The Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has nominated Kings center Vincent Lecavalier for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given to the “player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
From our chapter’s news release:
Lecavalier, in the twilight of an outstanding career, had become a mere afterthought while with the Philadelphia Flyers. More often than not he was a healthy scratch, playing in only seven games to start this season and recording one assist. it seemed a sad way for a gallant player to go out.
Lecavalier, 35, is rewriting that ending in Los Angeles. Given a chance and regular ice time after being traded to the Kings in January, Lecavalier has become a valued locker-room leader for a team that figures to contend for the Stanley Cup. He has helped with his faceoff skills and his experience, setting a good example for younger players to follow. The classy center has eight goals, 15 points and a plus-4 defensive rating in his first 35 games with the Kings, but his contributions go beyond that. For his career, he has 419 goals and 947 points in 1,205 games.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter is a fan of Lecavalier and what he has done since the trade. “Two months ago, three months ago, they said he was done,” Sutter said a few days ago. “They just didn’t finish the sentence. He’s done well.”
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said Monday he told Kyle Palmieri over and over again that “you should be a 25-goal scorer.” Palmieri didn’t get the chance while he was with the Ducks to score that many goals because the pecking order was a little different with the Ducks than it is with his new team, the New Jersey Devils.
An off-season trade from the Ducks to the Devils has been good for Palmieri, who reached the 25-goal mark March 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, extending his career high. He’s benefited from playing alongside Travis Zajac for most of the season, a change from his days in Anaheim, when he moved from line to line.
“I always had the confidence I could achieve something like that,” Palmieri said before his Honda Center homecoming. “While I was here, with the depth of the teams we had while I was here, it was tough to be in those situations. You get into the routine of moving up and down the lineup.
“I think in that respect it helped me grow as a hockey player. To adjust to those situations helped me a lot in my career. Bruce was always positive with me. Yeah, I remember him saying at the beginning of last season that he sees me as a 25-goal scorer. I think it’s nice to be in a situation where it’s a little more consistent.
“I think that helps on a nightly basis.”
Palmieri had 25 goals and 45 points going into Monday, topping his bests while with the Ducks of 14 goals (the past two seasons) and 31 points (two seasons ago). The Ducks traded him to the Devils for a second-round draft pick last June 27, a move designed with salary-cap flexibility in mind. Palmieri is expected to re-sign with the Devils at season’s end.
Kris Versteeg played 10 minutes Thursday in his Kings debut after Sunday’s trade from the Carolina Hurricanes. He was credited with two shots on goal and was whistled for a tripping. He also had a minus-1 defensive rating. Here’s some of what he said about the Kings’ 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens: “It felt good. Those four days, there was a lot of sitting and stewing, thinking. It was nice to get playing again and get some games going. It’s already 60 games into the season, so these guys are a well-oiled machine and I’m just trying to fit in.”
Key play: Jakob Silfverberg scored the only goal in a shootout as the Ducks extended their winning streak to nine consecutive games with a 3-2 victory Wednesday over the Montreal Canadiens at the Honda Center. The Ducks also tied the first-place Kings with 78 points.
Pivotal performer: Canadiens left wing Alex Galchenyuk scored twice to help Montreal take a 2-1 lead 56 seconds into the third period, his 18th and 19th goals of the season. He also scored in the second to give the Canadiens a 1-0 advantage at 4:25.
Smashing debut: Left wing Jamie McGinn scored in his Ducks debut, a second-period goal from point-blank range that tied the score 1-all at 14:28. McGinn played on a line with center Rickard Rakell and right win Corey Perry. He was credited with four shots in 15:35 of ice time.
Quote, unquote: “It’s definitely good to get it out of the way quick,” McGinn said of scoring his first goal with the Ducks after a trade Monday from the Buffalo Sabres. “You don’t want it to take too long. You want to feel part of the team right away and contribute any way you can.”
Between the pipes: John Gibson started for the Ducks for the second consecutive game after he was in goal for a 4-2 victory Sunday over the Kings. Frederik Andersen is expected to play Thursday against the Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz., with Gibson likely back to face the Kings on Saturday.
Lineup shuffle: Ducks defenseman Simon Despres couldn’t play because of an illness. Clayton Stoner replaced him, returning to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 15. He sat out 14 games because of a hip flexor injury and was a healthy scratch for four more contests.
Jamie McGinn and Brandon Pirri, the Ducks’ newest forwards, were expected to arrive in Orange County late Tuesday, too late for interviews. McGinn was scheduled to participate in Wednesday’s morning skate and to be available to play in that night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Pirri is on injured reserve with an ankle injury and could be sidelined for several more games.
Here’s what Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked Tuesday about McGinn, who was acquired Monday from the Buffalo Sabres:
“That’s how McGinn gets his goals, goes to the net and stands in front. From what I gather, he’s a pretty big guy. We just saw him last week. He’s a big strong forward, so the more guys you can get like that come playoff time, the better.
“He’s a good player for us. (Andrew) Ladd (who went from Winnipeg to Chicago in a trade) has more experience, but McGinn is a really good fit for our team. That’s what we’re looking for, good fits. Some guys might be tremendous players, but aren’t a good fit for the team. I really think he’s going to be a really good fit.”
Here’s Boudreau on Pirri, who was acquired Monday from the Florida Panthers:
“I know he can score. I know he would score whenever Chicago called him up and the announcers would say, ‘Well, why’s he going back?’ He scored 22 (goals) last year. I don’t know much else about him. I look forward to seeing him and watching some tape of him. Any time you’ve got another offense threat who can skate like him is going to be a good addition to our lineup.”
The Ducks on Monday parted ways with left wing Patrick Maroon, sending him to the Edmonton Oilers at the trade deadline. They received defenseman Martin Gernat and a fourth-round draft pick in exchange for the left wing. Gernat had three points, all assists, in 22 games with the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League this season. He’s expected to be assigned to San Diego of the AHL.
Maroon had four goals and 13 points in 56 games with the Ducks.
The Ducks acquired right wing Corey Tropp from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for right wing Tim Jackman and a seventh-round selection in the 2017 draft. Tropp is expected to be assigned to the Ducks’ American Hockey League team in San Diego. Jackman was playing with the Gulls for most of the season.
The Kings acquired Brett Sutter from the Minnesota Wild on Monday in exchange for forward Scott Sabourin, a swap of minor-league forwards. Sutter is expected to be assigned to the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League.The 28-year-old Sutter is the son of Kings coach Darryl Sutter. He had four goals and 14 points in 57 games with the Wild’s AHL team, the Iowa Wild.
Sabourin, 23, played 125 games in the Kings’ minor-league system.
The Ducks acquired left wing Jamie McGinn for a conditional third-round draft pick in a deadline deal with the Buffalo Sabres. McGinn had 14 goals and 27 points in 63 games for the Sabres this season. He is listed at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds. He has a $2.95-million salary-cap hit and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
Check back for updates.
The Ducks acquired forward Brandon Pirri from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a sixth-round draft choice just before the NHL trade deadline Monday. Pirri scored 11 goals and 24 points in 52 games for the Panthers this season. The 24-year-old Toronto native is a left-handed shot who is eligible to become a restricted free agent at season’s end. His salary-cap hit is a modest $925,000.
Pirri scored 22 goals in 49 games last season. He is nursing an ankle injury that’s expected to sideline him for the next few games.
Check back for updates.