KK Members Blog

KK Members Blog

It's 30 degrees in Montreal - naturally, it's time to talk goaltenders

07/29/2010 at 1:22pm EDT

August is almost here and one mystery Canadiens fans would like solved is a contract for starter Carey Price. Now the anointed number one goaltender, little to no information has leaked from either side as Price’s representatives negotiate (we presume) with Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier. Is it possible Gauthier has made a fatal error only months into his new tenure as the decision maker in Montreal?

Let’s consider his course of action in dealing with the goaltending “crisis” that afflicted the Habs coming into the offseason. Firstly, the media largely fabricated this “crisis” - it’s not a crisis when a team possesses a plethora of young talent, it’s simply a decision for the future. After all, both goaltenders were on the record that they would be happy to share the load another year. Secondly, crowd favourite and playoff saviour Jaroslav Halak, like Carey Price, was a restricted free agent, s so while the possibility of an offer from another team loomed, his rights were protected. Yet Gauthier chose to cut bait rather than fish out the month of June.

GMs Playing the Waiting Game for 3rd/4th Liners

07/28/2010 at 10:03pm EDT

With August only a few days away, a surprising number of quality free agent forwards are still available. And with the way the market is moving, there’s no reason to believe all of these players will be scooped up in the next month.

What we’re seeing is another byproduct of the salary cap era in the NHL. Many of the expected Stanley Cup contenders for next season are looking at big holes in their lineups and little cap room to fill those voids. The non-contenders, builders, and small-market franchises are more willing than ever to hit the cap floor and then fill in with youth. The result? Dozens of solid veterans, 3rd and 4th liners—some of whom are strong penalty killers or have the talent to move up to the 2nd line in a pinch—are waiting out the general managers who know they can strike late and get a bargain.

It’s not an entirely bad situation for these free agent forwards. The best example from last season is that of Manny Malhotra going to San Jose in September on a pseudo-tryout basis, then signing an under-market, one-year, $700,000 contract with the Sharks. Malhotra is a solid all-around centerman, excellent in the faceoff circle, a decent penalty killer who was coming off his best offensive season, a 35-point campaign with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Top 10 Remaining UFA’s

07/28/2010 at 8:32pm EDT

After a flurry of activity in the first couple days of the free agent season, the market cooled off, leaving a lot of players sitting on the sidelines waiting for their phones to ring. There was a sense that everyone was waiting for Ilya Kovalchuk to sign and then the remaining pieces would start to fall into place. Well we are approaching August and although Kovalchuk is not officially signed, I would be surprised if he did not end up with the Devils shortly.

This past week a couple of the remaining UFA’s (Alexander Frolov and Alexei Ponikarovsky) were inked to one year deals. It appears as though there isn’t an appetite to sign these mid tier free agents to multi year deals. That does not bode well for the players on my list as they too will probably have to settle for a one year deal in hopes of cashing in next year.

I will preface my list by saying that probably the best available UFA, even at the tender age of 40, is Teemu Selanne. However, it is pretty clear the Selanne will either retire or sign on for another year in Anaheim.

Here are my top 10 remaining UFA’s:

Taking a look at the Leafs Roster and Cap Situation

07/25/2010 at 11:01pm EDT

The Toronto Maple Leafs ended last season with a 10-5-3 record after the Olympic break, giving them the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference for that time period. Many people consider this garbage time, when the games don’t matter, but the team put up this record playing against teams whose games meant a hell of a lot. Now I do not think the Leafs will finish in the top 4 of the Eastern Conference based on these results, however, with the additions of Versteeg, Armstrong, Lebda, and a healthy Komisarek, this team should be able to obtain a playoff spot. Anything less than a playoff spot should be considered a failure. This may seem like a lofty goal for a team that finished second to last overall last year, but Burke has made moves to make this team better immediately, not five years from now.

