Ducks sign No. 22 overall pick Nathan Gaucher to entry-level deal
Gaucher’s size, pro-ready playing style and overall polished game are what makes him an intriguing NHL prospect. While he may not have true top-of-the-lineup offensive upside, his addition to the Ducks’ prospect pool gives them an even more promising future down the middle, where they have two talented centers in Mason McTavish and Trevor Zegras already in the mix.With this entry-level deal signed, Gaucher will likely head to training camp and have the chance to make the Ducks’ opening-night roster.
PARIS (AP) — Lionel Messi ended last season with his first five-goal haul in 10 years. © Provided by The Canadian Press
It was for Argentina against Estonia, however, not for Paris Saint-Germain, where he scored only six league goals in 26 games following his move from Barcelona. It was Messi's lowest tally since the 2005-06 season, when he was still only 18.
Although his 14 assists for PSG were the second highest in the league behind teammate Kylian Mbappe, the record seven-time Ballon d’Or winner's form fell well below expectations for a player who scored 672 goals for Barcelona.
That eye-popping total included an extraordinary 50-goal league season in 2012 to go along with 46 in 2013, eight Spanish league scoring titles and six in the Champions League. At his very best, he scored five against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012.
The arbitration breakdown for Coyotes winger Lawson Crouse
It’s likely to be a long weekend for representatives of Crouse and the Coyotes as they prepare for a Monday morning arbitration hearing.Given Crouse’s age, play style and Arizona’s cap space, one may have expected the sides to work out a long-term deal this offseason. However, as the hearing date approaches, that agreement appears less and less likely, especially as figures have been exchanged.
Fast forward a decade and his poor goal tally for PSG raised questions whether he could adapt to a new system after so many years where fantastic players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Neymar played primarily for him.
“The idea for him is to be more involved in the game and have teammates bond with him during games, which didn’t happen much last season. The more the team is connected, the more the team produces," incoming PSG coach Christophe Galtier said. “From what I’ve seen, he’s totally invested. As for the rest, the whole world knows what he can do."
Yet while last season was difficult for Messi, some have wondered if he has been holding back for this year's World Cup.
At 35, it will most likely be his last chance to win it with his beloved Argentina. The tournament’s unique timing of Nov. 21-Dec. 18, in order to avoid the summer heat in Qatar, also means he will arrive with much fresher legs than if it was held in June and July.
Philadelphia Flyers hire Rocky Thompson as assistant coach
Thompson served as an associate coach for the San Jose Sharks in 2020-21 but parted ways for last season after explaining that a medical exemption kept him from taking the COVID-19 vaccine. It would seem as though that will no longer pose an issue, as the Flyers welcome him aboard to help coach the forwards and power play. While Thompson doesn’t have a ton of NHL experience as a player or coach, his minor-league résumé is vast and impressive. He played more than 600 total games in the AHL and served as head coach of the Chicago Wolves for three seasons before joining San Jose.
Messi was inspirational in leading Argentina to the Copa America title last year, finishing co-top scorer with four goals and leading with five assists. It ended Messi's tortuous wait for a major international trophy after losing one World Cup final and three other Copa America finals.
So he will be hugely motivated to perhaps sign off from the international game with the biggest trophy of all.
A strong start for PSG could set him up well for success in Qatar, in a strong Argentina attack featuring Juventus winger Angel Di Maria and Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez.
Di Maria’s absence hurt Argentina when it lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany 1-0, but his departure from PSG could actually help Messi at club level.
Previous PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino perhaps had too many attacking options as he tried to accommodate Messi, Neymar, Mbappe, Di Maria and Mauro Icardi.
Edmonton Oilers announce Fort Wayne Komets as new ECHL affiliate
The two teams had been previously affiliated between 1988 and 1990. © Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images The Oilers have a new ECHL affiliate. Oilers assistant general manager Bill Scott released the following statement:"On behalf of Ken Holland, Keith Gretzky and the entire Edmonton Oilers organization, we are thrilled to announce our new affiliation with the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL. As one of the premiere clubs in the ECHL with a rich history of professional hockey in Indiana, we are very excited to have our future Oilers in Fort Wayne.
Galtier also sticks to formations more than the experimental Pochettino, which should favor Messi.
Messi was also perhaps a victim of his own versatility last season and won’t be moved around so much under Galtier. It means he won’t have to share a position on the flank with Di Maria and likely will move inside less to dovetail with Mbappe, whose most dangerous position is at center forward.
PSG will be best served if Galtier picks Neymar and Messi on either side of Mbappe in a fixed three-man attack, with astute passer Marco Verratti in an advanced midfield role.
Messi started the season with a goal as PSG beat Nantes 4-0 to win the Champions Trophy on Sunday.
PSG’s central defense has been strengthened by the arrival of Nordi Mukiele from German club Leipzig. It should take some pressure off the midfield and free up Verratti to combine higher up the field with Messi to open up defenses.
With Messi probing from the right, operating more as a creator in a system where Mbappe holds the role as the main scorer, he should be able to save energy.
That could be good news for Argentina.
Sharks to retire franchise icon Patrick Marleau's No. 12
No player for the San Jose Sharks will ever wear No. 12 again. The team will retire Patrick Marleau’s number this season, raising his sweater to the rafters of SAP Center on February 25, 2023. He will become the first player in franchise history to receive that honor. Sharks president Jonathan Becher released the following statement: © Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports The Sharks will raise Patrick Marleau's sweater to the rafters of SAP Center. "It is only fitting that the first San Jose Sharks player to receive the ultimate franchise recognition of having his number retired is Mr.
PSG remains the favorite and does not appear to have a serious challenger, much like last year. The fight for second place and automatic entry into the Champions League is likely to be between Marseille, Monaco and Lyon.
Marseille has a new coach in Igor Tudor but is still perhaps too reliant on the old legs of playmaker Dimitri Payet.
The arrival of Lyon’s new American owner, John Textor, coincides with the return of two homegrown players in midfielder Corentin Tolisso and forward Alexandre Lacazette following spells with Bayern Munich and Arsenal, respectively.
Monaco excelled under attack-minded coach Philippe Clement last season. But much like Marseille, the club relies too much on one player, France forward Wissam Ben Yedder.
His 25 league goals last season were second only to Mbappe's 28.
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Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
Senators' Michael Del Zotto, Sharks' Rudolfs Balcers to be bought out .
For Del Zotto and the Senators, a buyout will result in a $500K cap penalty in 2022-23 and a $750K penalty in 2023-24, but the move saves the team some money and cap space for the upcoming season. It never really did work out for the veteran defensemen there, and after clearing waivers, he ended up playing most of the 2021-22 season in the minor leagues. He’ll now be a free agent, able to try and secure an NHL deal somewhere else while still earning a $750K paycheck from the Senators for each of the next two years.