By Stu Hackel
5 PM: Well, let’s try to wrap this up. Not many trades. The biggest news might be who didn’t get moved and not just Nash. Also lots of guys rumored to be moving stayed up, which speaks to our general thinking about rumors. (Cue Marvin Gaye singing “People say believe half of what you see, son, and none of what you hear” From “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.”) But the Vancouver-Buffalo deal, Hodgson for Kassian was a big one, and because the players are so young, it may have reverberations for seasons to come.
We’ll let the dust settle here and take a look at this whole thing tomorrow here on Red Light and see what has changed, what hasn’t and what it might mean. Thanks for hanging with us, and lots of you did. It was fun.
4:46 PM: New NYR defenseman/forward/pugalist John Scott says (per Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune tweet). “I thought I’d be the last person to get traded. I’m excited to go to New York but also sad to leave Chicago. I just had a baby a couple of months ago. It will be tough to pack up and leave everything.”
4:44 PM: NHLN’s E.J. Hradek tweets, “Howson comment likely spurred by the Saturday remarks by Nash agent Joe Resnick, which was an effort 2 squeeze the team into making deal now”
4:42 PM: SI’s Sarah Kwak tweets, “Howson admitting Nash asked for trade opens up more options for trade later. Nash won’t nix very much to get outta there now.”
4:32 PM: Quite a statement by Scott Howson that Rick Nash asked to be traded. Never heard that before, in fact, the thinking was Nash would never make that request. Now Nash has to be captain of a team that he wanted to leave? Jeez, that’s not a good situation.
4:29 PM: For Red Wings fans, George Malik of Kukla’s Korner linked to GM Ken Holland interview http://dlvr.it/1FlmRy
4:25 PM: Howson won’t say how many teams made offers for Nash, only that he had “substantial” discussions today. “The price was high. I don’t apologize for that. It had to be high.”
4:21 PM: Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson addressing media says they made big steps this week. Regarding Nash, he had approached the CBJ to consider trading him. Howson said what was offered was not in team’s best interest. “We will continue to keep all our options open to improve our hockey club in the coming months.”
4:19 PM: Pittsburgh GM Shero: “We were not active today. Nobody going, nobody coming. Our roster is our roster going forward”
4:15 PM: Chicago GM Stan Bowman on Oduya: “His style really fits in with what we do here.”
4:14 PM: From Mike Farber: “The Winnipeg Jets took a piece off their roster in D-man Johnny Oduya, but he is able to walk as a UFA after the season. Great pick-up of a pair of draft choices. Winnipeg is in a unique position. The Jets are playing with house money. Maybe they make the playoffs. Maybe not. But in either case, they gave added nicely to their inventory. “
4:10 PM You can’t discount the fact that the deals that have been made earlier this month have had an impact. Nor can you dismiss the ongoing importance of the salary cap in keeping some teams from making deals, and the financial restrictions other teams have.
4:08 PM: Plus, some teams did make some very interesting moves that change their team going forward. And more will be done around the draft.
4:04 PM: There are 14 trades confirmed so far today, certainly less than some of the crazier days in the last few years. Lots of talk that the day is overhyped (Jay Feaster just said that in his press conf. and Brian Burke has implied it as well), that there are too many teams asking for unrealisitic prices, over valuing players, which is why the deals don’t get made. But it’s also about parity in the league, GMs not wanting to break up the chemistry on their teams.
3:59 PM: VAN made a minor league deal, too, acquiring right wing Andrew Gordon from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenceman Sebastien Erixon.
3:54 PM: Duthie now interviewing Kassian and he’s shocked too. But he’s excited to go to a Cup contender.
3:51 PM: The most common reaction to Hodgson being traded is shock. Hodgson himself, now being interviewed on TSN, seems a bit shocked. James Duthie on TSN says its hard to recall a player who was in the discussion for Rookie of the Year being traded during the season.
3:47 PM: Could be the Staios to VAN deal did not take place.
