Friday, January 15, 2010

Two Minutes For Instigating - Jan. 15

Quick note: while I am hopeful the new site will be up this weekend, I'm not yet pleased with it and it may be pushed back until sometime next week. Fingers still crossed for this weekend though.

Two Minutes for Instigating
Jan. 15
Corey Johnson

Road Warriors?

The Ottawa Senators have been anything but Road Warriors this season. 7-13-1 isn't good enough for a team looking to make the playoffs. Before anyone jumps on the Mike Brodeur (who is actually not related to Brodeur in any way, despite those who say otherwise) bandwagon, his performance last night was 99 percent a fluke. I expect the Habs to beat up on the Sens tomorrow night.

Migrating Ducks

It appears as though Scott Niedermayer is staying put, but that doesn't mean other Ducks won't be on the move. If healthy, and that could be a big if, it appears Selanne could be on his way out. I'm hearing he'll stay in the West, where Colorado, San Jose and Detroit are the three options. Bobby Ryan is still nowhere close to a new contract with the team, but he won't be moved until the offseason (draft or beyond), if at all (which is my prediction). The Ducks would love to move Saku Koivu and J.S. Giguere as well, but the market just isn't there at this point, especially for the french goalie.

No-No for BMO

While outside the Leafs dressing room last night, Toronto Sun reporter Mike Zeisberger had a nice discussion with Richard Peddie about the winter classic coming to Toronto. Peddie said that the Rogers Centre isn't an option because they can't open the roof in the winter, while basically admitting that the NHL has no interest in bringing the Classic to BMO field. Peddie said the team wasn't looking to do something "that big", but felt the NHL would one-day be open to BMO. I'm thinking it would take a pretty big expansion for that to ever happen.

Force the Waive

Staying with the Leafs, despite what Burke said yesterday, he has to force Kaberle to waive his no trade claus. Kaberle is having one of his best season's ever on possibly the worst team he's ever played on. The Leafs could easily get a first rounder + back for him, which would soften the blow of trading two for Kessel. With White, Beauchemin and Gunnarsson's improved play, losing Kaberle wouldn't hurt the team, while the return they got for him would certainly help, whether down the road if they kept the pick, or sooner if they flipped the pick for another young player to play with Kessel (though Bozak and Kulemin look at home right now beside him).

Kovy and Ovie to KHL?

The NHL cannot afford to lose either of these superstars to the KHL, but the rumours of each recieving $20 million offers to bolt to Russia next year cannot be ignored. As far as Kovalchuk goes, there's still a chance he stays in Atlanta, but I stick to my opinion that the Thrashers need to move him. He's too valuable as a trade asset to hold to, especially when it'll cost a cash-strapped franchise $10 mil a year to do so. Count the New York Islanders and LA Kings out of these talks, it simply isn't happening.

Ward next in line

For what it's worth, I spoke to someone in the NHL about Cam Ward and I was assured that if any of Canada's three Olympic goalie's go down to injury before Vancouver, Ward will be the first to get the call. Ward's a good goalie playing on a bad team, but he's been a big part of them turning their game around over the past five to eight games.

Oil Leak

The Edmonton Oilers are in the worst shape of any NHL far. Every d-man on this team is overpayed, while Shawn Horcoff is the most overpayed player in the league (as was learned in an informal poll I took of NHL media members this week). Both of their current goalies, who are their "goalies of the future" have looked terrible, while the only way they get out of Khabibulin's contract is if he suffers a career ending injury. Currently the Oilers have about $10 million to spend next season, but all of it will be spent on RFAs such as Gagner, Grebeshkov, Cogliano, Brule, Stone, etc. They'll get some cap relief when they move Souray at the deadline, who won't be nearly as hard to move as some think. Packaging him with a Brule or Cogliano will make him even easier to move. Oh, and the Halak to Edmonton rumours are garbage.

If the Price is Right...

Speaking of Halak, don't count him out for the stating job in Montreal in 2010-2011. Sources tell me that if Gainey were to get a big enough offer, he could opt to move price and hold on to Halak. At this point, both goalies seem to have the same potential and the Habs have a future #1 in whichever one they hold on to. Either way, expect the Habs to make a decision by the draft at the latest.

Falling Stars

The Dallas Stars are quickly falling out of the playoff picture, with just three wins in their last ten games. Rumblings around the league are that the Stars may be willing to let Turco go at the deadline if they can add another goalie to their roster. Halak to Dallas? Where would Turco end up? Something to keep an eye on.

Unfair Advantage

And finally, if I'm a team in the West, I want to be moved to the East. Last year the East's eighth place team had 93 points, but currently the eighth place team (Montreal) is on pace for just 85. In the west, the eighth place team (LA) is on pace for 95 points. Thats a five win difference...

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