NHL Canadian Corner – November 11, 2013.

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Jets ground the Sharks, Canadiens down the Islanders, the Canucks fall to the Ducks, the Oilers lose to the Blackhawks, plus updates on Dion Phaneuf, Craig Anderson and Ladislav Smid.

Jets captain Andrew Ladd celebrates one of his two goals against the Sharks.

Jets captain Andrew Ladd celebrates one of his two goals against the Sharks.

WINNIPEG SUN: Andrew Ladd scored the game-tying goal and the winner in a shootout as the Jets nipped the San Jose Sharks 5-4. It marked the first time since early October the Jets managed consecutive wins.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens “kid line” of Alex Galchenyuk, Lars Eller (one goal, two assists each) and Brendan Gallagher (1 goal, one assist) lifted their club to 4-2 win over the New York Islanders, snapping their four-game losing streak.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: The Canucks ended their four-game road trip on a losing note (1-2-1) falling to the Anaheim Ducks 3-1.

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers lost again, falling 5-4 to the Chicago Blackhawks.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf seems to be maturing in his role this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And yet a surprising number of Leafs fans want him traded or for the club to replace him via free agency. 

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Barring a setback, Senators goalie Craig Anderson should return to action on Tuesday when his club faces off against the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thanks to the strong play of backup Robin Lehner during Anderson’s absence, the Senators actually improved. Could be a goaltending duel shaping up in Ottawa this season.

CALGARY HERALD: Former Oilers defenseman Ladislav Smid is trying to adjust to life with the Flames.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2013.

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Game recaps (including Jaromir Jagr reaching a significant scoring milestone), Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony is tonight, updates on Ben Bishop and Rich Peverley, and the high cost of hockey in Canada.

The 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees.

The 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees.

USATODAY.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame today will induct former NHL greats Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer and Brendan Shanahan, along with former Philadelphia Flyers coach Fred Shero and Canadian women’s hockey pioneer Geraldine Heaney.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Hockey analyst Harry Neale will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial award today for outstanding contribution to hockey broadcasting. He will also receive recognition by the Hockey Hall of Fame.

PHILLY.COM: Former Philadelphia Daily News and Flyers beat writer Jay Greenberg will  be honored by the Hall of Fame with the Elmer Ferguson Award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to all of this year’s inductees.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche improved their record to 14-2 (a franchise best after 16 games) by downing the Washington Capitals 4-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche are so far showing now signs of slowing down.  Credit the coaching of Patrick Roy, the solid goaltending of Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere, and the strong play of young forwards like Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and captain Gabriel Landeskog.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Third period goals by Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello and strong goaltending by Henrik Lundqvist lifted the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the floundering Florida Panthers. The win pushed the Rangers above .500 (9-8-0) for the first time this season, marking their third straight win and seventh in their last nine games. The Panthers before the game demoted goaltender Jacob Markstrom to the AHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a shaky start the Rangers have righted their ship. Getting back Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan from injury and calling up Chris Kreider and Cam Talbot were significant factors in their recent turnaround.

NJ.COM: Jaromir Jagr recorded his 1,700th career NHL point and Martin Brodeur made 30 saves for his 123rd career shutout as the New Jersey Devils blanked the Nashville Predators 5-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jagr is only the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 1,700 point mark, and is the first European player to reach that number. Jagr is now only 14 goals shy of the 700-goal plateau.

NOTE: Game recaps involving Canadian NHL teams will appear in “Canadian Corner”.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Goaltender Ben Bishop is leading the Lightning’s resurgence this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one should be surprised, as Bishop showed us last season with the Senators he was ready to become a full-time NHL starter, and a good one at that. Acquiring him was the move trade Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has made to date.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars are making good use of versatile forward Rich Peverley.

THE GLOBE & MAIL: James Mirtle examines the increasingly high cost of hockey in Canada.

The “Player Was Traded Because He Slept With A Teammate’s Wife” Myth.