3:46 PM: Marc Crawford calls Kassian the best power-forward outside of the NHL. Well, now he’ll be in the NHL. Aaron Ward says he’s the answer to the Bruins Milan Lucic.
3:43 PM: TSN panelists say that Hodgson, who was under extreme scrutiny and he wasn’t going to move Daniel Sedin or Ryan Kesler from the top two lines and didn’t really work as a skilled center on the third line. From a VAN perspective, this gives VAN some of the toughness that critics say they have lacked.
3:40 PM: Adrian Dater tweets, “Why in the world did the Canucks trade Cody Hodgson?” Ray Ferraro on TSN says VAN is getting “a rumbling bull.”
3:35 PM: The Isles sent Steve Staios to VAN for a sixth round pick and the Canucks may not be done yet. Stay tuned. TSN says Zach Kassian to BUF for Cody Hodgson. Miller on TSN calls it “an earthquake in Vancouver.” Hodgson is a former first round pick, Kassian has had a big year in the AHL, and McKenzie calls him an impact player. Hodgson, who in VAN was considered a big part of the Canucks future, will now be a big part of the Sabres’ future.
3:29 PM: The Bruins sent Steven Kampfer in the deal for the Wild’s Greg Zannon.
3:28 PM: Adam Proteau of The Hockey News tweets, “Can’t wait to see Rick Nash’s Emmy-winning portrayal of a Walking Dead zombie for the rest of the season.”
3:26 PM: Minor league deal between Leafs and Ducks: Dale Mitchell to ANA, Mark Fraser to TOR.
3:22 PM: Looks as if the Sabres did get the first round pick they sought for Gaustad from NAS.
3:19 PM: TSN says Rangers gave CHI a fifth round pick. McKenzie adds that there’s a VAN trade that is being processed by the league.
3:15 PM: LeBrun says CBJ GM Scott Howson confirmed Nash did not move. Seeing on Twitter the Rangers may have gotten John Scott, the huge fighting defenseman/ forward from Chicago. Really? Not a particularly good skater. Guess the Rangers don’t have enough fighters on their roster.
3:13 PM: TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted, “Don’t know details, but indications are NYR made a mammoth offer for Rick Nash today and CBJ declined.”
3:10 PM: Here is one late deals that seem to go down: The Bruins also pick up defenseman Greg Zannon, a good shotblocker. TSN now confirms it.
3:09 PM: Pierre LeBrun on TSN saying that lots of expected names did not move because the prices were high. He says Derek Roy did not move.
3:03 PM: Looks like Paul Gaustad has been traded to Nashville, but no word yet on what the Sabres get in return. Great move for NAS adding depth in the middle. Marc Crawford on TSN says this deal will help NAS match up against the bigger centers in the West playoffs.
3 PM: That siren goes and that’s the deadline BUT be reminded that it’s likely deals will still come in. Could be a lot of them as the NHL processes the trades done in the recent period. Stay tuned.
2:58 PM: Lots of tweets that the B’s have picked up Brian Rolston from the Isles in a trade. It’s Rolston and Mike Mottau to BOS for propects.
2:52 PM: The Canadiens were thought by some to be big sellers today, but Pat Hickey of The Montreal Gazette tweets, “With 12 minutes to go,
#Habs bus loading up. Looks like the dealin’s done.”
2:48 PM: Sam Carchidi of Philly Inquirer tweets: “Source:
#Flyers are officially out of the Nash Sweepstakes.”
2:45 PM: ESPN and TSN’s Pierre LeBrun tweets “Sharks and Blue Jackets talked again on Nash but price didn’t change: Couture as part of package. No-go.”
2:42 PM: Two thoughts from Mike Farber: “Has a player ever fallen as fast as Keith Aulie? From first-pair defenseman with Dion Phaneuf in Toronto to out the door.” And on VAN getting Pahlsson: “Terrific move by Vancouver GM Mike Gillies. The Swede from Red Deer, as ex-Ducks GM Brian Burke called him during 2007 Cup run, bolsters the Canucks fourth line, especially with Manny Malhotra’s decline because of the eye injury. The type of small move that can help you win a Stanley Cup.”