Looking at the Leafs roster they are set in between the pipes this year with Gustavsson and Giguere sharing the duties ($7.35M cap hit for the pair). This tandem ended the season well and Gustavsson was much better down the stretch compared to early in the season. On the blue line the Leafs have a log jam with 8 NHL defensemen ($25.5M cap hit) on the roster. Up front the Leafs have some holes to fill. They currently have 10 (Bozak, Kessel, Kulemin, Versteeg, Armstrong, Grabovski, Sjostrom, Brown, Orr, Mitchell) roster spots filled ($20.6M cap hit). Overall the Leafs have committed approximately $53.5M in salaries, along with another $2.4M in buyout and carryover penalties, and another $0.665M in bonus allowance overages. That gives them a total cap hit of $56.55M, leaving the Leafs with $2.85M in space to work with to add 3 roster players (minimum roster size is 18 skaters and 2 goalies, maximum roster size is 23 players).

Where Will Kaberle Land?

07/23/2010 at 4:28pm EDT

Probably the most interesting story to all Leaf fans this summer is whether Tomas Kaberle will be dealt or if he will stick with the Buds. More importantly, if he is dealt, what kind of talent will Brian Burke get in return. Although the Ilya Kovalchuk saga has yet to come to an end, a Kaberle deal is likely to happen soon if there is one at all.

Brian Burke has been stubborn on his view of trading Kaberle since he has taken on the Leafs GM job. Burke is looking for a young top six forward as well as a prospect in return. If he doesn’t get that he says that Kaberle will stay a Leaf. In my opinion, if Burke can get a young top six forward OR a high level prospect for Kaberle he will have done well. I don’t see how Burke can hold on to Kaberle as the Leafs have too much money tied up in their defense. The only way I can see Burke keeping and extending Kaberle is if he can some how trade Francois Beauchemin, which doesn’t seem possible right now.

So if Kaberle is going to be traded, then where will he end up and what will the Leafs get back in return? I took a look at the other 29 teams and gave my thoughts on whether I think they could be in on the Kaberle sweepstakes, and what the Leafs would be looking for in return. I assigned a percentage value for each team’s likelihood in acquiring him.

A Lost Season for “Cost Certainty”

07/22/2010 at 11:43pm EDT

In light of the recent debacle, known as the Ilya Kovalchuk contract saga, and listening to and reading wide ranging opinions on various radio stations and print media, I can’t help but thinking back to the lockout and lost season of 2004-2005.

The main issue of the CBA negotiations was the idea of creating “cost certainty” for the owners. Gary Bettman wanted to ensure that player salaries were linked to league revenues. After a lost season, Bettman and the owners were able to get the salary cap or “cost certainty” that they desired. Player’s salaries are now guaranteed to be 54% of league revenues and teams must meet a salary cap floor.

The salary cap for the 2005-2006 season was set at $39 million with a salary cap floor just over $21 million. In comparison, the current salary cap for the 2010-2011 season is set at $59.4 million with a cap floor of $43.4 million. The salary cap has increased by over 40% in its first five seasons of existence and the cap floor has more than doubled! That is a pretty impressive growth rate considering that returns in the stock market and most people’s pensions have shrunk. What is even more perplexing is that the salary cap floor is now more than 10% higher than the original salary cap.

IHL/CHL Joining Forces at "AA" Level.

06/01/2010 at 11:41pm EDT

http://ism3.infinityprosports.com/ismdata/2009062901/std-sitebuilder/sites/200901/www/en/news/index.html?article_id=894

http://www.centralhockeyleague.com/pressroom/news/index.html?article_id=4670


It’s not being called a “merger” officially, and it’s uncertain if it’s a flat-out absorbing of 4 (maybe 5) of the 6 remaining IHL teams, but at any rate and at the very least it certainly sounds like 4 or 5 of the IHL teams will be playing under the CHL name and rulebook next season.

The announcement appears to have no effect on the NHL-affiliated ECHL “AA” league.