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The Colorado Avalanche’s recent trade of right wing Steve Downie to the Philadelphia Flyers for veteran checking winger Max Talbot puzzled some observers.

Downie, 26, is an energetic, agitating forward with decent offensive skills, whereas the 29-year-old Talbot, though a respected veteran, is more of a defensive specialist.

Several theories were bandied about, suggesting Downie was moved because of his UFA status next summer, or to clear cap space now for another move later in the season. CBC’s Elliotte Friedman revealed a pre-season clash between Downie and Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog was believed the real reason.

And then there were those batty conspiracy theorists who believe the real reason Downie was dealt was he slept with Semyon Varlamov’s girlfriend, leading to Varlamov’s recent arrest on domestic violence charges.

This tripe was e-mailed to me by one of my supposed “long-time followers”, claiming his “good friend” in the Avs front office told him this fantastic piece of “inside info”.

The myth of an NHL player being traded because he slept with a teammate’s wife/girlfriend has floated around like a giant turd for years. Whenever a trade takes place which  doesn’t make sense to some fans, up pops the “he was screwing a teammate’s wife/girlfriend” story.

I first encountered this myth during the 1994-95 season, when Mathieu Schneider was traded by the Montreal Canadiens to the NY Islanders. In the aftermath of that trade, a rumor spread the deal was done because Schneider had an affair with teammate Patrick Roy’s wife.

Schneider and Roy didn’t get along during their years as teammates in Montreal. The low point involved an infamous between-periods dust-up during a game against the Flyers after Roy accused Schneider of not pulling his own weight.

That may have had something to do with Schneider’s eventual trade to the Islanders, but it wasn’t because of a non-existent affair with Roy’s wife.

Another example occurred in 1997, when the Buffalo Sabres inexplicably decided not to re-sign coach Ted Nolan, even though he won the Jack Adams award the previous season as coach of the year.

Nolan had a reputation for being difficult to work with, clahsing with goaltender Dominik Hasek and then-Sabres GM John Muckler (who was also NHL executive of the year that season). Muckler was fired and replaced by Darcy Regier, who made Nolan a contract offer the Adams winner considered low-ball. Nolan rejected the offer and Regier didn’t make another, leaving the 1997 coach of the year unemployed. It was nearly ten years before Nolan got another head coaching job in the NHL.

Some fans, however, believed there had to be a darker reason for Regier’s unwillingness to re-sign Nolan. One of them started a rumor claiming Nolan was axed because he slept with Hasek’s wife. The rumor doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, but it’s a myth which persists to this day.

This myth continues to be recycled with only the names of the players and the teams changing.

Rod Brind’amour’s trade from Philadelphia to Carolina during the 1999-2000 season? Done because Eric Lindros was sleeping with Brind’amour’s wife. Even better, Lindros supposedly suffered one of his many concussions after Brindy attacked him in the dressing room with a folding chair – Stone Cold style! – when he learned the “truth”.

The real reason was Flyers GM Bob Clarke long coveted the Hurricanes big center Keith Primeau and was willing to part with Brind’amour to get him. There was no affair involving Lindros or any of his teammates’ spouses.

Shane Corson and Alexander Mogilny leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs for personal reasons? Obviously, because Corson slept with Mogilny’s wife. Except that’s not what happened. Corson left the Leafs over a dispute with head coach Pat Quinn about his playing time, not because of any supposed hanky-panky with Mrs. Mogilny.

These rumors are not only ridiculous and unfair to the players/coaches involved, but also besmirch the reputations of their innocent wives/girlfriends. Though they’re almost never mentioned by their full names (usually it’s as “so-and-so’s wife/girlfriend”), they don’t deserve this callous treatment.

Most NHL players tend to lead rather ordinary, even boring, lives. Usually the worst we see of them is during their inebriated Stanley Cup celebrations, which more often than not involves some public profanity or some of them stripping off their shirts in a nightclub to the delight of screaming fans.

They’re not all little angels, of course, but in today’s era of 24-hour new cycles and the prevalence of social media, NHL players rarely appear on gossip websites. Incidents like Varlamov’s recent arrest are rare, especially compared with athletes in the other major North American sports leagues.