2:39 PM: RDS Renaud Lavoie tweets, “
#canadiens did not ask Tomas Plekanec to waive is no trade clause today.”
2:37 PM: Mike Harrington of Buffalo News tweets, “We’re inside the final 30 minutes of the deadline. Something HAS to happen with
#Sabres. Can’t imagine them actually standing pat.”
2:35 PM: Interviewd on SportsNet, Sami Pahlsson says it’s been very wierd in the CBJ dressing room with all the talk about Nash being moved.
2:33 PM: TSN’s Darren Dreger tweets: “Nash said to be almost emotionally drained by this process. Probably a fair bit of frustration as well.”
2:31 PM: Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo tweets: “Pressure’s on Howson now. Do suitors meet his demands, or does he cave to theirs?”
2:26 PM: Vancouver Sun’s Cam Cole, responding to a tweet that observed Sami Pahlsson seem depressed when speaking about his deal from CBJ to VAN, tweeted: “Who wouldn’t be depressed going from No. 30 team in NHL to No. 1? “
2:23 PM: Adrian Dater of SI.com and (his full time gig) Denver Post tweets of SJ-COL deal: “Galiardi is called “gem” of the deal on TSN. If this were two years ago, I’d agree”
2:20 PM: Ken Holland spoke earlier about one of his d-men being a bit banged up and it turns out to be Nick Lidstrom, who is day-t0-day with a bruise. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press said he came limping into the Joe today.
2:15 PM: About 45 minutes left and we could see the final rush of trades. Could get crazy. Eight trades so far and what usually happens is that lots of the trades now being worked on won’t get reported until after the 3 PM deadline because NHL Central Registry has to process all the info to make sure the trades are legit.
2:12 PM: ESPN Boston’s Jimmy Murphy tweets: “Bruins targets falling off the board fast. Pahlsson to VAN and Oduya to CHI.”
2:08 PM: The other end of the Brian Lee to TB deal is Matt Gilroy, former Rangers d-man, goes to Ottawa.
2:o6 PM: Sharks are Jamie McGinn sending prospects to Avs for Winnick and Galliardi. Johnny Oduya going to the Hawks from the Jets, and that’s the defenseman they’ve been looking for in Chicago. He’s a rental, but they need help there.
2:04 PM: TSN’s Bob McKenzie says the Canucks have gotten Sami Pahlsson from CBJ
2 PM: TSN saying Brian Lee goes from Ottawa to the Lightning. The TSN panelists note lots of D-men are moving today, three to TB alone. Also Gord Miller confirms what they were saying on SportsNet earlier today, that the Nash deal is not yet dead, with both NYR and Nash pushing to get something done.
1:56 PM: TSN says Winnick and T.J. Galliardi and a low draft pick are going to San Jose, but they don’t know who’s coming back to COL. TSN panelists say this brings some size to the Sharks. Logan Couture is getting banged around so these guys could help provide some protection and upgrades their depth.
1:54 PM: Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger tweets: “Aulie played for Guy Boucher during the world juniors in Ottawa.”
1:51 PM: TSN’s Bob McKenzie says the Sharks are closing in on forward Daniel Winnik of the Avs.
1:46 PM: On TSN, Pierre McGuire says the swap of Aulie for Ashton addresses oranizational needs for both teams building for the future. David Shoats of Globe & Mail tweets, “Trading Aulie signals Burke likes Leafs’ depth on D. They have Jesse Blacker, Korbinian Holzer on farm. Ashton a Burke-type, big forward.”
1:44 PM: From Mike Farber on the Canadiens’ earlier claiming Brad Staubitz off waivers: “Brad Staubitz is unquestionably tough and always willing but extremely limited as a winger. Gives the Montreal smurf forwards some protection, which means the waiver claim could be a precursor to moving potential UFA Travis Moen – despite GM Pierre Gauthier having said Moen is not on the market.”
