NHL Hockey Trade Rumors – Dec 19, 2011

Are the Leafs looking at a Jan blockbuster?

Desperation move

Anger pours over for Kings

Where do the Canadiens go from here?

Are the Leafs looking at a Jan blockbuster?

Kessel back in #NHL scoring lead. But #Leafs wilting. Expect Burke to make significant deal start of Jan. Time to ID Leaf ”tradeables.”


Desperation move

The Tomas Kaberle trade absolutely ‘smacks of desperation’ based on the reality that Kaberle’s game at the time of trade barely kept him in the lineup and the Hurricanes were offering a second round draft pick to any team willing to take his contract (two years after this season ar $4.25M). The fact Carolina acquired a serviceable veteran in Jaroslav Spacek, whose contract expires on July 1 and were able to hold on to the additional pick they were dangling as bait, scores a clear financial win for the Canes. Yes, Gauthier is vulnerable because wasting your owner’s money seldom earns GMs contract extensions. If the Habs miss the playoffs or bow out early, I’m certain there will be a full organizational review.


Anger pours over for Kings

The Kings are all talked out after rehashing their 8-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings moments after the game, while the stench was fresh, and again before they practiced Sunday.

They hope venting their frustrations will free them to have a better performance Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs in interim Coach John Stevens’ finale before Darryl Sutter takes the reins.

Center Anze Kopitar said alternate captain Matt Greene led the outpouring of anger Saturday.

“He stepped up and said a couple words. ‘We can’t do this anymore,’ ” Kopitar said. “He started talking and everybody listened. Everybody cares and understands that this is not the way to go.”

Kopitar said rage was the dominant emotion.

“I think everybody felt ashamed, too. At least I did,” he said.

Stevens chose a different theme, saying the Kings should be able to match the Red Wings’ diligence if they can’t match Detroit’s pure skills.

“Even though they’re a talented team they don’t step on the ice and just try to out-skill you. They’re pretty determined to outwork you and I think that’s something we have to learn from,” Stevens said Sunday. “I thought the focus today in practice was excellent. I thought the guys worked hard, picked up the tempo, got to the net, did the things that we asked them to do….

“I really look at this road trip as an opportunity to go 2-2 under some pretty tough cir*****stances and I thought the guys were pretty professional about their approach.”


Where do the Canadiens go from here?

That’s the question after general manager Pierre Gauthier fired head coach Jacques Martin Saturday morning and replaced him with assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth.

The announcement, which came two weeks after team owner Geoff Molson said Martin and Gauthier would not be fired during the season, has been greeted with joy by many fans who felt Martin was the source of the Canadiens’ dismal performance. But anyone expecting radical changes following Martin’s departure might be disappointed.

For starters, there is unlikely to be a change in the team’s basic philosophy. This is not a team loaded with offensive superstars, and the key to success is a solid defensive effort from goaltender Carey Price on out.

In his first post-game press conference, Cunneyworth acknowledged that a more aggressive offence isn’t a bad thing when a team’s trailing. But the new coach is a guy whose playing career was built on hard work, and that’s what he will expect from his players.

If fans are waiting for a blockbuster trade, they’re advised not to hold their breath. When Gauthier finetuned this year’s version of the Canadiens, he was determined to hold on to the core that Bob Gainey assembled when he blew this team up before the 2009-10 season. A third of the way through this season, it’s not so much a case of sticking with that core as being stuck with it.