Puck Stops Here Strikes Out Again

05/19/2010 at 10:56pm EDT

So PSH, who just claimed he could be better than half the GM’s in the league (see his last comment in this post, it is amazing) completely made up an article again. This time, however, he got caught red handed.

Remember the little article PSH wrote where he decided that since a kid left his junior team to play in the World Championship, he clearly was going to play in the KHL and was a sign of the downfall of the NHL?. Here’s a taste of the idiocy.

NHL Loses a Prospect

Over the last few years, the Russian hockey system has had top talent in Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and others depart for the NHL. Kirill Kabanov choosing Russia over the NHL might signify the end of that trend.

And from the comments:

It is clear that Kirill Kabanov is going to be in the KHL in the short term. he is abandoning North America in the playoffs to play for Belarus. It is a leaky pipeline. Players that do that rarely come back. It is a safe assumption that he is KHL property for the next few years and likely his whole career.

Response to PSH's "Defending Stanley Cup Champion Eliminated."

05/14/2010 at 9:59am EDT

[b]Introductory note: I asked PSH what his point was in the article linked here. I received an email noting that my comment was deleted and he only wrote it so he could delete a comment. I asked again, stating I was serious. I received this email in response from PSH: [/b]

[quote]If it is a serious question, I recommend you re-read it and try to understand it, perhaps sit on a grown up’s lap and ask them to help you with the big words.

Seriously. There is no need to ask what the main purpose(s) of the post was (were). It (they) should be obvious to any reader. Basically it is my reactions to Pittsburgh’s elimination from the playoffs. It touches off several points.[/quote][b]As I expect my comment to be deleted in PSH’s post, I posted a members post in retort that the point was obvious. Here it is:[/b]

Big words are tough, I’ll agree. Anything over four letters requires me to take a minute to look it up in my handy dictionary I keep with me in case of emergencies.

Anyways, now that we are straight on that, lets go over the points you make in your article.

Train 2 the Tank: West Coast Meet Up for Game 2: Wings @ Sharks, May 2nd. All aboard!

04/29/2010 at 4:53pm EDT

Well, it’s not Herm to Hockeytown, but it might be the second best chance for those of us who live on the west coast to get together, put some faces to the names, and watch the Wings and Sharks pitched in battle towards the cup.

The wife and I will be watching game 2 this Sunday from the 6th row of the visitor’s corner. I’ve found club level is the only way to avoid the more troglodyte-like sharks fans. Here’s the rub - I’ve got one extra ticket for anyone who wants to come along, throw me the loot and it’s yours.

Beyond that, I wanted to take this opportunity to gather anyone else who’s a KK reader and a west coaster just crazy enough to head all the way out to San Jose to watch the game, and congregate somewhere in San Jose beforehand for drinks, food, and good-natured trash talking.

Who knows how long it’ll be before the Wings and the Sharks face off in the playoffs again. I still wistfully remember the two-fingered salute the wife gave the crowd when Schneider scored the OT winner a few years back. At least I think it was Schneider. I was pretty hammered. Good times. Memories in the making. C’mon, you know you want to go.

Folks interested in coming post below; I’ll be taking the stress train down from San Francisco, beers on board, and have no idea where a good place to meet up beforehand is. Anyone know of a good bar near the tank? Maybe we meet up in SF first and train down as a posse.

If anyone wants that spare ticket, or wants to help organize a meet-up, email me at hippydave @ gmail.com. Please preface the subject with TRAIN2TANK so I can pick it out from all the other spam.

Let’s do this thing!

Vanishing Act of Sabres Key Players Raises Questions

04/28/2010 at 12:12pm EDT

If anyone still had visions of this group of Sabres skill forwards someday leading their team to a Stanley Cup run, then the events of the past six games should pretty much run the hope tank to empty.