NHL general managers make trades or coaching changes for a number of reasons. Sometimes the deals don’t make sense to the fans, but you’d be hard-pressed to find moves made because a player or coach was sleeping around with a teammate’s spouse.

This myth makes juicy gossip, but it’s not based in fact. Like most manure, it’s 100 percent bullshit.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 10, 2013.

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The latest on Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Miller, Dion Phaneuf, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Niskanen, Dany Heatley and more.

No market for Dany Heatley?

No market for Dany Heatley?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch wonders where all the bold move are which were promised by Oilers GM Craig MacTavish, suggesting if recently-signed Ilya Bryzgalov plays weel this season he’ll be trade bait at the March 5 deadline…The Rangers had “sniffed around” to gauge interest in winger Chris Kreider but with seven points in 8 games since his call-up he’s not going anywhere…There will be lots of interest in NY Islanders defenseman (and pending UFA) Andrew MacDonald but if the Isles remain in playoff contention at the trade deadline he won’t be moved…Garrioch wonders if Blues goalie Brian Elliott and his $1.8 million salary can be had for nothing…He notes “Nine teams are already spending into their long-term injury allowance and another 10 are less than $1 million below the cap. The only deals that can take place are dollar-for-dollar”…Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has been “sniffing around” for a forward, a search which could intensify by the March trade deadline…The Wild have tried to shop fading winger Dany Heatley but can find no takers for his $7.5 million cap hit. Heatley will be a UFA next summer…The Stars are shopping center Vernon Fiddler. Garrioch claims the Leafs had interest but decided they couldn’t absorb his $1.8 million salary…Garrioch expects the Penguins to shop defenseman Matt Niskanen as there likely isn’t room to keep him and he could fetch a good return at the deadline…Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards is on the hot seat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacTavish could make a bold move right now if he was willing to part with one of his young forwards, but he doesn’t want to do that. So, you get trades like shipping Ladislav Smid and a goalie prospect to Calgary for a checking forward and a goalie prospect…Kreider’s thriving so far playing for coach Alain Vigneault…Even if the Isles are out of playoff contention they could try to retain MacDonald, as they prefer to keep players who came up through their system…If Elliott can be had for nothing, the surest way to find out is put him on waivers…This could be Heatley’s final season in the NHL, as his performance has really declined in recent years…Fiddler could probably be moved near the trade deadline when playoff contenders are trying to shore up their depth…Niskanen’s been the subject of trade speculation for months, but after playing well filling in for the injured Kris Letang, I think the Pens will keep him for the remainder of the season and take their chances trying to re-sign him in the off-season.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance recently opened his mailbag to respond to reader’s questions. Regarding the Ducks surplus goalie situation, he expects GM Bob Murray to be patient and see what transpires near the trade deadline…He admits the Capitals could use a top-four defenseman but doesn’t expect any to be available until near the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vanek-Moulson and Downie-Talbot trades generated some excitement among those who follow trade rumors, but the reality is those moves are rare early in the season and were due to unique circumstances.  There’s plenty of interest in the Ducks surplus goalies but Murray has no reason to shop any of them right now.  The Capitals will have to wait until January at the earliest before a decent top-four d-man could be available.

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen recently listed next summer’s top ten NHL UFAs and which could re-sign or move on. The list includes Buffalo’s Ryan Miller and Matt Moulson, the Islanders’ Thomas Vanek, Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf, the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan Callahan, and Colorado’s Paul Stastny.

COURIER-POST: Dave Isaacs reports Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds shrugged off recent trade rumors which have him headed to the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s interesting to see Simmonds name pop up in the rumor mill, as he seems the prototypical Flyers forward. Big, strong, physical with a decent scoring touch. You’d think he’d be a player management prefers to keep. Rumor has it, however, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is willing to listen to offers for everyone on his struggling club except Claude Giroux and Steve Mason. If so, expect lots of interest in Simmonds.

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