A New Jet: Winnipeg Claims Miettinen

December 13, 2011

The Winnipeg Jets have stolen away Antti Miettinen from the Tampa Bay Lightning this morning.  Miettinen was playing hockey in Europe this season before signing a two year deal with the Bolts yesterday.  However, because he was playing overseas, he had to clear waivers to join the club.  Many thought that signing him for two years instead of one would scare teams away from claiming him, but the Jets have jumped right back into the waiver wire fold.

This move serves a few purposes.  First and foremost, the Jets have been a very banged up team this year.  With Antropov constantly on the mend and the blueline always in a state of disrepair, the team has looked to add reinforcements on a few occassions.  Miettinen is a guy who can step into multiple roles, and will be able to help the team with any number of injury related deficiencies Read the rest of this entry »


Maurice Fired, Problems Remain

December 7, 2011

Time For A Change...?

Paul Maurice getting fired got pushed to the backburner during the coaching-firing-spree that took place last week.  With the higher profile Bruce Boudreau getting axed as well, Maurice was a bit of an after thought.  In truth, neither firing was truly shocking.  Both teams were struggling, and both coaches had been identified as potential hot seat candidates.  However, because the expectations on Boudreau were greater, and his relationship with league superstar Alexander Ovechkin was growing increasingly strained, his was the more interesting story.

A coaching change might light a fire under ‘The Great 8’.  He might reverse his subpar season and start lighting the lamp like crazy again under the tutelage of Dale Hunter.  No one is going to think George McPhee is a genious if the situation unfolds that way.  It hasn’t to date, but it may yet.  At the end of the day though, Hunter is working with top notch talent.  His job is to come in and be a new voice.  All he has to do is make great players play well.  While the final results expected are extraordinary – nothing less than the Stanley Cup -the immediate task at hand is not a difficult one. Read the rest of this entry »

What Realignment Means for the Leafs

December 6, 2011

Tomas Vokoun Nikolai Kulemin #41 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots on Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Florida Panthers during game action January 5, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

When I first heard about the potential for the NHL to move to the 4-conference format, my initial thought was that this would be a win for the Maple Leafs.  After all, now the Leafs will only have to best three teams to make the playoffs.  Currently, the Leafs would be sitting in 3rd place in their Conference though, which is a little more tenuous than a Leaf fan might have hoped for.  Long term, there are some issues that could dramatically effect the Leafs and their new Conference.

First of all, one needs to look at the young cores that these conference rivals are currently establishing.  The current rosters don’t tell us much, and perhaps give Leaf fans a false sense of hope that making the post-season each year will be easy from here on out.  It would be a little more prudent to look 2-3 year down the road at what kind of teams we might be running into then.  Keep in mind though, it’s impossible to take into account the draft selections these clubs might make this year or next.  While we can assume that those players will take a long 3-5 year road to the NHL, like 95% of all prospects, the potential to pick up a Jeff Skinner could dramatically alter the playing field.  As it stands though, these are the young cores the Leafs and their competition are moving forward with: Read the rest of this entry »

Getting Their Ducks In A Row

November 27, 2011

ESPN is reporting this morning that the Anaheim Ducks may be on the verge of a major shake-up.  They have claimed victory in only one of their past ten starts and seem to be struggling all over the ice.  The slow start is not uncommon for the Ducks, but at this point the slump is getting embarassing.  Even the Columbus Blue Jackets have nearly caught up to them in the standings.  It will take a significant change to shock the Ducks out of their apathetic play.

The fingers first point at the coach, as they always do in professional sports.  However, Randy Carlyle has been nothing but consistent during his time with the Ducks, and the franchise has shown him remarkable loyalty to this point.  On several occassions, he has managed to right the ship after poor stretches, and he does have a Stanley Cup on his resume. Read the rest of this entry »

A Monster Trade?

November 25, 2011

Rumors are swirling that if Jonas Gustavsson continues his strong play, he could be traded when James Reimer is ready to return to the net later next week.  However, ‘Monster’ has been providing solid netminding for the last few games.  In the last two, the Leafs managed to outscore their opposition by a total of 14-2.  Even with Reimer in the net, Leaf fans are not accustomed to blow out wins and top notch save percentages – and certainly not both in the same game.  So if there is interest in Jonas Gustavsson, the return would probably have to be fairly substantial for Burke to be willing to toss away what looks like a very nice insurance policy.

That said, I doubt there are any managers out there willing to deal a lottery pick for a hot-and-cold goaltender like Gustavsson.  Burke was a little late to the party if he wanted Greg Sherman to bite on that kind of deal.  Still, a good prospect or a high pick (2nd rounder) might be enough to entice the Leafs GM. Read the rest of this entry »

Capital Punishment

November 23, 2011

Where Will Alex Semin be Exiled?

I love when blog entries allow you the opportunity to use corny titles.

Paul Bissonette joked recently that Kyle Turris would be punished for holding out on the club by having to play on the 4th line with Biznasty as a winger.  It was said entirely in jest, but we all know that it truly is a punishment.  Turris likely doesn’t care though.  He’ll soon be shipped out of town just as he desired before the whole hold-out story began.  Likely he’ll end up in Ottawa or Calgary – two clubs looking to rebuild on the fly, and thus interested in disgruntled early twenty-something prospects with high potential (see: Nikita Filatov).  It will be a dream come true for the B.C. native; to move from the empty Glendale arena to a raucous, intense, Canadian atmosphere.

Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals might not be so lucky though. Read the rest of this entry »

Miscues in Montreal: Part One

October 25, 2011

Montreal is off to one of their worst starts in many years and the fans are growing impatient to say the least.  Failure is not tolerated for long in Montreal.  To be honest, I am mildly surprised that St.Catherine’s didn’t burn after Saturday’s loss to the Maple Leafs.  It was an overtime heartbreaker with the death blow delivered by the stick of former Hab, Mikhail Grabovski.  The losses are piling up now, and nearly every facet of the team is struggling to find success.

The problem for the Canadiens starts at the top of the chain.  One need only examine the past few years of managerial decisions to figure out how things suddenly got so bad.  Nearly every traded player has helped the opposing team, while the acquired player or draft pick has amounted to nothing in a Habs jersey, or been allowed to walk for nothing.  The problems date all the way back to Bob Gainey.  Allow me to take you through the last few seasons of mishaps with this Top Ten list: Read the rest of this entry »