What we witnessed during the Boston Bruins 4-2 series win over the Buffalo Sabres was a colossal vanishing act by Derek Roy, Tim Connolly, and Jason Pominville. Sure, you can point fingers at other players like Paul Gaustad and Drew Stafford, but on a team desperate for big goals it is pretty evident where the biggest holes are in this lineup.

Gritty efforts by players like Mike Grier, Tyler Ennis and Steve Montador were overshadowed by the poor all around performance of the three players in question, who stood out like sore thumbs in every facet of the game. They were the top three leaders in ice time on the power play that went 0 for 19. All three played major roles on the penalty killing units that allowed Boston an ugly 27% conversion rate.

This series was supposed to be money in the bank for Buffalo. They had arguably the top goaltender in the league and were facing an opponent that withstood a ten game home losing streak following the Winter Classic, boasted only one 20-goal scorer and was missing their most dangerous forward and two of their regular defensemen.

Top-20 Hockey Games I've Attended

04/22/2010 at 12:23pm EDT

After going to last night’s awesome Bruins 2OT victory, I had a friend ask me about the best games I’ve ever been to. I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to take some time to think about it and throw this list together. I’m extremely lucky to have seen some incredible hockey games in my life so far. I am hoping that there are no glaring omissions, but if so, I will update the list!

I wanted to post this somewhere to share it with friends and fellow hockey fans and the KK Member Blog came to mind as the perfect place. Feel free to share your top games attended in the comments!

For some clarification on why certain games are so special to me, I am a senior at Boston University and am a huge BU hockey fan. I have been a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan ever since learning about Mario Lemieux at a young age, and hailing from Charleston, SC, the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays are my hometown team.

Like a Hawk: Troy Murray on Chicago's Cup Chances

04/16/2010 at 12:00pm EDT

As the Chicago Blackhawks prepared to honor former centerman and current WGN Radio Hawks color commentator Troy Murray with a Heritage Night on January 14, 2010, at the United Center, they were celebrating a player who embodies, perhaps as much anyone in the Hawks’ eighty-four year history, the spirit of the team.

So how does Murray see their Cup chances this year?

Another Perspective on Herm 2 Hockeytown

03/29/2010 at 10:16am EDT

The Herm 2 Hockeytown weekend has finally come and gone and everybody is no doubt left with a ton of great memories and fantastic feelings about what the hockey community has accomplished in committing to this undertaking.

If it’s possible, I want to make sure you feel even better about what, exactly, everybody accompllished, even if they only donated money and didn’t join the get together. Heck, even if you donated money and cheered for the Wild to run over the Red Wings, I want you to know that I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for somebody.

As you no doubt know, the H2H donation drive reached the amount needed to bring Guilherme from Brazil pretty quickly; from there, all donations went to the Childrens Hospital of Michigan. I donated with little more than a nebulous knowledge that what I was doing for a good cause.

This week, I got to learn first-hand just how much of a good cause it is.

Hawks fans Alert!

03/04/2010 at 3:22pm EST

This is basically a copy n paste from the website I blog on but I just really wanted to share it with fellow Hawk fans as I feel it is something we should address.

The Chicago Black Hawks thwarted the much ridiculed Edmonton Oilers by a score of 5-2 last night in front of yet another massive crowd at the United Center. The Oilers have been an injury plagued team all season and last night had an extra thin roster via a couple trades earlier in the day.

It really was not much of a match against the Hawks last night. Rookie goaltender Devyn Dubnyk played extremely well keeping the club from the province of tar sands in the game. Hossa, Kane, Toews, Kopecky, Keith and Seabrook were all honored prior to the drop of the puck for their achievements at the Olympic games.

it'd be brash but...

03/03/2010 at 5:35pm EST

it seems like philly is pretty desperate for a goalie…. I’m wondering what they’d give for Osgood right now?

