- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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The spotlight is on the Columbus Blue Jackets these days.
Given their poor start, the expectations that came with their ballooning payroll heading into this offseason and the Jeff Carter injury, the team has had trade talks with other teams.
But, as of Tuesday, there was nothing imminent on the trade front, a source told ESPN.com. The team is so banged up right now, it doesn't have the bodies available to make a trade just for the sake of it. Carter is the biggest of the injuries; he is listed as week to week with a fractured foot and the team put him on IR on Tuesday.
Teams have asked the Blue Jackets about Derick Brassard or Antoine Vermette, but with Carter out, how can the Jackets afford to lose another top-six forward at this point unless they receive a very good one in return?
We suspect there will be moves in Columbus at some point if the club doesn't start winning (0-4-1 heading into Tuesday's games), but the feeling right now is it's a little early to be pushing the panic trade button.
But there could possibly be a minor move given all the injuries in goal. Junior prospect Mathieu Corbeil was recalled Tuesday to back up Steve Mason on an emergency basis, but he's allowed to dress for only one NHL game. Backup Mark Dekanich is still 2-3 weeks away from returning from his injury. No. 3 man Curtis Sanford is out 3-4 weeks. No. 4 goalie Allen York is also banged up, but the Jackets hope he is OK to back up Mason in their next game (Friday at Detroit). If York can't go, the Jackets will need to make a minor move to acquire a goalie.
Lightning's defensive woes
The Lightning have given up 24 goals in six games. Some of that is goalie Dwayne Roloson not playing well, some of it is also poor defensive play in front of him.
So, it's no surprise the Bolts would like to upgrade on defense if and when a trade comes that makes sense. The problem is, top-four blueliners don't grow on trees. Also, what exactly would the Bolts trade in return?
The Lightning are doing their homework within the marketplace, but that doesn't necessarily mean they can get something done anytime soon, if at all, given the limited supply of top-four defensemen available.
In the meantime, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told ESPN.com on Tuesday that injured blueliner Mattias Ohlund could be out longer than originally expected. He may be at least six weeks away from recovering after having both of his knees scoped last week. When healthy, he's a player who makes a difference in Tampa Bay's lineup.
McDonald and concussion protocol
The NHL's in-game concussion protocol has come under scrutiny after St. Louis Blues forward Andy McDonald was cleared to return in a game last Thursday night only wake up the next day feeling concussion-like symptoms.
On Monday, the team placed McDonald on IR with a concussion and he's out indefinitely.
McDonald was hit late in the second period in Dallas. He was checked out by the Stars' doctor and a member of the Blues' training staff. He didn't display any concussion symptoms at the time, and he told the doctor and trainer he was fine to go back in. And so he did. Then, he woke up the next day feeling ill.
It's obviously a sensitive subject in St. Louis, where David Perron re-entered a game after being stung by a Joe Thornton head hit a year ago. Perron hasn't played since. But in this case, the Blues and the NHL believe the protocol was followed correctly (the league closely scrutinizes the in-game protocol and reviews every case). If a player doesn't display symptoms in a game and passes all the tests, what else can the protocol do?
One might say given McDonald's long history with concussions, including one last season that sidelined him for 24 games, he might have been held out regardless of whether or not he displayed symptoms.
In the end, the lesson here is the league's in-game concussion protocol is not foolproof. A player can be fine one night, but develop symptoms the next day, or even days later. The league is currently very satisfied with how the protocol has worked so far this season.
The Avs' 2012 pick
There has been much focus on the 2012 first-round pick the Avalanche shipped to Washington in the Semyon Varlamov trade. The puck hadn't even dropped this season and people were already on "Colorado watch," wondering if the Caps might get a lottery pick out of it.
Well, consider the Avs' front office a little ticked by all that kind of talk. The Avs, first of all, will point out they picked up a first-rounder in Varlamov himself in the deal, one that can help the team right now. But they can also point to the fact that just last June, they drafted twice in the top 11, selecting forward Gabriel Landeskog (second overall) and defenseman Duncan Siemens (11th). They are also the second-youngest team in the league and don't believe they've mortgaged the future in the Varlamov deal.
Of course, starting the season 5-1-0 certainly helps silence the lottery pick talk for the time being. If the Avs end up making the playoffs, Washington will get a middle-to-low pick.
If I were the Canucks, I wouldn't do anything until the offseason. Your team is still a bona-fide contender; why risk moving Schneider when you just might need him come playoff time if Roberto Luongo gets injured or struggles?
Know this: The Canucks are not shopping Schneider, but they will certainly entertain offers between now and the Feb. 27 trade deadline. And they won't move him unless they get a young, top-six forward that they highly covet. In other words, the price is steep.
Fighting on the agenda
When the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's board of governors meet Thursday, fighting will be among the agenda items.
That's created some buzz in the province, but a league spokesman told ESPN.com the conservation was meant to be very general in nature and people should not expect anything drastic to come out of it.
The NHL's board of governors actually discussed fighting a couple of years ago, as well, a source confirmed to ESPN.com. Again, it was just a general discussion; nothing significant came out of it.
2dScott Burnside and Craig Custance