Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
Sure, it goes against what Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has previously said.
Then again, what hasn’t.
Regardless, the Leafs are reportedly going after young Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier, not the veteran netminder Burke told a Toronto radio station he was interested in acquiring.
According to Hockey Night in Canada’s Andi Petrillo, the Leafs have made an offer to the Kings for Bernier, who was the backup to Jonathan Quick last season. Quick signed a 10-year, $58 million contract extension last month, leading Bernier to ask for a trade.
Earlier this month, Burke told Sportsnet 590 The Fan the Leafs wanted a proven puck-stopper as an upgrade in net. Now it looks like he’s focused on 23-year-old Bernier, who fits more into the might-be-great category.
“We’re not looking at that avenue,” Burke told The Fan. “A couple goalies that moved are young, unproven guys. That’s an avenue were not interested in. We’ve kicked the tires, looked at all the prices, but that’s not an avenue we’re looking at.”
Detroit, to nobody’s surprise, is on Rick Nash’s short list of approved destinations. And the Red Wings, naturally, would love to land the high-scoring forward.
The Red Wings made “a hell of an offer” to Columbus for Nash, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. But the offer generated no conversation.
No counteroffer, no back and forth negotiation, nothing.
It is clear Columbus has no intention of trading the face of its franchise to the team it considers to be its top rival, a Detroit club that has dominated the Blue Jackets since they entered the NHL in 2000-01.
The last thing Columbus general manager Scott Howson wants to see is Nash being paired with Pavel Datsyuk and his Blue Jackets having to deal with that scenario six times a season.
It is not certain what the Red Wings offered. Howson recently told TSN’s Geno Reda that he is seeking at least two NHL-ready forwards in return for Nash because he likes his defense.
The Red Wings, in need of a top-pair defenseman, would be more inclined to relinquish a couple of NHL forwards in addition to prospects and draft picks.
Which forwards might the Red Wings move to get a franchise player like Nash? The two that come to mind are Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula, though it’s unlikely Detroit would deal both.
Once again the idea of the Chicago Blackhawks trading for Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has reared its ugly head. Over the weekend, a story in the Vancouver Province said the teams have been talking and “reportedly” the Hawks have dangled Dave Bolland for the embattled netminder.
There are so many reasons this would be a bad idea it’s hard to pick the best one. In fact, trading anyone for Luongo remains a poor notion. Talk about creating a bigger headache than you already have …
Bolland is a valuable player. For what the Hawks need out of Luongo he simply may not be. At least not for what his contract dictates him to be. If he still was, the Canucks would not be trading him. And the Hawks are short on centers as it is. Potentially upgrading themselves in goal will only come back to haunt them up the middle. Most important is the idea that the Canucks believe they can get full value — which Bolland would be — for Luongo. The whole league knows he’s being moved. If the Hawks trade a quasi top-6 forward for Luongo, Vancouver would be committing highway robbery.
And no matter his public proclamations, Luongo doesn’t want any part of leaving one pressure cooker for another. Not a chance. His leash with fans in Chicago wouldn’t last through the fan convention this weekend let alone his first soft goal. The Hawks know this. There has been no indication from them — publicly or privately — throughout the offseason that they are interested in Luongo other than perhaps the usual perfunctory phone calls that can be chalked up to due diligence.
The Stars announced Roy would likely be out until November. Dallas General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk later said they did not receive damaged goods from the Sabres because Roy had already undergone a physical, but it was simply a case of just putting him through a deeper medical evaluation and determining the surgery was necessary.
“It was an elective [surgery], a choice,” Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said Thursday night during the team’s development camp scrimmage in First Niagara Center. “He could have played. He did play with it. It was a decision made by that organization. I spoke to Joe before when we went through all the medical records prior to when we made the trade. [Roy] was rehabbing, he played with the shoulder last year and he would have played going forward.”
So while it doesn’t appear the Stars are going to make an issue of the trade, the surprising news of Roy’s situation certainly opens a key question regarding the Sabres: Was Roy hiding the severity of his injury or were the Sabres pressing him to get on the ice when they should have been exercising more caution?
“I’m very confident in the decision by our medical staff,” Regier said. “He played with it last year and he could have played with it again this year. It was a decision by the Dallas Stars. It’s as simple as that. We were very comfortable with his situation.”
Regier bristled when asked if Roy’s surgery is a sign the Sabres have a pattern of pushing injured players to keep playing. It’s widely agreed that Ryan Miller came back too early from his concussion last year and that Thomas Vanek pushed through injuries to his shoulder and chest – and then admitted on his personal blog in mid-April that he also had a bad ankle sprain.
Goal scoring in the NHL is down, the thin free agent market is depleted of top offensive talent, and the trade market seems frozen, so one name in particular stands out: unrestricted free agent Alexander Semin. Theoretically at least, he could be the solution to some team’s scoring woes, but there he sits by the phone, waiting for his agent Marc Gandler to tell him which club wants to sign a supremely talented 28-year-old who has put up seasons of 38, 34 and 40 goals during his NHL career. His numbers are comparable to Zach Parise’s, but no one is throwing a 13-year contract worth $98 million at Semin. Not even close.
Semin is coming off a $6.7 million one-year deal after another one-year contract worth $6 million. You’d think he’s set up for something with a longer term, but no NHL team, apparently, wants to give that to him. And it’s quite doubtful that anyone wants to pay him close to what he had been making with the Washington Capitals.
