Hello all. Where were we?
When is the NHL finally going to crack down on guys having to "defend" clean hits? The Bruins have now lost Mark Stuart to a broken finger he sustained in a fight "defending" his clean hit on Kopitar. Ridiculous.
Leo; I couldn't agree more. I know the GMs have looked at this in the past and I suspect will discuss it again when they meet in Florida after the Olympics. I think, like the instigator rule, a player who starts a fight after a clean hit should be given an additional five-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct. That would help erase that pattern pretty quickly I think.
Mr. Burnside, are the LA Kings going to land ilya kovalchuk, and if they do can they win it all.
Mario; The Kings will definitely be in the hunt for Kovalchuk but they may not want to pay what will be a big asking price; a roster player, a top defensive prospect and a first round draft pick. If they land him or frankly a good veteran scorer like a Ryan Whitney I think their chances of getting out of the first round are excellent. Winning it all? I think that's a pretty big mouthful but they've proven lately they're made of pretty stern stuff so who knows.
Scott, what is the deal with the Kotalik/Jokinen trade? What went wrong? As a Ranger fan, I would love to get rid of Kotalik and Higgins. They are bums! Jokinen's contract is up at the end of the season so we arent on the hook for extra salary. What's the latest?????
Matt; Deal is still on hold as of right now. Other than getting out from under Jokinen's salary for the rest of the season I don't see this helps the Flames all that much but then I didn't like the Phaneuf deal either. I'm with you, though, if you're the Rangers and you can swing this deal you do it in a heartbeat.
If Ray Emery continues to play well in goal for the Flyers, what do you give there chances for the playoffs?
Chris; People forget that Emery was very good in '07 in besting Ryan Miller and Martin Brodeur during the playoffs so he knows all about playoff pressure so I don't think that will be an issue. I think his durability is the issue and so far so good since he's come back from his abdominal injury. The Flyers success, I think, comes from avoiding Pittsburgh and/or Washington in the first round and then see what happens.
Are the Bruins this years Penguins
Shawn; Sadly for the Bruins they appear to be the 2005-06 Penguins. But I know what you mean; struggle through the first half and then right the ship and charge through the playoffs. I don't think so, not unless an awful lot changes in Boston. Obviously the offense needs to improve dramatically and they need to get better performances from their best players; Zdeno Chara, Dennis Wideman, Marc Savard, Tim Thomas. If that happens, sure, they're a playoff team but beyond that I don't see much more.
Scott, We all know that the Caps can score an amazing amount of goals - on pace for the most since 1995 Pens I believe. during thier winning streak they have averaged 4.7 a game, but have only given up 2.1 a game. If they can keep this up, do you think they supplant the Sharks and 'Hawks as the front runners for Lord Stanley's hardware?
John; Not to beat a dead horse but I still think the goaltending issue remains the one major stumbling block to a Stanley Cup run. Yes Jose Theodore and Michal Neuvirth have been terrific over the last month or so but January is not April and therein lies the problem (lays?). I don't think there's enough confidence in the room if Theodore is the guy and Neuvirth is like Semyon Varlamov a year ago; untested. Varlamov's health issues may be resolved well in advance of the playoffs but he's still basically a rookie. All in all not a Stanley Cup equation - at least not yet.
What's with all the ESPN hockey writers being so bias for the west? Specifically against the caps. Almost every article I see that has something to do with the Washington caps, its against them. This week they were ranked 2 after winning 10 in a row, and having the highest goal differential. Why #2? Don't give me that B.S about the east being worst than the west. Also, why is it that everything about Alexander Ovechkin is negative. Every writer ways he's "dirty", "cheap" or something like that. Why not share the other side of the story for once?
Stephen; Whoa, a little heavy on the caffeine today, no? First, having constructed the Power Rankings this week, I mention it was close between San Jose and Washington and the fact of the matter is the Caps do play a lot more mediocre teams than the Sharks. Not their fault but it is what it is. Not everyone refers to Ovechkin as dirty etc. but you live by the sword, you know. Again, he is what he is. We didn't make up the kneeing incidents and the penalties. Caps are a fine, fine team and by far the best team in the east right now. That should count for something, no?
