Greetings all. Now, where were we?
Scott, there are rumors that the Pens are looking at getting Kovalev back into a Pens jersey??? Any truth to that?
Tim; I suspect the 'rumors' are more the product of folks like me looking at guys that could fill an offensive role for the Pens especially now that Evgeni Malkin is likely gone for the season. Kovalev will be UFA in July and the Pens have lots of cap room if Malkin is off the books. Although he's been a huge disappointment in Ottawa Kovalev is a skilled winger who has had decent to good playoff numbers so might be an option. And you know Ottawa would be happy to get rid of him so the cost would be low. Not sure he's a Dan Bylsma kind of guy, though. But I have no doubt GM Ray Shero will be looking under every rock to bolster the team's attack before Feb. 28.
What kind of draft pick do you think the Devils could receive in exchange for Arnott? Also, does Rolstons recent play possibly merit a team taking him off the Devils hands?
Vinny; I think the issue with Arnott is that he's not very durable and his playoff production while in Nashville was pretty mediocre (five goals in 15 post-season games for the Preds). Guessing a third round pick would be the most the Devils could hope for. As for Rolston he is playing very well of late but he's still a big ticket item for next year with a cap hit just north of $5 million. Good guy but at his age (37) hard to see the Devils moving him unless they take salary back.
What are the chances that Matt Cooke gets suspended for his knee on knee hit yesterday on Alex Ovechkin? It's not like Cooke is a first time offender.
Sean; Didn't like the hit although I will be surprised if there is a suspension. A fine perhaps but doubt it'll go any further than that.
don't look now, but the Sabres are creeping up on the 8th spot, with games in hand. Despite that, do you see the new owner being a seller at the deadline, and if so, who has any real value (besides Miller/ Myers)?
kurt; Difficult position for the Sabres and GM Darcy Regier. New owner has said through his people he'll be making no rash decisions vis a vis coaching/management. He's not even been ratified by the NHL's Board of Governors so it's all a bit premature to look at what might happen at the deadline. Plus the Sabres have to start beating good teams if they want to consider the playoffs. As for assets they could move if Tim Connolly could stay healthy for an hour, maybe, but the return would be minimal. Mike Grier, who has a no-move clause (how does that happen?) and Rob Niedermayer for teams looking to fill in character/grit roles. Craig Rivet and Steve Montador. In short, nothing that will return a first or second round pick.
Hello Scott, i always enjoy reading your stuff even if you are a little hard on my Sharks. Since HBO's Winter Classic series was so successful, will a team's willingness to allow cameras into their routines factor into the leagues decision on which teams will participate in future Classics?
Mark; You are too kind. And the Sharks are starting to roll so you should rest easy about a playoff spot. As for the HBO doc which I thought was terrific I wouldn't be surprised to see if become a caveat for teams taking part. You want to host/play in a Winter Classic, HBO is part of the package. The build-up to the game creates a natural end point for a short series and adds some finality even though it's still the middle of the season. As a fan I hope it becomes part of the routine and will be shocked if it doesn't given the positive feedback from within the game and from those casual fans that are so important to the NHL.
Scott, thanks for setting the power rankings right this week, and putting the Bolts back in the top 5, where they rightfully belong. My question is, why hasn't Marty St. Louis gotten some serious MVP talk? I would agree that Stammer has a better case, but I haven't really heard his name mentioned at all and he's likely the most valuable player on the team.
Jesse; Pierre (LeBrun) and I alternate every week doing the Power Rankings and Hart Trophy Tracker and every (other) week I wrestle with how to deal with the Stamkos/St. Louis dilemma. In some ways it will mirror the dilemma for voters looking at the Sedin twins. How do you separate one from the other especially given that in both cases the players play on the same line and their successes are intertwined. For me it's about goal-scoring which is more difficult to do. It just is and so I would reward Stamkos (or Daniel Sedin) if it comes down to it. That said, no question St. Louis is the heart the drives the Bolts' machine. Hard choice but a nice one to have if you're a Tampa fan.
The battle in the west is making me old faster :( Can my Coyotes hang on?
Loup; Long ago stopped trying to figure out 'Yotes and how they keep hanging around. Still, never bet against a Dave Tippett team when it comes to defying the skeptics. For the good of the franchise I hope they hang around for another playoff run.
Getting Kaberle would be nice, but the Bruins need a winger more. Can Arnott play the wing?
Marc; Yes I think that is what will make Arnott attractive to some teams (Pens anyone?) is that he can play down the middle or on the wing. Bruins will have some tough decisions now that Marc Savard is officially done for the season. Lots of cap room but also some holes to fill in on the blue line and up front.
Though they've been on a roll since the beginning of December, it's hard to imagine Mike Gillis wouldn't make some sort of upgrade ahead of Feb 28 deadline. What pieces do you see the Canucks pursuing? Is Hodgson their fit for a fourth C?
