Monday, December 13, 2010

Nabokov to NHL?

If you were surprised when Evgeni Nabokov signed with a KHL team this past summer, you were not alone. Nabokov was widely considered one of the premier goalies in the NHL, constantly leading the San Jose Sharks to success, season after season. SKA St. Petersburg, Nabokov's KHL team, terminated his four year contract earlier today citing family problem. Sources tell me that those problems stem from his family, who remained in North America (his Children were born in the States), being unable to adjust to a Russian lifestyle.

So Nabokov is on his way to North America as I write this and everyone I speak to believes his immediate future is in the NHL. But where will the prized Russian netminder end up?

The leading contender is Tampa Bay, who have allowed a league high 106 goals. The Bolts are currently going with a Mike Smith / Dan Ellis platoon, but it's become clear that both are unable to carry this team where they want to go. Mike Smith's best days appear to be behind him in Dallas, while it's becoming quite clear that Dan Ellis' past success likely had more to do with Nashville's defensive system than his skill.

While burrying one of this two in the minors (assuming they are both untradeable, which seems to be the case) would be a risky move for GM Yzerman, It's probably the right one. Nabokov would give this team it's best goalie since Khabibulin and would transform Tampa Bay from a fringe team to a legitimate contender.

But getting Nabokov won't be easy. Because of the NHL's waiver rules, wherever Nabokov signs, he must pass through waivers before joining any team. Tampa isn't the only team with interest.

Sources tell that as many as five teams could have interest in Russian olympian, including Washington, who have lost six straight, and Ottawa, who are getting fed up with "Starter" Pascal Leclaire's injuries.

So keep an eye of Evgeni Nabokov over the next couple of weeks. There is significant interest around the NHL in the former all-star goalie and all bets are on him being on an NHL roster before long. He really could be the difference maker for a team like Tampa Bay or Washington, who have all the offense they need but a big hole between the pipes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rumours for November 26, 2010

- With Marc-Andre Bergeron cleared to play, the next step is a team signing him. Two of his former clubs, the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens, have shown interest due to injuries to their respective top d-men (Streit and Markov). Look for Bergeron to sign with an Eastern club sometime in the next 10-14 days. The Tampa Bay Lightning are also said to be very interested in the hard-shooting defenseman.

- The Columbus Blue Jackets continue to look for a puck-moving defenseman, something they have been looking to acquire for the past few seasons. While recent speculation has the team talking to the Sens about Brian Lee and Erik Karlsson, sources tell that talks between the two teams have stalled and are not expected to resume.

- With Sabres captain Craig Rivet once again set to be a healthy scratch, it appears as though the team may push him to give up his captaincy. While the Sabres may attempt to move Rivet, his 3.5 million dollar salary will make him a tough sell.

- The San Jose Sharks continue to look for some blueline help. They've been rumoured to have interest in the previously mentioned Bergeron, while recent whispers around Toronto suggest they have interest in a pair of Maple Leafs defenders, including Luke Schenn.

- With the Devils tight against the cap, they may look at moving the struggling David Clarkson. Clarkson has just six points in 22 games.

- With the Flyers also up against the cap, they will struggle to resign Ville Leino, who the club is said to be hopeful to extend. Brayden Coburn could be dealt to make room. Coburn has another year left on his deal and is owed 3.2 million next season.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

2010-11 Predictions: Western Conference

So while I have several controversial choices, my picks for the West are likely to be less "out there". I believe this is because the West is always so strong that if an underdog makes the playoffs, its still not THAT big of a surprise. So here are my picks for how the 15 Western teams will finish.

1. Vancouver Canucks

This is a team that I believe really has what it takes to put it all together and win it all this season. They're solid in net with Luongo, they're a force on D with Bieksa, Edler, Ballard, and Humhuis, while the top line of Sedin, Sedin and Burrows (once healthy) is comparable to any top line in the league. The Canucks should have no problem winning the Northwest and will have every opportunity to be the top team in the conference.

2. Detroit Red Wings

I expect the Wings to bounce back from last season's mediocre result. With Hudler back in the fold, and an almost guarentee of less injuries than last year, the Wings shouldn't have a problem improving on 2009-10. That, paired with Chicago getting weaker in every area, and the Central should belong to Detroit.

3. San Jose Sharks

I don't necessarily like the moves this team made, resigning Marleau is a risk while their goaltending is weaker without Nabokov, but the Sharks are a very strong regular season team. I expect big things from Joe Thornton in a contract year and I think Pavelski, Clowe and the young defense will continue to develop and get better. The Sharks may struggle in the post season, but they're always a force in the first 82.

4. LA Kings

As the Kings core gets older, they will get better. I think this will be the first year you really notice how good the Kings are. With guys like Brown, Johnson and Brown still reaching their potential, this team will be scary and soon. If Steve Bernier can take the leap this season to be a number one or one(a) goalie, the Kings could be a force and give San Jose a run for the Pacific.

5. Chicago Blackhawks

They're not as good as last season, especially up front and in net, but the Blackhawks can't be counted out as long as they have Toews and Kane. This team is still young, fast and explosive. Thats good enough for them to be a serious threat in a very deep western conference.

6. Calgary Flames

I think the Flames will bounce back this season, despite their questionable off-season moves. I see bounce back seasons from Tanguay and Bouwmeester, while Kiprusoff should be better as well. I still don't understand the Jokinen signing, as it didnt work the first time, but if the Flames falter, I'll be shocked if longtime GM Sutter can hold onto his job.

7. Nashville Predators

This is a team that no matter where you put them in your preseason standings, 9th or 15th, they squeek into the playoffs. The Preds didnt make any massive additions, but they filled some holes and have a great young goalie in Pekke Rinne.

8. St. Louis Blues

Like LA, this team will only get better with time. Adding Halak will be huge for this club and I strongly believe it's time for the Blues to return to meaningful hockey in the spring.

9. Phoenix Coyotes

While this team overachieved last year, I think they'll fall back to earth a little this season. Losing Lombardi will hurt, while Ray Whitney, in my opinion, wasn't the right move for the desert dogs. With that said, this team has a great young core with an unbelievable goalie, so anything is possible.

10. Anaheim Ducks

Gone are the days where the Ducks had a stacked defense. Instead, the Ducks will be relying on youth like Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa. Up front, the Ducks are strong with Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Parry, but if the defense struggles, Jonas Hiller could be in for a rough season.

11. Colorado Avalanche

Another team that I believe overachieved last season, the Avs will be on the playoff border all season long. I'm not sold on their goaltending, while some of their playings, like Hejduk, are only getting older. Matt Duchene will need to bring his game a long way for the Avs to be a strong competitor this season.

12. Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers are injecting a lot of youth into their lineup this season, which will make them an incredible team to watch. Unfortunately, this team has too many question marks to be taken seriously. How many games will Khabibulin miss for legal matters and injury woes? What will happen with Sheldon Souray? The Oilers are still two to three years away from being VERY good, but some improvement will be noticed this season.

13. Columbus Blue Jackets

This is another team that has too many questions to be considered a contender. Can the team find a centre to take Rick Nash to another level? Can Steve Mason rebound? How will Filatov play now that he's back in north america?

14. Minnesota Wild

With both Backstrom and Theodore another year older, my biggest concern for the Wild is their goaltending. Thats saying something when I believe their offense is one of the weakest in the league.

15. Dallas Stars

Kari Lehtonen backed up by Andrew Raycroft. I really have nothing else to say about the Dallas Stars...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010-11 Season Predictions - Eastern Conference

So here we are, eight more sleeps until the start of the 2010-11 season. We've endured one of the slowest offseasons in recent memory and I'll be the first to say, that puck couldn't drop on the season soon enough.

While the offseason may have been a slow one, a few major things happened that have reshaped the league's landscape. Chicago's roster got retooled by the salary cap, San Jose let go of their franchise goaltender, Carolina continued to get younger, Montreal's epic goaltending went questionable, and much, much more.

So now that the dust has settled (for the most part) and teams are making their final decisions on their opening night rosters, it's time to take a look at how I think things could finish this year. It's always tough to make predictions because I am well aware that players who I expect to perform will have off-years or get hurt. Over the coarse of the year, we'll see unpredicted management changes, trades and even free agent signings that rock the NHL's landscape once again. Even so, it's fun to make preseason predictions as to what might be:

Eastern Conference

1. Washington Capitals

It was a quiet offseason in Washington, but the team that will step on the ice next week will be much of the same that went out in round one to the Montreal Canadiens. The Caps knew they hit a hot goalie and were smart to not retool too much. Jose Theodore is gone, but a healthy Simeon Varlamov and Michael Neuvirth will give the Caps one of the best young goalie tandems in the league. Washington remains the league's most explosive threat up front and while I'm not sold on their defensive ability, I think the Caps will be just fine.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins upgraded their biggest weakness this summer: their D. While losing Gonchar hurts, the additions of Michalek and Martin make Pittsburgh's overall defensive depth better. This should create more room up front for their offensive stars while giving Marc-Andre Fleury an easier time in net. The Penguins still could use some secondary scoring up front, but I expect both Crosby and Malkin to do just fine carrying the offensive load for these birds.

3. Boston Bruins

I didn't necessarily like the offseason the Bruins had, but it's a no-brainer that these bears really underachieved last season. Losing Dennis Wideman on the blueline will hurt, but the offensive additions of Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin (should he get proper minutes), as well as a healthy Bergeron, should make the Bruins the best team in the NorthEast. With a weaker blueline, however, the pressure will be on both Rask and Thomas. If one of these goalies can't stand out and steal the number one job early, Boston could struggle.

