NHL Morning Rumor Mill – November 6, 2013.

Posted on by Spector in Featured, News, Rumors | Leave a comment

Check out the latest on a rumored Oilers-Ranger swap, plus updates on Martin Brodeur and Jonas Hiller.

SPORTSNET.CA: Nick Kypreos noted the recent trade speculation linking the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers. Citing the Rangers need for offense and the Oilers need for defense, he suggested sophomore winger Nail Yakupov to the Rangers for defenseman Michael Del Zotto, though he wondered if that might be enough for Yakupov, the first overall pick in 2012.  John Shannon believes the Oilers will make some changes, suggesting Ales Hemsky could become trade bait even though his $5 million salary could scare some teams away.

Could the Rangers offer up Chris Kreider for Nail Yakupov?

Could the Rangers offer up Chris Kreider for Nail Yakupov?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers don’t need a puck-moving defenseman like Del Zotto, and believes the Oilers should move Hemsky rather than Yakupov, though he admitted if there’s a chance to get a good player for the young Russian winger the Oilers should make the move.

Jim Matheson, meanwhile, believes the Rangers would part with winger Chris Kreider if Yakupov were in the mix. However, Matheson believes the Oilers are pitching Hemsky, not Yakupov, noting the Oilers have long liked Del Zotto.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Eric Duhatschek weighed in on the rumors, noting the Oilers can spare a winger or two (Hemsky or Yakupov), while the Rangers have a nucleus of “quietly effective” defensemen, including Del Zotto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hemsky’s salary ($5 million) means the Oilers either have to take back some salary in order for his contract to fit under the Rangers cap, or the Blueshirts will have to dump salary elsewhere before making this deal. I’m guessing the Rangers would prefer the former. I agree with Staples that the Oilers don’t need another puck-moving defenseman.  Unless the Rangers are willing to move either Dan Girardi or Marc Staal, the Oilers might not have much choice if they’re keen to deal with the Blueshirts but to take on Del Zotto.  The two teams have the pieces to help each other out, they must now try to find the right deal. Perhaps they could do a multi-player deal rather than player-for player, though it could be tricky to make the dollars work at this point in the season.

 NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports long-time Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur didn’t fully rule out the possibility of accepting a trade to another team later in the season if the Devils are out of playoff contention. ”I hope it will never happen, but if there is a situation that could be really fun for me and really good for the Devils, why not?”, said Brodeur, adding he’s 99 percent certain he’d say no if approached now to waive his no-trade clause.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Brodeur said he would never ask GM Lou Lamoriello for a trade, adding he would consider a trade only if it came from Lamoriello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Brodeur isn’t completely ruling out a trade, but he won’t seek one and prefers to stick with the Devils and help them make the playoffs.   If Lamoriello offered him a trade to a Cup contender with a good return for the Devils, perhaps Brodeur considers it. In the meantime, he’s not going anywhere, and I still doubt he gets moved by the trade deadline.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Lance Pugmire reports Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller doesn’t know if this will be his final season with the club. Hiller’s a UFA next summer and he could be pursued this season by clubs seeking to deal for a goaltender. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau dismissed the notion the club’s depth in goal makes Hiller expendable.

NHL Canadian Corner – November 6, 2013

Posted on by Spector in Featured, News, Rumors | Leave a comment

Games recaps of Tuesday’s games featuring Canadian NHL teams, the Maple Leafs weigh their options at center, plus an update on Jets star Evander Kane.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Robin Lehner made 32 saves backstopping the Senators to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, snapping their five-game winless skid. Erik Karlsson scored twice for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The more I see Lehner play, the more I’m convinced he’s ready to be an NHL starter. It’ll be interesting to see if he can challenge Craig Anderson for that role this season.

Mark Arcobello (L) celebrates his first NHL goal.

Mark Arcobello (L) celebrates his first NHL goal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Mark Arcobello scored his first two NHL goals, including his overtime winner, as the Oilers edged the Florida Panthers 4-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Arcobello’s been among the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal start for the Oilers this season.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks coach John Tortorella blamed his mismanagement of his bench for the Phoenix Coyotes scoring the game-tying goal, setting the stage for the Coyotes downing the Canucks 3-2 in a shootout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Who are you and what have you done with John Tortorella?

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Hab Jaroslav Halak out-dueled Carey Price as the St. Louis Blues nipped the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.  Tomas Plekanec missed an opportunity to win the game for the Habs in a last-minute penalty shot in regulation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t blame this loss on Price, who was stellar throughout this game. Indeed, Price has been a model of consistency so far this season for the Canadiens.

CALGARY HERALD:  After upsetting the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, the Calgary Flames and rookie goalie Reto Berra came crashing back to earth in a lopsided 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.  Flames winger Curtis Glencross left the game in the second period with an apparent knee injury and didn’t return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Glencross could be a serious blow for the Flames if he’s sidelined for a significant period.

TORONTO SUN: With Dave Bolland and Tyler Bozak sidelined by injuries, Leafs management is considering its options to replace them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect management will see how the club performs over the next several games before deciding if a significant move is necessary.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets star Evander Kane continues to be bothered by an upper body injury, but he’s traveled with the club to Chicago for the Jets upcoming game against the Blackhawks.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2013.

