NHL News – October 5, 2009

Goaltending already a problem for Leafs

Panthers, center Dominic Moore agree to contract

Drury absent from PP unit

Cherry rips NHLPA over Kelly’s firing

Goaltending already a problem for Leafs

Damien Cox

It was a telling sequence.

With just over a minute gone in the first period Saturday night in Washington, Maple Leaf defenceman Francois Beauchemin stepped up into the neutral zone to confront puck-carrying Capitals centre Nicklas Backstrom.

Beauchemin was just following orders. Earlier in the day, Leaf head coach Ron Wilson had made it clear that he wanted his blueliners to get up-ice and in the face of the skilled Washington forwards rather than give up ground and retreat.

“But it’s hard to convince the defencemen of that,” admitted Wilson.

The veteran defenceman didn’t get all of Backstrom, just knocking him off-stride. Backstrom was still able to move the puck across the ice to winger Alex Ovechkin, who had lots of room in the neutral zone because Beauchemin’s partner, Luke Schenn, was backing off, doing exactly what Wilson didn’t want his defencemen to do.

It was understandable, of course, that Schenn was doing so. Two nights earlier, he’d been beaten badly on a one-on-one rush by Montreal’s Mike Cammalleri to set up the Habs’ overtime winner, and while Cammalleri is shifty, Ovechkin is downright frightening.

http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/article/705324


Panthers, center Dominic Moore agree to contract

Steve Gorten

The Panthers have agreed to a one-year, $1.1 million contract with free agent center Dominic Moore. The signing is expected to be announced by the team Monday.

“He’s really excited about it,” said Moore’s agent, Larry Kelly, who also represents Panthers defenseman Bryan Allen. “He thinks it’s a huge opportunity to play for [Coach] Peter DeBoer. DeBoer is one of the brighter guys in the game. It’s a perfect fit for Dom.”

The Panthers declined comment Sunday.

Kelly said he had been talking with about four teams, including the Panthers, for the past two months, and that DeBoer was a “critical aspect” to Moore’s decision.

“These guys will be kindred spirits,” Kelly said. “They’ll be able to communicate extremely well and Pete will be able to assess what Dom does well and utilize him properly.”

The 29-year-old was having a career best season in 2008-09 with the Maple Leafs — 12 goals, 29 assists in 63 games — before he was dealt to the Sabres at the trade deadline. He had just one goal and three assists in 18 games for Buffalo as they missed the playoffs.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-panthers-sign-moore-100409,0,26626.story

Drury absent from PP unit

LARRY BROOKS

The time has passed in New York where players are assigned roles on credit or because of their names or payroll stubs. And that’s how it must be if the Rangers are going to evolve into a team that’s taken seriously.

Still, as the Blueshirts cross the Hudson for tonight’s match in Newark against the Devils, it’s impossible to understand why Chris Drury has been dismissed from the club’s power play unit without so much as a sniff . . . and at the particular moment his skill at sniffing for loose change around the net would be most welcome.

John Tortorella tried to explain his reasoning yesterday while a handful of Rangers participated in an optional skate, but the coach’s account clarified little following a pair of games in which both power play units moved the puck well and got shots through to the net but could not cash in on any of the club’s nine manpower advantages.

“The team has changed a bit as far as personnel, and I think the six forwards who are playing now deserve time on [the power play],” Tortorella said. “Chris has been bumped from that spot, but forever? I doubt that.”

Tortorella has gone with Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Vinny Prospal, Brandon Dubinsky, Christopher Higgins and Enver Lisin up front. It’s the choice of Lisin over Drury that’s the puzzlement, especially since the 23-year-old winger has habitually had trouble finishing.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/rangers/drury_absent_from_pp_unit_ocLTM5nu05A1UkduLgIZ8I

Cherry rips NHLPA over Kelly’s firing

CBC personality Don Cherry blasted the NHL Players Association’s firing of former un ion boss Paul Kelly on his “Coach’s Corner” segment on Saturday’s “Hockey Night in Canada.”

The NHLPA’s executive board voted to fire Kelly after a marathon meeting in a Chicago hotel in the early hours of Aug. 31.

In a sometimes heated exchanged with host Ron MacLean, Cherry said he usually sides with players on issues, but couldn’t when it comes to Kelly.

“It’s terrible the way they treated him. They should be ashamed of themselves,” said Cherry.

“[To keep Kelly] waiting in the hall ’til 4 a.m., bring him back in and fire him, gotta do it that night, couldn’t do it the next day,” said a visibly upset Cherry.

“When I hear somebody’s fired quick like that, something fishy’s going on.”

Kelly is a former U.S. prosecutor in Massachusetts who helped bring former NHL uni on leader Alan Eagleson to justice on fraud charges.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/cherry-rips-nhlpa-over-kellys-firing/article1311292/