Scott is there any market for the following Blues player: Sydor, Brewer, Tkuchuck, Kariya, Colaiacovo or even Mason? Who would make good fits and what might they be worth?
Aron; I think there will be a market for some if not all the players you mention. Keith Tkachuk and Paul Kariya both have no-trade clauses so that will complicate things. Plus there's Kariya's contract - he makes $6 million - so that will be a mitigating factor. I would think both forwards would command a second round pick and maybe a prospect. Lots of teams are looking to add offensive depth before March 3. But there's the no small matter of the Blues hanging around the playoff bubble. I suspect management will wait until after the Olympic break to determine whether they're close enough to hang on to those assets or if they've fallen back try and move them right at the March 3 deadline.
Please comment on the big trades from yesterday, from the Leafs perspective. Also, how do you like the Penguins chances of repeating?
Nadeem; I like what the Leafs did. Cleared out salary and dead wood and brought in a guy in Dion Phaneuf who was a rookie of the year and norris trophy candidate in the past. Yes, he has struggled but he's got huge, huge up-side. If J.S. Giguere gets back to form he provides a nice safety net (as it were) for Jonas Gustavsson through next year. Thought the Flames showed just how off the rails they are giving up a blue chip defenseman for guys who have no history of being able to deliver in the clutch. Yes Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan may be serviceable forwards but I wouldn't bet the farm on their ability to deliver the goods when it matters. Ian White is interesting and could be a hidden gem in this deal but he may also end up being a 6th defenseman in which case the Flames will pay for this deal for years.
Any talk about Phoenix making a move before the deadline?
Ryan; With Scottie Upshall out with a torn ACL the pressure will be on GM Don Maloney to come up with some offense but given the financial restrictions on the team - they're still technically run by the league - Maloney can't really take on any more salary than he can dump so don't expect anything dramatic.
When all the hockey Pundits say that goaltending is holding the Caps back from the levels of the Sharks and Hawks, i keep thinking how is the Hawks goaltending situation any better? Huet = Theodore, and Nimmi is a rookie, so why are they more Stanley Cup worthy?
Matt; Fair question but I think you have to look at the Blackhawks blue line which is as good a unit as there is in the NHL and which gives the 'Hawks the luxury of having goaltending that doesn't necessarily have to be A to win a Cup just as long as it's not B- or C+. Kind of like the model the Red Wings have employed the past couple of years with Chris Osgood.
When will the replacements for Paul Martin and Komansarik be named and who will they be?
Chris; U.S. GM Brian Burke is still holding out hope one or both will return from injury in time to play in Vancouver. Martin was hoping to get the cast off his forearm today and Komisarek might play tomorrow. If they can't go I am guessing either Ryan Whitney or Ron Hainsey would replace Martin while Rob Scuderi would be a good bet to take Komisarek's spot.
Hey Scott, Back to the LA Kings. They are #5 this week in the power rankings, only behind SJ and Chicago out west. Do you feel they are the 3rd best team out West? Who do the Kings want/NOT want to see come playoff time?thanks brother.
Tim; I think all teams want to avoid Chicago and San Jose as long as possible. The other team that has a lot going for it at least right now is Vancouver. That's why finishing in that four or five spot is important for the Kings as they match up better against Phoenix, Nashville or Colorado than the other three.
Do the Hawks NEED to make a trade to win the cup?
Sean; I don't think so. They've got some injured guys coming back that add to their depth and provide the kind of internal competition for ice time that's healthy. Having missed Marian Hossa for the first part of the season is almost like adding a player anyway.
Whats up Scott; The Rangers 28th in the power rankings? Are you kidding? So the only two teams we can beat in a 7 game series is Toronto and Edmonton?
James; Based on current level of play I think that's pretty fair don't you?
ARE THE ISLANDERS SERIOUSLY INVOLVED IN KOVALCHUK TRADE TALKS?
Hi Scott, it feels to me as the injuries are finally catching up to the Devils. Do you see them adding more scoring and not defense since Martin will eventually come back? Any word on the trade front with them?
Matt; I think you're probably right. Jacques Lemaire has got a lot out of a lot of younger guys through most of the season and now it seems they've hit the wall a bit. It happens. Also I keep wondering about Martin Brodeur's work load. The Devils blew leads against Toronto on Friday and the Kings yesterday and I didn't think Brodeur was particularly sharp. As for making additions I would think Lou Lamoriello is looking for some offensive help although getting Dainius Zubrus back has certainly paid instant dividends.
