Daily Archives: November 7, 2013

Daily Archives: November 7, 2013

Emery’s Attack On Holtby Was Indefensible.

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Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ray Emery skating the length of the ice to attack Washington Capitals netminder Bradon Holtby during a line brawl in a recent game between the two teams created a stir within the hockey world.

Emery was widely condemned for provoking a fight with a clearly reluctant Holtby, but received no supplemental discipline for his actions.  Under NHL rules there’s nothing to prevent a goaltender from leaving his crease to partake in a fight at the other end of the rink.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan voiced their disapproval of Emery’s actions, leading to speculation the league could implement a new rule in which a goalie leaving the defensive zone to join in a fight could face suspension.

Emery wasn’t without his supporters. Though the fight didn’t change the game’s outcome (a lopsided 7-0 win for the Capitals), he was named the game’s third star. It’s been suggested Emery was simply doing his part as a good teammate in a brawl involving every player on the ice. His defenders believe his actions provided the struggling Flyers with a much-needed spark which had been lacking since the start of the season.

Ray Emery's attack on Braden Holtby didn't sit well with NHL headquarters.

Ray Emery’s attack on Braden Holtby didn’t sit well with NHL headquarters.

Bullshit.

It’s one thing if Emery was attacked by another player around his net, or jumping in to save a teammate from a beating, or if Holtby was the aggressor.

That’s not what happened. Emery skated the length of the ice and tried to provoke Holtby into fighting. When the Capitals goalie expressed his unwillingness, Emery essentially told him to defend himself and started swinging.

This wasn’t Emery’s first dance in a line brawl, tangling with Martin Biron during a scrap several years ago against the Buffalo Sabres, then exchanging punches with Sabres tough guy Andrew Peters. The difference then was Biron and Peters were willing participants.

To be fair, Emery doesn’t have a reputation for instigating fights. His only NHL suspension was three games for striking former Montreal Canadiens forward Maxim Lapierre in the face with his stick. Indeed, since his early NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators,  Emery’s matured as a player and a person.

While there’s nothing in the rule book preventing Emery from challenging Holtby to a fight, he had no reason to push the issue when it was obvious the Capitals netminder wanted no part of it. Holtby did nothing to provoke Emery. He didn’t attack one of Emery’s teammates, nor was he fighting one of them.

Suggesting Emery gained respect from his teammates and Flyers fans for pummeling Holtby is nonsense. He has nine NHL seasons under his belt, which includes a  season with the Flyers. He had no reason to prove himself in such a manner.

It’s been argued Emery and the Flyers were “sending a message”, that they were sick and tired of their poor start and simply venting their frustrations.

Did it change the outcome of the game? No. Are rival clubs now fearful of the Flyers? No. This isn’t the era of the Broad Street Bullies, where the Flyers won two championships and dominated the league with equal parts menace and talent.

It was pointless for Emery to attack Holtby. It served no purpose. His actions were indefensible.

If the NHL has its way, Emery– or any other goalie – won’t get away with leaving their defensive zone to partake in another line brawl.

NHL Morning Rumor Mill – November 7, 2013.

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Oilers deny shopping Nail Yakupov, plus the latest on Marian Gaborik, Ryan Whitney and more,

Oilers deny shopping Nail Yakupov.

Oilers deny shopping Nail Yakupov.

EDMONTON SUN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers GM Craig MacTavish and head coach Dallas Eakins dismissed recent trade rumor regarding young winger Nail Yakupov, declaring the speculation untrue. MacTavish spoke with Yakupov and his agent Igor Larionov after his presence at a recent NY Rangers game sparked trade rumors about the 20-year-old winger. MacTavish and Eakins expressed their faith in Yakupov, who’s struggled this season, and their willingness to remain patient with his development.

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports Rangers coach Alain Vigneault addressed the rumors linking his club to the Oilers, saying he believes his club has enough firepower right now to get the job done.

NHL LIVE (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Bob McKenzie also reported on the Oilers refuting the Yakupov trade rumors.  While acknowledging GM MacTavish is shopping around for help, the Oilers don’t intend to move Yakupov. McKenzie claims the Oilers are shopping for help on the blueline and in net, seeking a “good, solid defender”, which might explain why they were checking out the Rangers. He noted the Blueshirts would be hard-pressed to re-sign all their pending free agents, including Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi.  McKenzie said the Oilers might be shopping veteran Ales Hemsky but are unwilling to part with their young players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers want to land a top-two defenseman or a true starting goalie, Yakupov would be their best trade chip, but they’re unwilling to part with him or any of their young players. Forget about landing a significant return for Ales Hemsky.  Considering Yakupov’s potential, I don’t blame the Oilers for their desire to keep him.  As for the Rangers, they’ve improved of late, largely because of the return of Carl Hagelin from injury and the recent call-up of Chris Kreider, which could convince GM Glen Sather not to make any hasty moves.

