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He’s 34 years old, hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2009 and is still trying to win his first Stanley Cup. Jarome Iginla and the Flames lost Tuesday night, but he was out there battling. He had one of the best scoring chances on Niklas Backstrom, a shot that hit the post during the Minnesota Wild’s 3-0 win. He fought Nick Johnson and was convincing enough in his argument that he was head-butted in the fight to earn a five-minute power play and match penalty for Johnson. But it was another loss for a Flames team that sits in 13th place in the Western Conference with a 6-7-1 record.
Q: I can’t see New Jersey Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello being interested in Sam Gagner, but the New York Islanders might be desperate enough. Do you think Islanders GM Garth Snow would give up a first-round draft pick for Gagner? In next June’s draft that is loaded with defenceman, a first-rounder has great value.
The question hangs precariously in the air with no imminent answer in sight.
James Reimer’s return appears no closer to fruition as the Leafs’ crease continues to wobble in his absence. Ron Wilson was forced to hook his starter for the second consecutive game on Tuesday as the Leafs dropped a 5-1 decision to the Panthers, the first time they’ve lost two games in a row all season – they were thumped 7-0 by the Bruins on Saturday.
Toronto goaltending currently sits third-worst in the NHL (3.37 goals against average, .888 save percentage), struggles that were clearly on display at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night.
Since our politics have become depressingly reasonable, Canadians looking for a fight are forced to pick sides on the issue of Don Cherry.
Cherry, who was always the first guy wading in, seems less and less inclined to punch back.
Over the weekend, he declined an honorary degree from Kingston’s Royal Military College after one faculty member wrote an angry letter and sent it to the local paper.
Surely, Wednesday was circled on somebody’s calendar, with the New York Rangers coming to town.
And maybe there was a bit of payback on the minds of a couple of Senators.
The object of the payback: Public Enemy No. 1 Wojtek Wolski— the Ranger whose hit knocked Daniel Alfredsson silly and right out of the Senators lineup.
Scott Gomez is a few strides closer to returning to the Canadiens’ lineup and head coach Jacques Martin is looking at a real-life game of musical chairs.
The injury bug continues to bite Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tim Connolly.
Connolly missed practice on Monday and head coach Ron Wilson told reporters that the veteran is out 10 days to two weeks with an upper-body injury sustained on Saturday.
Connolly, who signed as a free agent in the summer, started the year on injured reserve and missed eight games with an upper-body injury.
Unsigned Fernando Pisani, who has been skating with the likewise unemployed Jason Strudwick, has some interest in Europe but nothing from any NHL teams. He’s only 34, too young to retire. But, maybe it’ll come to that.
Would he go into the construction business like his dad?
“I’m no good with tools,” he said, with a laugh.
The St. Louis Blues have relieved head coach Davis Payne of his duties and named Ken Hitch***** new head coach. Hitch***** signed a contract through the 2012-13 season, making him the 24th head coach in Blues’ franchise history.
Regarding the strange case of intransigent Phoenix center Kyle Turis, the 22-year-old Group II free agent who will be ineligible to play in the NHL this season if he remains unsigned by Dec. 1, but who is refusing to sign nonetheless because he feels he has been mistreated by the Coyotes’ organization:
It took about 35 seconds after Pekka Rinne’s seven-year, $49 million contract extension was announced by the Nashville Predators for Montreal Canadiens fans to flood Twitter with Carey Price comparisons.
And yes, there’s no question that Price’s leverage just went up even more, if it wasn’t high enough to begin with.
They are not exact comparisons: Rinne was unrestricted free agent-bound, while Price will be a restricted free agent July 1. UFA-bound players always have a bit more leverage.
James Reimer remains out for the foreseeable future.
The Leafs starting netminder has not played in two weeks and did not take part in practice on Friday as the team altered its course in his recovery process yet again.
“[He's] kind of I’d say hit a plateau in his recovery so the trainers decided not to ask him to go on the ice,” said Ron Wilson, following the team’s workout at Mastercard Centre.
Linus Omark has had a propensity to take the direct route when it comes to his hockey career.
So when the Swedish left-winger was talking to Tyson Gibbons of PuckLife magazine Friday in Abbotsford, B.C., he made it clear he’s not keen on spending the rest of this season in the American Hockey League.
Omark had been assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons, the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate, earlier this week and was in the lineup for the Barons 3-2 victory over the Heat.
As the NHL approaches the one-month mark, the bitter, galling truth for the Columbus Blue Jackets is this: No matter who gets pushed over the side, no matter who falls on the proverbial sword, whether it’s today, tomorrow or next week, this season is lost.
Not even a month into the season, the Blue Jackets have stumbled and bumbled their way not just out of a shot at the playoffs but out of relevance. Shocking, really, how quickly this team has imploded, how quickly it has managed to suck the air out of a market that was already gasping for breath, having endured a full decade of NHL play without having seen the home side win one single playoff game.
I hope you’re sitting down, because the following sentence may blow out your kneecaps as well as your mind: It’s time to blow up the Calgary Flames.
I kid, of course. That notion isn’t new at all. In fact, people have been arguing for the demolition of the current Flames roster since former GM Darryl “Sunshine” Sutter was turning the world on with his smile and acquiring former Maple Leafs like he was the ghost of Harold Ballard. In spite of the numerous cries for change, when Sutter was asked to resign Dec. 28 of last year, his replacement, Jay Feaster, saw enough worth salvaging and chose not to clear out the team’s veteran core.
Flames general manager Jay Feaster says he’s not going with the full rebuild in Calgary. Instead, he’s going to make these Calgary Flames back into a Stanley Cup contender without subjecting fans to a prolonged stint at the bottom of the standings.
In short, Feaster would take the Flames north without first going south.
Phoenix Coyotes boss Don Maloney doesn’t even need to dial his phone these days.
Not that he’s surprised. This, he would have seen coming.
With restricted free agent Kyle Turris holding out, Maloney must have known that it would take only a few weeks of hockey — in particular, bad hockey — for the suitors to start queuing up.
The Edmonton Oilers’ decision to retain rookie center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the remainder of the season has generated speculation over center Sam Gagner’s future with the club.
With Nugent-Hopkins centering the Oilers’ top line between Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, and Shawn Horcoff between Ryan Smyth and Ryan Jones on the second line, the Oilers shifted Gagner, formerly their second-line center, to right wing on the third line.
There were rumblings the team was thinking of trading Brenden Morrow. I’d be shocked, but looked into it. He has a no-trade, and, unless things have changed in the last few days, he hasn’t been asked to waive it.