Are the Flames waving the white flag with a move like this, and what a great move by the Ducks. Your thoughts?
Sprung; Not white flag necessarily but when you make those kinds of changes to your roster with less than 30 games to go it tells you how bad things were in Calgary. And I liked the Ducks' moves. Yes, Jason Blake has been a disappointment in Toronto but he may thrive in Anaheim where he'll get more of a chance. And moving Giguere's contract was huge for GM Bob Murray especially after signing Jonas Hiller. Good work by Murray.
Scott, everyone knows Kovalchuck is gonna hit FA but who are the other notables on the FA market assuming they don't re-sign?
Aron; Marty Turco, Anton Volchenkov, Paul Kariya, Saku Koivu, Ray Whitney, Matt Cullen, Alexander Frolov, Johan Hedberg, Pavel Kubina, Marek Zidlicky, Kim Johnsson, Owen Nolan...those are just a few off the top of my head.Nicklas Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer will both be UFA but can't see them going anywhere unless they pack it in.
Scott, Any chance Doughty wins the Norris Trophy? Thanks.
Carlos; I think he'll be on the final ballot for sure and if he closes out the season like he's playing now he will get some votes. I still think Duncan Keith is ahead of him in terms of maturity of his game and leadership which only makes sense but which may be enough to get Keith the hardware. But I think it's going to be mighty close when it comes time to put pen to ballot.
Scott, JM Liles has been made a healthy scratch a few times by the Avs. Any truth to the rumors he could be moved? The Avs could use some forward help. Who could you see them going after?
Jason; Interesting case Mr. Liles. Great skater, handles the puck well, but obviously has managed to get into Joe Sacco's dog house. I think a number of teams including the Rangers, perhaps Vancouver, Ottawa and Buffalo might be interested. It might be a situation where the Avs try and trade him to an Eastern Conference team for a pick/prospect and then acquire some offensive help from somewhere else.
Is ovie winning his 3rd straight hart trophy this year if his points/game and the caps position as 1st in east (and possibly the league) holds up? If not, who will supplant him and why?
Giovanni; It's going to take a lot to dislodge Ovechkin from the Hart podium but the guy that I think has a shot is Henrik Sedin who is the league's leading scorer as we speak. If the Canucks stay a top team in the west and Sedin stays ahead of Ovechkin I think there could be a split among voters as Sedin will be seen as a better two-way player plus he'll have the points. Ovechkin will have a better points per game and is a more dynamic player so it will be interesting to see how the vote might go. Oh yeah, there's a guy names Crosby, too, who will factor into this equation too.
Scott, your thoughts as to if the Sabes will add some offense at the deadline or stay pat with what they have? Also, do you think the Olympics could wear Ryan Miller out for the post season? One last comment, It is nice to see Tim Connolly playing well and staying healthy.
Phil; I think you hit on the main thing for the Sabres, not necessarily Tim Connolly but staying healthy. They are a team that traditionally doesn't make a big splash at trade deadline (unless they're trading away free agents)so I would think Darcy Regier will do more tinkering than going after a Ray Whitney or Ilya Kovalchuk. Sabres will be a handful I think, though, as long as the current roster is and remains healthy. As for Miller, I wouldn't be surprised to see him play every game for the U.S. in Vancouver or at most take one game off. Regardless I think the Sabres will want to make sure Miller is sharp but not over worked come mid-April. So either more Patrick Lalime or an upgrade at back-up.
Please tell me Caps will resign Backstrom.
John; They will. Just a matter of when and how much.
Would it be safe to say Glen Sather will be fired if the Rangers do not make the playoffs?
Joe; No, sadly for Ranger fans everywhere that doesn't not appear to be a certainty. The Rangers are a mess thanks to Sather but that doesn't appear to bother ownership. Wonder how that happens, no?
Will the penguins win the Atlantic Divison?
Andrew; I think the Devils will likely hang on. They've got a three-point lead and have two games in hand. It may not sound like much but they also own the head-to-head tie-breakers with the Pens so I am guessing the Devils win the Atlantic again while the Pens will duke it out with Ottawa and maybe Philly for fourth and home ice in the first round.
