampa Bay Lighting had high hopes for left winger Jonathan Drouin after selecting him third overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, but now he may be on the trading block.

Drouin was hampered with injuries during the 2014-15 season, and so far this year has two goals and six assists in 16 games before his agent officiallyr equested a trade from the organization, according to an ESPN report.

Still, that may not mean a trade is imminent. The Lightning is not keen to give away a top prospect unless they get value in return, even if they do wish to move Drouin.

Drouin is headed to AHL affiliate Syracuse after being reassigned, and if he doesn’t, he could be suspended. Even though the Lightning may want to be rid of him, they are not going to give him away for nothing.

Of course, Drouin has some cards in his deck due to the difficult situation the team faces with all-star captain Steven Stamkos. The team may be motivated to quickly move him and avoid a distraction during this whole process, but at the end of the day, Drouin doesn’t have much leverage, and going public may create a problem for his chances on finding another team, especially since he’s underwhelmed as a top prospect.

The Tampa Bay Lightning currently sit at fifth in the Atlantic division with a 19-16-4 record. They have been a .500 team as of late, winning 5 games while losing four along with one in overtime.


Jaromir Jagr jokes about All-Star game selection

Again veteran Jaromir Jagr joked with fans not to send him to the All-Star game because a 3-on-3 matchup might kill him, but fans did it anyway, and Jagr is finding humor in it.

Jagr will be one of four captains, joining Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, and John Scott. Jagr will represent the Atlantic Division, whereas Ovechkin will represent the Metropolitan, Kane will represent the Central and Scott will represent the Pacific. The game will take place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Jan. 31, according to an report.

Jagr joked on Sunday that he asked for fans not to vote for him and they “didn’t listen.” At the twilight of his career, he has had a breakout season and has helped the Panthers soar to the top of the Atlantic division. He added that he doesn’t think fans like him much and they must want him dead to vote him into the game. Jagr has 13 goals and 15 assists so far this season. He joined the Panthers last year and played 20 games, scored six goals and 12 assists in the process. In his long and storied career beginning all the way back in 1990, Jagr has scored 439 goals and notched 640 assists for 1,079 points in 806 games, making him a sure first-ballot hall of famer when he eventually does retire from the game.

This is the first year that the NHl is doing a 3-on-3 winner-take-all division-based tournament for the All-Star game. Each of the four divisions will have an 11-player roster including six forwards, three defensemen, and two goalies, and the games will last 20 minutes each. The Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions will play in a semifinal, as will the Central and Pacific divisions, and the winners will then play each other in the championship game.


Injuries mount for NHL-leading Capitals

For the first couple months of the year, the Washington Capitals boasted perhaps the healthiest team in hockey — then, Brooks Orpik went down, and last night, all hell broke loose.

Now, a significant portion of the roster is either dinged up or on the shelf for the NHL-leading Washington Capitals, who won their ninth straight against the Buffalo Sabres.

The worst blow was to Jay Beagle, who is expected to require surgery and miss significant time. While not a top-six player, Beagle has fueled lots of scoring in the bottom six that has made this Capitals team such a force to be reckoned with.

He joins Brooks Orpik on the long-term injured list, and defenseman John Carlson may be joining them. After initially being expected to not miss much time at all, Coach Barry Trotz now says Carlson will miss a good bit of time as well.

The Capitals also got a scare when first-line center Nicklas Backstrom left the game in the third, but he is expected to play against Carolina tonight.

Michael Latta was also a concern after he got injured in a fight two games ago, but he is also expected to get back into the lineup.

Justin Williams and Alex Ovechkin have shed a bit of blood themselves, although they haven’t missed anytime. Williams was slashed in the face against Buffalo in an incident that resulted in Latta’s fight that injured him, and Ovechkin was hit by his teammate’s slapshot in a recent game.


Brad Marchand banned 3 games, will miss Winter Classic

Oft-suspended Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has just earned himself another punishment from the NHL, and this time it’s going to cost him big: he’ll miss the Winter Classic against the Montreal Canadiens.

The NHL handed down a three-game suspension for Marchand, who clipped Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki during a Tuesday game.