James; I think a lot will depend on Sami Salo and his health. I think most agreed it was a lack of depth along the blue line that cost the Canucks against Chicago last spring and while they are much improved with Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard the loss of Edler is a big one and Salo has to prove he can step into a top six role. Beyond that I'm sure Gillis would like to add some scoring depth or at least get guys like Mikael Samuelsson back to his previous level of productivity.
Scott-Watched your video debate with Pierre last week and a little disappointed that you didn't think the Kings would make the playoffs. Did the win in Calgary possibly shift your thinking about the Kings? Pretty impressive win where they haven't won for 5 years.
Mason; I like to get Pierre going as he is soft on the Kings. Still, this 10-game road trip will tell the tale, I think, about the character in that room. On paper this is a playoff team with all kinds of nice elements. On the ice their lack of consistency is puzzling. Maybe this road trip will galvanize that team identity and take the pressure off GM Dean Lombardi to make a big splash at the trade deadline. Time will tell.
You mentioned in your column today about Jack Adams nods being deserved for Bylsma and Boudreau. Your thought on Vigneault being in the mix as well? I think Canucks have been playing better than anyone thought, and their depleted defence hasn't caused them to miss a beat so far.
John; No quibbling with the work done by Alain Vigneault but coaches with talented teams that put up big regular season points rarely register with Jack Adams voters (broadcasters). Not fair, maybe, but Vigneault, Mike Babcock, Peter Laviolette etc. generally don't get the recognition for this award. I'm not quibbling because I think guys like Dave Tippett and John Tortorella etc. guys whose teams do more with less should get recognition. Guess AV will have to wait for his day with the Cup as payoff.
You doubted me, Scott
Lou; Sorry. I picked you guys to beat the 'Canes this week if that means anything. Just checking, though, how many points out? Just 16?
better rivalery at this point - pens vs flyers? flyers vs caps? or caps vs pens?
brett; I would put Caps/Flyers third just because the other two are so compelling. Best thing is I can't imagine those three teams will get a taste of each other come April/May. Can't wait.
Do the Hawks have a shot getting close to the Stanley Cup Finals again?
Michael; Not because I picked them to go back to the final (okay, maybe a little) I still think the 'Hawks are going to be there come mid-April. The way it's shaping up, though, they'll draw Vancouver/Detroit or San Jose in the first round. How good would that be? I know there's no magic button for the playoffs but for a team whose core knows what it takes I think the 'Hawks might be the kind of team that can take a significant step when the light goes on for the playoff tournament.
Hi Scott - Canadian Blues fan (if you can believe it)..Anything you can share with the trade deadline coming up with them or is this ownership issue taking over this season for them?
Tony; You've got the worst of both worlds right now. Leafs are a disaster and the Blues on the slide. I will be surprised if Blues GM Doug Armstrong makes any significant moves at the deadline and certainly won't be adding a big salary. His best hope is that his injured bodies like McDonald, Perron, Colaiacovo et al get healthy and put some wins together. But I think that ship has sailed. Too bad for a team that has worked really hard to re-establish it's relationship with the fans in St. Louis.
Your thoughts on whether Forsberg can be anything like the player he was . . . .
Andy; I happened to be in Denver when Foppa arrived for his comeback stint. Love the idea that he can come back and lead the Avs to the post-season. They're a dynamic young team and I think Joe Sacco and Greg Sherman have done a nice job. Just don't know, though. Have seen too many Forsberg comes back, in and out of the line-up, stories too many times. But this is it, which in some ways is a good thing even if it ends quickly.
Will Emrey be pick up of waivers?
ryan; With the Ducks signing Ray Emery and then putting him on waivers so he can work out with the Ducks' AHL team I will be surprised if a team picks him up because there are few NHL teams that can or want to have three goalies around and Emery's going to need a few weeks to get into game shape and a team claiming him would have to expose him to waivers in sending him to their own farm team and Anaheim would get a shot at reclaiming him.
Do you see Kipper being moved, and if so, possible landing spots for him?
Claudell; Don't see it happening as long as the Flames stay close.
How much does a regular season record vs. one opponent matter come playoff time. I ask, because the Flyers seem to struggle vs. one team ... Tampa Bay. If they play in the playoffs, does TB's regular season dominance play any factor?
Stephane; I don't see that any of that matters come playoff time. It only matters if a trend continues and players get bothered about answering questions about it but I don't think it has any relevance in terms of how a series turns out.
I haven't heard anything about Mike Modano lately....What are his chances of returning this season? And if he (or the other walking wounded on the wings) can't go, will they look to add a forward?
miamioolite; Last time I spoke to GM Ken Holland about Modano's recovery they were hopeful before the end of the regular season so some time in March. I haven't seen anything that suggests that timetable is any different. With all due respect his return or not will have little bearing on a Wings' playoff run, at least in my mind.
Rangers are faltering as of late. Signs of concern or more about getting all their injured players back into game shape?