4. New Jersey Devils

With Parise, Kovalchuk and Zajac up front, the once defensive first Devils should be a serious threat up front. While Brodeur is getting older, the veteran netminder still should be solid enough to make New Jersey a top threat in the East. On defense, the loss of Paul Martin will hurt, but kudos to the team for somewhat replacing him with Anton Volchenkov, who will be surely missed in Ottawa. Andy Greene should continue to develop into a top-line defenseman and the Devils should stay neck-and-neck with the Penguins all season for their division.

5. New York Rangers

The Rangers will continue to get better with time, as young players like Dubinsky, Del Zotto and Callahan will get more dangerous as they develop. Frolov should add more offensive punch up front while I expect a bounceback year from Lundqvist. I think Derek Steppan could turn some heads should he get the opportunity with the big club. The East is wide open from about fifth to 12th, but the Rangers have every opportunity to be the best of that bunch.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Bolts finished the year off strong last year and that should carry over into 2010-11. This team got retooled during the offseason and the additions of Gagne, Kubina and Ellis make this team better in all three areas. I expect Lecavalier to have a bounce back season while the sky is the limit for where Steve Stamkos could take his game.

7. Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers post-season run last year isn't fooling me; I still don't think they're that good. This is a team in desperate need of goaltending, especially after Michael Leighton will miss the next month due to injury. With that said, this team has a great mix of youth and veteran leadership and should be right in the thick of the playoff race all season long. Like I said, it's going to be close between five and 12, the Flyers need to stay healthy and get quality goaltending if they want to be playing at the end of April.

8. Toronto Maple Leafs

I think this is the season the Leafs squeak back into the post-season. While there is no doubt that the Leafs need another top-line forward, their defense has the potential to be one of the best in the league. The Leafs are a much improved team from the one that started 09-10, with better goaltending, more offense and a stronger blueline. It will be a battle all season, but if Kessel, Versteeg, Bozak and Gustavsson continue to improve as they have, the Leafs should finally be playing meaningful hockey this spring.

9. Ottawa Senators

The Sens were very up and down last season and I expect much of the same this year. I'm still not sold on LeClaire and Elliott in net, which scares me more this season without Volchenkov patrolling the blueline. I love the addition of Gonchar, but this team will miss Volchenkov and Sutton's defensive ability. Spezza needs to bounce back and hard if this team has any chance at making the post season.

10. Carolina Hurricanes

The first time I made this list, I had Carolina in the playoffs, but upon further review, I think it will take one more season. This team is full of future stars and will be a lot of fun to watch over the next few seasons. I love guys like Bowman, Sutter, Boychuk (very disappointed they sent him down this morning). A healthy Cam Ward and further progression from these young guys and the Canes could make things interesting down the stretch.

11. Atlanta Thrashers

Call me crazy, but I like the Atlanta Thrashers. Nobody benefited more from Chicago's blow up than the Thrashers, while the addition of Chris Mason gives the Thrashers the best goaltending they've ever had. Yes, this team would be much better with Kovalchuk, but I like what Atlanta did this season and think they could push for a playoff spot right until the final few weeks of the season.

12. Montreal Canadiens

If Montreal kept Halak, I'd have Montreal probably fifth. With that said, I can't put much faith behind Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens. I think full, healthy seasons from Gionta and Cammaleri will make this team more dangerous up front, but I can't help but fear this team's defensive ability and questions in goal.

13. Buffalo Sabres

Ok, I'm going to take a lot of heat on this one. Yes, the Sabres finished with 100 points last season, but if ANYTHING happened to Ryan Miller's game last season, the Sabres were a marginal team at best. The Sabres will go with a younger lineup this season and I think this could be the one year they take a step back to get better. The Sabres are a couple of years away from being VERY good, but I think the Sabres miss the post season this year while they learn a little.

14. New York Islanders

The injury to Streit hurts NYI's already thin defense, while DiPietro and Roloson is even more questionable than Price/Auld. The Islanders have the best young forward group in the league, but their defense is a big grey zone. Another high draft pick is coming New York's way, let's just hope they don't waste another pick on a forward.

15. Florida Panthers

The Panthers started to retool this offseason and I expect that to continue throughout the season. Vokoun will likely be dealt, Weiss isn't untouchable and the Panthers seem destined to be picking in the top three in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Latest + 5 up/5 down

With less than a month until the start of the regular season, things are finally picking up around the NHL. We'll start in Carolina, where rumours are floating that the Canes are speaking to several veterans about try out contracts, including Bill Guerin and Owen Nolan. Carolina will be icing a very young team this season and would love to add a couple of older bodies to add leadership.

In New Jersey, the team faces a larger cap crunch than any other team. A couple of players are being rumoured back to their old teams, with Salvadore being linked to St. Louis and Rolston being linked to Minnesota. Both will be very tough sells due to their contracts and the Devils will have to sweeten the pot with a decent prospect or high pick going along with their respective veterans.

The Bobby Ryan saga continues in Anaheim, with the two sides still not close on a contract to end their summer-long stalemate. The Ducks would love to have Ryan signed to start training camp but at this point, it seems unlikely. It was almost a year ago that Kessel was dealt to Toronto after being unable to come to terms in Boston. It will be interesting to see how long the Ducks wait before they start seriously shopping the very promising winger. No folks, Toronto is not in the running for Bobby Ryan, they simply don't have the tradable assets needed to bring him in.

Talk out of San Jose is that the team still has one more move up their sleeve, with a puck moving d-man still being their number one target. The Blue Jackets are also looking for the same thing. Despite his NTC, Kaberle's name continues to surface, as does Sheldon Souray's. Whispers around the league suggest that both teams have asked the Rangers about Marc Staal, but the Rangers have no intention of dealing him, despite the contract battle currently going on with him.

Now for a look at the five teams who I think improved the most over the off-season, as well as the teams who I think took the biggest step backwards:

5 Up

5. Atlanta Thrashers

The fact that they basically got all of Chicago's leftovers is significant. Adding Sopel, Eager, Byfuglien and Ladd will make this team better both up front and on defense, while Chris Mason is the best goalie this franchise has had yet. If some of the younger players like Kane and Little can step up their games, the Thrashers could surprise and compete for a playoff spot this season.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs

If you look back at the Leafs from the start of the season last year, they are significantly better. Between puck drop and their first tee-off of the offseason, the Leafs added Phaneuf, Giguere, Sjostrom and Caputi, while they promoted Bozak and Gunnarsson to the big club, with both excelling. Pair those additions with healthy, full seasons from Kessel, Komisarek and Gustavsson and the team the Leafs finished the year last year nowhere resembled their place in the standings. While the Leafs failed to address their biggest need in the offseason, that being a number one centre, they did make their team better overall by adding Kris Versteeg, Colby Armstrong, Clarke MacArthur and two depth d-men in Lashoff and Lebda. Add that to Bozak, Gustavsson, Kulemin, Schenn, Gunnarsson and Caputi all being another year older, and I think this Leafs team is significantly improved from one year ago.

I'm not saying the Leafs will go from 29th to 1st, 2nd or even the top 10, but I don't believe it's out of the question to think the Leafs could compete for a playoff spot this season, probably somewhere in the 6 to 8 range...especially after looking at what some of the other teams in the East have done, or in some cases, haven't done.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins

Destined to be losing Sergei Gonchar, the Penguins already thin defense was heading into this summer facing a major crisis. Instead, the teams allows Gonchar to walk to Ottawa but replaces him with two better, younger players in Michalek and Martin, both to five year deals. The Penguins were already set up front, with Malkin, Crosby and Staal leading the way, but for the first time since the Crosby era, the Penguins have a rock solid defense core.

2. Vancouver Canucks

At the trade deadline last year I felt the Canucks needed three things: Offensive depth, a puck moving defenseman and another depth defender. The Canucks failed to add any of those parts and failed in the playoffs because of that. The Canucks, however, did use this offseason to right their wrongs, all of them.

The Canucks bolstered their blueline, making it one of the most solid defense corps in the league. After adding Keith Ballard at the draft, the team also went out and got Dan Hamhuis from the free agent market. With Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff and Alex Edler also on the D roster, this is a blueline that is going to have a lot of success in 2010-11.

Up front, the team focused on adding depth forwards to complement their talented twin brothers, bringing in Manny Malhotra and Raffi Torres. These two players bring grit, defensive stability and yes, even some offensive potential.

With one of the world's best goalies in net and without a doubt the world's best twin hockey players up front, the Canucks already had a solid foundation in play, but credit to Mike Gillis who addressed his team's weaknesses this offseason. I think the Canucks are a top-three team in the West.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

Without a doubt, by far and away, the most improved team this season. This is a team that already featured Stamkos, Lecavalier, Malone, St. Louis and Hedman, a solid foundation for a team that should have a shot at the playoffs every year. However, a shot at the playoffs didn't seem good enough for new GM Steve Yzerman.

The Bolts adding Simon Gagne and Dominic Moore, adding both scoring and two way ability to their roster. On defense, the team further improved by adding Pavel Kubina and Brett Clarke. Finally, in goal the team once again improved by adding Dan Ellis.

With several superstars already on the roster, in addition to a few who are about to emerge, the Bolts seem destined for the playoffs in 2010-2011.

5 Down

Montreal, Philly, Chicago, Calgary, Phoenix

5. Phoenix Coyotes

Don't get me wrong, I like the Coyotes, but after making a big stride last season, I think the team has taken a step back. Losing one of their top forwards (Lombardi) and arguably their best d-man (Michalek) is going to hurt this team. The sole major addition (if you can even consider him major at this point) is Ray Whitney, who I think could have trouble finding his groove in Phoenix. The Coyotes are still young and hungry, not to mention they have a hell of a goalie (who is a UFA next summer), but I felt the team could have done more this offseason.

