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CRACKS OF DON: H-all done in Buffalo, Sabres shelf asset to avoid damage before D-Day

Forward Taylor Hall, for now a member of the Buffalo Sabres.
Forward Taylor Hall, for now a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

With all due respect to Kimberly Oliver Thompson, there was significantly more interest in who was out of the lineup than in it when the Devils hosted the Sabres at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

That stated, she was probably just as happy to see her son Tyce make his NHL debut against his brother Tage as suitors for Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall were that those two veterans were healthy scratches six sleeps before the trade deadline.

Yes, the Devils and Sabres wised up and protected a couple of their valuable assets the day it was revealed Riley Nash suffered a knee sprain that will keep him out for four to six weeks.

The Blue Jackets surely would have received something worthwhile for Nash, a veteran checker who can become a UFA in the summer.

Palmieri’s agent confirmed last-pitch conversations with the Devils regarding an extension over the weekend accomplished nothing and the gritty, 30-year-old will be moved before Monday.

Having averaged 26 goals per season over the last five, Palmieri is undisputedly one of the top forwards available.

Ryan Whitney, a host on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, says he would be a perfect fit with the Bruins.

“How much could they use Palmieri?” Whit asked rhetorically on social media. “He’s lived in Boston for a long time in the off-season.”

Okay, so maybe the logic is flawed, but Palmieri would help a B’s team that is in dire need of secondary scoring.

Jimmy Murphy at Boston Hockey Now has confirmation the team is talking to the Devils about Palmieri and D-man Dmitry Kulikov, but also that other serious contenders for Palmieri are the Leafs, Avalanche and Hurricanes.

Meanwhile, any team thinking it has a serious shot at winning the Cup should be all-in on Hall.

Despite having just two goals this season, he has the potential to make the biggest impact.

He offers primary scoring.

He’s the jewel of the rentals.

Four seasons ago, as Palmieri’s teammate in Jersey, Hall had 39 goals and 93 points in 76 games in taking home the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.

Because he spent six seasons stuck in Edmonton, the first overall pick in 2010 has played in only 14 post-season games (four goals, 12 points).

On a good team, auditioning for a new, long-term contract, he’ll be a force in these playoffs and a Hall of an acquisition for a contender.

STARTS AND STOPS

The Vancouver Canucks added an 18th player, Jake Virtanen, to the COVID-protocol list on Tuesday. In an interview with Eric Francis, Red Deer Rebels coach Brent Sutter said his son Brandon, a Vancouver centre, was “down and out, feeling pretty sick,” during their FaceTime conversation. “Brandon has tested positive and he’s got symptoms — body aches, headaches, chills — just like you have the flu,” said Brent, a long-time NHLer. “For young people to get this sick, it’s scary.” Especially when Brandon Sutter has two toddlers and his wife is pregnant. “We’re keeping fingers crossed,” said Brent. We all are … The Thompson boys didn’t have their dad at their first game as pro foes because he was busy with his job as coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders AHL affiliate. As a player, Brent Thompson was a second-round pick (1989) of the Kings who spent parts of six seasons in the NHL, including 39 games with the Jets in the mid-90s …

BETWEEN PERIODS

In his NHL debut on Monday, Colorado defenceman Kyle Burroughs laid a serious beating on Nick Bjugstad, the giant-like Wild centre. Burroughs was wearing No. 88, reportedly because that number was worn by Eric Lindros, a giant-like centre who snubbed the franchise when it lived in Quebec. Lindros is probably lucky he’s retired … Confession: I had never heard of Michael Bunting before he scored the Coyotes’ second hat trick in two days — on six shots, in 17:38 — in their 5-2 win over the Kings on Monday. It was the ninth career game for the 25-year-old Scarborough native, who played five (and scored once) in 2018-19. Bunting was a fourth-round pick from Sheldon Keefe’s Soo Greyhounds in 2014 … Eric Staal became the first player to score an overtime goal in his debut game with the Habs on Monday, which is a bigger deal than it sounds. The franchise is 103 years old, and OT wasn’t played for only about 40 of them. A lot of guys made their debuts with the Habs in 60 years … Looking at it with a half-full glass, the Habs will miss Brendan Gallagher (broken thumb) for weeks but they’re not missing the playoffs. Even though it’s not official, that four-team picture has been decided in the North Division.

ON THIS DATE

On the same night exactly 47 years ago, Bernie Parent of the Flyers became the first goalie to win 47 games in a season and Andy Brown of the Penguins became the last goalie to play a NHL game without a mask. Parent’s record stood 33 years until the Devils’ Martin Brodeur won 48, which was matched by the Capitals’ Braden Holtby in 2015-16 … Exactly 39 years ago the Kings beat the Oilers 10-8 to set a playoff record for most combined goals in one game. In total, 15 players lit the lamp, with Charlie Simmer scoring the winner 5:04 from the third-period buzzer … Exactly 36 years ago, the Capitals’ Mike Gartner had two goals and two assists in a 7-3 victory over the Penguins to reach both the 50-goal and 100-point marks. It was the only time Gartner reached either milestone, despite totalling 708 goals and 1,335 points in his outstanding 1,432-game career … Exactly 19 years ago, Calgary’s Jarome Iginla had both his team’s goals in a 3-2 loss to reach the 50-mark for the first time in his career. Iginla wound up with 52 goals to win the Rocket Richard Trophy convincingly, with Bill Guerin (Bruins), Glenn Murray (Bruins) and Mats Sundin (Leafs) tied for second at 41 … Among past and present NHLers celebrating birthdays are Clark Gillies (67), Ted Nolan (63), Jim Paek (54), Rob Murphy (52), Radoslav Suchy (45), Craig Macdonald (44), Pascal Dupuis (42), Matt Walker (41), Chris Terry (32), Marcus Sorensen (29) and Troy Stecher (27).

PARTING SHOTS

It’s been said before and since, but when the late Pat Burns once told me “you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s—,” it was the first time I’d ever heard the phrase. In other news, Ottawa has fired goalie coach Pierre Groulx. His biggest mistake was deciding to trade for Matt Murray and give him all that money. Oh, wait, wrong Pierre.

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