Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Last season, Marian Hossa was the crème de la crème of a group of players on the market leading up to the 2008 trade deadline. His acquisition by Pittsburgh helped propel the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup finals since 1992.
This season, the forward is ensconced in Detroit, where he signed as a free agent, something well-remembered by his friends in Pittsburgh. But for teams looking to add such a bauble before the March 4 deadline, well, the cupboard is looking pretty bare.
Here’s a list of the top players who could be in play between now and the trade deadline.
Jay Bouwmeester, Florida Panthers
Last season, Atlanta GM Don Waddell did his best to sign Hossa to a long-term deal, but could not. Because the Thrashers were a draft-lottery team, the decision to trade Hossa was an easy one. Not so for Florida GM Jacques Martin when it comes to the talented Bouwmeester.
Make sure to catch “Ice and Ivy” All Access: 2009 Winter Classic tonight on the NHL Network. followed by replays from both NBC & CBC of the Winter Classic. The shows will be broadcast in the US and Canada and the progamming begins at 9:00pm ET.
via John Feinstein of the Washington Post,
It is now time for the Caps, their fans and the local media to let go of this whole all-star thing and move on to far more important tasks: like trying to win the Stanley Cup.
It really doesn’t matter that Montreal’s fans stuffed the ballot boxes to get four of their players into the starting lineup or that Ovechkin, the best player in the league, wasn’t a starter, or that other all-star-worthy Caps got snubbed. Because there has been so little actual winning among the professional sports teams in this town during the last 20 years, there’s a tendency to make a big deal out of things that just aren’t that important.
from Dan Wood of the OC Register,
Rather than targeting draft picks, Murray would be more likely to seek established players in their early to mid-20s. Certainly, the commodities that might bring the most in return would be former Norris Trophy-winning defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. Neither has been nearly as dominant as in seasons past, but might be very attractive to teams looking for the final piece to a potential Stanley Cup puzzle.
Niedermayer, the team captain who stands to become an unrestricted free agent, has given no commitment to playing beyond this season, but could remain extremely valuable as the Ducks attempt to break in a younger group of defensemen. Pronger has one year, at $6.25 million, remaining on his contract.
“I’m certainly aware of it,” Pronger said. “We have to start doing whatever it’s going to take to win hockey games. If we don’t, then we’re forcing their hand and they will be forced to move guys, obviously. They’re not going to just sit there and watch.”
more on the Ducks…
from Kevin Paul Dupont of Bruins Blog,
Coach Claude Julien said that goalie Manny Fernandez is experiencing some ‘‘general soreness’’ and is likely to miss a few games.
In keeping with the club’s secretive policy about injuries, Julien did not divulge any further information, or the specific nature of the ‘‘soreness’‘.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Update from Monday’s practice: Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and center Pavel Datsyuk both said they were disappointed in the NHL’s decision to force them to sit out Tuesday’s game in Columbus for withdrawing from the All-Star game due to injuries and not showing up in Montreal for the off-ice activities.
The Wings said, contrary to reports, there is no appeal process. It’s cut and dry. They will not play tonorrow. Technically, it’s not a suspension, as they will be paid.
NEW YORK (Jan. 26, 2009)—Los Angeles Kings left wing Dustin Brown, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward and Edmonton Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 25.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Much was made of the fact that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will not permit either the Detroit Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk or Nicklas Lidstrom from playing in Tuesday’s first game after the break because they skipped Sunday’s All-Star Game, in order to permit minor injuries to heal.
What an unnecessary tempest in a teapot.
In the grand scheme of things, a couple of extra days off for their two veteran stars will help, not hurt, the Red Wings as they prepare to defend the Stanley Cup…
That’s not to fault Bettman for his decision either. Last February, at the semi-annual general managers’ meeting, he made it clear that All-Star Game matters and so the policy going forward was this: If a player opts out, there better be a good reason to do so – or at least an injury significant enough to keep him out of the game just before the break or the game after.
History shows that having a playoff position in January tends to be a big indicator of who ends up with a spot in April. In each of the last two seasons, 14 of the 16 teams that held playoff spots at the all-star break went on to make the postseason. In other words, teams on the outside looking in today will really have their work cut out for them.
But that doesn’t mean that that the jump can’t be made. In the Eastern Conference, Buffalo, Carolina, Florida and Pittsburgh are separated by just three points. Two of those teams will make the playoffs, and two won’t. In the West, only two points separate the five teams seeded six through 10, with the Oilers and Canucks both in the thick of the battle.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Many around the league believe the Flyers are one veteran defenseman away from being a serious playoff threat. With the NHL trading deadline March 4, Holmgren is expected to look closely at defensemen who will become unrestricted free agents after this season, and he could use the Flyers’ depth at forward to acquire one.
Atlanta’s Niclas Havelid, Colorado’s Brett Clark, Phoenix’s Derek Morris, Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis and the Islanders’ Brendan Witt are expected to be on the trade block in the next six weeks. With Scottie Upshall, Lupul and Knuble, the Flyers have the assets to land one of them. Holmgren optimistic
more on the Flyers…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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