4. Philadelphia Flyers

I felt the Flyers really needed to address their goaltending this summer, and they had options. Dan Ellis, Evgeni Nabokov, Antii Niemi, Marty Turco, the list really goes on and on. Instead, the team decided to stick with Michael Leighton and I think that will burn them this season. The team dealt Ryan Parent only to lose the player they got in return (Hamhuis) to free agency. They gave up a second round pick for a hugely overpaid d-man in Meszaros, and they traded one of their top scorers over the past five years (Simon Gagne) for next to nothing. Getting Zherdev from the KHL could prove huge for this team, but I don't think the Flyers are even close to being able to play to the same level that got them to the cup final last season.

3. Montreal Canadiens

Halak. That's all that needs to be said. You don't trade a goalie who carried your team on his back almost all the way to the Stanley Cup finals and then trade him for "futures". Instead, the Habs turn to Carey Price, who has proven nothing as of late, and have absolutely no insurance backing him up. The offense and defense are basically unchanged, and full seasons out of Gionta and Cammy should help, but this teams goaltending will have to be spectacular for this team to edge into the playoffs.

2. Calgary Flames

After dumping Dion Phaneuf, the Flames were expected to have a big offseason. Instead, the team brought back Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay, two players who struggled mightily last season. Jokinen was dumped to the Rangers before the trade deadline last season and GM Sutter was praised for his ability to get rid of why did he bring him back? As for Tanguay, he's had not-so-great stops in Montreal and Tampa Bay since leaving Calgary, so it will be interesting to see if the former Avs sniper can re-find his game back in Calgary. Either way, this team didn't make the playoffs last season and doesn't seem poised to get into them again this time around.

1. Chicago Blackhawks

The first real victim of the salary cap, the Blackhawks really felt the pain this offseason, downgrading in every single aspect of their game. Up front, the team lost Versteeg, Byfuglien, Fraser, Burish, Eager and Ladd and replaced them all with young, unproven talent (save for Marty Reasoner). While their defense didn't suffer much this offseason, their goaltending did, with an over the hill Marty Turco and an unproven Corey Crawford replacing Niemi and Huet.

Chicago still is a very talented team, but never before in the history of the league have we seen a stanley cup champion get so dismantled the following summer. Even so, expect Chicago to compete for the West once again this season.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Will he stay or will he go?

We thought Tomas Kaberle would be traded at the draft, but that never happened.

We then thought he'd be moved shortly after July 1st, but to no avail.

Now we arrive on August 15th, 12 hours away from Kaberle's no trade clause kicking back in and questions are swirling about the skilled Czech's immediate future.

Burke went public over the last few days saying the offers were getting closer, but still no cigar. This morning he said much of the same, that their were several offers on the table but none of which were worth taking, yet.

Not including Kaberle, Burke has six NHL calibre defenseman ready to start the season, seven if you include Jeff Finger. Kaberle's value is higher now than it would be at the deadline, where a team would only be trading for a player they'd only get to use for 20 or so games, plus the playoffs. In my opinion, Burke must move Kaberle now in order to build the best team going forward.

But what are the current offers? We've heard Derek Joslin and a 1st from the Sharks, something I'd consider if I was Burke. We've heard Wayne Simmonds and a mid-round pick, something else I'd consider. Burke's top priority was to bring in a big, scoring forward for Kaberle, and he still may be able to, with names like Ryan Malone still floating around. If it's pure skill Burke wants, names like Logan Couture, Devan Setoguchi and Marc Savard are still floating. But if I'm Burke, I go to bed taking the best deal offered, even if it's not 100% what I'm hoping for.

Prior to last season, it made sense to keep Kaberle. Beauchemin was coming off an injury and his skill level was unclear, while Luke Schenn, Jeff Finger and Mike Komisarek were hardly puck moving d-men. Fast forward to now and Beauchemin has proven he can still move the puck, Schenn has developed his offensive game, the team acquired Dion Phaneuff and Carl Gunnarsson has basically replaced Kaberle's puck moving abilities on his own. Kaberle's value is too high and his importance to the team is too low for him to be kept around.

So where does Kaberle end up, if he does in fact get moved? My vote right now goes to San Jose, who has both young players (Couture, Joslin) and young established players (Setoguchi, Clowe) to somehow get a deal done. I'm not saying the Leafs will get Clowe and a 1st for Kaberle, or even Couture and a first for him, because it's unlikely, but the Leafs are not against adding to the deal to make another deal better.

As for other teams involved? The Blues are still in this and David Backes is still an option for Toronto. I don't believe the Kings are still as active as they once were, but at the drop of a hat they could be right back in this. Tampa Bay is definitely involved, with the thought of re-pairing Kaberle and Kubina on Yzerman's mind. And don't forget the Bruins, who in my mind still have to replace Dennis Wideman.

It's going to be an interesting 12 hours and I for one will be glad when Kaberle is finally dealt. If he isn't, I think Burke has missed out on an opportunity to better his team now and in the future.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Kaberle Watch 2010

With ten days remaining in Tomas Kaberle's lack of no trade clause, it's expected that the offers will start going north when it comes to his value.

Sources tell that there are currently three teams with significant offers on the table: San Jose, Boston and LA. Whispers suggest Florida and Washington are involved as well, but how truthful those two teams interest are, im unsure.

The deal with the Bruins is likely the closest to happening, with the Bruins said to be offering Marc Savard and a high draft pick, possibly Boston's own first rounder. While Savard has a lengthy contract and a history of concussion problems, he had success with Phil Kessel and would fill a giant void up the middle for Toronto. With Boston signing Seguin earlier this week, the team would love nothing more than to move out one of the veteran centres.

San Jose's offer, from what I've been told, involves Ryan Clowe and a defensive prospect. Clowe wouldn't solve the Leafs problem up the middle, but would give the Leafs another offensive option on the wing. The prospect would play for the marlies and would be someone who could join the team mid-season when injuries strike.

The most interesting option may be the LA Kings, who apparently are only offering prospects and draft picks for the popular Czech defenseman. While this wouldn't help the Leafs now, the prospects being talked about outvalue the offers of both San Jose and Boston.

The feeling around the league is that Burke will deal Kaberle by the 15th of August and will simply take the deal that makes the most sense at that time. He knows that Kaberle's value will not be any higher than it is now, and he's very aware that Kaberle has no spot in Toronto this season, despite what he says publically.

Niemi remains a free agent and likely will heading into next week. I still believe the Sharks are the frontrunners to land him and making that offer sheet a few weeks ago was all part of their plan to lure the latest goaltender to win the Stanley Cup to California. Rumours of Montreal having interest in Niemi are false, but there are a few Canadian teams with interest: Edmonton and Ottawa. One other team to keep an eye on in all of this: Atlanta.

And finally we turn to Ilya Kovalchuk, who should know where he sits tomorrow. I pray that he remains a New Jersey Devil and that the league is forced to honour his contract, because once the Kovalchuk domino falls, a lot more should fall into place.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Best of the Rest

So we are almost one week into free agency and their are still a couple of gems out there. Now that the 4th of July long weekend has passed, expect things to start picking up today.

I'll start with Ilya Kovalchuk, who according to various reports has signed a seven year, $60 million dollar deal with the Devils. This isn't confirmed and the longer this goes without being confirmed, the less likely it is to happen. One source told me the Devils are working on a trade to clear some cap room before announcing the trade, while another source tells me Kovalchuk is the one holding off on the deal, hoping something else comes in. Time will tell but regardless I think we'll know by tomorrow.

What about the Leafs, who have signed just one free agent of note so far: Colby Armstrong. Look for the Leafs to lock up a d-man over the next few days, with WIllie Mitchell being my guess. Other d-men the team has looked at include Andy Sutton, M-A Bergeron and Shoane Morrison. Once the d-man is signed, the Kaberle sweeps will pick up. One team who has recently joined them? Colorado. Speaking of the Leafs, I just realized they re-signed John Mitchell, where have I been? One year, 725,000. Finally, several sources have told me that the Leafs have a small interest in Mike Comrie and could go to him if all else fails on the trade market.

What about Evgeni Nabokov? He's still being linked to the Flyers, but cap concerns there make it almost impossible. It looks as though Simon Gagne will be the odd man out in Philly, but where he ends up is anyones guess right now. Two teams to keep your eye on here are the Islanders and Columbus.

There has been very little interest in Alex Frolov, who had a rough season last year. The Habs and Bruins have both kicked tires, while the Panthers have interest but it doesn't appear mutual. At this point, he could be KHL bound.

Finally, word out of San Jose last night has the team close to dealing Ryan Clowe to the Eastern Conference. I'll currently digging for details.

For all the latest make sure to check out, our forums and our twitter at

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gauthier's first big move a miss

A reminder to check out the brand new!


Pierre Gauthier was named the General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens to fix the situation Bob Gainey put them in. With big contracts like Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta on the books for years to come, the Habs new GM had his work cut out building the Habs into a bonafide Stanley Cup contender.

However, the Habs became just that this off-season because of the play of number one goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who stole the job from Carey Price and ran with it, despite the team icing a depleted defense core.

So what is Gauthier's first off-season move? Trading the one and only reason the Canadiens upset Washington and Pittsburgh in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

I'm not saying Gauthier shouldn't have traded Halak, the fact of the matter is Halak is an RFA who would have wanted a big pay raise and the Habs may not have been able to afford him. My problem is the timing. With the draft eight days away, teams are still accessing their needs and dealing Halak this far before the draft was a serious mistake.

