Jeff Carter has been the hottest topic of conversation in the NHL the last few weeks. The speculation surrounding Columbus is that General Manager Scott Howson is very much open to making enormous and sweeping changes in the organization. It sounds like he would like to retain his long time captain, Rick Nash, but he did not sugar coat the reality that Jeff Carter is available for a trade.
I don’t think it’s really necessary to talk about the reasons that Carter may be available. They are pretty obvious at this point. The Jackets are dead last by a country mile and their organization is veering dangerously close to being an embarassment. With a massive payroll not living up to expectations, changes must be made. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 »
Heading into the 2011 NHL Entry Draft there are a lot of rumors floating around. This is a look at the biggest names who might be on the block. One of them may be traded. All of them may be traded. None of them may be traded, but they’ve all been put in situations where their names are worth discussing. However, there are ways their teams might retain them, and as a result, more players potentially on the trade block. So on top of the big name guys available, we’ll take a look at the dark horse candidates to be moved, and those who might be on the block because of underperformance or just poor cap value. First up, everyone’s favorite American winger: Read the rest of this entry »
Puck Moving ‘D’ Part 3: Trade Options Cont’d….
Now for the (not-so) thrilling conclusion to my blog series on the Leafs trade targets on the back end. The following are (in my opinion), the top two options Burke will pursue over the coming months if indeed he does go the trade route:
2.) Brent Burns
Dion Phaneuf’s stalwart partner at the World Championship has played with the captain before. That’s the same kind of sentiment we heard from free agents Clarke MacArthur and Colby Armstrong shortly after they were acquired. It seems there is a spot reserved on the bench for ‘friends of Dion’. So far, that hasn’t been a bad thing. MacArthur had a career year in the blue and white, while Colby Armstrong had an injury-laden year. Still, Armstrong became a key part of the club – a heart and soul player whose absences were blatantly obvious. Of course, Burns also brings huge offensive potential to the back end. He is a big man, who would make the Leafs top four one of the largest and most intimidating in the league. His versatility alone is a huge asset that makes him very reminscient of Dustin Byfuglien in that regard. Read the rest of this entry »
For years we’ve been hearing about how the Los Angeles Kings are doing things the right way, and building through the draft. So far, we haven’t seen much of that translate to the on-ice product. They finally cracked the playoffs last year, but were quickly ousted by a much better Vancouver team. This year, things were looking more positive for the Kings rolling into March, but then Anze Kopitar broke his ankle just before the post-season could get underway. The injury crippled the team as much as it did Kopitar. Without their top center, the Kings gave a valiant effort, but ultimately lacked the punch necessary to defeat the San Jose Sharks. Watching that series you got the sense that the Kings through everything they had at the Sharks, and it just wasn’t enough. Still, the work ethic is a good sign of things to come. The Kings will look to work talented rookie Brayden Schenn into next year’s roster, and also replace depth players like Alexei Ponikarovsky with better fits for the team. Many experts suggest the Kings will once again try to be big players in free agency. You have to wonder though, at what point will people realize that Dean Lombardi just is not going to get land the big fish that way. He has failed in three consecutive years, and his priority right now is getting Drew Doughty locked up long term. Regardless, the future looks good for the Kings. Read the rest of this entry »