1:42 PM: Rich Chere of Newark Star-Ledger tweets: “Devils seem to be counting on return of Travis Zajac from sore Achilles rather than give up top prospects to get Steve Ott.”
1:37 PM: TSN reporting Leafs trading Keith Aulie to the Lightning, Carter Ashton is coming the other way. Aulie is considered a certain future NHLer. Ashton, son of ex-NHLer Brent Ashton, is a former first rounder. Both players currently in the AHL.
1:31 PM: Chris Botta tweets, “As you’d expect, very little being offered for Isles’ senior Ds and Fs. Still, 1 or 2 could go to make room for Bport kids. Logical.”
1:26 PM: John Shannon of SportsNet tweets: “Canes confirm that Bryan Allen is off the market. Will not be traded…that means Spacek will go.” TSN’s Bob McKenzie had the Allen off the market story earlier and Elliotte Friedman of CBC tweeted: “Sounds like Spacek time is coming soon.”
1:23 PM: Lots of talk on Twitter that Schultz is very shaken by his trade to the Oilers. He’s been something of a warrior in MIN, a big part of their team and big in their room.
1:19 PM: Ansar Kahn of MLive papers in Michigan tweets “The Stuart to Rangers rumor is ridiculously false. Holland just confirmed to us he is NOT being traded.” Well, Zip said it was a rumor and unconfirmed. Can’t be more clear than that. Best not traffic in rumors at all, I guess.
1:15 PM: Ken Holland on TSN said one of his D-men is banged up and won’t play next game. That casts some doubt on the Brad Stuart rumor. Especially with Commodore now gone.
1:09 PM: In the unconfirmed rumor department, Steve Zipay of Newsday tweets: “Hearing rumor of Det D Brad Stuart to NYR for picks. Unconfirmed.” Stuart is a pending UFA and supposedly wants to sign with a Western Conf. team because his family still is in California. He’s be a rental, for sure. Could be he’s in play but you’d the Wings would need to bring in a veteran D-man from somehwere if he moves.
1:03 PM: Gilbert will fill in for what Marek Zidlicky did (Zidlicky traded to NJ last week), and as Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal tweets: “With (Jeff) petry emergence gilbert expendable. Gilbert born in minneapolis.”
1 PM: This is a deal of an offensive D-man (Gilbert) for a defensive D-man (Schultz). Oilers certainly need D. Wild need to generate more offense.
12:58 PM: Looks like Nick Schultz going the other way to EDM for Gilbert.
12:53 PM: Neil Smith — who has been in the SportsNet war room with three other ex-NHL GMs — tweets that Tom Gilbert has been traded from EDM to MIN. Adds shortly after that deal “… will happen very very soon.”
12:51 PM: TSN’s Dreger tweets “Stars telling teams Ott won’t be traded unless a “great” deal is offered. So much interest in him…could happen”
12:45 PM: Commodore deal confirmed, for a conditional late round pick. No one too overwhelmed by that one, esp. since Kyle Quincey just came to DET. Farber IM’s: “Worst part of the Mike Commodore-to-Lightning deal? We don’t get to see his playoff beard.”
12:42 PM: Twitter rumors that Mike Commodore has been traded from DET to TBL.
12:40 PM: Asked on Twitter if he’d trade Stephen Weiss a lifetime supply of Tim Hortons, Miami Herald’s George Richards replied, “yes. thats why I’m not a GM.”
12:38 PM: Ferraro and McGuire agree that Burke could in fact make a deal before 3 PM, despite Burke’s statements to the contrary. McGuire calls Burke “a good poker player.”
12:35 PM: Ray Ferraro on TSN calls the Sharks an “abolutle mess…Doug Wilson’s got to do something.” They’ve had a terrible road trip. TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweets: “Crazy quiet right now but I suspect it will pick up. BUF’s Derek Roy strikes me as a significant name likely to move.”