While Halak scored the Habs two mediocre prospects, neither has the potential to be a game-stealer, something Halak proved he was this season and deep into the playoffs. Bob Gainey's asking price for Halak this season was a number one center (Jeff Carter) and when the Flyers wouldn't push, Gainey walked away. Lars Eller is no Jeff Carter and will never evolve into anything close.

So the Habs enter the draft with Carey Price, who showed no signs of being a number one goalie last season, as their top netminder. They also have a team who is too close to the cap to significantly improve. The Habs may have made the final four this season, but with their best player now in St. Louis, the future no longer looks as promising in Montreal as it did yesterday.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Stanley Cup

Sorry I'm a few days behind, but what a start to the Stanley Cup finals. 11 goals? Nobody was expecting that. Both the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers have a strong core of forwards up front, and if game one showed us anything, it's that this series will be a close one. Both teams also have relatively unknown goaltenders, so it will be interesting to see who steps up and who falters.

As for my prediction, it's very hard for me to say anything else but the Blackhawks will win the cup. This team has waited longer than anyone else for their "next" cup victory and this young group of kids, not to mention Hossa, deserves it. Hawks in 6.

Finally, I know things have been slower than usual but do not fear, many updates are coming.

I am pleased to announce that following the conclusion of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Hockeyleaks 5.0 will be launched. New Design, New Columnists, New Media Player featuring podcasts, interviews, etc. and much more will launch along with the site. I've been working with the designer who created the original layout back in 2005 and both of us are very excited for the future.

If you are interested in writing a weekly column for, please send me an email at

We will be your best source for all the latest news and rumours heading towards the draft and July 1, 2010.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Being Injured Pays? + The Return of the Jets?

First of all, $3.5 million a year for three years for Kari Lehtonen? I know Dallas is desperate for a goalie, but this is a guy who has spent more time injured since being drafted than in the crease. When Jonas Gustavsson signed in Toronto for $1.3 million for two years in Toronto, I thought that could potentially drive the cost of goaltending down this summer. Now with Lehtonen getting $3.5, what does this mean for other UFA/RFA goalies who are better and more reliable? Halak, Mason and Niemi must be licking their chops right now.

And how about the news coming out over the past few days that the Phoenix Coyotes could be playing their home schedule in Winnipeg next season. While I've been told nothing is for certain, the City of Glendale is struggling with just about everyone they talk to, and after a year where it seemed like the Coyotes could never be moved, it seems like a move to Winnipeg may be much simpler than we all thought. With that said, if the Coyotes are leaving Phoenix, expect some sort of move by Kansas City or Las Vegas in an attempt to bring the team to their respective cities. At this point, if I'm a betting man, which I am, I'm putting my money on the Coyotes leaving Phoenix by next season. Winnipeg, you may be getting your team back. It'd be the first good move the NHL has made regarding it's failing franchises in a long, long time.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Here We Go! Round 2

What a great game last night between the Sharks and the Red Wings. This is going to be a great series. Here are the predictions for the second round.


(4) Pittsburgh vs. (8) Montreal

Very few had the Habs picked to go to the second round of the playoffs. The fact that the fourth seeded Penguins now are the top seed in the East shows how full of upsets the first round was. Can the Habs do it again? With Halak in net, anything is possible and the Habs have shown that they cannot be counted out. I think the Penguins will take this series, but it could go the distance. With that said, i dont think it will. Penguins in six.

(6) Boston vs. (7) Philadelphia

The Bruins are already winners as they have the #2 pick in the NHL draft. The Flyers showed heart in their first round knock off of new jersey, but Savard coming back is huge for the Bruins and should give them the boost they need. Goaltending is going to be key in this series, with both Rask and Boucher very unproven at this stage in the game. Bruins in six.


(1) San Jose vs. (5) Detroit

The Sharks took game one, but that game could have gone either way. The Wings are famous for playing their best hockey at this time of year while the Sharks are famous for failing to show up in the post-season. The Sharks had a great first round while Detroit had an up-and-down series with the Coyotes. I think the Wings lack of rest and inexperience in net could be their downfaill. Sharks in seven.

(2) Chicago vs. (3) Vancouver

This is the best series of the second round, with both teams picked by many to win the Stanley Cup. The Hawks have arguably the best offense in the game while the Canucks have the best goaltender. I firmly believe the Sedins are at the point where they can elevate the Canucks to the next level, but the biggest question of this series is the play of Chicago's goaltending. At the deadline I felt that both Chicago and Washington needed to address their goaltending, and they didnt. We saw how that turned out for Washington, and I think the Blackhawks could suffer a similar fate. Canucks in seven.

Want to place a wager on the games? Make sure to head over to Party Bets

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2010 Playoffs - Opening Round Predictions

First of all, I am sorry for basically going MIA since the trade deadline. Work gone insane, I switched from a Dell to a Mac which was a battle, and i've done nothing but search for a new place to live in my spare time. All issues are now cleared up, I move this weekend, my mac is a beauty, and work has calmed. All in time for the playoffs.

Here are my predictions as we head into the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.


(1) Washington vs. (8) Montreal

From my view, goaltending will be the biggest story of this series. The Caps goaltending has been a question all season long, while Jaroslav Halak has shown he can steal a game or two when needed. Both him and Theodore are playing for new contracts and are expected to put on a show in the opening round. In the end, the Caps fire power will be too much, but the Habs won't go down without one hell of a fight.

Caps in 6

(2) New Jersey vs. (7) Philadelphia

Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk are my two players to watch for the Devils. Kovalchuk's previous playoff success is non-existant, while Brodeur is getting up there in age and his game is starting to show just that. Luckily for the Devils, the Flyers have no goaltending depth and their team has really disappointed this year.

Devils in 5

(3) Buffalo vs. (6) Boston

The Ryan Miller Show lasted all season long and have the Sabres opening the post season at home. The Bruins offense has been non-existant and Tim Thomas has followed up his vezina winning season with a subpar season, to say the least. With that said, the Bruins have some fight left in them and an upset isn't out of the question. Even if the Bruins lose, at least they'll get one of Hall or Seguin to take the sting away.

Bruins in 7

(4) Pittsburgh vs. (5) Ottawa

The last time the Sens and Pens met, Ottawa went home after four games. The Sens are stronger than back then while I believe the Pens are a little weaker. Still, the gap between the two still exists and the end result will be similar.

Penguins in 6


(1) San Jose vs. (8) Colorado

Another early exit for San Jose would spell HUGE changes for the Sharks. While Marleau isn't expected back, an opening round loss would also likely spell the end for several other high profile Sharks. The Avs have cooled down a lot since their early season dominance and are still too young to hang around with the big boys.

Sharks in 5

(2) Chicago vs. (7) Nashville

The Preds continue to be post-season players every year, despite not having a super-star loaded roster. The Blackhawks, however, are the definition of super-star loaded. The Blackhawks, despite the questions in net, are probably the team to beat in the West.

Blackhawks in 5

(3) Vancouver vs. (6) LA

The Kings were a nice surprise this season and have the young talent up front to really compete with the leagues best. Unfortunately in net it's Quick vs. Luongo, and Luongo's already got some big-game experience behind him. The Kings will make it closer than many think, however.

Canucks in 6

(4) Phoenix vs. (5) Detroit

Phoenix's incredible season earned them a date with Detroit, hardly a reward. With that said, the Coyotes have the speed and skill to compete with the Wings. This series is a complete toss-up and will likely go 7. It could come down to who's goalie is hotter, and I'm still not sold on Howard.

Coyotes in 7'

Agree? Disagree? Stop by the forums and throw down a comment as well as your own predictions.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trade Deadline 2010 Preview

Well folks, this time tomorrow it's likely we will already have seen two or three trades come through the wire. The Olympic trade freeze ends at midnight tonight, opening up the NHL for action. The playoff races are hotter than they've ever been, with some pretty big sellers around with a lot to sell (Toronto, Carolina, Edmonton, Florida).

While Wednesday may not break the record for most trades ever, remember that this deadline is different than ever before. The long Olympic break resulted in some of the bigger trades (Phaneuf, Giguere, Kovalchuk, Barker, Cullen) moving before the Olympic freeze. We'll also see several trades announced tomorrow that were worked on during the trade freeze, deals that would normally be worked out on deadline day itself.

Make sure to tune into all week for the latest trade deadline news and rumours. Our chat will return tomorrow, with several scheduled chats happening between now and Wednesday's 3 PM deadline. Starting around 10 AM on Wednesday, I will be in the chat room all day, letting you guys know what I'm hearing and hopefully breaking a few trades for you.

Here is a look at what each might do and what players are available.


If I was the GM of the Ducks, I'd be a seller. Trading impending UFAs like Koivu, Niedermayer and Selanne could get the Ducks some young prospects that make them much better down the road. With that said, the Ducks are two points out of the playoffs and will not be sellers going into Wednesday.

Players Available

James Wisniewski
Teams Interested: Chicago, Boston
Chances of being moved: 75 percent


The Thrashers have already traded Kovalchuk and Lehtonen, so you'd expect them to continue to sell. However, GM Waddell says he wants his team to make the playoffs and will make moves to help make that happen. In my opinion, however, the deals won't be there for the Thrashers to make to get better, so they'll become semi-sellers at the deadline

Players Available

Colby Armstrong
Teams Interested: Pittsburgh, St. Louis, LA, Boston, Colorado
Chances of being moved: 85 percent

Vyacheslav Kozlov
Teams Interested: Vancouver, Phoenix, Montreal
Chances of being moved: 90 percent

Pavel Kubina
Teams Interested: Buffalo, Vancouver, Ottawa
Chances of being moved: 45 percent

Max Afinigenov
Teams Interested: Vancouver, Washington, Pittsburgh
Chances of being moved: 60 percent


The Bruins will be buyers and their wishlist is pretty big. They'd love some offense, they'd love to dump an expensive, under-producing player, a puck-moving d-man and a d-man that could play a good shutdown role. Unfortunatly, cap issues will make it hard for the Bruins to swing too many deals. With two first round picks, though, the Bruins have the pieces to make a significant deal.

