Rumblings and Grumblings from Around the League

Aside from the non-news that is the Kyle McLaren debacle, there isn’t much on the trade rumor front. Still, there are lots of things going on in the world of NHL hockey that are deserving of discussion. I will give my own take on each issue, focusing on the lighter side of things.


Pittsburgh Penguins forward Martin Straka, who has not played in an NHL game since last March 7, will finally make his return to the ice tomorrow when the boys from the ‘Burgh head to Sunrise, FL to play the Panthers. Straka’s injury history has been well-documented. The snakebit centerman only played in 13 games last season (due to a broken leg and facial injuries), and has missed the first eleven games of this season because of a back injury sustained in his native Czech republic while weight training in the off-season. It remains to be seen whether or not he can remain healthy for the duration of the year.

My take: Straka will trip over the blue line and tear his anterior cruciate ligament, he will miss the rest of the season.


New York Rangers center Eric Lindros has been benched in consecutive games following costly penalties incurred by the big guy that have directly resulted in the opposing team scoring on the way to a win. The Rangers are now 4-8-2, yet the coach and player insist that there is no “feud” going on. Lindros has not been the offensive force that the Blueshirts expected him to be, and has already been disciplined by the league for a high-sticking incident.

My take: In an interview with the New Yorker Magazine, Bonnie Lindros, mother of Eric, will use her vast library of hockey knowledge to explain that her son’s lack of production is Bob Clarke’s fault.


The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 last night in Denver, leaving the Avalanche as the only team in the Western Conference to not win on home ice. Patrick Roy continues to nurse a sore hip, and Colorado’s power play is running at eleven percent, one of the worst in the league. On a brighter note, center Joe Sakic was voted the NHL’s player of the week, leading all players with a plus-seven rating to go along with his six goals.

My take: If I’m an Avs season ticket holder, I’m pretty pissed off right now, since I don’t want to have to buy a plane ticket in order to see my team win.


Roger Neilson, one of the true coaching innovators in NHL history, was inducted into the “Builders” wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame last night in Toronto. Neilson joined Bernie Federko, Clark Gillies, and Rod Langway as the newest members of the hall. During his acceptance speech he explained that he was the luckiest man in the world, and that Federko was second. He also said that attending Sunday night’s Maple Leafs game was good for him and came recommended by his doctors, because they want him to avoid excitement. “Good one, eh Pat?” said Neilson to Leafs grand poohbah Pat Quinn, who later cried himself to sleep.

My take: Neilson still suffers from bone AND skin cancer, yet continues to work and loves what he does. My hope is that he outlasts his illness, as he has outlasted many of the coaches who have come and gone during his celebrated career.


Most of you have seen the “Along the Boards” column on Spector’s Hockey web page. In this past week’s column, he suggests that there are players who could be traded in the coming months. Sean Burke was the first he listed, saying that his age and injury play against him and that the Coyotes would do well to cash in on his value. Nevermind that Burke was the main reason Phoenix went to the playoffs last year and that Brian Boucher has looked like the second coming of Stephane Beauregard. Saquella then mentioned Roman Cechmanek. Never mind that, statistically, Cechmanek is one of the best in the league, and that Ken Hitchkock has everyone on his squad believing in themselves, the system, and each other. Finally (and this is the kicker), he offered that there is a “McLaren-for-Dan McGillis rumor floating around.” I don’t know where he heard this or why he came up with it, but such a suggestion is absolute crap.

My take: John Saquella is a moron. Anyone who writes such mindless and annoying tripe like this ought to be drawn and quartered.

That’s it from me. Have fun, y’all.

17 Responses to Rumblings and Grumblings from Around the League

  1. mikster says:

    Straka: He could have a good start with lemieux, but his injury prone is at the top of the moutain. He can easily get injured again. Either way, losing him won’t be such a big deal until Lemiuex faces an injury.

    Lindros: What’s the big deal? Never seen a star player get benched? Trots has the balls to do it, that’s what counts. If Lindros came in on Monday prepared for practice, had a meeting with Trots and skated in a 3 on 3 scrimage, then what is there to talk about? Lindros always had coaches that pampered him, now he won’t be pampered. This is something made from nothing; no biggie…

    Avs: Slow start last season as well, they’ll get it going soon.

    Neilson: Gott love his ties!!!

    John: I know the guy! He is a good Flyers fan. I talked to David Pagnotta from TFP and he too heard McGillis for McLaren rumors. Nothing is concrete, but it is still a rumor. So, no the ‘moron’ did not make it up. John is not a moron, just has opinions different from yours. Now, it’d be funny to see a McGillis for McLaren deal happen, who’d be the moron then? HA! Sorry, but i just had to say it.

  2. Glen says:

    If the Flyers get rid of Richardson and McGillis both before unloading Therien, I’m gonna jump ship. Losing Richardson hurt alot, but we can’t dump McGillis too. BAD IDEA!!

  3. mikster says:

    Won’t happen bud…

    If it will then i’ll be there to support you with a box of kleenex.