12:32 PM: On TSN, they’re talking about the Blackhawks, how much they need to make a deal. Same needs as identified before, another D-man, second line center. Pierre McGuire says the reason there have been so few moves so far league-wide is the asking prices are too high
12:30 PM: On SportsNet, Nick Kyprios thinks NYR pitch for Nash is not dead, Scott Morrison reminds that CBJ GM Howson doesn’t have to move Nash, John Shannon thinks Sharks will make a run for him. So these guys still believe trade of Nash is possible.
12:24 PM: ESPN Boston’s Jimmy Murphy tweets: “With regards to Johnny Oduya possibly being dealt to Bruins, remember that Oduya played for Claude Julien in NJ.”
12:21 PM: The Jets claimed Grant Clitsome off waivers from Columbus.
12:19 PM: Steve Ott, just on TSN, says he doesn’t want to leave Dallas. Also said he loves the TSN show, makes him laugh.
12:15 PM: Players on waivers who cleared include NYI’s Brian Rolston, NJD’s Eric Boulton, CBJ Ryan Russell and CGY Krys Kolanos.
12:11 PM: TOR GM Burke tells TSN he has nothing on the front burner or the back burner. Repeats Grabovski won’t be traded, goalie trades don’t make sense.
12:09 PM: TSN’s Dreger tweets: Wpg claims Clitsome off waivers. Still considering the multiple offers on Oduya. Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington tweets: “Three
#Capitals (Roman Hamrlik, Mike Knuble, Tomas Vokoun) say they have not asked to be traded. Hamrlik, Knuble seem open to the idea.“
12:04 PM: Brad Staubitz, on re-entry waivers from MIN was claimed by Montreal. Today is the last day a player can be claimed on waivers and still play in the playoffs. Not that the Habs are making the playoffs…
12 Noon: NBC and SI’s Pierre McGuire on his old haunt TSN says while Steve Ott would fit great in VAN, he doubts Dallas ownership is inclinded to make a deal with VAN. Old friction between those two and DAL could play VAN in first round, wouldn’t want Ott on the other side of that.
11:57 AM: One of TSN’s many panels talking about VAN and how reluctant they are to trade Cory Schneider, although they do need a D-man. Marc Crawford says Schneider a big part of team chemistry in the room (and adds he’s like a third Sedin, even looks like one of them).
11:54 AM: Reader Ryan Watson asks if we’ve heard any FLA rumors. Hope they’ll add a scorer. The Panthers hockey dept. is very good at keeping things quiet. Their trades last week (Wolski and Smithson) were done very quietly. Truth is, I find rumors are so often false that they’re hard to take seriously. Exhibit A: Rick Nash to Rangers.
11:50 AM: Burke also said it’s unlikely he’ll extend Grabovksi and that he had an offer for Reimer that he turned down. (Sorry for the delay, been having software issues here sometimes today. Grrrr.). Cam Cole of Vancouver Sun tweets: “Still gobsmacked that there was (a) an offer for James Reimer and (b) one so crappy that Brian Burke would turn it down flat. Flat!
11:42 AM: TOR GM Brian Burke says on Sportsnet cast of Lupul’s wrist at practice today is a soft cast and it’s a “minor” injury. Also indicated support for his goalies, which he always does, sometimes to his detriment. Marty McSorley on SN thinks Burke shopped but price for goalies too high.
11:40 AM: On Sportsnet, Craig Patrick, now an advisor for CBJ said thery’re in no rush to trade Nash.
11:39 AM: Steve Zipay of Newsday tweets, “Brandon Dubinsky: “I’m pretty confident that at 3:01, I will be a New York Ranger”
11:38 AM: Jimmy Murphy of ESPN Boston tweets, “With regards to rumors of Ryan Malone to Boston, if that happens, Boston needs to move roster player back. They have no 2nd or 4th rd picks”
11:35 AM: Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette tweets, “Don’t know if Shero can make it happen, but ya know who would look great in a Penguins sweater? Kate Upton.“
11:31 AM: E.J. Hradek believes the Wild will be sellers and goalie Josh Harding could be a major asset for them to deal.
