NHL News – Feb 16, 2011

Arnott faces tough decision as trade deadline approaches

Kovalev ignoring trade rumours

Arnott faces tough decision as trade deadline approaches

Should he stay or should he go?

That is the question Devils center Jason Arnott will have to answer before the NHL’s Feb. 28 trade deadline.

Five weeks ago, it would have been easy. With the Devils on a 12-1-2 run that’s helped them climb from 27 points out of a playoff spot to 14, the picture has become clouded.

Arnott’s contract, which expires at season’s end, has a no-movement clause. He can remain a Devil by simply declining to waive it.

At age 36, however, he’s running out of kicks at the big silver can and he doesn’t want to risk losing an opportunity this season on a long-shot bet. That’s why the six games the Devils play before the deadline, beginning with tonight’s against Carolina (the team they are chasing for the final playoff spot in the East), will be as important to Arnott individually as to the team as a whole.

A couple of losses will make it an easier decision. But if the Devils continue to roll, Arnott will have to take a leap of faith.

“We’ve still got a long way to go and I think it will be a little more clear more toward the deadline,” he said Tuesday. “If we win every game from now until the deadline, it’s going to be a real tough decision because then I’ve got to gamble on whether we’re going to win out, win the rest of the season or try to get on a playoff team.”

Arnott said he and Lou Lamoriello have talked in theory about him waiving his no-movement clause, but the Devils general manager has not asked him to waive it, yet.

Arnott, a 2000 Stanley Cup hero for the Devils who waived his NMC to be traded back to New Jersey from Nashville on June 19, believes Lamoriello will deal him to a contender if he asks. That would allow the Devils to get something for Arnott before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“We’ve talked a little bit about it,” Arnott said. “For the most part, he’s been great about things. When it comes down to it, it’s my decision ultimately. He never approached me and asked me [to waive it]. I think we both knew the time would probably come if we didn’t start winning. … I want to play in the playoffs. I don’t have many years left, so I want to try to win another Stanley Cup.

“I think he’d be gracious enough to move me to a team that has a chance.”


Kovalev ignoring trade rumours

Ottawa Senators right winger Alex Kovalev says he’s not holding his breath waiting for a trade, but he knows it’s a distinct possibility before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

“I’ve been around for a long time, I’ve been traded a few times, so it’s not new for me,” Kovalev said of the constant trade speculation surrounding himself and several teammates. “The job is still the same, to be a hockey player and help whatever team (you’re) playing for.”

Kovalev has been the hottest of all Senators forwards since the All-Star break, with five goals and three assists in six games. He says part of the reason for the sudden success is that he finally feels comfortable that his knee has fully recovered from off-season surgery and the fact he’s had Peter Regin and Nick Foligno as consistent linemates.

“Peter is a smart guy, he showed that last year,” said Kovalev. “It’s not hard to figure out how he plays and Nicky does a good job down low. We’re just trying to spend as little time as possible in the defensive zone.”

While Kovalev says he’s not waiting for a trade, he does acknowledge that “it would definitely be great to win the (Stanley) Cup.”

He also suggests that some times teams have to move on, making decisions to part with older, core players to bring new blood into an organization.

“Everybody understands the situation. We’re not the same team as we were last year and we didn’t play as well. But sometimes it’s better to have a little change and look at young guys who start their career fresh.”

Kovalev will be back on a line with Regin and Foligno tonight against the New York Islanders as the Senators aim to end their eight-game home ice losing streak.