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.