Nichols’ Notes

Nichols’ Notes: Red Wings’ Prospect Larkin Draws Rave Reviews

Nichols’ Notes: Red Wings’ Prospect Larkin Draws Rave Reviews
Chris Nichols

There’s a reason the Detroit Red Wings have been said to have zero interest in trading prospect Dylan Larkin, despite reported interest from various teams around the league.

“Dylan Larkin has been outstanding,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “He’s right there (with the best freshmen I’ve coached). You look back at Brendan Morrison and all the rookie of the years we’ve had over the years and Dylan’s right there with any of them. He really is. Whether it’s his skating, his scoring, his puck touches, his work ethic, he’s a special player.”

Source: Hicks/ MLive

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Interesting look at the similarities between Andrew Hammond’s run with the Ottawa Senators and Patrick Lalime breaking into the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Lalime shared those experiences, discussed the pressure Hammond may be feeling, and also offered his advice for Hammond on the contract front.

Hammond will be a UFA this summer, unless he’s signed by the Sens beforehand.

“The situation is so similar to mine. I was an RFA at the end of that year and the Penguins had Wregget and Barrasso under contract for another year and they had a three-headed monster, so it didn’t work out there,” said Lalime. “But what I would say to him is just worry about your own game and you will be rewarded eventually. This isn’t just luck. What I can say is that this guy is an NHL goalie and he belongs here.”

Source: Mendes/ TSN

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Hammond’s agent, meanwhile, indicated that his camp and the Senators are on the same page as far as playing the waiting game on contract talks for now.

“He’s in a good spot, his job is to stop pucks right now and so far he’s doing pretty well,” Dan Plante said. “It’s a cliche but it’s unfair of me to approach Andrew with it because you want to let him do what he’s doing. It’s unfair to the Ottawa Senators, they’re trying to get to the big dance. For us to demand contract talks now, I mean, it’ll happen when it’s right, my faith is in Andrew and letting him finish what he started.”

Source: LeBrun/ ESPN

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For Nick Bjugstad, there was a definitive nuance between the college and pro game in which he needed to improve.

“Defensive zone was the biggest thing for me – learning that. Positioning and calming down. Don’t get too excited. If you get overexcited on some of these skilled guys, they’re going to take advantage of that and make you look silly. That was the main thing for me,” Bjugstad said.

Source: Fox/ Sportsnet

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When it comes to the aftermath of the Doug Wilson-Joe Thornton spat, San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan says that’s the kind of white noise with which all pro athletes must deal.

“No matter what happens, we all have issues at home at some point, we have issues within the family, we have issues at work at the rink, you’re still evaluated on your performance and that’s what’s important,” said McLellan. “We know we’re going to get asked all these questions. We know we have to face and answer the media. But when the clock starts tomorrow, it’s about performance. And sometimes your performance can help alleviate those situations. We haven’t performed well enough to alleviate it yet.”

Source: LeBrun/ ESPN

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As someone who is on the NHL’s competition committee – while also being a goaltender – Cory Schneider was asked for his take on a potential coach’s challenge coming into the league next year for issues like goaltender interference.

“It doesn’t affect me as much, I don’t think,” Schneider said. “I try to stay out of there. I don’t think there’s many instances when I get involved because I play a little bit deeper, but there are some times when you scratch your head when you watch other games and you think that’s clearly interference or definitely not interference.

“It’s tough because goalies are trying to do their job and players and defensemen are doing their job and sometimes they overlap and it’s really a tough call. It’s a tough call for the officials, so who knows if this is going to make it clearer or sometimes it makes it murkier when one person can interpret something completely different than another and when you add a review it almost stirs a controversy even more if no one agrees upon it.”

Source: Gulitti/ Fire & Ice

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Nate Schmidt got a taste of the AHL’s 3-on-3 portion of overtime from the bench on a recent conditioning stint.

“It’s a love-hate relationship,” the Washington Capitals defenseman said. “It’s great, if you get the puck first. If not, it’s tough. There’s just so much ice, you can skate yourself out of problems. If you win the draw, apparently it’s a great time. If you don’t, you’re just chasing pucks. There’s so much ice for three guys. I can’t even imagine at the NHL level, some of the guys’ skill, I don’t think you’d ever get the puck away from some guys, unless someone took a shot.”

Source: Prewitt/ Post

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Jonathan Quick may match his career high of 72 starts this season.

“All the best guys handle big loads. That’s what they do,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. “And the amount of work during a game doesn’t really affect them because of the way they prepare. Some of them are actually better with more work. We’re back to giving up the fewest shots in the league, so you sort of take that into consideration always too.

“He’s just a great competitor and when he says it’s just about the wins, he means that. And you wish everybody had that attitude.”

Source: Elliott/ Times

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James Reimer, who has another year left on his current contract, was asked if he has the stomach for a rebuild in Toronto.

“Tough question. The short answer — yes,” replied Reimer.

“I love the city, I love the franchise. It was always my dream to be here. Rebuild sounds like it has a negative connotation. But there’s been a couple of rebuilds already and they weren’t necessarily negative experiences, know what I mean?

“We’ll see what transpires in the summer, though. I’m sure some things will happen.”

Source: DiManno/ Star

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Veteran Shawn Horcoff has taken linemates Curtis McKenzie and Brett Ritchie under his wing, passing along the same sort of mentoring he received as a youngster in Edmonton when he first entered the league in Edmonton.

“I give him a lot of credit,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “He is grabbing a hold of those two guys. He’s got them watching some video and doing some stats stuff. He’s really bought in, and he’s asking for those numbers every game. If those numbers aren’t in the right place, he is trying to hold those two kids accountable. I give him a lot of credit.”

Source: Heika/ Morning News

Nichols’ Notes
Chris Nichols

Chris has written about both hockey and fantasy hockey for a number of media outlets over the last 14 years, including a combined decade with Sportsnet.ca and ESPN.com. He launched NicholsOnHockey.com in February of 2014. An aversion to wearing socks sparked a move from his hometown of Edmonton to San Diego, California in the mid-’90s, and the Oilers have not won a Cup in his absence.

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