Marchand dipped low after being screened, plowing into Borowiecki’s legs and sending him into the air, landing on his head. No penalty was called on the play and Borowiecki was not injured after leaving the ice briefly.

However, Marcharnd earned a suspension because he has a history of such hits, particularly low ones which he been suspended for before.

Marchand insisted after the game that it was incidental contact, but the Department of Player Safety disagreed, hitting him with a three-game ban that will begin with tomorrow’s outdoor Winter Classic in Massachusetts against the Montreal Canadiens.

It means yet another star will not be on hand for the Winter Classic. The Bruins will already be missing David Krejci, and the Montreal Canadiens will still be without last year’s reigning MVP and Vezina winner, Carey Price.

Not only will Marchand miss the spectacle that is the Winter Classic, he’ll also be missing out on an important game for the already hamstrung Bruins. Boston and Montreal are practically neck-and-neck in the Atlantic conference, with Montreal at 45 points and Boston at 44 points — the Bruins have three games in hand. Both teams are behind the surging Florida Panthers, who have 46 points.

Boston has been on a tear compared to the slumping Canadiens. The Bruins have been 6-3-1 in their last 10, and Montreal has been just 2-8-0. Giving up even a single game to their hated rival could help the Canadiens overcome their slump and put some distance back between them and the Bruins.


Rangers beat Lightning 5-2, Tanner Glass slams Brian Boyle

It was a rough-and-tumble rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning — and one of the signature plays of the game involved Ranger Tanner Glass slamming former Ranger Brian Boyle over the boards.

Glass’s Ranger teammates liked it so much they gave him the celebratory black fedora after the game, which they won 5-2 in Tampa. Boyle is not an easy person to send over the boards, weighing in at 243 pounds and standing at 6 feet 7 inches tall.

Because Boyle never touched the puck, Glass was whistled for interference, and the Lightning managed to tie the game at 2-2 thanks to Glass’s penalty. But no matter: despite the fact that the play hurt the Rangers on the ice, seeing him smash former teammate Boyle was enough to earn him post-game honors.

The New York Rangers are hoping this latest win will help pull them out of a long slump that has seen them tumble from far atop the Metropolitan Division to far below current Metro leaders, the Washington Capitals.

After a torrid start to the season, the Rangers lost most of the games they played in recent weeks and even had to pull All-Star goalie Henrik Lundquist several times. The team is still only 3-6-1 in its last 10 games, including their most recent win. Their struggles have been chiefly on the road, where they sport a 7-8-3 record, compared to a 14-5-1 home record.

Currently, the Rangers are just one points ahead of the New York Islanders, who have a game in hand, and just three points ahead of the New Jersey Devils.


Alex Ovechkin scores two goals, Caps win 9th straight

Alex Ovechkin notched his 19th and 20th goals of the season, and the surging Washington Capitals enjoyed a four-goal third period to down the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 Wednesday night.

The league-leading Capitals have now won nine straight, and are 28-6-2, posting one of the best starts in NHL history.

Justin Williams was the first to put the Capitals on the board in the second period after taking advatnage of a mistake by Sabres goalie Chad Johnson, who gave it away behind his own net and left Williams with an easy goal.

The Sabres had taken a 1-0 lead in the first period off a Brian Gionta goal, and regained the lead after Williams goal thanks to Zemgus Girgensons.

However, the third period was all Capitals, and rising star Evgeny Kuznetsov was instrumental in their dominance, first setting up Ovechkin with the game-tying goal, and then assisting on Johansson’s power-play goal. Marcus Johansson followed that up with a nice assist of his own — a heads-up pass to Andre Burakovsky, who rifled it past Johnson. Ovechkin scored an empty-netter to close out the game.

After two consecutive losses to the Caps in regulation, Buffalo falls to 15-8-4 on the season.

Several Capitals players were injured in the tilt, with Nicklas Backstrom and Jay Beagle both leaving due to injury, although only Beagle is expected to stay out a while.