  4. pantherboy says:

    My take:

    Straka- This looks like bad news for the Panthers as this could provide a huge boost for the Pens Wed. Straka is the kind of player that the Pens need right now; he will help the to balance their offense.

    Lindros – This is going to probably be to the advantage of the Rangers. Now matter what people say about Big E, I think he is a great player, and can play with the best of them. He will come out next game with a much better effort to show Troitter that he belongs on the ice.

    The Av’s – This one is pretty puzzling. The Av’s have always seemed to play good at home to me. It is tough on teams coming into Denver to play that high about sea level. The Av’s should have an advantage. Not really sure what the problem is, but it probably won’t get better for a while, since Patrick is being nagged by injuries.

    Captain Video – As I watched the Hall inductation speeches last night, I have to say I laughed pretty hard when Roger spoke. Espically the thing about the Leafs, oh man that was great. Espically since it was in Toronto, AND Pat Quinn was sitting right there. The funny thing is Pat was laughing too, because he knows its true. But really, Roger is a great guy, and is an amazing coach. I enjoyed him when he was behind the bench for about 2 years or so. Great influence on the team.

    Spectators – Lately, I have really become dissapointed with this site. Too many colomists who don’t know what they are talking about. I am starting to think it is just Larry Brooks and Bruce Graichoch under different names. I was really happy though when Micki wrote in that one time to stick up Ritcher. You showed them, eh?!

    Great to see you post something half decent for once booty!!! hahaha

  5. MossRocks says:

    Assuming Straka does mangae to keep himself intact, where would you play him? He was dynamite with Lemieux two years ago, but Morozov really seems to contribute on Lemieux’s line. No word on whether that has to do with the fact that Mario has been known to make a play or two in his time, while Morozov is really just a bum. Seriously though, this is a bit of a quandry. A nice situation to find yourself in, but certainly a quandry for Kehoe. I would lean towards keeping the hot line intact and letting Straka work with Hrdina on the second line.

  6. Tradedude says:

    i agree. lindros deserved to be benched. and Trots did the right thing. now its time for lindros is smarten up and play some good hockey.

  7. mikster says:

    Name a columnist who knows what he is talking about.

    People write based on what they see and they concluded it with their opinions. Big_booty did EXACTLY that.

    Here’s the deal, you have to disagree with a writer because if everyone agrees…it would be a great feeling with a crappy ending for the writer and the readers. No dicussions to talk about in the end.

    You have to throw something wild in article. I can tell ya, if big_booty said that Lindros was no biggie, and never mentioned John Saquella….i’d barely contribute to his article. But since he did, bam he got my attention.

    He got your attention, and the more attention he gets, the more you will know him…as you do.

    I was such a pro-Rangers when still being a freshman on this site, but now everyone knows me. I post something, i will put something wild in there to start up something.

    That’s the whole fun of it. You’ll see more interesting articles comming in, and i guarantee you this site will turn into a big debate on anything.

  8. RangerSteve says:

    I’m not one to start rumors, but has anybody heard a Pavel Brendl and Dan McGillis trade for Brad Stuart? Someone I know mentioned it, but i doubt its true..anybody know?


  9. MantaRay says:

    Big Booty:

    Finally, a well thought out piece and not just another: Mclaren for the Province of Alberta trade rumor.

    Straka, when healthy is one of the most underrated centers in the league. Barring another unforeseen injury he makes Pittsburgh even stronger. He is a competitor and I love to watch him play.

    Lindros: Its always Clarke’s fault in Philly, in some small quarters in NY, it’s the vast conspiracy against the Rangers. Lindros himself is absolved of any blame.

    AV’s: Just not as good as the hockey mavens would have you believe.

    Neilsen: You have to love this guy.

    Are you suggesting Mikster should be drawn & quartered????

    Nice article.

    P.S. Looking forward to Thursday; my boys got caught looking ahead last night.

  10. big_booty says:

    This is the first I’ve seen a Brendl & McGillis for Stuart rumor. Where has this been circulating?

    This deal doesn’t happen. McGillis was benched a couple of days ago in favor of Chris McAllister because he has had a slow start, but is now back in the lineup. Brendl continues to impress and is getting stronger and more confident every game.

    Stuart is young and has a lot of promise, but is not worth those two Flyers – it’s just too much to give up. McGillis is rock-steady, and Brendl’s upside has yet to be realized.

    The Flyers don’t really need Stuart, as they have Bruno St. Jacques, Jeff Woywitka, and Joni Pitkanen waiting in the wings.

    The Flyers are playing amazing hockey, and really don’t need to make any kind of trade to disrupt the great chemistry they have already developed.

  11. big_booty says:

    Thanks for the compliment.

    Maybe my boys can share the secret of solving Kevin Weekes. Then again, maybe not.

    I feel I have to invoke Clarke’s name when all the naysayers are silent. It’s just a small reminder of how stupid they are.

