Weekend wrap: Bryzgalov-Leafs talk, Capitals' blue-line woes and Ducks' net dilemma
You know those Ilya Bryzgalov-to-Toronto rumors we raised in our unrestricted free-agent primer Friday? Forget about 'em. A source told ESPN.com on Saturday that there is "no way" Toronto would chase Bryzgalov this summer.
1. Maple Leafs goalie coach Francois Allaire and Bryzgalov don't get along from their days in Anaheim. "They can't work together," the source said.
2. The Leafs believe they have their starter in impressive rookie James Reimer. Yes, they'll need another goalie to complement him. At this point, the tentative plan is to see how Jonas Gustavsson does in training camp/preseason in the fall. If there are red flags at the end of camp, Toronto could try to add a veteran goalie through waivers. Another option is to bring back Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a cheap, one-way deal.
Capitals' blue-line injuries
The Washington Capitals have had a terrific second half, but their Stanley Cup hopes are hanging in the balance because of a ravaged blue line. Here's an update as of Saturday:
• Dennis Wideman: He was slated to leave the hospital Saturday after being treated for a hematoma in his right leg. The good news is the muscle looks great, but it's going to take some time. There is hope he will back sometime during the playoffs, but it's impossible to tell for sure at this point.
• Mike Green: He feels ready to go, but the team is following its internal concussion protocol: The number of days a player shows symptoms is the number of days the team wants that player to be symptom-free. There's a chance he will play in a game or two before the end of the regular season, but the team also might wait until the playoffs to bring him back. Either way, he appears to be on the mend.
• Tom Poti: Plagued by an on-again, off-again groin injury most of the season, the veteran blueliner is skating and getting better. But, at this point, there's is no clear indication if and when he'll return.
Expect an announcement from the veteran defenseman in the next 7-10 days regarding his future, and expect the announcement to be that he is retiring. The 39-year-old, out since March 16 with a leg injury, has been a great warrior, and he'll be missed.
Meanwhile, the agent for Milan Hejduk (UFA July 1) believes the 35-year-old winger will be back for more after posting another 20-goal season.
"He's feeling strong, he's had a good season, I think he could continue to play," agent Jiri Crha told ESPN.com on Friday. "At this point, he wants to play. His contract is expired and we'll see what happens."
Former Habs forward Georges Laraque stirred the pot in Montreal this week by suggesting that Montreal coach Jacques Martin had lost the confidence of some of his players.
Obviously, the players denied it the next day.
In my opinion, this is a very pedestrian team that has been saved by its goalie for two straight seasons. Last season, it was Jaroslav Halak saving the Habs' bacon; this season, it is Carey Price. And right now, Price looks tired, mentally and physically. He was playing in his league-leading 70th game Saturday. Perhaps a mini-break before the playoffs is just what he needs.
Ducks and goaltending
It is going to be interesting to see what the Anaheim Ducks do with their goaltending in the offseason. There's some obvious concern for All-Star Jonas Hiller and his vertigo issues. He is signed for three more years at a $4.5 million cap hit. Ray Emery, meanwhile, has been a savior out of left field. He also turns UFA July 1. I believe the Ducks have interest in possibly bringing Emery back, but they also have Dan Ellis on the roster and he has another year left on his deal at $1.5 million. It all starts with Hiller's health. He's skating every day, but says he still feels a bit off.
Huge win for Detroit
The Red Wings posted a gigantic win against Nashville on Saturday afternoon.
On the heels of an embarrassing 10-3 home loss against St. Louis (part of a stretch that has been a struggle), imagine the feeling on the Detroit bench when the Preds went up 3-0 in the second period. That's when Wings coach Mike Babcock called a timeout. He huddled the entire bench and relayed a message.
"Just told them to stay with it and challenged a few guys to join the group,'' Babcock texted to ESPN.com after Saturday's game.
Great stuff. And perhaps a win that changes the course of Detroit's season.