With 58 points, Washington has opened up a huge lead not only over the Metropolitan Division, but over the Eastern Conference, with the two closest teams being the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers with 46 points apiece. The Capitals have at least a game in hand on both teams. The Caps have also passed Dallas for the most points in the NHL. The Stars have 57 points, and have played two more games than the Caps have.


Rangers end Oilers winning streak at 6

The red-hot Edmonton Oilers had won six games going into their matchup with the New York Rangers in a critical road test, but the streak ended there.

After knocking off the Dallas Stars, who own the best record in hockey, and defeating the Boston Bruins twice, the Oilers were flying high headed to New York to face the Rangers.

Ultimately, they fell by a score of 4-2, failing to convert with a pulled goalie and allowing an empty net goal that sealed the game and ended their streak.

The win came after the Oilers defeated the Rangers 7-5 in a game that recalled the Wayne Gretzky days of the 1980s when goals were easy to come by.

The winning streak pulled the Oilers within striking distance of the playoffs, a tremendous turnaround for a team that has dwelled near the bottom for a very long time — a team so bad they have four overall No. 1 picks on their roster.

The fact that the team is playing this well with their most recent No. 1 pick, Connor McDavid, on the shelf with an injury is an encouraging sign. McDavid started off hot as many people had predicted before going down with an injury against the Flyers.

The Oilers were fairly stingy, holding the Oilers to 21 shots and just 12 at even strength, but they still allowed three goals en route to the loss.


Caps’ Braden Holtby shuts out Buffalo Sabres 2-0

There’s just no stopping the dominance of Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby this season so far.

The Caps netminder posted a 31-save shutout against the Buffalo Sabres Monday night in a 2-0 victory, supported by goals from Alexander Ovechkin and Jay Beagle.

Holtby kept his shutout alive with an amazing save on Evander Kane with about a minute left and the Sabres’ goalie pulled.

The Caps now stand at 27-6-2, by far the best record in the Eastern Conference, and only one point behind the Dallas Stars for the best NHL record, with two games in hand.

Ovechkin and Beagle both scored in the second period after a scoreless first, and Holtby kept the door shut in the third to help the Caps to their 15th win in the past 17 games. They’ll play the Sabres again on Wednesday, but this time at the Verizon Center in Washington.

The Caps were able to continue their dominance despite missing two top defensemen: Brooks Orpik, who has missed the past 21 games, and John Carlson, who missed a game for the first time in a while: he had a streak of 412 consecutive games until Monday night, when he was a game time decision due to a lower body injury.

After a scoreless first, Ovechkin scored just 19 seconds into the second period after Center Nicklas Backstrom found a loose puck in the corner and shoveled it to Ovechkin, who was sitting in front of the net. The second goal came after Tom Wilson fired a shot off the endboards, which rebounded right to Jay Beagles stick for an easy empty-netter.


Predators beat slumping Rangers 5-3

The New York Rangers problems are only getting worse.

The sinking Rangers lost yet again and Henrik Lundquist was pulled yet again as the Nashville Predators won 5-3 in Nashville.

The Predators held a 2-1 lead going into the third before really opening up the scoring, scoring three straight goals to put the game out of reach. The Rangers would get a couple back late, but by then it was too late to save the game.

James Neal scored twice for the Preds, and Craig Smith, Ryan Ellis, and Filip Forsberg also scored against the Rangers. Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, managed to make 26 saves to help Nashville get its third win in four games.

Jesper Fast, Rick Nash, and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers, who have dropped four out of their last five.

Lundquist was pulled once again after giving up five goals. He has been pulled multiple times in recent weeks, as the perennial front-runner for the Vezina Trophy has struggled to find his mojo since the Rangers losing streak started. New York coach Alaain Vigneault declined to blame him for the loss, however.

The game marked the return of Rangers defensemen Kevin Klein after he had missed 11 games with an oblique injury.

After a torrid start to the season, the Rangers have seen their lead in the East slip away as they remain mired in an awful slump. Despite their woes, they remain in second place in the Metropolitan division with 44 points, although far behind the surging Washington Capitals, who have 56 points and two games in hand. The New York Islanders are just a point behind them with one game in hand, and the New Jersey Devils are five points back with one game in hand.