Players Available

Michael Ryder
Teams Interested: Toronto, Phoenix, Nashville
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

Tim Thomas
Teams Interested: Unknown
Chances of being moved: 10 percent


After a smoking hot start to the season, the Bruins have really slowed down. They'd like a puck-moving d-man, secondary scoring and a backup goalie.

Players Available

Drew Stafford
Teams interested: Toronto, Edmonton, Florida
Chances of being moved: 15 percent


With Cam Ward likely shutdown for the season, the Hurricanes have no reason not to tank. They'll move out vets to give guys like Boychuk and Sutter more ice-time.

Players Available

Ray Whitney
Teams interested: Pittsburgh, LA
Chances of being moved: 100 percent

Joe Corvo
Teams interested: Boston, Buffalo, Vancouver
Chances of being moved: 60 percent

Aaron Ward
Teams interested: Phoenix, Colorado, Boston
Chances of being moved: 85 percent


They've already made several MASSIVE trades, with Phaneuf, Jokinen, Sjostrom and Prust already leaving town. The Flames have a lot of forwards, so look for the Flames to make a few more deals leading up to Wednesday.

Players Available

Any forward, with the exception of Iginla, Bourque, Higgins and Hagman.


While team management doesn't want to mess with the chemistry, the Blackhawks could have a deal or two up their sleeve before we're all said and done. Rumours swirl that Chicago would like some insurance in net, while an offensive defenseman could also be on the teams radar

Players Available

Anyone who makes more than they should (Versteeg, Byfuglien) that could still get a decent return. The Blackhawks would love to deal guys like them for expiring contracts.

Christobal Huet
Teams interested: Unknown
Chances of being moved: 15 percent


The Blue Jackets are definite sellers, but don't have super-high quality stuff to sell. Still, I expect the Blue Jackets to move a couple of Vets by Wednesday.

Players Available

Raffi Torres
Teams Interested: LA, Phoenix, Atlanta, Pittsburgh
Chances of being moved: 75 percent

Milan Jurcina
Teams interested: Ottawa, Boston, Phoenix
Chances of being moved: 75 percent

Fredrik Modin
Teams Interested: Detroit, Colorado, New Jersey
Chances of being moved: 60 percent


Colorado looks to make the playoffs after just about everyone wrote them off prior to the season. In fact, they were my pick to pick first overall this June. Look for the Avs to improve their lineup slightly, but they won't be trading any young players for a quick fix.

Players Available

J-M Liles
Teams interested: Unknown
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

Marek Svatos
Teams interested: Boston, Ottawa, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 45 percent


With Auld gone, it's unlikely the Stars will move Turco, but could if the price is right. Dallas will be buyers, but likely won't make any giant moves.

Players Available

Mike Ribeiro
Teams interested: Toronto, Columbus, Florida
Chances of being moved: 30 percent

Marty Turco
Teams interested: Philadelphia, Washington
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

Steve Ott
Teams interested: Pittsburgh, Montreal
Chances of being moved: 15 percent


Don't expect much of anything from the Red Wings, as they're prospect pool is drying up and the team is capped out more than any other team in the league.

Players Available



And the winners of last overall in the NHL are.....

Players Available

Sheldon Souray
Teams interested: NYR, LA
Chances of being moved: 25 percent

Ethan Moreau
Teams interested: Toronto, Buffalo
Chances of being moved: 45 percent

Andrew Cogliano
Teams interested: Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, New Jersey, Florida
Chances of being moved: 45 percent

Lubomir Visnovsky
Teams interested: unknown
Chances of being moved: 20 percent


GM Sexton promised us all big changes, Florida could be the most exciting team to watch over the next three days.

Players Available

Tomas Vokoun
Teams interested: Chicago, Edmonton, Washington, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 60 percent

Nathan Horton
Teams interested: Toronto, Edmonton, Phoenix, Montreal, LA, Columbus, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 30 percent

Stephen Weiss
Teams interested: Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Buffalo, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

Denis Siedenberg
Teams interested: Calgary, Ottawa, Phoenix, LA, Boston
Chances of being moved: 80 percent

Jordan Leopold
Teams interested: Colorado, Boston, Buffalo, San Jose
Chances of being moved: 70 percent

Cory Stillman
Teams interested: Phoenix, Anaheim, Vancouver
Chances of being moved: 40 percent

Los Angeles

The Kings are 100 percent buyers, and would love some defensive depth and a scoring winger.

Players available

Alex Frolov
Teams interested: Montreal, Philadelphia, Boston
Chances of being moved: 25 percent


This team probably already made their biggest deal by getting Cam Barker, but they'd love to add some offense before Wednesday.

Players Available

Josh Harding
Teams interested: Montreal, Colorado, LA, Buffalo
Chances of being moved: 20 percent

James Sheppard
Teams interested: Edmonton, Toronto, New Jersey
Chances of being moved: 25 percent

Marek Zidlicky
Teams interested: Buffalo, Boston, LA, Vancouver, Ottawa
Chances of being moved: 70 percent


While management insists a goalie won't be moved before the deadline, if the right offer came along, it could happen. The Habs would love to add a significant piece to this team, while cheap, young players are also on the Habs radar

Players Available

Sergei Kostitsyn
Teams interested: Edmonton, Phoenix, Detroit
Chances of being moved: 60 percent

Roman Hamrlik
Teams interested: LA, Washington
Chances of being moved: 40 percent

Carey Price/Jaroslav Halak
Teams interested: Who wouldn't be interested in one of these young studs?
Chances of one of them being moved: 40 percent


The Preds are once again looking like a playoff team, but will have some tough choices to make before the deadline. They've already made one, locking up Pekka Rinne for a few more years.

Players Available

Dan Hamhuis
Teams interested: New Jersey, Boston
Chances of being moved: 70 percent

Dan Ellis
Teams interested: Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago
Chances of being moved: 25 percent

New Jersey

They've already made the big splash of the year picking up Kovalchuk. Now NJ will look to add some depth at center as well as shoring up their D

Players Available


New York Islanders

While they flirted with the playoffs for part of the season, make no mistake, the Islanders are lottery bound to pick up that defensive prospect this team truly needs. The Isles are expected to be slight sellers this year.

Players Available

Martin Biron
Teams Interested: Buffalo, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 65 percent

Andy Sutton
Teams interested: Boston, Chicago, LA
Chances of being moved: 40 percent

New York Rangers

The Rangers would love to trade some over-priced d-men like Redden or Rozsival, but it's unlikely. Still, the Rangers would love to improve their point shot and add a little bit more flare up front.

Players Available

Wade Redden and Michael Rozsival
Teams Interested: N/A
Chances of being moved: you can never say never, but it's close

Matt Gilroy
Teams Interested: Minnesota, Calgary, Toronto
Chances of being moved: 15 percent

Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan
Team interested: Various
Chances of one of them being moved: 50 percent
Note: While the Rangers are not actively shopping either player, if they were to make a significant deal this deadline, it's likely one of these players would go the other way.


The Ottawa Senators already made a deal to get Cullen, but are not done. Look for them to add some offense on the wing and maybe a defensive defenseman on the back end.

Players Available



The Flyers have to be looking for some goaltending stability, as Emery is questionable to return this year, leaving Boucher and Leighton as your playoff goaltenders. The Flyers would love another puckmoving defenseman, and have some depth at center they could move to get it.

Players Available

Daniel Briere
Teams interested: Toronto, Buffalo, Calgary
Chances of being moved: 30 percent
Note: Rumours are beginning to swirl that the Flyers would give up Briere as a salary dump quite cheap, and may even throw in a younger player to sweeten the pot.

Jeff Carter
Teams interested: Toronto, Florida
Chances of being moved: 25 percent
Note: While it's unlikely he'll get moved, he's had a rough personal year and Philly and change may not be a bad thing. The Flyers would move him if they could get something of value in return (Kaberle, Weiss/Horton, for example)


The Coyotes will be looking to add some veterans both up front and on the back end. This team needs to make the playoffs and will add what they have to to get there.

Players Available

Peter Mueller
Teams Interested: Toronto, NYR, Montreal
Chances of being moved: 50 percent


Look for the Penguins to add an offensive winger this deadline. A skilled defenseman is also on this team's wishlist.

Players Available


San Jose

The Sharks, while they say they are not looking to add anything else, I expect them to be sort of busy this week. They'd love to move a guy like Ryan Clowe, whose money could be better spent in the offseason, while a puck-moving defenseman and a backup goalie wouldn't hurt either.

Players Available

Ryan Clowe
Teams Interested: Toronto, Montreal, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Boston, Florida
Chances of being moved: 40 percent

Joe Pavelski
Teams Interested: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal
Chances of being moved: 10 percent

St. Louis

The Blues are likely to be sellers, but it's not for certain yet. Keith Tkachuk is staying put, but a guy like Kariya could be on the move.

