The Atlantic Division will be without a top star tonight at the All-Star game in Carey Price. While the Atlantic team should do fine with Andrei Vasilevskiy taking his place, the Montreal Canadiens are happy that their franchise goaltender is getting the rest he needs. The team has been very careful with Price this season as he hasn’t appeared in a back-to-back games since early December and have given him several therapy days.
However, Sean Gordon of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that he needs more than just rest, pointing out that the 31-year-old is a player who goes into the butterfly more than most goaltenders and is overworking himself whether its in a game or in practice. He points to a week in early January when he went to the butterfly 112 times in an overtime game on Jan. 14 against Montreal. The following day, he went into the butterfly 92 times in just 55 minutes in practice. By the end of the week, he had taken 301 shots, just in practice. That’s too many shots, according to Gordon.
The scribe adds that teams, especially Montreal, need to use more practice goalies, especially at this point in the season to alleviate some of the wear and tear on goaltenders’ bodies.
- Despite recent meetings with his agent and general manager Kyle Dubas, The Toronto Sun’s Michael Traikos writes that Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews isn’t feeling any pressure to signing a contract quickly, even if Toronto wants to get it done as quickly as possible. In fact, Matthews said that he doesn’t worry about his contract, nor does he talk about it with teammate Mitch Marner, who will also be a restricted free agent this summer. “It’s not really something that comes up, I guess,” said Matthews. “If we do talk, it’s not really hockey-related, it’s really just anything. I think it’s just a big distraction as far as with the media and Toronto and the way they play it out and everything. But I don’t think it’s something that either of us stresses about too much in our minds. I just think we want to go out and play hockey and have fun. That’s why you have agents that take care of this stuff.”
- Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News writes that there is no real news yet of whether Jeff Skinner and his agent are negotiating an extension, but the scribe believes with the year he is having, Buffalo might be forced to shell out $9MM per year and $70MM total to get Skinner locked in for the next eight years. Jack Eichel, who has bonded with Skinner on the ice this season, has made it clear he wants the team to extend him. “He’s gotten closer and closer with our group all year,” said Eichel. “You can see his performance, his compete and work ethic. The way he’s jelled and meshed with our group has been awesome. He’s scored some really big goals and it’s been a lot of fun to have him in the room. You can’t say enough good things about him.”