Category Archives: Uncategorized
That’s about as close to a Gordie Howe hat trick as Nikolai Kulemin is going to come.
The Maple Leafs forward, eager to leave a dismal first half of the regular season in the dust, had his best performance of 2011-12 in a 2-0 Leafs win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
As Jonas Gustavsson made 32 saves for his second shutout in three games, Kulemin scored his fifth goal, set up linemate and buddy Mikhail Grabovski for another and destroyed Sabres pest Patrick Kaleta with an open-ice hit in the third period.
BAINES: To what extent does Bryan Murray go to get to the playoffs and perhaps ensure a bit of a run? Does he trade away significant young assets to acquire impact players? Or does he deal mid-round draft picks for role players.
GARRIOCH: They need to get one more forward. Just think they need a little more scoring depth. I’m not sure I’d trade a first-rounder to do that, but they do have three picks from the first round last year. Maybe one of those guys could be used (Not Zibanejad, of course)
Derek Roy has enough issues. The Buffalo Sabres’ center has a balky shoulder that will likely keep him out of the lineup tonight in Toronto for the second straight game, he’s on pace for his worst offensive season in six years and he’s getting plenty of blame from fans for the team’s continued struggles.
Now there’s this: Roy is the hottest name in the rumor mill if the Sabres make a trade.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have fired head coach Scott Arniel. The move comes a day after the Blue Jackets were defeated 7-4 by the Anaheim Ducks.
Assistant Todd Richards will take over on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.
The Blue Jackets are 11-25-5 this season, which has them last in the Western Conference with a league-low 27 points.
Alain Vigneault and Mike Gillis were hotter than a Florida thermometer on Sunday.
However, even the considerable venom they spewed won’t result in Brad Marchand being suspended for more than five games for his low-bridge hit that concussed Sami Salo and resulted in a clipping major and game misconduct on Saturday.
The Boston Bruins winger will have a telephone hearing Monday with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, which means the supplemental penalty can’t be more than a five-game suspension. An in-house hearing would have meant a stiffer sentence. Regardless, the suggestion by Bruins coach Claude Julien that Marchand was trying to protect himself from being hit in the corner boards by Salo late in the second period of a 4-3 Canucks triumph set Vigneault off.
And you can bet Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke will be sniffing around, trying to buy some prime real estate … maybe C Ryan Getzlaf or W Bobby Ryan.
Burke and the Ducks’ GM Bob Murray are old trading partners. And Burke will be hoping that continues before next month’s trade deadline.
Murray sent a wakeup call last week and indicated everybody is available except for W Teemu Selanne and C Saku Koivu.
The Florida Panthers can expect some support from Montreal tonight.
As it stands, the Canadiens trail New Jersey by seven points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the east. That can all change tonight as the Devils and Panthers square off in New Jersey.
The Canadiens can’t afford to just sit back and wait for other teams to help them out, however. They have to go out and take care of their own business, much like they did in their 7-3 drubbing of Winnipeg on Wednesday.
The Toronto Maple Leafs entered December with a record of 14-9-2, having avoided a repeat of the early meltdown that doomed their playoffs hopes last season, and were ranked among the top eight clubs in the Eastern Conference.
December, however, proved a cruel month, with the Leafs winning only four of 13 games, sliding out of a playoff spot for the first time this season.
Not even a 7-3 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Lightning in their first game of the new year helped them gain ground in the standings.
Has Colton Orr’s Maple Leaf career been KO’ed by the club?
That was the intriguing question making the rounds on Wednesday after it was learned that the Leafs had placed Orr, one of the toughest hombres in the National Hockey League, on waivers.
Orr has been used sparingly thus far this season, notching a goal and five penalty minutes in just five appearances in 2011-12. Fellow pugilist Jay Rosehill has only played 15 games as well, an indication that the coaching staff has been reluctant to dress the traditional “tough guys” this season.
Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said he intends to change the makeup of his last-place team. He has until the Feb. 27 trade deadline to do so.
In the interim, Blue Jackets players will walk softly, waiting to see who stays and who goes. It is a white-knuckle road traveled by every pro athlete without a no-trade clause in his contract.
“It’s nerve-racking coming to the rink and not knowing what is going on,” forward R.J. Umberger said. “It’s a lot of extra tension.”
Well, at least Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban are showing a little fight. Pity they’re taking their frustrations out on one another rather than the opposition.
You can’t blame these guys for being frustrated -but Plekanec and Subban did not create this mess. Neither did Jacques Martin, or Perry Pearn, or Guy Carbonneau, or Claude Julien, Doug Jarvis, Guy Boucher, Julien BriseBois or any of the other talented individuals who have been fired or allowed to get away during this interminable reign of error.
The Ducks finally completed a trade Tuesday, though the acquisition of someone from the Toronto Marlies is unlikely to save this season.
Perhaps Luca Caputi one day will have an impact here, but, until then, we’re still stuck with this.
So now, General Manager Bob Murray needs to make a real deal, a genuinely impactful one, a move that signals the start of reloading for next season because, let’s all admit it, this season is a goner.
He needs to trade … Ryan Getzlaf.
Teemu Selanne has dealt with the annual summertime decision of whether to lace up his skates for another NHL season and hasn’t surprised anyone by returning to the Ducks each time.
But with his team possessing a 10-21-6 record and being a near lock at missing the postseason, the franchise icon might have to consider another tough call — whether to ask for a trade to a Stanley Cup contender and leave.
In what could truly be his final season, Selanne skated around the topic of possibly leaving the Ducks on Monday as they returned to practice at Honda Center.