Seems like a crazy move and the Wings would probably never do it, but the fact is it’s a transitional year anyway and there’s some outstanding talent in the Wings minor system. Daniel Larsson is chomping at the bit. He was the best goalie in the entire Swedish Elite League a few years back and was an AHL All Star last year… with Jimmy Howard as the other goalie on his team! He’s been as good if not consistently better than Howard his whole time with the Griffins. It just happened that it was Howard’s turn… he could no longer be sent down to the minors. It was time to see what he could do in the NHL. And we’ve seen it. Could Larsson be even better?

What’s more, the kid playing behind Larsson in Grand Rapids is Thomas McCollum a 20 year old first round draft pick who is supposed to end up the best of them all!

And what’s more, is the kid wasting away on the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL, waiting to get called back up to Grand Rapids, is Jordan Pearce… the best goalie in all of college hockey last year. Pearce had a 1.68GA and a .931SV% for Notre Dame.

Sam's rule for outrageous salary demands, flying elbows, etc.

02/06/2010 at 11:06pm EST

I’m less than one week from finally learning all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook. With the Olympics imminent and all the trade talk in the air, I’m moving on to the IIHF Rulebook and the business of hockey. On the latter, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the Kovalchuk trade. And don’t even start me on the elbow that Patrice Cormier put on Mikael Tam.

When you see things like the death of Brian Burke’s son or the loss of Ryan O’Byrne’s mother, it makes things like brain-damaging elbows and outrageous salary/trade demands even uglier. Therefore, I propose my own addition to the current NHL Rulebook. Again, I don’t consider myself an expert just yet, so here is my admittedly amateur take on this whole circus:

1. I don’t know what’s more horrifying, Kovalchuk saying no to $101 million or the reason he did it. What have we come to in this world that anyone in any profession anywhere says no to a nine-figure salary offer AND still stays employed? Even more horrifying:

2. I read somewhere that acquiring Patrice Cormier in the deal was apparently a “must” for Waddell. Let me first say that I love a good clean hit. I love the sound of guys crashing into the glass and I firmly believe that fighting is one of the rules that was meant to be broken. But that hit on Tam was cowardly and unacceptable. If you’re good enough to get drafted into the NHL and be named captain of your World Junior team, you’re good enough to find a more honorable way to win.

3. That being said, I propose my own addition to the NHL Rulebook: Humility. Here it is: 88.1, Humility. Players are responsible at all times for understanding that the world does not revolve around them and that they are fortunate to be in the NHL at all. Players who do not endeavor to appreciate their good fortune and/or who try to pout their way to a higher salary or trade shall be subject to removal from the NHL and permanent reassignment to an ordinary day job in a windowless office with a salary cap of $60,000 a year before taxes.

Tough decisions coming for the Wings: perhaps loyalty is overrated in the cap era? Perhaps not.

02/02/2010 at 5:31pm EST

So with the return of Johan Franzen, barring any other injuries, the Wings are going to have to trim salary to stay under the cap. As was pointed out yesterday in this MLive Article , there are only a few ways out of the financial thicket and it’s starting to seem obvious what Ken Holland is going to do… waive (or trade, but I’m not sure what other GM would want to bale out the Wings) Ville Leino.

Well, I am here to say that I think it would be a mistake. (did I just dare question the greatest GM in professional sports?!). It’s true that his options are very limited. I think it’s clear that Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves are off the table. They have more than earned roster spots on this squad and will both likely be resigned. And if only waiving Brad May were enough, because he is not likely to be picked up and we will not really need him in the playoffs (I realize how controversial this last statement is to the “protect our stars at all costs” crowd. But the thing is, when’s the last time Brad May was on the same line as a star anyway? How do you protect Datsyuk when you aren’t on the ice with him? Staging a fight with the other team’s goon in your 6 minutes of playing time?). Regardless, if he were to clear waivers, we could recall him for the playoffs anyway (or next injury, which we all know is right around the corner). But as most of us are aware by now, waiving Brad May still leaves the Wings around $100k over the cap. Enter Ville Leino…

What Would You Do?