Players Available

Paul Kariya
Teams interested: Vancouver, Buffalo, LA
Chances of being moved: 70 percent

Carlo Colaiacovo
Teams interested: Montreal, Vancouver, Buffalo, Ottawa
Chances of being moved: 65 percent

Tampa Bay

I think Tampa Bay may be the quietest team this year. While we'd all love to see a Vinny Lecavalier trade, it just isn't likely to happen. If Tampa does make a move, it will be for some goaltending help or another skilled blueliner.

Players Available



If Toronto had their first round pick, they'd likely throw in the towel and tank. However, Boston has their pick so the Leafs will do what they can to make a push up the standings without hurting their teams in the future. The Leafs would love a number one center, but it'll be tough to find one at the deadline.

Players Available

Alexei Ponikarovsky
Teams interested: Pittsburgh, LA, Boston, Nashville, Phoenix
Chances of being moved: 100 percent

Tomas Kaberle
Teams interested: buffalo, Boston, Chicago, San Jose, Vancouver, Pittsburgh
Chances of being moved: 50 percent

Lee Stempniak
Teams interested: Buffalo, Pittsburgh
Chances of being moved: 65 percent


The Canucks would love some secondary scoring and both a puck-moving and shutdown d-man. The Canucks could be busy this week.

Players Available

Cory Schneider
Teams interested: St. Louis, New Jersey, Edmonton, Philadelphia
Chances of being movied: 70 percent

Cody Hodgson
Teams interested: Toronto, Florida, Philadelphia
Chances of being moved: 20 percent


The caps would love some blueline depth and a veteran goalie. At this point in time, they're the team to beat.

Players Available


Monday, February 15, 2010

Going for Gold

Well folks, tomorrow the greatest hockey tournament in the world kicks off and I couldn't be more excited. I won't lie, I wasn't as stoked as I've been in the past for this tournament in the weeks leading up to it. Maybe it was because I am Canadian and I'm still hurting from our seventh place finish four years ago. I remember taking a "sick" day to watch that game, only to have my heart broken when the final buzzer rang and Russia was leaving Canada out of the semi-finals.

With that said, I am incredibly excited for the tournament to be kicking off tomorrow, mostly because I am caught up in Olympic fever. I have watched just about every event thus far, screaming and yelling at every accomplishment Canada has made. I'm sure a lot of our American and European readers can relate to what I'm going though, it's awesome to see your country have success on the world's largest stage.

Looking ahead, it's also incredibly exciting to know that as soon as this tournament is over, a compressed NHL schedule means a lot of great stretch-drive hockey for us to enjoy. Oh, and there is also that Trade Deadline thing just days after this all ends. It's going to be one the craziest deadlines ever, no worries there.

Here are a few reasons why I am excited for the 2010 Olymic Hockey Tournament:

Welcome Back

Some of our favourite stars of the past are back to thrill us once again. I'm a huge Ziggy Palffy fan and cannot wait to see him back in action. He's been flying in his home country, putting up almost two points-per-game! He's still got it and along with a few other strong Slovaks like Jaroslav Halak, they have the potential to really upset some teams. I'm also excited to see Jaromir Jagr back on the ice. It sounds like a strong tournament could land him back in the NHL next season, which wouldn't be a bad thing at all. I'm also excited to see some others, such as Russia's Morozov and Sweden's should be a blast.


Every year there is always that big upset that changes everything. In 2002, it was Belarus beating Sweden in the quarter final, a result that nobody could have ever predicted. In 2006, it was the Swiss beating Canada, giving Canada a very unfavourable Quarters match with Russia. Who will it be in 2010? Teams like Latvia, Germany and Norway would love nothing more than to play the roll of spoiler for one of the world's top nations.


Nothing is more exciting than seeing an entire nation embracing a sport. I love seeing the Canadians, the Americans, the Swedes, etc. cheer on their nation, knowing everything is on the line. I encourage you all, no matter where you are from, to watch the games with a large group of people. It gets intense and there is no better feeling.


Here is how I am predicting things will go down.

Bronze: U.S.A.

While many people will have Sweden, Finland or Czech cracking the top three, I am going to give the Bronze to the United States. Yes, they are underdogs, but Ryan Miller is good enough to steal a game when it matters, and I think that will be what propels the U.S.A. to Bronze. If Ryan Miller is good enough, a trip to the finals isn't out of the question.

Silver: Russia

The Russians may have the most deadly offense in the tournament. Malkin, Ovechkin and Kovalchuk are going to dazzle us with their skills and keep them in every game they play in. For me, the Russians have two big questionmarks, however. #1 - Are the players from the KHL good enough to keep up with the NHLers from Canada and U.S.A? #2 - Is this defense strong enough to keep things close? I think they're good enough for Silver, but not good enough for Gold.

Gold: Cananda

From 1st, to seventh, back to first in 8 years. I wrote a column for a local newspaper back in December where I begged Yzerman to not make the 2006 mistake of picking experience over skill and it's clear he read that paper (hehe). The Canadians are as skilled as any of the other teams, while their defense is by far the strongest of the tournament. They also have the most depth in goal, which will be key if one of Brodeur or Luongo struggle early. Up front, guys like Crosby, Nash, Heatley and Thornton give Canada enough firepower where any result but gold will be a disappointment.

The puck drops tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Two Minutes for Instigating - Feb. 6

First off all, im sorry for the lack of column last week and the lateness on this one tonight. I've been crazy busy!

Second, my thoughts and prayers with Brian Burke and his family. Losing someone is never easy and I cannot even imagine losing your son. Parents are not suppose to bury their kids, and anytime I see this happen it breaks my heart. My thoughts are with the Burke family.

We'll start in Toronto...

Minus the late meltdown on Friday against New Jersey, the Leafs have looked amazing since the trade with Calgary. Kessel picked a great time to refind his scoring touch, but even without him, it sure doesn't look like Toronto will struggle to score goals.

As far as what to expect from Toronto between now and March 3rd, there are still 2-3 more deals to go down. One will involve Ponikarovsky, who will at least fetch a 2nd round pick, likely more. He's one of the best players available at the deadline and I wouldn't be surprised if the Leafs are able to package Poni with someone else to grab a 1st round pick in return.

The Leafs and Sharks have been scouting each other like mad the past three weeks. Everyone is pointing at Ryan Clowe, but I know Burke loves Joe Pavelski...I could see something happening there.

I honestly believe Kaberle will go before the deadline. He has a chance to pick where he goes, and it's clear he's not longer wanted. His time time has been cut and the Leafs have too much money tied up to their blueline. A strong season by Gunnarsson and a late-season blooming of Luke Schenn makes it that easier for Kaberle to be dealt for the offensive center the Leafs badly need. I'd be shocked if he wasn't traded before 3 pm on March 3rd

Greedy Hurricanes

Can someone tell Ray Whitney and Niclas Wallin that they play for the Hurricanes? Whitney will only waive his NTC if he can sign an extension, something apparently LA wasn't willing to do earlier in the week. Sources tell that a deal between the Kings and Canes was almost complete when Whitney vetoed the deal because LA woudln't sign him to a three-year deal. News flash Ray: You're 37, you're not getting a three year contract.

Now it's come out that Wallin wouldn't waive to go to SJ because they wouldn't sign him to a one-year deal. San Jose is actively seeking defensive depth, you have to wonder if Kaberle is a fit there.

$40 million apart?

You always hear how a team and player are often $500,000 and $1 million apart, but the Thrashers and Kovy were over $40 million apart!! Kovalchuk wanted 13 years at 11.2 million per season, which he isn't going to get anywhere (minus the KHL, of coarse).

While NHL GMs everywhere are saying Atlanta got the best they could for Kovalchuk, I don't buy it. A 5-6 D-man, A third line forward, a troubled prospect and a draft pick that will be in the mid-20s? You're telling me Boston, LA or Chicago couldn't match that offer? Reports have Ottawa as one of the finalists for Kovy, you're telling me they couldn't make a better offer?

Put the Bear to sleep

Put a fork in the Bruins, they're done. 10 straight losses and things don't seem to be gettign any better. The Bruins are too good to throw in the towel, so expect them to throw some of their draft picks around to try to get some offensive help. One of those picks may also be used to get rid of Michael Ryder, who is due $4 million next season. His awesome season last year was clearly due to Phil Kessel...

Washington is pretty good...

What other team can lose both goalies and pull off 10+ straight wins? Expect the Capitals to go out and get some goalie insurance, though I dont know if I agree theyll need it. As long as Varlamov comes back and Theodore keeps his recent streak up, the Caps will be fine. I think they will look to shore up their D, though

The Price is wrong, Bob

The Habs have to trade Carey Price. There, I said it. One of Halak or Price have to go by the draft, so why not move Price now when you'll get more for him than you will at the draft. Halak will never be worth more than a 2nd round pick, while Price will get you a good roster player and a decent pick. I know the Dallas Stars have kicked some tires on both Halak and Price. Turco's not coming back, thats for sure...

Final Thoughts on Calgary

Calgary has been mediocre since they made their two deals, but why on earth did they trade for Kotalik? Jokinen is coming off the books and instead you take a guy who you'll overpay for two more seasons. Something else is coming in Calgary, but I don't know how or what...this team has no assets to trade, none...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

What A Day For Toronto...

If you are a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you better haeve a smile on your face.

The Leafs traded spare parts, all of which can be easily replaced, for two players who could play a big role in the Leafs turn around. And no, I'm not talking about Sjostrom and Aulie.

In the first deal, the Leafs acquire a top-two defenseman for a #3 center (stajan), a 4th line grinder (Mayers), a 2nd line winger (Hagman) and a underrated d-man (White). Hagman is the hardest to lose, a potential 30 goal scorer with speed. Mayers had no value, while Stajan was always over valued by the Toronto media. Finally, Ian White is tough to lose, but you're getting a much better defenseman in return and remember, White is an RFA who apparently wants 3.5 - 4 million next season.

