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01/19/2010

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Cheers,
Alexander


Odd Man IN? A Story of Three Goaltenders in Philly.

01/08/2010
Brian Boucher leading the Flyers out in the 2010 NHL Winter Classic

The term ‘odd man out’ could be used to describe a three headed goalie tandem, but not in the case of the goaltending carousel in Philadelphia.

The Flyers, with Ray Emery ready to return, boast three goaltenders with NHL experience with no defined starter and backup role . These next week games should make the next week in Philly quite interesting.  But for now, we have an odd man in.

Who stays, who goes?  Who starts and who sits?

The team brought Emery in during the off-season to be the number one goaltender. In his first NHL game in over a year, he shut out the Carolina Hurricanes, putting faith in the controversial starter.  At a reasonable 1.5 million cap hit, GM Paul Holmgren played a high risk, high reward gamble with his available space.

That gamble seemed to pay off, until Emery’s 14th start, where he suddenly fell into a massive slump.  The slump would later reveal itself as a torn muscle in his abdomen region, an injury which actually occurred three weeks prior to its announcement.

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Hopefully an End to the Kovalchuck Speculation.

01/05/2010
Atlanta Thrashers v New York Islanders

If you’ve read past work on this situation, where I’ve sited points from Canadian radio or other articles around the blogosphere, you would know that the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes keeps going.

Late last night, via twitter, conversations came up that Kovalchuck and the Thrashers have hit a point in contract talks with most speculating the drama will conclude by week’s end. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN stated in an article on Saturday that the new year would have some critical news in the Kovalchuck endeavors. Well, all signs are pointing to LeBrun’s speculation as accurate.

Supposedly Kovalchuk will sign a deal with the Thrashers worth between 8 million and 11 million per year in the range of a 10-12 years.  This signing would be great news for the  Thrashers organization and bad news for 29 other teams that hoping to acquire the Russian sniper with a tempting package.

Kovalchuck’s agent Jay Grossman and Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell met this weekend during the World Junior Hockey Championships and with the team presenting a deal to Grossman.  Now the decision rests on Kovalchuk’s shoulders.  Does he want to stay in Atlanta, a place he publicly stated he loves?  Do his his fears of relocation trump this supposed love affair?

There are still other scenarios however.

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Looking for a Defenseman?

12/30/2009
Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres

As we approach the midway point of the 2009-10 season in the National Hockey League, many questions remain unanswered.

Which teams are serious about playoff contention?  Who needs a massive upgrade to make the push from a bubble team?  Which team should sell off the year and attempt a mini-rebuild?

Those are some thoughts circulating the League as we take a look at the state of all teams around the NHL.  Now, when perusing through certain rosters some names that could bring in returns which would benefit a team in need of depth.

Today, we look at the defensemen around the NHL likely to be moved by the March 3rd, 2010 trade deadline. As a side note, be sure to tune into “The Hockey Guys” on deadline day as there will be an all day live event with a live chat room for discussion on all the rumors and news as it breaks in the NHL.

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Moves Imminent on Broadway

12/29/2009
New York Rangers v Toronto Maple Leafs

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun recently reported that the New York Rangers are shopping wingers Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins.

The Rangers brought in both players this past off-season to bolster their offense with hopes that they would fit into coach John Tortorella’s system.  GM Glen Sather hoped they would fill holes and perform at levels, but at this point both have vastly disappointed.  Now Sather looks for alternative options to “beef” up his top six in order to gain a bigger presence up front, something Kotalik should provide.

What do I mean?

The Rangers want size in front of the oppositions crease in order to create more traffic to generate more offense.

When the team they signed Marian Gaborik they had one goal in mind: the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Currently, the Rangers sit on the outside looking in, knowing some tweaking in the line up is a must.

Tortorella simply cannot work with the mix of forwards he currently has.  Outside of Gaborik, most of the team fail to put together a consistent effort. We know the personality of Mr. Tortorella, a fiery, intense coach with a limited tolerance.  The team’s current players show they cannot play his system properly.

It is time to make a change.

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Possible Scenarios with Mathieu Schneider Placed on Waivers

12/29/2009
Vancouver Canucks v Montreal Canadiens

Earlier today, the Vancouver Canucks placed veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider on waivers.  Team 1040 AM Vancouver interviewed head coach Alain Vigneault about the team’s recent play and their decision to place him on waivers.

Both the Canucks and Schneider mutually felt waivers was the best route to take.  According to reports the team attempted to trade the veteran for the past month, but there were no buyers.