GREAT SCOTT! Hey buddy, my Wings have been quiet along the trade rumors. Are they planning on making any moves before the deadline? If so, who are they potentially looking at? Thanks!
Mark; I would think the Wings' moves will be all about moving guys from the infirmary to the ice. Don't expect GM Ken Holland to be very active before the trade deadline other than talking to team doctors.
Say the Wild don't make the playoffs, which I dont think they will, they have some assets they can get rid of to get some firepower upfront. What forwards do you think are available by the deadline or this summer? If they were to aquire a few good forwards to add to Havlat, Koivu, Latendresse, and Miettenin, do you see this team being a playoff team next year?
Nik; I agree I think the Wild's slow start will cost them a playoff spot this year - although they sure have played better recently. GM Chuck Fletcher isn't done putting his stamp on the team and I would think a number of the free agents; Kim Johnsson, Marek Zidlicky, Owen Nolan, Eric Belanger, will likely be on the move before March 3 and certainly by July 1. The Wild have not done a good job historically of stockpiling young talent so I would imagine that will be the top priority for Fletcher as opposed to bringing in expensive veteran talent via free agency.
Just heard that at Avs morning skate, Peter Budaj was traded...any proof to this?
Woody; Have not heard that and just checked to see if there was anything suggesting it and came up empty.
will the lecavalier trade rumors ever stop, even though he has a NMC and has said he doesn't want to leave?
Jim; Agreed, it must be a drag for Lecavalier and for Bolts fans. He won't be going anywhere unless he wants to. I talked to a source close to the imminent sale of the team and they said rumors that a condition of the sale was that Lecavalier had to waive his no-trade clause were absolutely false. Bolts need to make the playoffs to make this stuff go away.
I haven't seen many questions about the flyers, I would love to know what you think they may do?
Jon; Well, GM Paul Holmgren hasn't been shy about pulling the trigger on big deals (Forsberg, Pronger etc.) and I think he'd like to get better/deeper up front. He'll ask about Kovalchuk but I think it will take Jeff Carter and Holmgren said he won't deal Carter. A guy like Tkachuk if he waived his no-trade (and if the Blues were sellers) might be a nice fit, plays Flyers hockey. And Peter Laviolette knows the 'Canes guys like Matt Cullen and Niclas Wallin (I know, a defenseman) pretty well from the Cup year and that would be a possibility.
Marty Turco to Philly would make some sense, yes? Flyers haven't had a first-rate goalie since Hextall in prime in late '80s. Possible?
Bob; Don't the Flyers have enough goaltenders already? Just kidding. But that assumes you don't believe in Ray Emery and/or Michael Leighton to get the job done. I don't mind that tandem frankly. Not sure Turco is that much of an upgrade.
Is Charelli gonna make move? I am close to the edge over here.
Adam; Understood. The Bruins have fallen a long, long way. Last in the NHL in offense. Good grief. Need to get healthy and they need to get their offense going. Luckily the east is full of pretenders so it only takes one good week to get back in the hunt. Problem is it's been a long time since the Bs had a good week.
What do you think the canucks will do at the deadline? Would a kesler, kaberle deal be feasible?
Austin; Think the Canucks would like to add some depth to the blue line. Tomas Kaberle's name is going to be out there for sure assuming he'll waive his no-trade clause. But for Ryan Kesler? if Brian Burke can do that he will but don't think GM Mike Gillis would go that route. Plus those two teams don't like each other much and so getting a deal done between the two would be a stretch.
Do you think Nicklas Lidstrom will continue to play after this season?
Jon; Good question. I think it depends on where the Wings are at at the end of the year. Do they make the playoffs? Do they win a round or two? If they look like they're in full rebuild mode maybe Lidstrom takes his skates home to Sweden and plays out the string there. If the Wings look like they're still in the hunt I say he sticks around for one more run at it.
your thoughts on who finishes 4th to 8th in the east?
Mitch; Man that's a dog's breakfast in the east but here goes;PittsburghPhiladelphiaOttawaFloridaTampa
And on that note. Thanks as always for coming out. Drop by Thursday night for our 'game of the week' and I'll be back here next Monday.