Jason; Weird how that works sometimes, no? Injured players come back and the team goes on a slide. Some of it may be conditioning and some of it may be mental, a letdown assuming the key players like Dubinsky, Callahan and Prospal will keep the ball rolling. The Rangers win when they apply a work ethic that trumps their opponents. Especially with Marian Gaborik struggling that's pretty much the only way the Rangers can win and when that effort isn't there for whatever reason they are a pretty ordinary team as their four-game winless streak suggests.
I know they're different animals, but if the tiny city of Green Bay Wisconsin can support a championship NFL team (playing in an old stadium, while cities like LA don't have an NFL team), why can't Quebec, Hamilton, or Winnipeg host an NHL franchise. This just proves that it's not the overall size of the area population, but the number of dedicated fans.
Lou; Hard to compare the NFL and NHL because the television deals provide so much revenue for all NFL teams. Adding a new Canadian team doesn't really expand the television revenue it just means the Canadian pie is cut into smaller pieces. The bigger issue will be whether smaller markets (anywhere not just in Canada) can support a team through 41 home dates and a payroll of let's say $50 million or more? Not sure that would happen in Winnipeg or Quebec City or Hamilton.
Scotty do you think Bob will ultimately get the nod come playoff time and Lavy is just alternating for now? There is no way he can alternate in the playoffs is there?
Richie; Don't really have a sense of it. Both have been great. Don't think there's any doubt the Flyers trust Bobrovsky so not sure that's an issue even though he is a rookie. Either way I am guessing Peter Laviolette won't wait long to go to the other guy if his starter shows a wobble. Nice problem to have.
Who will finish 1-4 in the eastern conference?
Nick; Philly, Washington, Boston (third seed based on winning the Northeast), Pittsburgh.
Which of the teams that are fighting for a playoff spot in the West would pose the biggest threat to Vancouver if they were to get in?
Tony; Chicago. That goes without saying. I wouldn't mind seeing a Calgary/Vancouver tilt. Flames don't match up, of course, but if they do sneak in they may play with that 'what have we got to lose' mentality. The Canucks, like Washington and perhaps Pittsburgh too last season have to play with the weight of expectation in the first couple of rounds. That's a difficult burden for a team that hasn't really won anything.
What is the worst NHL Team so Far This Season?
Chris; Right now it's quite a battle between the Edmonton Oilers and the Ottawa Senators. I would say based on level of talent the Sens are the worst team.
Scott, why don't the Preds and Trotz get any respect? He's the best at getting the most out of what he has to work with and yet you haven't mentioned him in the Jack Adams considerations. Think the Preds will overtake DET for the Central lead?
Jon; Barry Trotz is the poster boy for the Jack Adams. The Preds will never spend to the cap they will always be forced to get more from less and he always does that. The fact his team has never won a playoff round is a factor, perhaps, in his national profile. But trust me, there isn't anyone in the game who doesn't respect and admire what Trotz has done in Nashville.
Do you follow the Blues at all? you just said they need some players to get healthy, but you listed a player that is already returned for them in McDonald. ESPN NHL home of the did you know theirs teams not playing in the east coast?
Joey; I was aware of that. In fact spoke to Andy McDonald in Denver when he was getting ready to come back. But if you know much about concussions you know that there is often a process of returning to full game faculties. He's played two games since returning from his concussion and has one assist. My guess is that McDonald will tell you he's not at peak health/performance just yet.
What's the latest on Nabokov? The Islanders have suspended him for the season, but could they trade him if they wanted to? I'm sure some teams could be interested in a veteran goalie at the deadline.
Chris; Isles can't trade Nabokov without exposing him to the waiver process just as Detroit had to after signing him.
Do you think this is finally the year the Preds get out of the first round of the playoffs? It's been a long wait!!
SJ; I think they have to stay in the top five to get out of the first round. They are in fourth now and would have home ice against San Jose in the first round (yikes, Preds fans have seen that movie before and it didn't end well). As well as they play defensively I'm not sure there are many teams - Phoenix maybe - that they match up well against offensively. But one of these years it's going to happen and they have been impressive if not streaky all year. No question the fans in Nashville deserve a playoff run that lasts longer than a week.
Hey Scott, I know you hate answering Wild questions, but do you think, even though Fletcher has said he is not gonna make any deals before the deadline because of the teams stepped up play, he is just being coy and possibly bring in some offense? He's got plenty of expendable pieces IMO.
Cody; Not anti-Wild just a function of a team that has been spinning its wheels for a long time in a good hockey market. I think Chuck Fletcher understands that as painful as it might be he can't afford to move any young assets/picks to try and add some offense or a veteran defenseman. The reality is they're not a Cup team yet and it would be a shock if they do make the playoffs that they aren't one and done. Fletcher was left with a pretty bare cupboard when he arrived and he won't be giving away what little he has for short-term gain.
Thanks all for stopping by. Have a great week. See you next time.