In this cap constrained era of the new NHL his hefty cap hit of 2.75 million is quite the amount to absorb, so most teams should pass on a waiver claim.  Now, the speculation changes to the veteran getting put on re-entry waivers, in which a team would absorb roughly a 1.25 million cap hit. Let the rumors begin as to which GM decides to pick up the phone and contact Canucks GM Mike Gillis should he place Schneider on re-entry waivers.  As a veteran of 22 seasons and experienced powerplay quarterback, the 40-year-old could help a team in need of depth.

A brief run down as to who might go after his services should he go on re-entry waivers:

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Injuries in Ottawa Force a Trade?

12/26/2009
Ottawa Senators vs Pittsburgh Penguins

The latest from Bruce Garrioch of The Ottawa Sun discusses the injury to Daniel Alfredsson as well as the need to replace his production in the lineup.  After sustaining a hit from Craig Adams on Wednesday, the Senators captain expects to miss a few weeks with a bum shoulder.  The 37-year-old joins pivot Jason Spezza and wing Nick Foligno in the press box as they continue to recover from their own ailments while Chris Neil, Shean Donovan and Pascal Leclaire all returned to the lineup a mere three days ago.

Although center Josh Hennessy initially gets a call up, the rookie definitely is not and will not be the solution.  If this team is to stay within the playoff picture they must make a move quickly and patch the gaping hole in their top six.

Garrioch may be onto something for once with his article.  The controversial reporter discusses the merits of trading for Christopher Higgins or Alexander Frolov, both impending free agents after the season.

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Final Destination: Scott Niedermayer

12/23/2009
Anaheim Ducks v Philadelphia Flyers

Some players around the League find themselves at a career crossroad.  A crossroad with tough decisions to make regarding ongoing speculation of their final season.  Speculation whether to stay on a sinking ship and finish at the bottom of the sea or leaving one’s comfort zone in an attempt to stay on top.  Certainly no easy decision for any player

While Scott Niedermayer ponders his future in hockey he continues another solid year in his famed career.  The same cannot be said for the Anaheim Ducks, who sit 13th in the Western Conference despite coming off a come from behind victory against the Colorado Avalanche.  The team finds themselves as of this writing a mere five points behind the eighth seed.

The asking price for the captain should be reasonable, as he would strictly be a playoff rental.  However, GM Brian Murray can  acquire a potential piece or pieces to build for a brighter future in sunny Anaheim.

A quick look around the league shows there are a few teams in need of Niedermayer’s services. At 37, he still is one of the best defensemen in the game and a huge piece for a few teams looking for that extra push into serious cup contention.

Lets take a closer look at which teams could trade for Niedermayer in order to bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup.  Even though he already carries four Stanley Cup rings to his credit, every player in this league starts the season with one goal in mind.

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Doomsday in Philthadelphia

12/22/2009
Montreal Canadiens v Philadelphia Flyers

The newest question circulating around Flyer nation is…

When will Peter Laviolette step down from being the coach?

Signs of frustration are apparent, and rightfully so.  So, if the fans are that frustrated, you can imagine how the organization must feel.  Replacing a coach usually is the first attempt to  problems within a team. So when the Flyers handed Stevens a pink slip and hired Laviolette quickly signing him to a three-year contract, a fix was expected.

So Flyers nation, we can all understand frustration, but let’s get a grip.  Is there a way for GM Paul Holmgren to right the ship and avoid a season like 2006-07?  Hopefully, but I don’t think it will be either certain or quick.

I caught a story today over at Habs Inside/Out, which they reported a rumor that might make a lot of sense for both clubs involved.  Of course, if this trade was close to happening, it might not go down as such now due to last night’s Flyer game. Regardless, the trade rumored is…

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Add Marty Turco to the Trade Market?

12/22/2009
Calgary Flames v Dallas Stars

The latest live chat by Mike Heika’s Stars Blog reveals interest in Marty Turco by one team that desperately needs help between the pipes: the Philadelphia Flyers.  Turco, an impending free-agent and life-long Star, certainly would seem different outside a Dallas uniform.

As rumors swirl around a possible Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux for Ilya Kovalchuk swap, this reporter feels the Flyers really need to address their goaltending situation.  As successful as the team has been over the years, their one downfall has always been a weak goalie.  Forcing a star player, and most likely rental, to adapt in a couple of months while gutting part of the core to do so.

This year the Flyers play between the pipes struggled mightily.  Between Brian Boucher, Ray Emery and now Michael Leighton the team sports a hefty2.85 GAA and .897 SV%, certainly not statistics you would see on a Stanley Cup contender.

With rumors in Dallas leading to both Turco and Mike Ribeiro exiting the greater state of Texas, the cash strapped Stars may by default go into a full rebuild.  Beleaguered defenseman Braydon Coburn may show some interest as well as other young trade chips Mika Pyorala, David Laliberte or Darroll Powe.

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