With the Super Bowl taking place on Sunday, the NHL kind of took a back seat, which they tend to do every year. There were two games early in the day, but the only real major news from the NHL was of a suspension hearing that was kind of a no brainer. Beyond that, kind of a quiet day.
The Colorado Avalanche need another goaltender. That’s no secret. Is Jake Allen a fit for them? One outlet sure thinks so.
Over in the KHL, since coming back from injury, it’s been a tough go for Nikolai Kovalenko. He finally broke out of a slump on Sunday morning.
All that and more in this Monday edition of Evan’s Daily.
Colorado Hockey Now
Taking a look back to late Saturday night, where it’s been clear for a while that Ryan Johansen isn’t a fit on the Avalanche. What can they do now?
It’s been a really tough road trip overall, and poor special teams is a big reason why.
Kovalenko Busts Out Of Slump
Since returning from injury, Nikolai Kovalenko has been slumping in a big way. He also had dealt with illness and missed a game, so who knows if he’s truly been healthy, but on Sunday, he finally broke through. I watched the third period of his game and he looked much better, creating a few chances for his linemates, who whiffed on their shots. Late in the third, he scored his first goal in eight games.
You can watch the goal here.
There’s only two weeks left in the KHL season. Torpedo has dropped to 6th place in the West, and will start the playoffs on the road. If they fall in round one, Kovalenko could arrive in the NHL by mid-March.
Is Jake Allen A Fit?
The Montreal Canadiens have been carrying three goaltenders at the NHL level all season, and most people think that will finally come to a head at the NHL Trade Deadline. Jake Allen is the most likely of the three to get dealt, and one outlet believes the Avalanche are an obvious fit.
While it would solve the issue of the “backup” for both this year and next, it would be an expensive move in more ways than one. Allen carries a cap hit of almost $4 million, which isn’t ideal, and if you want Montreal to eat some of that cap hit, it’ll make his trade price even bigger. Daily Faceoff lists a second round pick as the likely return, which seems steep for a backup, but we know the Avalanche need to do something.
Allen is 33 and has a .895 save percentage this season.
Around The NHL
Morgan Rielly will have an in-person hearing for cross-checking Ridly Greig in the head at the end of Saturday night’s game.
sens, leafs, greig, rielly, unwritten rules yada yada mayhem pic.twitter.com/RBBYUNe2IH
— Liam McHugh (@liam_mchugh) February 11, 2024
I don’t think Greig did anything wrong. Sure, it’s an unwritten rule not to do something like this in the first place, but if you don’t want another team doing it to you, don’t put yourself in that position.
At the same time, I don’t hate it from Rielly, at least what he was trying to do. The cross-check? That was stupid, and there’s another angle that shows he got Greig pretty good, but for a notoriously soft team like the Maple Leafs, seeing one of your top guys stand up to something like this isn’t the worst thing in the world. He just has to think of a better way of doing it than cross-checking a guy’s head.
National Hockey Now
The Pittsburgh Penguins cannot sit back any longer. Changes are needed.
Why the New Jersey Devils must buy at the NHL Trade Deadline.