NHL Rumors and Tidbits – Feb7, 2010


Report says Meszaros on Hawks’ radar

Inside the NHL: Thrashers’ Waddell could be next one out the door

Cherry: Phaneuf ‘grew up’ after tradeReport says Meszaros on Hawks’ radar

BY LEN ZIEHM

Stan Bowman hasn’t been in the forefront of trade reports, and that’s understandable. The Blackhawks’ first-year general manager has had a solid team in place. His rivals, though, are starting to make some moves, with Calgary, Atlanta, Toronto and Anaheim making major roster revisions in the last week and the archrival Detroit Red Wings swinging a minor deal Saturday, sending winger Ville Leino to Philadelphia for defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen.

That move was designed to clear a spot for the return of long-injured Johan Franzen this week, with Tollefsen probably headed to the minors if he clears waivers.

Bowman figures to eventually fine-tune his roster, with the addition of an experienced defenseman most likely.

One trade possibility, reported by Canada’s TSN, says the Hawks have interest in Andrei Meszaros, a defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

To get him, TSN surmises, the Hawks might have to part with forward Kris Versteeg, forward Patrick Sharp or young defenseman Cam Barker. Other sources say the Hawks might go after the Carolina Hurricanes’ Niclas Wallin, the Los Angeles Kings’ Sean O’Donnell or the Ducks’ Scott Niedermayer.

”You never know what’s going to happen,” said Versteeg, who came to the Hawks in a trade with the Boston Bruins when he was a minor-leaguer.

The trading process is a bit different this year because of the Winter Olympics. The actual deadline for dealing is March 3, but rosters will be frozen Feb. 15-28 during the Games in Vancouver. Once the freeze is lifted, there will be three days until the deadline. That might explain why some big trades, particularly the one that sent Ilya Kovalchuk from Atlanta to New Jersey, were done so early.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/hockey/blackhawks/2033997,CST-SPT-hawknt07.article

Inside the NHL: Thrashers’ Waddell could be next one out the door

Bucky Gleason

General Manager Don Waddell is certain to be slapped around publicly and dragged through town in the coming weeks, months — decades? — in an Atlanta-style thrashing if his team misses the playoffs and superstar winger Ilya Kovalchuk helps the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup.

Kovalchuk’s departure could very well lead to Waddell’s, who has been running the show in Atlanta since hockey returned in 1999. The Thrashers can no longer be considered an expansion team, and people are taking a long, cold look at his resume and wondering if he’s still qualified for the top job.

Fair enough.

Les Thrash made the playoffs only once, in 2006-07, and Waddell goofed that year by falling in love with his team. He confused a solid team, a playoff team, with a contending team. He wound up making silly deals, such as shipping good young prospect Braydon Coburn to Philadelphia for washed-up Alexei Zhitnik, and mortgaging his future.

The hockey-loving fans in Atlanta, assuming there are hockey-loving fans in Atlanta, have watched superstars Marian Hossa and Kovalchuk, once the cornerstones, walk out the door because they didn’t like how the team was built, weren’t satisfied with their contract, or both. At some point, it falls on the man in charge.

Waddell could be shown the door based on his record alone, but he shouldn’t be condemned for trading Kovalchuk. He had no choice after the winger had the audacity to turn down a seven-year deal worth $70 million and a 12-year deal worth $101 million, confirmation that Kovalchuk had no plans to stick around.

“When you start talking over $100 million, it’s a lot of money,” Waddell told reporters in Atlanta. “As we found out, it was all about money. We built a team that Kovy liked. We knew Kovy wanted to stay in Atlanta for the rest of his career if he could. But when you start looking at trying to sign a player to that kind of contract, tell me which one of our young players — [Evander] Kane or [Zach] Bogosian — you want me to trade, because there is no way you can be able to afford these players going forward.”

http://www.buffalonews.com/opinions/columns/buckygleason/story/948458.html


Cherry: Phaneuf ‘grew up’ after trade

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

Don Cherry is a staunch supporter of Dion Phaneuf, but he’s not surprised the star defenceman became trade bait in Calgary.

During his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Cherry weighed in on the seven-player swap that sent Phaneuf from the Flames to the Maple Leafs, saying the former Norris Trophy candidate deserves some blame for wearing out his welcome at the Saddledome.

“You know what happened? (Phaneuf) got too big for his britches,” Cherry said. “If he was playing out there the way he’s playing now, they wouldn’t have traded him.

“I think a slap in the face finally got to him and he grew up a little bit here in Toronto. What happens is with young kids, they start thinking they’re rockstars.”

The Flames made headlines last Sunday when they shipped Phaneuf, winger Fredrik Sjostrom and defence prospect Keith Aulie to the Leafs in exchange for forwards Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers and Niklas Hagman and rearguard Ian White.

Toronto fans are falling in love with the heavy-hitting Phaneuf, who scored his first point a Maple Leaf Saturday, but Cherry figures Flames followers should also be excited about the trade.

http://www.torontosun.com/sports/hockey/2010/02/06/12774401.html