SPORTSNET.CA: Luke Fox cited Hockey Central panelist John Shannon’s take on Marian Gaborik’s contract status with the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Gaborik is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and contract talks with the Jackets have yet to begin.  Shannon believes the Jackets could shop Gaborik at the trade deadline if he’s unwilling to re-sign or if he fails to produce this season.

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon sent a GM-wide e-mail about defenseman Ryan Whitney’s availability last week. It’s been reported many of the Panthers veterans are available… Friedman noted 20 teams have $2 million or less in cap space, meaning most trades at this point of the season would have to be almost dollar-for-dollar…He wondered if a club might make a pitch for Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland and his affordable ($566K) cap hit…

NHL Canadian Corner – November 7, 2013.

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Jets fall again to the Blackhawks, the latest on P.K. Subban, Jordan Eberle, Craig Anderson, Dan Hamhuis and Curtis Glencross, plus the Maple Leafs sign center Jerred Smithson.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Having been trounced by the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 on Saturday, the Winnipeg Jets fell again to the ‘Hawks, this time by a score of 4-1. Adding insult to injury, Jets defenseman Adam Pardy had beer dumped on him and his helmet stolen by a fan after he was checked through the glass.

Canadiens to open contract talks soon with P.K. Subban.

Canadiens to open contract talks soon with P.K. Subban.

TVASPORTS.CA: The Montreal Canadiens will be opening contract talks with P.K. Subban’s agent during the next two weeks. The Norris Trophy-winning Subban will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs would be wise to get Subban under contract before next summer. The salary cap is expected to rise substantially next summer, which could embolden a rival club to pitch him a very expensive offer sheet. Sure, the Habs could and probably would match it, but then they’ll be paying someone else’s price for Subban. As for Subban’s asking price, expect him to seek something more than what Kris Letang (8 years, $58 million) got from the Penguins last summer.  With a Norris Trophy on his resume, Subban could get close to $8 million per.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers winger Jordan Eberle is a hit in a Coke Zero TV commercial with Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos,  The two will square off for real tonight when the Oilers and Lightning face off in Tampa Bay.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Senators goalie Craig Anderson practiced with his coaches yesterday for the first time since suffering a stiff neck during a collision with Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin over the weekend. Anderson didn’t blame Nichushkin, believing the collision was accidental.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Anderson could return to the lineup in the near future.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks will turn to defenseman Dan Hamhuis to bolster their struggling power-play.

CALGARY SUN: Curtis Glencross is the latest Flames alternate captain to be injured this season. Mike Cammalleri and Matt Stajan also suffered injuries earlier this season.

THE GLOBE & MAIL: The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed center Jerred Smithson to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As James Mirtle noted in the report, Smithson won’t wow anyone with his finesse, but he’s a big-bodied center who’s strong on the draw and kills penalties.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2013.

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Game recaps, plus updates on Claude Giroux, Brent Burns, T.J. Oshie, Dany Heatley, Drew Stafford and Jordin Tootoo.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm scored his first NHL goal and set up Corey Perry as his Anaheim Ducks downed the Phoenix Coyotes 5-2, leaving the Ducks unbeaten at home (6-0-0) this season.

Brian Boyle (L) celebrates his goal with Brad Richards.

Brian Boyle (L) celebrates his goal with Brad Richards.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Brian Boyle scored his first goal of the season and Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves as the New York Rangers thumped the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the return of Carl Hagelin and the call up of Chris Kreider the Rangers have been playing better of late. If they keep this up it’ll dampen the trade talk which has swirled about the club in recent days.

THE TENNESSEAN:  The Nashville Predators handed the Colorado Avalanche their second loss of the season with a 6-4 victory. Colin Wilson led the way with four points (including the game-winning goal) and Viktor Stalberg got his first goal as a Predator.

NOTE: Games involving Canadian teams are recapped in Canadian Corner.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: The San Jose Sharks are moving on after an apparent overtime winning goal against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday was waved off. The Sharks also received some good news, as Brent Burns is reportedly getting closer to returning to action.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks have been vague about Burns injury, calling it an “upper body injury”.  It’s believed Burns is recovering from a concussion.

PHILLY.COM: Fourteen games into this season, Flyers captain Claude Giroux is still searching for his first goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once he finally tallies his first and gets that monkey off his back, Giroux will likely relax and the goals will start coming more often.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward T.J. Oshie has become a better player because he’s more willing to seek advice on improving his play.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Dany Heatley finds he’s adjusting well to playing on the fourth line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only 32, at this stage in his career Heatley is no longer a top-six forward. 

BUFFALO NEWS: Struggling Sabres winger Drew Stafford wants to reverse his slow start.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since his career-best 31-goal, 52-point performance in 2010-11, Stafford’s production has steadily declined, so this doesn’t appear to be a problem limited to just this season.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings have placed winger Jordin Tootoo on waivers. If unclaimed, he could be demoted, giving the Wings $925K in cap relief and free up a roster spot for another player.