Oh, there have been reports that CSKA, the legendary Red Army team of the KHL, has offered Semin $10 million a year for three years. But not everyone believes it, even in Russia where Andrew Matsegora wrote on Thursday for AllHockey.ru that, “Frankly, the truth of this assertion is doubtful.” Semin/Gandler and teams in the KHL may be talking, Matsegora contends, but not about that kind of money. Their discussions may help create a better marketplace for Semin, but won’t bring him those sorts of riches.
Jonathan Bernier, celebrating his day with the Stanley Cup today in Quebec, reportedly told a local French-language television station, “I expect to be traded before training camp starts,” given that Jonathan Quick has signed a 10-year contract extension with the Kings (link here).
Bernier is certainly entitled to his opinion and expectation, but it doesn’t necessarily dovetail with reality. The situation isn’t any different than what was discussed in Bernier’s player evaluation (link here). If the Kings get an offer for Bernier that they believe will improve the team in the long run, they will trade him. If not, they won’t. Bernier is smart enough and reasonable enough to know that the Kings aren’t going to trade him out of charity, simply because he wants to be a No. 1 goalie. I’d like a Porsche. We can’t all get what we want. Bernier is also quoted as saying the Kings “refused” to trade him last season, which is a reach. They talked to multiple teams but didn’t get an offer they deemed sufficient. The reality is that Bernier is a 23-year-old backup goalie with 42 career starts.
Quick’s re-signing slightly increases the chances that Bernier might be traded in the short term, but it guarantees nothing. The reality is that Bernier is an outstanding young goalie and a great fall-back option for the Kings next season if something should happen to Quick. He certainly has the potential to be a No. 1 goalie in the future, but right now the Kings are focused on the Kings’ best interests, as they should be.
Steve Nash was right. There is no loyalty in sports. It’s all business and money, fantasy and spin.
So go on, Shane Doan. Get out of here before your profound sense of duty becomes an embarrassment, filling you with long-term regret.
Look around. To some, Nash is now a traitor. He’s inexplicably a Laker, which is even worse. And he’s made things very complicated around Valley water coolers.
Can Suns fans really cheer for him to win a championship?
Once, that was a given.
But don’t think too hard about us, captain. We can be fickle and jaded. Plus, we have short memories. Remember how we rallied around Justin Upton last summer?
We showed our loyalty by lashing out at Prince Fielder, who snubbed Upton from the Home Run Derby. One night later, we chanted Upton’s name during the All-Star Game, a sound that reverberated deep inside the young outfielder.
“That was the connection between our young star and his fans that we have been waiting for,” team President and CEO Derrick Hall said at the time. “This is the start of a special bond. And believe me, he was moved by it.”
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has acknowledged being involved in trade talks recently and now those discussions could be leading to a deal soon.
The Blues have prioritized adding a top-four defenseman this offseason, and after failing to land one in free agency, the trade route may be the club’s only option. But while that search continues, Armstrong might have found a veteran forward to add to the mix.
Dallas captain Brenden Morrow is believed to be available and the Blues may have interest. They might not be the only team asking about Morrow, as the New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings may also be in contact with the Stars.
Morrow, 33, has perhaps seen his time pass in Dallas. The Stars have undergone much change in the past few weeks, signing free-agents Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney and acquiring Derek Roy via trade. The club even dealt Mike Ribeiro, with whom Morrow has shared on-ice chemistry in the past. The moves have seemingly pushed Morrow out of the top-six forwards.
Morrow plays left wing, and the Blues have three left wingers on their roster in David Perron, Andy McDonald and Alex Steen. They also have Matt D’Agostini and Jaden Schwartz, but Blues coach Ken Hitchcock prefers D’Agostini on the right side and Schwartz isn’t a guarantee to make the opening-night roster. Steen could see time at center, which could leave a spot open on the left side.
Morrow is coming off an injury-riddled season. He played in just 57 games because of neck and back issues, posting 11 goals and 26 points. He played the final 14 games of the 2011-12 regular season, wrapping up against the Blues on April 7. He did not opt for surgery this offseason, instead using rest and rehab to ease the pain.
The Maple Leafs are among a dozen teams that have made exploratory calls to Shane Doan, captain of the Phoenix Coyotes, who opened himself up Monday to the idea of leaving the only NHL franchise he’s ever played for just as it was facing another threat to its existence.
A source confirmed to the Star the team made serious overtures to Doan’s agent, Terry Bross.
Chicago, Detroit and Vancouver are thought to be the frontrunners for Doan’s services. Others known to have made a pitch are St. Louis, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the New York Rangers, Winnipeg and Los Angeles.
Teams that missed out on Zach Parise see the 35-year-old Doan, a power forward, as the next best option. Many of the same teams are also interested in trading for Columbus winger Rick Nash and Anaheim winger Bobby Ryan.
Doan became an unrestricted free agent July 1 but told teams he wanted to see how events that affect the future of the Coyotes unfolded this week in Glendale before making a decision on his playing career.
“We don’t want to create a false expectation he will leave until it’s a real possibility,” Bross told the FAN590 radio station. “Shane’s first desire is to finish what he started in Phoenix and stay with the franchise and finish his career where he started it.”