NHL Canadian Corner – November 5, 2013

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Jets down the Red Wings, the Maple Leafs to try James van Riemsdyk at center, Senators to lean on Robin Lehner, Sam Gagner trying to find his game, David Desharnais demoted to the Habs fourth line, Canucks send David Booth to the AHL on a conditioning stint, and more on Flames rookie Reto Berra.

Jets' Bryan Little scores against the Red Wings.

Jets’ Bryan Little scores against the Red Wings.

WINNIPEG SUN: Backup goalie Al Montoya made 26 saves while five teammates (Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Devin Setoguchi, Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik) had two-point performances as the Jets doubled up the Detroit Red Wings 4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montoya’s performance could result in a bit of a goaltending controversy for the Jets, as he provided his team with clutch goaltending starter Ondrej Pavelec has lately struggled to give them.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: With Dave Bolland and Tyler Bozak sidelined indefinitely, the Toronto Maple Leafs will try winger James van Riemsdyk at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs GM Dave Nonis is now reportedly shopping for a center. Details later this morning in the “Rumors” section.

OTTAWA SUN: With Craig Anderson currently sidelined with a stiff neck, the Senators will turn to backup Robin Lehner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately for the Sens, Lehner is a terrific goalie and Anderson isn’t expected out for long.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers center Sam Gagner is struggling to regain his form after returning from a broken jaw.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getting his strength and conditioning back will take some time.

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien has demoted struggling forward David Desharnais to the fourth line.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks have sent winger David Booth to their AHL affiliate in Utica on a conditioning stint.

CALGARY HERALD: Starting the season in the AHL was an important part of Flames rookie Reto Berra adjusting to the North American pro game. Berra shone in his Flames debut over the weekend, backstopping them to a 3-2 upset of the Chicago Blackhawks.

NHL Blog Beat – Monday, November 4, 2013.

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The NHL week in review, analysis of the Ranger and Oilers, learning to love the shootout, the case for the Habs to retire Guy Lapointe’s number, and much more.

PUCK DRUNK LOVE: Reviewing the NHL week that was.

PUCK DADDY: Ryan Lambert tears a strip off Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and Flyers goalie Ray Emery.

Why is Sergei Bobrovsky off to a slow start this season?

Why is Sergei Bobrovsky off to a slow start this season?

INSIDE HOCKEY: Ed Cmar examines Sergei Bobrovsky’s slow start this season.

THE HOCKEY WRITERS: Nathan Currier explains why Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has his work cut out for him re-signing his pending free agent defensemen.

BLUE SHIRT BANTER: Evan Sporer believes the Rangers must take advantage of team speed.

PENSION PLAN PUPPETS: JP Nikota presents, “Collapsing Defensively And Breakouts 1o1?.

THE COPPER AND BLUE: Alan Hull wonders if the Oilers are taking too many shots from the perimeter.

FEAR THE FIN: How stop worrying and love the shootout.

DOBBER HOCKEY: Why getting “the scoop” on your opponents in fantasy hockey is no longer possible.

GREATEST HOCKEY LEGENDS: Joe Pelletier makes the case for the Montreal Canadiens to retire Guy Lapointe’s number 5.

NHL Morning Rumor Roundup – November 4, 2013.

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The latest on Jonas Hiller,  David Desharnais, Jordin Tootoo, Nikita Nikitin, Joey MacDonald and more.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers will “hotly pursue” Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller when he becomes a free agent next summer if Devan Dubnyk doesn’t work out this season. He also reports the Detroit Red Wings are shopping Jordin Tootoo in hopes of recalling Gustav Nyquist, while the Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to move Nikita Nikitin in order to promote Tim Erixon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Hiller hits next summer’s UFA market the Oilers better be prepared to open the vault for him. He’s making $4.5 million this season and could seek over $6 million per on the open market…Tootoo’s been available since the summer but so far no takers. Nikitin’s struggles and his $2.15 million contract makes him tough to move right now.

Could David Desharnais become trade bait?

Could David Desharnais become trade bait?

RDS.CA: Francois Gagnon reported on the struggles of Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais, who has yet to score this season and has only one goal in his last 30 games. Gagnon suggests Desharnais’ poor offense combined with his expensive salary makes him tough to move via trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some critics are comparing Desharnais to Scott Gomez during his tenure with the Habs.   While Desharnais’ salary isn’t as expensive as Gomez’s was, an average cap hit of $3.5 million is still a big chunk to pay a center who has only one point in 15 games this season.  He’s also got three more years after this one on that contract. The Canadiens cannot get much cap relief by burying him in the minors, and they’ve used up their two compliance buyouts.  Even if they offered to pick up half Desharnais’ salary, I doubt they find any takers, certainly not while he’s mired in his slump. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames goalie Joey MacDonald cleared waivers and was demoted to their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Reto Berra plays as well in his upcoming games as he did in his debut Sunday against the Blackhawks, we may have seen the last of MacDonald as a Flame.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff won’t be pressured into making a hasty trade to improve his club.

NHL Canadian Corner – Monday, November 4, 2013.

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Flames rookie goalie Berra blanked the Blackhawks, Senators lose Anderson in OT defeat against Dallas, plus the latest on the other Canadian NHL clubs.

Flames rookie Reto Berra shines in his NHL debut.

Flames rookie Reto Berra shines in his NHL debut.

CALGARY HERALD: Rookie goalie Reto Berra made an impressive NHL debut, turning aside 41 shots as the Flames upset the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1.  3-2

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One game does not a career make, but this was a very strong start for Berra, especially against the defending Stanley Cup champions. It also had an inspirational impact upon his teammates. 

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Despite overcoming a 2-0 deficit the Senators fell 4-3 in a shootout against the Dallas Stars. The Senators also lost starting goalie Craig Anderson, who was forced from the game following a collision with Stars rookie Valeri Nichushkin.  Anderson apparently suffered a stiff neck from the collision.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: After a rough couple of years, things seem to be looking up for Canucks GM Mike Gillis. Since the end of last season he hired John Tortorella as coach, mended fences with goalie Roberto Luongo, added Mike Santorelli, Brad Richardson and Ryan Stanton, and re-signed the Sedin Twins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, so good for Gillis, as the Canucks are off to a better-than-anticipated start.  What could have turned into a train wreck of a season has instead illustrated the Canucks intent to remain among the league’s elite clubs.

TORONTO SUN: With Dave Bolland and Tyler Bozak sidelined indefinitely, it’s now time for Leafs center Nazem Kadri to shine.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens coach Michel Therrien will have Alex Galchenyuk centering Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher in Tuesday’s game against the Blues.

WINNIPEG SUN: Defenseman Keaton Ellerby, claimed off waivers from the LA Kings over the weekend, will make his debut with the Jets tonight when they face the Detroit Red Wings.

EDMONTON SUN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: The floundering Oilers try to find a way to snap out of their early season woes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’d better do it soon. Only a month into this season, their playoff hopes are slipping away.