In the second deal, the Leafs basically robbed a bank. Whether you like Giguere or not (I do), the fact that the Leafs moved Blakes contract makes them the winners. Giguere still has a few good years left in him, and with one year left on his deal, he makes perfect sense for Toronto. This gives the Leafs one more year to determine just how good the Monster is, while if Giggy performs well, holding onto him may not be so bad either.

So here is how I'd guess the Leafs line up, assuming everyone is healthy (even though a few of these guys are not)

Kulemin - Bozak - Kessel
Stalberg - Grabovski - Ponikarovsky
Sjostrom - Mitchell - Stempniak
Rosehill - Primeau - Orr

Extra: Wallin

Kaberle - Phaneuf
Beauchemin - Komisarek
Schenn - Gunnarsson

Extras: Exelby, Finger


Looking at that lineup, I honestly believe the Leafs are much better today than they were yesterday. With that said, the makeover is not over. I expect a d-man, such as Kaberle or possibly Schenn (who may be available with Phaneuf being brought in) to be moved for some offense and a pick. Poni, Stempniak and Exelby are also still being shopped around the league.

It's an exciting time to be a Leafs fan, and I cannot wait until March 4 when we get to see exactly how the Leafs line up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kovalchuk To Kings a real possibility

If you haven't read this yet, please do!

So Kovalchuk is officially in play, and I can confirm this first hand as I was at the Kings/Leafs game tonight as a member of the media. Ten NHL scouts were at this game, including Mr. Bob Gainey himself, as well as representitives from the Flames and Rangers, among others.

The Thrashers asking price is too high for the Kings at the moment, but what do you expect? The Thrashers are going to start out by asking for as much as possible, and will ask for a little less starting at about 2 pm on March 3rd. With that said, don't be surprised if a team pays the maximum price in order to insure they get Kovalchuk.

While prior to tonight I would have told you that the Kings would be crazy to bring in Kovalchuk, this team is for real and has enough depth where losing a few prospects for Kovy wouldn't hurt them that bad.

What were some of the other scouts looking at? Talking to people tonight, the rumours are that the Habs were scouting LA, most likely Frolov. The Flames were scouting Toronto, I'm hearing they have significant interest in Hagman. The Rangers, well not totally sure about that one.

Sticking with the Rangers, they are looking for a veteran goalie to back up Lundqvist, and may look to their neighbours in the New York Islanders. Lundqvist is their guy, but if he were to ever get hurt, the team would go nowhere with the rookie goaltenders they've been calling up and down as of late. Biron isn't playing on the Island, and wouldn't play much with the Rangers, but one or two games is better than nothing.

I'm also hearing the Leafs are hoping to make two moves before the Olympic freeze. Ponikarovsky is all but assured to be gone, while I'm hearing both Ian White and Matt Stajan have been asked how much it would cost to keep them. If either answer was too high, Burke planned to move them. A few weeks ago I would have told you Ian White was untouchable, but I'm not so sure now, especially with Gunnarsson playing as well as he has.

While Gainey was for sure looking at the Kings, he may have some interest in dealing with Toronto. Not only was he at tonight's game, but he was at the Marlies game this past weekend. With that said, the Marlies were playing Montreal's AHL affiliate, the Bulldogs.

The Bruins continue to have an eye on Ray Whitney, who I think makes a lot of sense for this team. He would be a great role model for a lot of their young guys. Also, I know for a fact that Bruins intend to keep Toronto's first pick, but have no problem dealing their own pick if the right deal came along.

The Oilers lost again tonight, only a matter of time before they start shipping bodies out. Souray's given his list of teams he'd accept a trade to. San Jose, LA, Anaheim, Vancouver and Colorado were on it, among a few unknown others.

Finally, if Thomas Kaberle is available, count the Vancouver Canucks in.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Mailbag - Jan. 25

I took some questions tonight from some of our lovely readers. Enjoy!


NYfan1610 asks: Do you see Calgary moving Phaneuf? and who do you think will shit the bed and trade for a rental Kovalchuk?

I do see Calgary moving Phaneuf, because simply put they need to spread their talent around more evenly. This team has a world class goaltender and a strong as hell defense, but their depth at forward just isn’t there, and Phaneuf is the best chip they have to play. The Flames D will be just fine with Jay-Bo and crew, and Phaneuf will benefit by playing on a new team. Expect the Flames to get a top centre in return.

As far as Kovalchuk goes, I’ve talked to some people in the know and they believe Kovalchuk wants to remain a thrasher. I’m told the amount is settled on, it’s all about term. If he does get moved, the Bruins and the Caps are the two teams with the most to offer at the moment. While you are hearing a lot from Eklund and other insiders about the Kings being the frontrunners, I don’t think the Kings are close enough to spend picks and prospects for a rental player.

chickenman92 asks: what do you see the canucks doing at the deadline? who might they get and what will they give up?

The Canucks are looking for two things: some grit, in the form of a third line winger, and a top pairing d-man. David Backes has been a guy whose name has floated around as far as Vancouver is concerned, but I really don’t see St. Louis trading this kid, especially to a Western foe. As for the top pairing d-man, Souray would fit if they could figure out how to fit him under the cap, while Toronto’s Kaberle would also work, if they could convince him to waive his NTC to come west.

sethmandel asks: Who do you see as the Leafs' goaltending tandem next season?

The Leafs didn’t work so hard to get Gustavsson for him to be a one-and-done player, so he’ll be part of Toronto’s duo next season. If the Leafs are not comfortable with him being #1 guy, I think Burke will turn his attention to Hiller, who will be a UFA on July 1st. If The Monster has a stellar final 20 games and proves he’s a #1 goalie, then he’ll look for a cheaper back up, Marty Biron may fit that roll.

Thor040 asks: you think the Islanders may be making a trade move next month???

They sure will. Biron will go to a contender to give them some insurance, but they won’t get a whole lot for him. With that said, a late draft pick always has potential, and they’ll take what they can for their third-string goalie. I think the Islanders will also look to add to their back-end, and will go for a young defenseman who can help them this season and beyond. Maybe they can trade one of their young forwards (which they seem to have tons of) to LA for Jack Johnson?

Sniper asks: Is Vinny being shopped and if so what teams do you think he would waive his NTC too?

Nobody seems to know for sure if Lecavalier is available or not. Some people swear he is, while others swear the opposite. I still think he’d look great beside Iggy in Calgary, but in the end, I think his contract is just too massive for Tampa Bay to trade away. I think there will be a few teams that inquire about him, the Islanders could be one, but so many things would have to go right (he’d have to waive, the team would have to have the cap space, and the offer would have to blow TB away) for any deal to happen. It’s just not likely.

latinoiler asks: who do you think the #oilers will trade at deadline? And what can we expect as a return?ar
The oilers are in quite the mess, and it wont be easy to get out of. I expect they’ll find someone to take Souray, but even that won’t be easy. The Oilers may have no choice but to trade one or two of their big RFAs, like Cogliano or Gagner, in order to move some of their more expensive veteran players. As for return, the Oilers are going full rebuild, so expect picks and prospects who still have one or two years term left on their entry deals.

4sprtsonly asks: what are the chances of the leafs trading kaberle and what kind of return do they get? Hearing any rumours?

The Leafs absolutely have to trade Kaberle, but at this point I’d say it’s only 50/50. Both Burke and Kaberle are saying that Kaberle is staying put, and unless one of the sides flinches, Kaberle could very well remain a Leaf past the deadline (though you have to think Burke would move him at the draft, like he tried to do last year). If Kaberle does get moved, the return would be significant. Pronger went for two firsts, a roster player and a prospect last year, though I doubt you’ll see Kaberle get as much. I said a few weeks ago that Jeff Carter and a 1st would never be offered for Kaberle again, but now I’m not so convinced. I think an established forward and a first rounder is probably the asking price, though I think Burke would settle for a top-line forward in exchange for his top-line d-man.

PhilipTolton asks: what do you think Ray Whitney will go for?
Logic tells me a 2nd round draft pick, but then I remember last year’s deadline where players that I thought were worth 2nds were getting traded for fourths. I’m going to go in the middle and say a third round pick, or maybe a third and a fifth. Unfortunatly for the Canes, there are a lot of similar players available who are better than Whitney, like Ponikarovksy in Toronto or possibly Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne. The second rounders or decent prospects will be saved for those guys.

Sniper asks: Are the ducks shoppping Bobby Ryan or are they going to keep on trying to sign him and if they still can't resign him wait till summer to trade him?

The Ducks are not likely to move Bobby Ryan at the deadline, but could move him at the draft. Contract talks with the young winger have gone nowhere, and it appears that Ryan has no interest in remaining with the Ducks long-term. With that said, the Ducks are hoping he’ll have a change of heart, as they want him to be part of their long-term plans. The money won’t be an issue, as Koivu, Nidermayer and Selanne could all be off the books by the trade deadline.

Team Canada Fan asks: What are the chances of Frolov being moved? Would the Stars trade a forward in a package with Turco?

Frolov is a UFA at the end of the season, which makes him a prime candidate to be traded. With that said, the Kings think they can do well in the playoffs and could hold on to him. I wonder if they don’t trade him to a contender in the east for a player that could help them now as well. Maybe a deal with Boston for one of their young forwards, just to shake things up?