    I like Straka, he’s always been fun to watch on the ice. It’s just that he has trouble getting on the ice.

    As for the mikster, the thought does cross my mind on occasion, but we have to have fun with someone around here.

  12. MantaRay says:

    I don’t understand the Weekes thing AT ALL. He is a good goalie, but he is possessed by the spirit of Jacque Plante when he plays NJ.

    Like I said, in the Slegr article, what a difference a year makes re: Clarke.

    Your smart for pointing that out, because the imbeciles quickly forget the good things and only drudge up his name when things go wrong.

    I am not a Flyer fan but you have to respect the iob Clarke has done putting together such a strong team every year.

    Not only that, but learning from his mistakes. Hitch***** was a great move, as was keeping Cechmanek.

    While he won some trades (Johnsson and Brasher) he has also lost some (Oates) regardless he has a better grasp on his teams than 20 other GM’s in the league. That needs to be pointed out to the folks that don’t understand the dimensions of the game (chemistry, et al).

    I hope Straka is healthy for the rest of the season, because the Pens will probably need him when Mario starts getting his annual back problems and needs to rest.

    As for the Mikster, I agree every place needs that unintentional court jester.

  13. mikster says:

    “Brendl continues to impress and is getting stronger and more confident every game.”

    Everytime i watched the Flyers, i hear Brendl’s name but more like “clears the puck, passes it, shoots wide, loses the puck”

    Seriously bud, i know you want to see him get it going as much as i do but he is basically a bust.

  14. MossRocks says:

    booty, are you suggesting that the past five years of Clarke’s reign have all just been part of a masterplan? Perhaps we, the peons, have just been unable to see the forest for the trees? Not bloody likely. I have been openly critical of Clarke for several years now, because he has built good squads but has been unable to make the deal necessary to take them to that next level.

    Recently, I also praised him for an outstanding offseason – in fact one of the best in memory. However, Clarke is still very much a risk and reward GM much like Milbury. Just as in their playing days, Clarke has plenty of skill and acumen, while Milbury is just a bombastic putz. Nevertheless, their styles are very similar and that is why Clarke makes so many mistakes and in most cases gets roasted for them legitimately. He also makes a lot of good deals, but the sheer volume of moves that he makes, and the type of moves he has made means that his neck is on the line on a regular basis.

    He had a great year and he is doing well but please don’t try an defend the mistakes he has made before. (Gratton – twice, Oates, etc. etc. and he’s doubled the Flyers all-time roster since he’s been there with failed FA experiments) I think he has learned from his mistakes and is moving forward. A lot of good low-key deals with an aim to developing chemistry is not characteristic of his previous approach and is definitely encouraging.

    As for the Lindros/Flyers saga… they deserve each other. Lindros fans rip Clarke at every opportunity, but do you think Flyer/Clarke fans ever miss a shot on Eric? Not to my knowledge. (However, the parents are totally fair game, even for the uninitiated) Don’t pretend to be turning the other cheek – you play the same game that the Clarke naysayers do.

  15. mikster says:

    You two sound like two British wimps drinkin tea!!!

  16. big_booty says:


    In no way am I saying that the past five years in Flyer history have gone exactly as Bob Clarke had forseen it. If it had, there would have been five straight parades down Broad Street and Eric Lindros would still be wearing an orange and black sweater.

    Any GM in this sport or in any other operates on a risk/reward system. The really good ones have more payoffs than they do losses. Yes, Clarke’s neck is on the line on a daily basis, but he thrives on that, and is respected for it. Personally, I respect the guy because he has the cojones to deal with the ins and outs of being a GM, and he’s man enough to admit he was wrong. He even said so about Gratton.

    BTW, “bombastic putz,” you couldn’t have been more accurate about Milbury.

    I’m not defending Clarke’s past transgressions. He has made some clunker deals before. But judgement cannot be made only on the negatives, which is what most people seem to want to do.

  17. MossRocks says:

    Fair enough. I just wanted to confirm that you were taking a shot at the ‘Clarke bigots’ and not overly giddy over your team’s impressive start.

    As far as style, you’re right but some guys are a little (or a lot) more on the risky side. I like GM’s like Rutherford and Dave Taylor that are always relaxed and make moves very judiciously. It’s just personal taste really, but Clarke would be well served if he could take his foot off the gas pedal now and then, to maybe have a look around.

    I like Clarke’s honesty, that’s for sure. It’s refreshing to get only straight answers from a GM or coach. Most GM’s will tell you whatever you want to hear – I guess it’s not a bad thing really, but pretty annoying. If you ask Clarke if he’s trying to move somebody – he’ll tell you. Most will scream blue murder and then turn around and move the guy before noon the next day. He’s a lot different from Hitch – he’s a great coach, but I don’t believe a single word he utters.

    The next deal will be key, because Clarke’s team is really close once again. Can he find the right piece to fill the need and keep the chemistry? I wouldn’t mind seeing him figure it out this time because he’s done his time, that’s for certain.

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