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CANADIENS CLAIM F BETTS
Alfie: This season could be my last
Florida Panthers Finalize Roster, Send Steven Reinprecht and Mike Kostka to AHL San Antonio
The perpendicular world of Ron Wilson is in vogue as yet another Maple Leafs season is set to begin.
Never has Wilson begun a season under such scrutiny in his time as Toronto coach, and never has he liked his Leafs lineup more than he does right now.
The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired centre David Steckel from the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.
New Jersey will receive Toronto’s fourth-round draft pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for the 29-year-old forward.
Sean Avery’s days in New York appear to be over with the news that he was placed on waivers by the Rangers on Tuesday.
If he clears, the Rangers could send him to their American Hockey League affiliate in Hartford. According to his agent Pat Morris, playing in Europe is among his other options.
Of players needing make an impression this camp, Matt Stajan may have topped that list.
Pressed for comment about the unachieving centreman — who had a couple of nice moments in pre-season games — Flames coach Brent Sutter offered a lukewarm appraisal.
“He’s got to continue to get better,” Sutter said of the 27-year-old who represents a $3.5 million cap bite. “He had an OK camp, OK exhibition (games). Staje has been fine.”
Fine. But good enough to be one of the Flames’ opening-day centremen?
Holding down those four spots are Brendan Morrison, Olli Jokinen, Mikael Backlund, and, in Sutter’s mind, Roman Horak, who’s only 20 years old.
Wilson says Connolly is 50/50, presumably for Thursday’s game. Lombardi will start the season on the fourth line.
Goalie Ben Scrivens, who was spectacular in two outings in the pre-season, was sent down to the AHL Marlies on Sunday. Scrivens appeared in two pre-season games for the Maple Leafs in 2011 and posted two wins. He allowed one goal in 63 minutes for a 0.95 goals-against average.
After he took part in Sunday’s practice in Voorhees, rookie center Brayden Schenn said he is healthy and available to play in Thursday’s opener in Boston. But are the Flyers ready to put him on their roster?
Could oil trade one of their young forwards for puck-moving D? They need one with whitney hurt to get puck to Hall and Co.
With Doughty signed and rosters set it looks like time for the yearly predictions….
2 Tampa Bay
5 NY Rangers
Matthew Lombardi’s year-long wait is nearly at an end.
The centre didn’t want to jinx himself, but there seem little doubt this weekend he will get into his first game since last October. It has taken that long to clear the cobwebs from a severe concussion and then get back into proper playing shape.
The Maple Leafs will make a handful of final cuts before their regular-season opener on Oct. 6. Defenceman Mike Komisarek won’t be among them. There had been talk through last season and during the summer that the Leafs should bury the contract of Komisarek in the minors.
He can count to six and to nine just as quickly as the other defenceman still in Leafs training camp. So there’s no need to beat Keith Aulie over the head with an Easton to remind him he’s in for a battle to retain his starting job on the Leafs blueline. With nine defenceman still in camp, as few as four or five of the starting six jobs are anywhere near settled. Who gets a spot opening night is one of the big stories to be played out over the next 10 days.
Tim Leiweke, president of the Kings’ parent company, AEG, said Monday he supports General Manager Dean Lombardi’s stance in negotiations with unsigned defenseman Drew Doughty and emphasized Lombardi’s offer of an average $6.8 million annually is based solely on allocating dollars to improve the team and maintaining a strong nucleus that will allow the Kings to compete for the Stanley Cup for years to come.
We all already knew that the Rangers and Flyers were going to play outdoors in Philadelphia in January, which made this afternoon’s press conference at Citizens Bank Park a little bit anticlimactic. Until, that is, Glen Sather spoke.
It was just the Rangers’ first exhibition game, only the first time Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik played together against what coach John Tortorella likes to call, “different colors,” but there’s little doubt that the elite dispatcher and world-class sniper are going to combine to present a world of trouble for opponents.
Richards will carry the puck. Gaborik will look for seams and to jump into openings. The left wing on the first line — a true blue first line the club has lacked since Tortorella arrived two-thirds of the way through 2008-09 — will be a complementary piece, whether it’s Wojtek Wolski or a forward to named later.
Last year, the Edmonton Oilers’ rallying cry was “where’s the face-off man?” but this year it’s “where’s the puck-mover?”
Without Ryan Whitney, it’s painfully obvious that the Oilers No. 1 need is somebody to get the puck to Taylor Hall and Co for the quick breakout. There are too many Oiler defenceman into the double-clutch mode, not willing to risk a headman pass even if the worst thing that happens is an icing and a face-off in their end.
Veteran goaltender Marty Turco still wants to play in the NHL. The Sharks just lost one of their netminders, Antero Niittymaki, until the middle of December at the earliest.
See where we’re going with this?
Turco, who was signed by the Blackhawks in the summer of 2010 in order to help defend their Stanley Cup title, was not brought back by Chicago at the conclusion of his one-year deal last year. After rookie Corey Crawford took the starting role from Turco last season, the Blackhawks decided not to resign the 36-year-old.
The best thing about the preseason in the NHL is that there’s no wasting time before playing games.
Camp, happily short to begin with, started for the Nashville Predators with their first on-ice session last Saturday and then two days later they were suiting up for a preseason doubleheader in Florida.
All of which says that teams tend to know fairly quickly which players will make the opening night roster and which won’t and, significantly, where their holes are.