Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
Maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing better under Peter Horachek and perhaps there will eventually be a payoff for their improved defensive play, but right now it's painful to watch.
The Maple Leafs lost their seventh consecutive game, this time 2-1 in the shootout to the New Jersey Devils. That's how bad it's has gotten: the Devils team that couldn't buy a shootout win last season beating the Leafs in shootouts.
Toronto team president Brendan Shanahan was in attendance and, if nothing else, he's learning a lot about his team during this stretch with the only reasonable conclusion that they are much worse than we originally thought.
read on for Burnside on Hawks/Kings, LeBrun on Spezza returning to Ottawa, Strang on the Capitals and Powers on the Blackhawks...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
What about Keith Yandle? He still has another season left on his deal next season and, at 28, could still be part of the reshaping of this roster.
But then again, there are contenders who view him as a great pickup, especially if they can get him for two playoffs, not just one.
"He's always a name that comes up," Maloney said. "Keith Yandle is a very important part on our team, and he's a good player. He's been a top offensive defenseman for the last five years in the league. I'm not actually out there shopping his name around at all, but people have talked to me about it. I'd like to build that base, not subtract from it. We don't have enough Keith Yandles. That's not to say if a deal comes along in the next week or the next month or at the draft ... but he's still a relatively young player that does something better than most players in the league."
Yandle just shrugged his shoulders Wednesday. He's been down this path before.
"It's one of those things where it seems like every year I hear my name," he said. "I'm immune to it now. I don't take any of it personally. I tell myself that it's a good thing other teams want you. It's been talked about for the last six years, and you just have to play it by year."
more on the Arizona Coyotes "reset"...
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Naturally, the 31-year-old centre was asked what kind of reception he expects from Ottawa fans known for their love-hate relationship with the former captain.
“Fans are passionate, so I hope I’m remembered for giving my all and having some success here, but I expect them to support their team, too,” Spezza said. “They’ve always supported the club, but hopefully they appreciate that I gave everything when I was here and did all I could to help us win.”
About that. If only the Senators had cashed in one of those years – in 2003, when Spezza was the kid on the rise, or 2006 when Dominik Hasek went down, or 2007 when Spezza-Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson were the NHL’s top offensive line.
“We were so close for a three, four-year period there (and we) had as good a team as anybody in the league,” Spezza said.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
They aren’t fast enough. They aren’t young enough. They don’t have enough mobility or scoring from the blue-line. And they don’t have enough snipers or size up front.
What they are is remarkably ordinary.
The good news is, other than goaltending, they can target just about any area in a trade — this side of a another defensive centre, bottom-six winger or washed-up veteran — and improve.
Size? Scorer? Power-play quarterback? Promising prospect?
Bring it all on.
The bad news is they are stuck in an awkward phase of rebuilding-on-the-fly and can’t afford to give up a draft pick, or any prospect who may be worth a damn in two or three years.
As currently constructed, the Canucks are good enough to beat down the destitute. And sometimes, if all goes right and their so-called battle level is cresting, they can appear comfortable hanging with the upper class.
more (no specific names mentioned)
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
TSN believes it took another shot to the chin from the NHL after failing to win the broadcast rights to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
No one is saying much publicly, but broadcast sources say George Cope, chief executive officer of BCE Inc., the parent company of the TSN and CTV networks, is not happy. TSN executives worried about the bidding process because Rogers Communications Inc. is in the first year of a 12-year, $5.2-billion contract for the NHL’s Canadian national broadcast rights. But TSN expected the competition for the World Cup, which is being operated by both the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association, to be a blind auction with the winner being the highest bidder.
The auction was held about 10 days ago and TSN’s bid was between $28-million and $32-million for the two-week tournament, which will be held for the first time in 12 years. TSN executives were sure they had the highest bid but were informed by the NHL that Rogers was the winner.
“We were told the rights were being awarded to Rogers,” Phil King, president, CTV, sports and entertainment programming, said Wednesday. “As far as we can tell, they [Rogers] seem to have a quasi right to match.”
Sure, Ryan O'Reilly is one of the possibilities to be moved to try to land that D-man, but the truth is -- and this is true in baseball and basketball too -- if an executive isn't open to listening to any and all offers for everyone on the roster, he's a fool. Note, I said "listen." If I were running a team -- we will now pause for the laughter to die down -- my position would be that nobody is untouchable and we will consider doing anything if it improves the team. And that could be the automatic answer to every question and rumor, including in hockey, where let's just say standards for vetting rumors before tossing them out are laughably low.
-Terry Frei of the Denver Post where you can read more on the Avalanche in a Q & A session with Frei.
from Dan Arritt at ESPNChicago,
"It’s frustrating." Crawford said. "We played a good game, and [the Kings scored] two quick ones at the end. I guess everyone can pretty much tell how we feel about that one."
Crawford was clearly unhappy with some of the calls that were made -- or not made -- during the game but passed on making any comments regarding the officiating.
Patrick Kane wasn't so reserved, pointing to a slash in the final minutes that resulted in a broken stick but wasn't called. He also referred to a penalty earlier in the game on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook for using his hand to pull the puck out from under his backside as he sat in the middle of the slot, something he claimed the Kings had done just prior to the penalty.
"There were a couple calls that could have been made," Kane said. "[The referees] were maybe playing catch-up after we had three power plays [in the first period] and evened the score a little bit."
Just under three minutes of highlights...
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
Whether Wilson decides he wants to add to the team or trade some pieces for future assets is unclear, and could depend on how the Sharks perform leading up to March 2. The Sharks have a number of pending unrestricted free agents, like Sheppard, Kennedy, Desjardins and Niemi that could draw some interest on the trade market.
What Wilson has made clear is that he won’t trade a young prospect or high draft pick for a veteran rental. There have been no indications he’ll waver from his plan of transitioning his team away from older veterans such as Joe Thornton – who is still performing at an elite level – and Marleau, who hasn’t been, although neither of those two franchise icons is expected to be dealt at this point.
If the Sharks are going to become a contender, they will likely have to achieve it with the players that are already here.
much more on the Sharks and their fight for a playoff spot...
from Mike Johnston of the Buffalo News,
With the March 2 NHL trade deadline fast approaching, Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray says the market might not be as busy as people think.
“It’s been quiet, to be frank. It’s been very, very quiet. We’re fairly close to the deadline and I didn’t expect it,” Murray told Buffalo radio station WGR 550 Wednesday. “I don’t expect every team to be active, but there usually are a small amount of teams that don’t wait for the deadline, that like to get it done before the deadline…It has, to me, been surprisingly quiet. People aren’t even kicking tires.”
The Sabres are currently dead last in the NHL standings and are expected to be sellers at the deadline. A number of Buffalo players’ names have been out there in trade rumours this season, including forwards Chris Stewart and Torrey Mitchell, plus defenceman Tyler Myers and pending UFA goalies Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth.
Murray said nothing is immanent on the trade front and that deals are more difficult to complete than many people think.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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