Posted on by Spector in Featured, News, Rumors | Leave a comment

Game recaps plus the latest on Evgeni Malkin and Semyon Varlamov, Jason Arnott retires, and more.

At least one Bruins fan still loves Tyler Seguin.

At least one Bruins fan still loves Tyler Seguin.

STAR-TELEGRAM.COM: Former Bruins Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley scored in a shootout to lift the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 victory over their former club. Seguin was booed by the Boston fans every time he touched the puck in that game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Must have felt good for the pair, especially Seguin, to get the win over the club which traded them.

WASHINGTON POST: Alexander Ovechkin marked his return to the lineup with two goals and an assist as the Capitals thumped the New York Islanders 6-2. The Capitals power-play scored four times on six opportunities.

BUFFALO NEWS: The struggling Sabres got a much-needed psychological boost with a 5-4 shootout upset win over the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are among the best clubs in the league this season, so this was a big win for the Sabres. It probably won’t turn their season around but should give them something to build on.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Manny Malhotra capped his return to the NHL with an overtime goal lifting the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, snapping the Hurricanes five-game losing streak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen how long Malhotra remains in the NHL, but the story of how he worked  his way back is an inspiration.

NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams can be found at “Canadian Corner”.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Despite the Penguins strong start, star Evgeni Malkin is trying to regain his scoring touch, having gone goalless in eight straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 13 points in 15 games, Malkin is at nearly a point-per-game pace, but this goalless drought is unusual, especially if he’s not hampered by injury. 

DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov insists his personal life won’t interfere with his play. Varlamov was arrested last week on domestic violence charges and was released on bond.

NBC SPORTS: cited an interview by CBC’s Elliotte Friedman with 960 Sportsnet, suggesting the Avs traded Steve Downie because he was unrepentant over drilling team captain Gabriel Landeskog during a pre-season practice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If true, that would certainly make a more logical explanation for the trade. 

TSN.CA: The NHLPA claims the Calgary Flames mandate its players must wear protective foot and ankle equipment could be in violation of the CBA.

NHLPA: announced long-time NHL star Jason Arnott has retired after 18 seasons, with 938 points in 1, 244 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Arnott’s best seasons came with the New Jersey Devils, where he scored the Stanley Cup winner in overtime of Game Six of the 2000 Cup Final. He was hampered in his later years by injury, particularly by concussions. 

Latest Maple Leafs, Rangers & Oilers Rumors – November 5, 2013.

Posted on by Spector in Featured, News, Rumors | Leave a comment

The Toronto Maple Leafs are shopping for help at forward, the NY Rangers could be interested in Edmonton Oilers winger Nail Yakupov, and more.

TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis is searching for a forward “preferably a center” to fill the void left by injured centers Dave Bolland and Tyler Bozak. Dreger noted while talks are increasing, the market for quality centers is “sketchy”, with the expected return usually “a young roster player, top prospect and a draft pick.” He speculates Nonis could use his blueline depth or parts with draft picks in a lesser deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Dreger noted, there’s no sense of panic from the Leafs, a luxury a 10-5-0 start gives them. If they want to land a quality center they could shop goalie James Reimer. Let’s face it, no matter how well Reimer plays, Jonathan Bernier is considered the de facto starter. There are teams (hello there, Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators) who’d jump at the chance to get Reimer. I believe, however, it would take a true first-line center for Nonis to consider moving Reimer.  Nonis would love to move John-Michael Liles, but he’d probably have to pick up part of his $3.875 million per season contract to make it work. Don’t be surprised if Jake Gardiner’s name resurfaces in the rumor mill.

Are the Rangers interested in Nail Yakupov?

Are the Rangers interested in Nail Yakupov?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Oilers president of hockey ops Kevin Lowe, GM Craig MacTavish and special advisor Mark Messier took in the Anaheim Ducks-NY Rangers game at MSG last night. Brooks claims the Oilers are “believed accepting offers for veteran winger Ales Hemsky while “exploring the market” for sophomore winger Nail Yakupov. He also points out the Rangers would have to maneuver to get under the cap if they’re interest in Hemsky, who’s making $5 million this season. It remains to be seen if the Rangers would be willing to part with the necessary assets for Yakupov. Their interest in him could be influenced by the condition of winger Rick Nash, who remains sidelined by a concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When Yakupov’s name first appeared in the rumor mill midway through last month most insiders claimed the Oilers would be patient with him. That’s before the Oilers sunk to 3-10-2 in their first 15 games, putting them on the verge of falling completely out of playoff contention by the end of November.  I think the Rangers have more interest in Yakupov than Hemsky, who has his own injury history, but of the two, the Oilers are more willing to part with Hemsky. Still, if the Rangers were to offer up Dan Girardi or Marc Staal for Yakupov, the Oilers (in need of an experienced top-pairing defenseman) could be seriously tempted.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis wonders if the Oilers could put in a claim for winger Rostislav Olesz, who was placed on waivers yesterday by the New Jersey Devils. Willis notes the Oilers need help on their checking lines.