11:29 AM: Philly Daily News Frank Seravalli tweeted a bit ago: “Will the Flyers go after a third goaltender? Sources say no” and he wrote about PHI’s plans today here http://bit.ly/xjeUVo
11:21 AM: SportsNet’s John Shannon believes the Isles and Naboklov won’t be signing a deal today, but they are not trading him regardless.
11:18 AM: From NHLN’s E.J. Hradek, this tweet: “(Ryan) Smyth wants to stay in EDM and they want to keep him”
11:15: AM: TSN’s Dreger tweets “Wpg considering the interest expressed in Oduya. Boston among the teams in the hunt. Bruins also in on Avs David Jones.”
11:14 AM: There’s buzz the Isles are negotiating to keep Nabokov, but about an hour ago, there was lots on twitter that the Isles won’t extend P.A. Parenteau, which means he’d be available.
11:06 AM: On Sportsnet, they’re talking to Sens GM Bryan Murray, who says he’ll use Lehner and Auld for now until Anderson comes back, and he’ll talk to Bishop when he arrives in Ottawa today. My guess is he’ll go to Binghamton (AHL)
11:03 AM: Sure enough, Kevin Allen of USA Today tweeted the Red Wings are out of the Gaustad hunt. Presumably the price is too high.
11 AM: Earlier today Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun tweeted: “Sabres said to be looking for a first rounder for Gaustad, who has zero career playoff goals.” He may not move if that’s the price.
10:55 AM: And more from Farber: “The fans in Montreal are disappointed that the Canadiens merely received a second-rounder for Andrei Kostitsyn. They were hoping the club would pry the rights for Alexander Radulov, who left Nashville for the KHL. Radulov is a former star of the QMJHL Quebec Remparts, playing for Patrick Roy. In their irrational exuberance, fans were already connecting the dots to Roy coming to Montreal as a coach.”
10: 50 AM: More from Farber: “According to the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran, Rick Dudley, one of the coterie of assistant Maple Leafs GM, left a conference room at the team offices to go to the washroom. On the way, he turned to the waiting group of reporters and said, “I can’t believe we got Stamkos.” Good one, eh?
10:45: The Kostitysn deal is done, first of the day. Andrei to Nashville for a second round pick in 2013 plus the return of the pick the Habs gave Nashville in the Hal Gill trade. Mike Farber IM’s, “Andrei Kostitsyn and Sergei Kostitsyn did not exactly thrive when they played together in Montreal – the night has a thousand eyes – but maybe the chemistry works better in Nashville, with the Predators on the brink of sealing the deal for Big Brother, a Canadiens UFA. Andrei had said he wanted to stay in Montreal.”
10 AM: Good morning from SI.com’s nerve center of NHL trade deadline activity, our live blog coming at you from my home office. Once again, surrounded by TV, live streaming internet, satellite radio, Twitter feeds and, yes, even a telephone, we’ll try to keep you up on what’s going down, who’s going where and what it all means. TSN (simulcast on the NHL Network) and SportsNet have gone live at 8 AM with their coverage and casts of thousands, and they’re all hoping it won’t be like last year when things didn’t really start happening until the afternoon. Last year, however, lots of deals took place in the three weeks prior to the deadline, and that didn’t happen this year, so it may not be a slow day. Keep checking back as this blog will be continually updated throughout the day.
Not much movement happened over the weekend (below are some thoughts on moves that were made), but the early talk on TSN this morning was that it looked as if Rick Nash was not going to be moved today, that the Blue Jackets were not hearing offers that were big enough to sway them from surrendering their captain and, unless someone comes up with a big enough package of players, prospects and picks, he would be staying with Columbus for the rest of the season. The thinking was that they’d conduct an auction for him again around the draft, when teams would be more likely to offer more. Then, agent Joe Resnick told TSN that Nash — who has a no movement clause in his contract — wouldn’t be expanding the short list of teams he’d agree to go to in the offseason, the clear implication being that his client didn’t want to drag this process out, that he was impatient to get on with his career now — and play for a team that is going to the playoffs. But a deal like this has to work for everyone and what the Jackets have heard up until now isn’t working for them.
