With just over a week remaining in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ deadline to sign William Nylander contract this season, many people are voicing their opinions on the impasse. Among them is Don Cherry, who chimed in on the contract negotiations Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada. The former coach said that Nylander isn’t competing with the contracts of John Tavares or the future deal of Auston Matthews, but Cherry believes he is as good as Mitch Marner and wants to make sure that Marner won’t make more money than him down the road.
“Here’s the deal, it’s not Tavares and it’s not Matthews he’s thinking of, he’s thinking of Marner,” Cherry said. “What happens if he signs a six-year contract and Marner gets another million or million and more? He’s not worried about the other two guys, but he thinks he’s as good as Marner. What he’s worried about is that he signs a contract and Marner signs [for] a couple more million and he’s stuck with the contract.”
Cherry advises Nylander to agree to a bridge deal as he believes that there is no way that Nylander can beat Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, who must prove to the team and the city that he is worthy of the title and isn’t going to give in to him.
“You’re not going to beat Dubas because for Dubas this is his one shot, he can’t give in on this one,” Cherry said.
- Newsday’s Colin Stephenson writes that the New York Rangers scratched forward Mats Zuccarello Saturday as a precaution, but head coach David Quinn insists that the 31-year-old veteran is fine. He says that he didn’t want to play him in back-to-back games after recently returning from a groin injury. “Two games, back-to-back, so we’re just being cautious,’’ Quinn said, adding that Zuccarello felt fine after Friday’s game and declared himself available for Saturday. But the plan always had been to not play him in both weekend games. “We kind of chose, get him in, play him [Friday], not go back-to-back.’’
- As had been rumored earlier, John Lu of TSN reports that Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber will make his season debut Tuesday against Carolina, barring a setback, after missing the first half of the season after offseason knee surgery. The team will consider how Weber feels after Monday’s practice, followed by a final assessment by team doctors. Weber hasn’t played in a games since Dec. 16, 2017.
- Despite a report that Jan Kovar has been contemplating a return to Europe after failing to make the New York Islanders and finally agreeing to a PTO with the Providence Bruins, the 28-year-old has decided to stay with the AHL team for now, according to the Providence Journal’s Mark Divver. The scribe writes that Kovar took some time off to evaluate his options and returned to Providence for Saturday’s game against Lehigh Valley. Kovar has four goals and nine points in 10 games while with Providence, but no NHL team has come forward with an NHL contract.