02/01/2010 at 10:02pm EST

I know it’s early but I was looking through the Red Wings cap situation next season and I came accross some interesting decisions that Holland and Co. are going to have to make for the 2010-11 season.

Goaltending and Defence are pretty much set on Detroit. Lidas, Raf, Kronner, Stu, Lilja, Rig, and Kindl. If we can sign Janik to another minor-league deal, he’s good insurance. If Liljs doesn’t end up coming back due to health reasons, there are other options out there (Ward, Boynton, etc.).

Up front though, we have some issues:

Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen, Filppula, Cleary, Helm, Draper, and Eaves are all coming back (Helm and Eaves needing to be re-upped). That’s 8. Throw in Homer and that’s 9.

Abby has to make the team next year as does Ritola. Assuming both stick, that’s 11. Ritola can be the 13th forward, so not a big issue. But, what do you do with Abby?

Applying the NHL Rulebook to life

01/31/2010 at 8:06pm EST

Hello all. This is my first posting here, so here’s a little about me:

I’m a hockey fan from Arizona (pre-Coyotes). Which means I grew up loving hockey, but not really understanding it. For example, I thought a short-handed goal meant it was scored unassisted. Really.

I’m rectifying that by learning all 87 rules in the current 2009-2010 NHL Rulebook. You can see the results here: http://87in107.blogspot.com.

I’m still learning, so I don’t claim to be an expert on trades, stats, or scouting reports. But I can tell you that every rule in the book also applies to life. Here are a few examples of what I’ve learned so far:

—I now understand the expression “that’s hockey.” Almost all of the rules include “in the judgment of the referee” or “at the discretion of the referee.” Translation: It’s not fair and there’s not a lot we can do about it. Which perhaps is why the NHL did not include in the rules “at the discretion of fans who dispute a call by yelling and cursing at referees, who can’t hear them anyway.”

—Not a lot of the rules say you can’t do something. Like laws, they just define the offense and outline the punishment. So, for things like hits to the head - will the NHL ban them or just impose a stronger punishment?

—The goalie’s restricted area where he can play the puck needs to go. A) Most of them are the same size as a Christmas tree: they need room to move. B) For every one rule in the book on players, there are at least two for goaltenders. There are enough restrictions on them - I say give them a break and at least give them some space.

P.S. Thanks for the posting on the top 10 fights - I personally believe that no hockey game is complete without at least one major penalty for a scrap.

The Definitive Top Ten Fights of the 2000s

01/28/2010 at 10:16pm EST

With THN (awful awful awful picks) and Hockey Fights Dot Com (decent, but a one-man show list) leading the way with their lists of the top fights of the 2000s, Fried Chicken’s Hockey Fight Site had to have its say on such a prestigious list.

Using a systematic tournament consisting of approximately twenty candidates, the widely recognized most knowledgeable hockey fight site has narrowed its list down to ten blood soaking, knuckle knocking, toe-to-toe massacres, and KO nighty-nights that put an end to the debate.

Whereas the #1 fight earned extra points for being a nationally televised game (Gary still has nightmares), be sure to check out the flying teeth in the runner up.

Enough writing. Enjoy the scraps! [Big props to FC’s Kramer for adding these all in one video!]

So when are Jeremy Yablonski and Jon “Nasty” Mirasty getting a call up?

Boston Bruins still seeking an identity

01/25/2010 at 10:10pm EST

By: Mark Marino

It was just a month ago where the Bruins were looking decent – playing well enough for second-place in the Northeast Division, and fifth overall in the East. In fact, their 19-11-7 record [43 points] was just five points away from the top team in the Division – the Buffalo Sabres.

Fast forward 14 games, plus a few injuries, and the Black and Gold have tanked to their nethermost point of the 2009-10 season. After stinking up the RBC Center last night – losing 5-1 against the 29th ranked Carolina Hurricanes – the Bruins find themselves down four spots into ninth-place overall in the Eastern Conference [54 points].