SI’s Mike Farber, who is on the set at TSN and will be sending his thoughts to us during the day, had this one this morning: “Just asking. What’s better: Rick Nash, The Brand or Rick Nash, The Player?”
One of the better guys covering the NHL is Yahoo’s Nicholas J. Cotsonika, and if things stay slow, you may want to read his latest column where he’s got some thoughts on Nash and other things related to the deadline here.
One of the stranger stories over the weekend was a report out of Montreal over CTV from Tony Marinaro, who is a TSN 990 Radio host, that Canadiens owner Geoff Molson had taken control of hockey decisions away from GM Pierre Gauthier (you can see that report here). That created a bit of a firestorm – after all, to replace or demote the GM in the period approaching the deadline seems insane. Not that there haven’t been some strange moves in Montreal this season, but this one would be beyond strange considering that Gauthier had likely been in discussions with other clubs for weeks on possible deals. Of course, there are all sorts of rumors (or rumours, as they spell it in Canada) that Gauthier (and Bob Gainey, the senior advisor who is, many believe, the power behind the throne) will be replaced when the season ends, and if that is true, the thinking goes, why would Molson keep Gauthier around to make decisions now if he doesn’t trust him with the club’s future?
SI’s Mike Farber, who lives in Montreal and watches what goes on there as closely as anyone, IM’ed this thought on the situation this morning: “The biggest upset of the day is Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier still is able to make trades. From firing assistant coach Perry Pearn on a game day to get coach Jacques Martin’s attention, to his firing of Martin and being tone deaf to the linguistic vagaries of Montreal and promoting Randy Cunneyworth, to trading Mike Cammalleri during an intermission, to taking on a toxic contract in Tomas Kaberle, Gauthier has badly stubbed his toe.”
All true. Well, Molson went on Twitter Saturday night to refute Tony Marinaro’s report, and he spoke to Bob McKenzie of TSN to say that nothing had changed in the Canadiens’ chain of command from the beginning of the season. Probably the most salient comment on the whole thing came from The Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs who tweeted, “I’d have to think Geoff Molson has veto power on EVERY #Habs decision. He signs cheques on behalf of himself & his partners.”
Andrei Kostitsyn’s name is blowing in the trade winds this morning, with rumor he’s bound for Nashville to join his brother Sergie. There have also been whispers that the Habs might be willing to part with Tomas Plekanec, who is a very good player when he’s at his best, and would be a perfect second line center for a contending team searching for that kind of guy to play behind a dominant top center. But Pat Hickey blogged over the weekend on The Gazette’s Hockey Inside Out blog that Plekanec’s agent said he had not been approached about waiving his no trade clause.
On TSN, they’re talking about teams (the Maple Leafs above all) who might be looking for goalies and the Islanders’ Evgeni Nabokov being a possible target for them. We wrote in our preview to the Trade Deadline that we don’t think Nabokov is going anywhere, that he’s the best goalie in the Isles’ system and you don’t want to mess up all that young talent up front by having them always losing games due to porous goaltending. Our guess is teams will have to look elsewhere for goalies.
One goalie was dealt over the weekend: Big Ben Bishop went to Ottawa, a good move for depth in that position for the Senators since Craig Anderson hurt himself in a kitchen accident. The word is he cut a finger while cooking. Anyway, Alex Auld, Anderson’s backup, hasn’t really played well in the Sens’ estimation and, like Anderson, he’s an older guy. Ottawa has young Robin Lehner (in fact he beat the Islanders over the weekend), but adding another young goalie helps.
From Michael Farber: Bryan Murray might have run the Ottawa Senators into a ditch, but he’s doing a nifty job of pulling them out. Ben Bishop is a cheap, short-term solution to the Craig Anderson conundrum. The pituitary goalie took short money — $660,000 — in exchange for a one-way contract. Bishop should benefit working with goalie coach Rick Wamsley, who had him in St. Louis. As Wamsley once told me, “You can’t coach size.” Bishop is 6-7.
