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Eastern Conference

Islanders, Jordan Eberle Not Talking Contract Extension

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New York Islanders forward Jordan Eberle says that the two sides have not yet discussed a contract extension, as he enters the final year of a six-year, $36 million contract he signed as a member of the Edmonton Oilers back in 2012.

At the conclusion of the season, Eberle is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

“To be honest I haven’t had any conversations with anybody,” Eberle said on Tuesday (h/t NHL.com). “Going into the summer I was trying to focus on me and being the best I can be and come into the camp the best I can be. Once that happens you start trying to fill a role and try to make this team as good as it can be.”

Eberle had 59 points (25 goals, 34 assists) in his first season with the Islanders, who acquired him from the Oilers for forward Ryan Strome in June of 2017.

“Anytime you miss the playoffs there’s always going to be changes,” Eberle said. “I think for me, I kind of just tried to focus on myself and try and get better. I think the game’s really progressed in a way that it’s a lot faster. Even the last three years I’ve noticed the speed of the League is a lot higher than it used to be. In the summer everyone’s focus should be to try to get faster. I know it’s such a cliché, but it really means a lot now just based on how quick the League’s gotten, so that’s something I really focus on.

“I think with the changes that we’ve had, I think it’s always fun to prove yourself. I think there’s going to be some competition in camp and that always makes your team better, and myself included. You want to be a part of that. You want to be able to prove yourself.”

With the loss of John Tavares this offseason, Eberle belives that the Isles still have a chance to make a run.

“It’s obviously a loss for our team, but you’ve got to move on,” Eberle said. “I think we’re kind of put in a category right now where we’re kind of the underdog role, and sometimes that’s good to be. You look at a team like maybe New Jersey last year, who had similar expectations coming in, and look how well they did. Sometimes you play better without that added pressure. We’ve got enough guys to fill depth here and guys are going to fill in and we’ll be fine.”

Eastern Conference

Penguins Keeping Faith in Matt Murray

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The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to support goalie Matt Murray despite his struggles this season, leading the team to temporarily usurp him for Casey DeSmith.

Despite the downward fall, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan believes that the time off the ice will help him focus on work with goaltending coach Mike Buckley, and the team is maintaining both their faith and their confidence that Murray can return to form.

“I think Matt’s mental toughness and the experiences that he’s gone through, he can certainly draw on and help him get to where we all know he’s capable of being,” Sullivan said (h/t NHL.com). “Right now, he’s got an opportunity to spend some time with [Buckley] and work on some of the aspects of his game that we think can help him improve. He can build his confidence.

“This by no means diminishes our faith and our trust in Matt Murray. We know he’s a real good goalie. He’s an accomplished goalie.”

DeSmith understands his role, as backup.

“That’s my job. Just to show up when I get the chance,” DeSmith said. “I think so far, I’ve given the team a chance to win when I’ve played. I take pride in that.”

Murray is 4-4-1 with a 3.87 GAA, .886 save percentage and one shutout in nine starts for Pittsburgh this season.

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Eastern Conference

Devils Place Brian Boyle on IR

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The New Jersey Devils have placed center Brian Boyle on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, according to an official team announcement.

During Sunday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, Boyle was on the receiving end of a devastating hit from Dustin Byfuglien, which you can see below.

In a corresponding move, the Devils have recalled Pavel Zacha from the AHL.

 

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Boston Bruins

Bruins’ Tuukka Rask Rejoins Team, Jakub Zboril Recalled

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The Boston Bruins will see the return of netminder Tuukka Rask, who took a few days away from the team for a personal leave.

In corresponding moves, Dan Vlader is on his way back to the Providence Bruins while Jakub Zboril will be recalled. Additionally, the team officially announced that both Jeremy Lauzon and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson will stay on regular recall.

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