Monthly Archives: October 2010

Fleury's poor play to start the season could lead to more time for Johnson

Coach Dan Bylsma was uncharacteristically candid about — and critical of — the work of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the minutes following a 4-3 loss to Toronto Wednesday at Consol Energy Center.

His team had outshot the Maple Leafs, 25-14, and had held them, by Bylsma’s reckoning, to about eight scoring chances.

Solid Starts For the Most Part Across Canada

The quest to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada has begun. While still early, there are some good signs for the most part across Canada.

Obviously there is a long way to go, but as we’ve seen, a bad start can get teams in such a deep hole they can’t get out of it.

Here’s a look at the start for all Canadian Teams.

Dallas Stars waive former hot prospect Fabian Brunnstrom

What started out as a much-hyped experiment three years ago could end today for the Stars.

Once-ballyhooed free-agent winger Fabian Brunnstrom was placed on waivers Friday, and the Stars will find out at 11 a.m. today if another team has claimed him.

Brunnstrom has value, as he is a skilled player who makes only $675,000 on a one-year contract. However, he has not been able to break into the Stars’ lineup on a regular basis, and GM Joe Nieuwendyk said it was time to allow Brunnstrom the chance to play someplace else.

Slim pickings in NHL free-agent market

What was already shaping up as a weak NHL free-agent market in July 2011 has taken another big hit.

First, Boston C Patrice Bergeron signed a three-year, $15-million (all terms US) extension. Then, Bruins D Zdeno Chara re-upped with a seven-year, $45.5-million deal. On Saturday, it was San Jose C Joe Thornton who re-signed, for $21 million over three years — less than market value and slightly less per year than his current $7.2-million salary.

That’s three significant players off the market before next summer. GMs looking to remake their teams will be shopping in a shallow pool of talent.

Mr. Horcoff is Mr. Everything

Hopefully, Edmonton Oilers veteran centre Shawn Horcoff is into multi-tasking.

That’s because it seems like he has to be everything to everybody right now for this franchise — captain, No. 1 faceoff man, power-play centre, point producer (after a subpar 36-point effort last season) and, of course, babysitter for rookies Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

Cox: Lopping off Finger gives Leafs cap room to sell

It’s an open invitation. A $4 million invitation.

Actually, the precise number is more like $4,079,500, but when it comes to the NHL salary cap, these numbers are also subject to change, recalculation and re-evaluation on a daily basis.

Oilers should make clean break with Souray

It’s the Era of Good Feeling in Edmonton right now, and why not? New blood, new excitement, and, most importantly, wins in the first two games.

No doubt Oilers fans are unconcerned with the plight of an AHL defenceman, but I think the organization should be. Steve Tambellini/SheldonSouray is the messiest divorce since Sandra Bullock/Jesse James, and there are potentially far-reaching consequences.

Two more hurting

It’s quickly turning into a crisis.

The Calgary Flames must’ve used up all their injury IOUs through a relatively injury-free 2009-2010. Because they’re piling up now.

Ducks add Lilja to defense?

A tough week for the Ducks and Andreas Lilja could be ending with a contract that brings the veteran defenseman to Anaheim.

Lilja’s agent, Todd Diamond, said that the two sides have agreed on a one-year contract. The 35-year-old Swede might not be able to join the Ducks in time for tonight’s game in St. Louis, however, because his work visa was set to expire Sunday and the Columbus Day holiday would delay its renewal.

Habs should've kept Halak: Cherry

Don Cherry didn’t wait long to weigh in on the Carey Price situation in Montreal.

Speaking on his first Coach’s Corner segment of the 2010-11 season on Thursday, the Hockey Night in Canada commentator said Price would never be a good fit in Montreal.

“Carey Price is a good goaltender, don’t get me wrong. [But] he will not be a good goaltender in Montreal,” he said.

The Canadiens decided to throw their support behind the beleaguered Price, trading playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis and re-signing the restricted free agent to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million US.

It's not yet apparent how long Parent will skate with Canucks

Newly acquired defenceman Ryan Parent is here for now, but for how long is up in the air.

That’s sort of like his hockey career, which has been derailed the last couple of years by major injuries.

Parent participated in his first practice with the Canucks on Friday since they got him in a trade with Nashville earlier this week for defenceman Shane O’Brien.

First Step Is Making The Playoffs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the new owners of the longest current Stanley Cup drought. At 43 years and counting, there is not much expectation this year that the drought will end.

That’s not to say there is no optimism. In Toronto, as often is the case, optimism is abound in the pre-season, before any games are played, before any numbers are put on the board, before any blood, sweat and tears are shed. Leaf Nation is of course going to be crazy over their Blue and White heroes.

But first thing’s first. Before a parade can be planned, it would help if the Leafs could just take the next step and make the playoffs. That drought has gone on for 6 years and counting. Only the Florida Panthers have had a worse record of futility in this department than the Leafs and the only other team in the post lockout era who has not made the playoffs.

Will that change this year? Well the Eastern Conference is relatively wide open. Not much separates 5th from 15th in the conference. Sure the Leafs were way back and the last place team last year. But things appear to have been turning for the better since the end of January.

That was when GM Brian Burke did a major housecleaning shedding the team of 6 key players and adding some new blood, including their new captain Dion Phaneuf. Pretty well the last remnants of the last regime are gone and finally this is Burke’s team and officially a new era for the Leafs.

Souray headed to the farm?

Unless Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini has a reversal in his stated game plan — or miraculously finds a trading partner — defenceman Sheldon Souray will be assigned to the Oilers farm team in Oklahoma City Tuesday.

That would be a major development in a hockey drama that began back on Apr. 4 — the final day of the 2009-10 regular season — when Souray laid down his cards to “I want a trade.”