I saw Bishop play when he was a junior with the Texas Tornado of the North American Hockey League and figured he’d be a natural in his hometown of St. Louis. But the surprise play of ex-Sens goalie Brian Elliott in tandem with Jaro Halak made him expendable. He’s out of contract after this season and the Blues got a second-rounder in return, not a bad deal for the Blues.
A few other transactions of note took place over the weekend. The Devils, who had been seeking a skilled member for their banged-up defense corps, acquired 35-year-old Marek Zidlicky from Minnesota, trading defenseman Kurtis Foster, minor league forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux and two draft picks. While Foster’s big shot helped the Devils power play this season, Zidlicky is a better skater and passer and should help advance the puck to the Devils’ talented forwards. Foster is a pending free agent. Zidlicky has a year left on his deal. There’s lots of talk that his shot from the point will replace Foster’s, but Mike Russo of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote that Zidlicky is “not the same player of a few years ago. He doesn’t compete the same, and he certainly doesn’t shoot the same. My theory: I think that separated shoulder last season took a toll on Zidlicky. He hasn’t looked the same since, he hasn’t shot the puck the same way since. His zip is missing, and he doesn’t trust it. But he’ll be playing with some talented guys in Jersey in Parise, Kovalchuk, Elias, etc., etc.”
The Panthers picked up Wojtek Wolski, who had been unable to crack the Rangers’ lineup, for a minor leaguer and a future draft pick. The Panthers hope Wolski can recapture the form that has seen him top the 20-goal mark twice earlier in his career and they got immediate results when he scored with less than two minutes left in regulation on Saturday to force overtime in a game the Panthers won 3-2 in the postgame skills competition. Carolina had led 2-0 after two periods. From the Rangers’ standpoint, there is some thought that getting Wolski off the books creates $3.8 million in salary cap space for a bigger deal that’s yet to be made. But, as we wrote above, that might not be Rick Nash, at least not today.
The Panthers also got Jerred Smithson from Nashville on Friday and he helped on Wolski’s late goal, driving the Carolina net and creating a little distraction for goalie Justin Peters. Smithson is a solid checking center who is good on faceoffs. The Panthers continue to pick up interesting players from elsewhere, as they’ve done since the offseason. Florida is clearly set on making a run at their first playoff spot since 2000. These two deals give them some admirable depth. They’ve missed some important players in recent games due to injury — John Madden, Marcel Goc, Marco Sturm, Scottie Upshall and Dmitry Kulikov among them — and some could return shortly.
When they are healthy again, Florida’s group of cast-offs should remain in the hunt to the end for the Southeast Division title, which may be the only way a team from that dubious group will make the postseason.
The Canucks put Keith Ballard, who is concussed, on Long Term Injured Reserve, which freed up his $4.2 million from the salary cap. Cam Cole of The Vancouver Sun tweeted “Ballard injury described as ‘upper salary.’ Out indefinitely.” It gives Vancouver some flexibility today and Ballard could return for the playoffs when the salary cap limitations are not in force.
The Caps also have put Nick Backstrom on their LTIR. That’s bad news for the Caps, and they’ll have to replace him somehow for the stretch run. Won’t be easy.
And on TSN, Dave Hodge isn’t on the set. He and Mike Farber apparently ate at the same restuarant last night. Farber IM’ed us saying, “Told him not to order the California roll.”
And the Islanders placed veteran Brian Rolston on waivers. The 39-year-old hasn’t scored a goal since late December and was scratched for five straight games a few weeks ago. Because his contract was signed after he turned 35, his $5 million salary will still count against the cap if he clears waivers and the Devils send him to the AHL so the Islanders are not in danger of dropping under the cap floor.
So, before the day’s trades start coming in, let’s have a song. Here’s a little tune about making deals, inspired by the one-time Rangers radio announcer Monty Hall, who later gained fame by hosting one of the most ridiculous things ever on TV. The late Steve Goodman wrote this with Jimmy Buffett.
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