NHL Trade Rumors and News – Dec 21, 2011

Stars have enough solid role players, but might seek a No. 1 center or defenseman

Aaron Rome has a broken thumb and will be out 3-4 weeks.

It’s time for Pegula to act
Stars have enough solid role players, but might seek a No. 1 center or defenseman

Mike Heika answers your questions each week in the Inside the Dallas Stars newsletter. Here is a sample of this week’s newsletter:

Q: Any hints yet, that Nieuwendyk might be looking to add a player?

Andrew

HEIKA: No, not yet. I think he really likes the team and wants to see it gel. My guess is he will read and react to the NHL. The problem is the Stars appear to be pretty well set on role players, so they are going to improve most if they get a No. 1 defenseman or a No. 1 center – and those are not too easy to obtain.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-stars/headlines/20111220-heika-stars-have-enough-solid-role-players-but-might-seek-a-no.-1-center-or-defenseman.ece

Vigneault: Ballard still experiencing back problems and being held out to solve problems, Ebbett may play against Red Wings.

https://twitter.com/#!/benkuzma/statuses/149224025997053952

Aaron Rome has a broken thumb and will be out 3-4 weeks.

https://twitter.com/#!/sportsnetmurph/statuses/148846154069708801

It’s time for Pegula to act

On his first day as Sabres owner, Terry Pegula made it clear he was a fan at heart. My problem was he seemed too much of one. He defended his underachieving players. He said Lindy Ruff wasn’t going anywhere. He scoffed at the notion that he should bring in an outside personnel man to help Darcy Regier.

I thought Pegula needed to change the team’s competitive culture. Instead, he changed the locker room. Oh, he allowed Regier to spend in free agency. But the entrenched leadership of the team remained in place, along with a core of players who are going on five years without a playoff series win.

As the Sabres stumbled through the first third of the season, embarrassing themselves on home ice, I wondered when the smiling, genial owner might finally show some displeasure with his precious team.

It happened Saturday night, when the Penguins smoked the visiting Sabres, 8-3. He was leaning against the wall outside the visiting locker room when reporters arrived. “We saw some great goaltending tonight, didn’t we?” Pegula said.

Pegula said his daughter, a pro tennis player, couldn’t have done much worse in goal. Cliff Benson, the Sabres’ chief development officer, suggested the comments be off the record. Pegula wouldn’t hear of it. “If they [as a team] think they played well, we’ve got more problems,” he said.

Maybe Pegula was upset at seeing his team unravel in his native Pennsylvania. But it could be a sign that he has a breaking point, that he’s not such a soft touch. Pegula didn’t become a billionaire by standing by and failing to make his employees accountable.

Pegula ought to be mad. It’s time he did something about it. He needs to shake things up. There’s no culture of accountability in that operation. This is the 15th year of Regier and Ruff. It’s a culture of contentment, in which people become too comfortable, and it trickles down to the players.

Do something. I would have fired Regier at the start. He could get rid of Ruff. Coaches get fired in the NHL all the time. Or make a big trade, something that will get the attention of the locker room and let the players know that inconsistent work ethic and spotty production won’t be tolerated.

http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/columns/jerry-sullivan/article679473.ece