The Bruins have now dropped eight of their last nine games [1-7-1] and had recorded a pitiful 4-9-1 record since the “good ‘ol days” just four weeks ago. Over this 14 game span, the B’s have managed to muster just 11-of-28 possible points, as they continue to slip down the proverbial slide. Now 51 games into the season, and the Big Bad Bruins are still searching – a little too late – for an identity to this team.

New York Rangers interested in Edmonton Oilers’ Sheldon Souray

01/19/2010 at 12:07pm EST

According to Pierre Lebrun of ESPN, the New York Rangers are very interested in the Edmonton defenseman, who would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to help the Oilers and play in New York.

But to make it happen, as Lebrun said, the Rangers would need to create cap room by shedding the contracts of either Michal Rozsival ($5 million cap hit; will earn $4 million next season and $3 million in last year in 2011-12) or Wade Redden ($6.5 million cap hit; four more years left after this season at $6.5 million for 2010-11 and 2011-12 and $5 million per year in 2012-13 and 2013-14). The only real option on Redden is to send him to the AHL and eat his contract. A buyout next summer doesn’t solve anything because the Rangers would still carry a $2 million cap hit from him for the next eight years.

image
Sheldon Souray (Getty Images)

Penguins scouting heavily Maple Leafs’ Alexei Ponikarovsky

01/15/2010 at 2:57pm EST

According to Pittsburgh Insider William Depaoli, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been scouting the Toronto Maple Leafs in the past month. Head scout Derek Clancey has been seen at Air Canada Centre many times with winger Alexei Ponikarovsky being a player of interest for the Penguins.


Alexei Ponikarovsky (Getty images)

Ponikarovsky, 29, is a big winger (6′4”, 220 lb) with great hands that has 15 goals and 14 assists for 29 points in 48 games with the Maple Leafs this season. Poni is in the final year of his contract that pays him $2.5 million this season; his cap hit is $2.1 million.

The Kiev-native had a career-year last season in Toronto, recording 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points in 82 games. He would surely complement well Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins’ second line who is forced to play with pluggers Maxime Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko. Talbot only has five points in 25 games this season, while Fedotenko only has 16 points in 47 games this year.

The Penguins also need help on the power play; as of today their power play ranks 29th in the league with a dismal 14.8% efficiency. You have to wonder what’s wrong in Steel Town when you have talented players like Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin, Bill Guerin and Alex Goligoski on your first unit. With his large frame, quick hands and great vision, Ponikarovsky would certainly help the Penguins in that department.

Ponikarovsky, a fourth round (87th overall) pick of the Leafs at the 1998 NHL entry draft, has spent his entire career as a member of the Maple Leafs.

Does Brian Burke envision him as a core player of the Leafs’ future success or does he use him as a trade-bait to get back some of the high draft picks he traded to acquire budding star Phil Kessel from the Boston Bruins before the start of the current season?

Georges Laraque’s demise as an NHL enforcer

01/13/2010 at 2:04pm EST

Once upon a time Georges Laraque was one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL. He was even unanimously awarded the ‘Best Fighter’ award from The Hockey News in 2003. In 2008, Sports Illustrated named him the number one enforcer in the league. During his days an an Oiler, Laraque racked up the penalty minutes, 826 in 490 games, while scoring the occasional goal here and there. Also known as “Big Georges” or simply “BGL”, Laraque even scored 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 2001-01 with Edmonton.

BGL’s good old days:

Georges Laraque’s fight compilation

After short stints with the Phoenix Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bob Gainey signed BGL to a 3-year $4.5M contract on July 3rd, 2008. Gainey needed to add toughness to a small corps of forwards as his team had been outplayed physically in the 2008 playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins.

About KK Members Blog

If you want to be a hockey writer, be our special guest!

We’re giving the KK community a chance to add their two-bits. Sign up to be a KK member, write your piece, and be heard right here on one of the Internet’s most visited hockey news websites.