As far as Dallas goes, Turco’s value isn’t that high, especially with him being a UFA at seasons end. Sources tell me the Stars have no interest in re-signing him, and are looking to pick up a young goalie. Target #1 – Halak. Could Turco be packaged with a player to up the return? Maybe, but when you start combining Turco with someone else, you are talking about a lot of salary, making that almost impossible to pull off. A lot of people are also speculating on the Stars trading Brad Richards. I can tell you right now, that’s not happening.

To have your questions answered anytime, send me a message on twitter ( or fire me an email at

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Site Launched!

Well the latest version of has launched, and while it may look the same sort of (new colours, links, features), it is much more user friendly and social-network inviting. Now right from you can access our twitter, the latest columns, news and rumours! Our columns have been very successful, with at least one new one being posted every day. Rumours are rolling in as well, so make sure to bookmark and make it your one stop shop for Hockey.

Today's rumours include a pair of leafs on the trading block, a possible deal that would send Kovalchuk to Washington, and the very latest on the New Jersey Devils.

Two new columns up today, here is one from Edgar Arce! Make sure to check for all the latest from the hockey world.

- Corey


The comeback
Edgar Arce
The rare 4 on 3

There is nothing in sports like a big comeback. How many times have you been watching a game and your home team fall behind, until there’s that point of no return? It’s that point where you say to yourself, “it’s over, they’re not going to win.” Ah, yes, that ugly taste of reality sets in, and then you even start picking apart your team. “If we only got rid of so and so, and picked up what’s his name at the deadline we would be winning right now.” I’ve been there many times; it’s the unenviable task of being a fan. If you are at home watching on television, you start channel surfing, when just a moment a go you’d yell at someone for merely walking in front of the television, ordering them to get out of the way. As soon as your team gets to that ugly point though, you now show your protest by declaring to anyone in the room, “go ahead and change it, it’s over.”

If you are sitting at the event live, you’re a bit more attached to what is happening because you paid good money to see the game. So walking out is not the first thing that happens. Usually, one starts looking around noticing other things that didn’t matter to you before like advertisements, or reading the game guide that is handed to you at the door. As the home team falls further behind, you start getting up and walking around, thinking in some odd ball sort of way, this action will change the tide of the game. It is as if, the less attention one pays to the game, the players are then able to concentrate more, and elevate their game. If it gets really bad though, then you make up your mind and pick a certain time on the clock to leave. Sometimes, it’s the 10 minute mark, other times it could be the 5 minute mark. It always depends on how badly the team is losing. Once you’ve picked the time and it arrives, you start the walk. While walking people will air their grievances, proclaiming “I can’t sit there and watch this any longer,” or “I’m not going to give this team my money unless they turn things around,” or sometimes it’s simply, “it’s not going to happen tonight.” All the while, as you start surfing the channels, or making your way to the car, there’s this little something in the back of a person’s brain called hope. As much as you’ve convinced yourself of the fact that the home team is not going to win, there is this belief, that one’s actions are somehow influencing the state of the universe.

And then it happens.

The familiar sound of a goal being scored, or the sound of fireworks shot, only when the home team scores, or the roar of the crowd cheering. You know what you’ve just heard, and know what it signifies, but still can’t believe it. This is when the phrase “they scored” enters your thought process and as you digest it for a moment, you try to reason with what just happened. You say to yourself, “It’s only one; they need one more if they want to go to overtime.” Now you begin to walk a little faster to your car to get to the radio, or grab the remote from person watching The Simpsons, and say out loud “why couldn’t they to this from the start!”

Then suddenly the team scores again! The score is tied and sent into overtime, and now the team has made it back into your good graces! And whether it’s a preseason, regular, or worse a playoff game, it’s huge. The home team scores once more to win the game, as the crowd cheers loudly, and the team falls all over each other, into a large pile of bodies. Finally at that point, you crack a smile, pump your fist into the air, or clap your hands once, as you say out loud, “I just knew they would come back!”

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Randys Rumblings - Jan. 23

The Woes of the Alberta Fans

The worst place in hockey has to be Alberta, Canada. The Oilers have so many injuries they have a party for every game that they don't have any injuries, but the problem is they have had not had any parties yet. Losing Khabby for the season is pretty much the last straw. Think about all the injuries; I mean, losing Hemsky was a killer. Of course, that is no consolation to the Edmonton Fans. When does the “start selling” mode kick in? I real feel bad for the Oilers fans, they deserve better and would of gotten better without the injuries.

There is word that Sheldon Souray is apparently asking to leave Edmonton and has waived his no trade clause to help the Oilers out. He should be able to really get a good package for the Oil with prospects and picks and maybe a good premium young player. Is he alone or could Staios, or Moreau be following with a trade? The Oilers have plenty of tools to rebuild. I can see a lot positives in Edmonton.

Life in Calgary is not good right now, but it became even more frustrating as they played the company line, which is really ugly. Sorry, but the last thing the Calgary fans wanted was to hear we are going to work through this after a 9-1 drubbing by the Sharks. Please, we're going to work with this – what the heck are the Flames fans supposed to do with that? The Flames need to figure out what system is and simply do it.

Speaking of Daryl Sutter, he has been in the East. First he was in NJ and then in Philly this week. Two very good teams, who could use Dion very much. Let the rumours begin again (like they ever stopped). You really cannot blame Sutter for going shopping; he really has no choice.

Players and media not playing nice with each other in Philly; Flayers playing much
better of late

In Philly, Mike Richards is not playing nice with the media. Or is the media not being nice. The Flyers sure are playing well lately, aren’t they? Maybe the change in coaching might be the answer. Are you listening, Calgary? The Flyers seem to have gotten their act together, simply by finding a goalie off waivers in. Leighton has to be one of the stories of the year. He has been playing great since coming to Philly from the Caines. He is a terrific young goalie playing a great story. Philly is a very good team who have had a good run if they continue to play like they have lately. I expect the Flyers to get a hired gun.

How about Alfie in Ottawa? The real true leader as Sens begin to make hay

How about the Sens being totally different with Alfie? You have to realize how important he is to the team. He is their heart and soul. The Sens are playing with a purpose, like they want to win. A great job by the Ott. It looks good on them. The key point with the Senators is that they are playing like a team. Everyone knows their role.

Poll question: Which is the better line?

In Vancouver they might very well have the best line in the NHL. The Sedin Twins lined with Burrows, getting two hat-tricks in a row. That is 6 goals in two games – more goals that the Flames have scored in a week. The line is on a roll, so today the poll question: Is this Vancouver line the best in the NHL?

Or is it the Line with Marleau, Thorton, and Heatley? Marleau is leading the League in goals. They are on fire! Heater seems to be working well, and Magic Man Thorton makes it all work. So which line is better? Do we go with SJ, or is it the line in Van?

The Sharks are playing like the best team in the League. They are hitting on all cylinders, and have a terrific coach leading them. The thing about the Sharks is that every player knows their role and they do it well. I like the way the Sharks are playing right now.

Until next week, take care.



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Friday, January 22, 2010

Two Minutes for Instigating - Jan. 22

Two Minutes for Instigating
CoreY Johnson
Jan. 22/2010

Road Warriors, Part Deux

I'll start by trying to help out the Dallas Stars. Last week I called out the Ottawa Senators for being terrible on the road, and boy have they really turned things around. Dallas goes into Edmonton tonight having lost their last eight on the road. Here's guessing they will end that streak, as they're playing the Oilers, whose only win in their last sixteen was against the Leafs.

Sticking with Dallas...

Sources tell me that Turco is as good as done in the lone star state. Auld isn't the answer, so look for the Stars to go out and snap up a goalie between now and the start of next season. If the Stars could grab a goalie in the meantime, likely from the East, they may be willing to move Turco before the deadline. Players they apparently have their eye on include Halak, Rask (who I'm told isn't going anywhere) and Theodore.

...and then back to Edmonton

Souray to the Kings is really picking up speed, though I really don't think he will make them that much better. I think Souray will be moved, but the Oilers may need some help from him, as moving him to a west-coast team is going to be very difficult. I am hearing the Oilers may try to package Souray with a guy like Brule or Cogliano to him an easier move.

Kovy staying put?

I've said all along that Kovalchuk would be gone from Atlanta by the deadline, and Bobby Mac at TSN is saying the same thing his blog today. However, one very good source tells me that Kovalchuk is happy in Atlanta, his family is happy in Atlanta, and with his third child on the way, he'd have no problem staying put in Atlanta. Apparently the money isn't the issue, it's the term. Atlanta isn't willing to go as long as he wants right now, but don't be surprised if the two teams come to an agreement before March 3.

More Phaneuf

If anyone out there believes that Phaneuf isn't on the market, they're an idiot. Phaneuf is being shopping and a couple of Eastern teams are watching him closely. New Jersey is one team who has really stepped up their game as far as Phaneuf is concerned, while it sounds like an unexpected team has joined the mix: Buffalo.

Carter on the block?

Jeff Carter is back on the trading block, something I would never have guessed after he exploded offensively last season. Calgary is a team that makes a lot of sense if they can move Phanuef (I've been told the Flyers dont have interest in the young d-man). Don't be surprised if the Kaberle for Carter from two seasons ago resumes.

The latest on Sykora

Sounds like Atlanta may acquire Sykora sometime in the next week, but if that falls through, don't be shocked to see the Penguins bring him back.

Running out of lives...

Ken Hitchcock may have survived being fired about eight times this season, but sources tell me he could be on his last life. Wouldn't be shocked to see John Stevens replace him.

Gainey's last chance

Finally, expect Bob Gainey to be very active as we head towards the trade deadline. His contract is up at the end of the season and unless he turns things around fast, he won't be back..

Two Minutes for Instigating appears every Friday at If you'd like to comment on the content of this column, or are interested in bringing the column to your site, please contact Corey at

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