Monday, February 27, 2012

And introducing Scott Howson as the bus driver, sort of, kind of

The deadline day came and went and with it so did Rick Nash's hopes for a playoff run in 2012.

The Columbus captain, who was subject to the bulk of the speculation all day long, did not move to a contender but the 3 PM ET deadline.

The Blue Jackets apparently not enamoured of any of the would be offers to move Nash, instead it seems that they will now wait until the NHL draft when some more participants to the Nash sweepstakes may appear.

However, make no doubt about it, Rick Nash most likely is in his last season as a Blue Jacket, especially after the Blue Jackets GM threw him under the bus with his comments that will paint the captain as a man desperate to leave Ohio, perhaps hockey's equivalent of LeBron James in that state and we all remember how that whole scenario went.

For his part, the Blue Jackets captain won't be particularly impressed with his GM for effectively trying to paint him as the bad guy on the sinking ship known as the Blue Jackets.

In a battle of Public Relations however, Howson may have overplayed his hand, as this article in the Columbus Dispatch prior to the day's activities suggests, Nash has been considered a loyal soldier on behalf of Columbus, the fact that he wants out tells most more about the dysfunction in the upper reaches of the Blue Jacket operation.

Now that he's in a holding pattern until at least the June draft, it will be interesting to see how things evolve in Columbus, with that evolution and dependent on whether there's new management in place after the season at least one hockey observer suggests Nash may yet remain a Blue Jacket.

Doug McLean, one time GM of the Blue Jackets, appearing on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown and offered up the idea that Nash has been the prototype team guy in Columbus since he arrived in Ohio.

In his opinion, if there's a new GM in place after the season he might have a chance to convince Nash that the future in Columbus isn't as dire as he surely feels it must be today.

Howson's post trade press conference was covered from a number of locations, NBC Sports provided some of the capsule reviews of the corporate view and much of it was negative to the organization itself, as opposed to Nash

It's just the start of the post mortem on the Nash sweeps and if you're Scott Howson, you're not using google for the next few days.

CBC-- Nash wanted out of Columbus, Jackets GM says
Globe and Mail-- Blue Jackets GM reveals Nash asked for trade
National Post-- Rick Nash demanded trade: Blue Jackets GM
Winnipeg Free Press-- Rick Nash asked for a trade, but Blue Jackets say no one met their price
Yahoo Sports-- Howson tosses Rick Nash under the C-bus, reveals captain's trade demand
ESPN-- GM: Rick Nash wanted to be traded

Deadline Day 2012 At the final buzzer

The 3 PM deadline arrives and while a few deals are dribbling in, the big deal never materialized, as no word came out of Columbus that Rick Nash was on the move.

Our Trading Post listings show that there were nine deals announced prior to the 3 PM ET Noon PT cut off, though deals that were still in the works were still to be outlined.

Deals still to be consummated as the buzzer went at both TSN and Sportsnet included the following.

3 PM, Noon-- Buffalo sends Paul Gaustad to Nashville, adding some more depth to an already strong Predators line up.

Pierre Lebrun offers up some background on the Predators acquisition of Gaustad and offers up the hint that Vancouver may still have something to announce in a few moments.

3:11 PM ET, 12:13 PT, Boston picks up Greg Zanon from Minnesota, adding some more depth to their D corps.

Sportsnet heads back to Columbus to try to gauge the disappointment level there in the Nash camp, as his wish to be moved did not come to resolution on deadline day, the consensus is that Nash won't surrender his C or any such thing at the moment. The Blue Jackets GM is set to hold a press conference, where it is imagined he will outline how things progressed through the day today.

3:15 ET, 12:15 PT Chicago trades away defenceman John Scott to the Rangers for a 5th round pick.

Sportsnet's panel wonders why Montreal, Washington, Carolina and Calgary didn't do more to give their fans some hope for the present and the future. They also touch on how some of the struggling teams financially such as St. Louis and Phoenix had to sit back and watch the developments without any chance of participating.

3:25 PM ET, 12:35 PT, TSN has news of a minor deal between the Leafs and the Ducks, with Dale Mitchell destined for Duckland and Mark Fraser to join the Leafs organization.

3:32 ET, 12:32 PT TSN interupts Brian Burke's press conference to reveal details of a deal between the Canucks and the Sabres as Buffalo sends Zach Kassian and Marc Andre Gragnani to the Canucks in exchange for Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer.

Both TSN and Sportsnets' cadre of experts all seem in agreement that the Canucks solidified their chances in the playoffs with their acquisitions from the Sabres, while Cody Hodgson will find that his playing time increases significantly with the offensively challenged Sabres.  Though there is some thought that the Canucks did not get enough for their departing forward.

3:50 ET, 12:50 PT, The Canucks put in an addendum to the days proceedings as they pick up Andrew Gordon from the Ducks in exchange for Sebastien Effron.

As we pass the 4 PM mark, all that seems left now is to watch the various GM's as they offer up their spin on the day's proceedings, some needing a wee bit more spin than others.

Deadline Day 2012 2 PM to 3 PM (11 am PT)

Into the homestretch we go, the final hour of Trade deadline day 2012, a flurry of deals in the last minutes of the last hour brought us up to seven trades on the day so far.

Sportsnet moves into the final hour with Bob McCown's panel of Brunt and Cox, they dissect some of the developments in Toronto and Montreal, with a nod to the Pahlson news out of Vancouver.

TSN has the first comments of Sami Pahlsson who is Vancouver bound, he provides some insight into the state of things in Columbus with the Rick Nash sweepstakes taking up so much of the air around that team.

2:02 ET, 11:02 PT, Word of the Jets first foray into the trade deadline flurry, as Winnipeg sends Johnny Oduya to the Blackhawks, no word on what the Jets receive in exchange yet.

Sportsnet convenes their GM's in the strategy room to review some of the moves thus far, over at TSN The Reporter's panel does likewise.

2:30 - 3:00 ET, 11:30 - Noon PT

We head into the final half hour of deadline day and all indications seem to be that Rick Nash will finish out the season as a Blue Jacket, Columbus perhaps realizing that there may be more value for him at the NHL draft later this year.

TSN recaps the developments thus far, mainly second line deals that shuffle some names around but hardly offer up the thing of the block buster.

Johnny Oduya checks in with James Duthie to discuss how he feels about moving on to the Blackhwks, meanwhile over at Sportsnet Kypreos and Shannon are talking about Rick Nash and how disappointed he will be if he's not moved out of Columbus by the noon hour. The discussion on Nash seems to revolve around whether the Rangers will give up enough to pry Nash loose out of Columbus.

TSN turns to Pang and Ferraro who discuss the lack of moves out of Calgary and what that portends for the Flames playoff ambitions.

Damien Cox goes a wandering again on Sportsnet, leaving the comfy confines of Bob McCown's studio and off to another panel on Sportsnet discussing with Marty McSorley why Steve Ott hasn't been moved yet and how he'd have been a good fit in Vancouver.

Less than ten minutes to go and both networks are still hopeful that the one blockbuster deal of the day will come to fruition and save what has been a less than thrilling deadline day.

2:54 ET, 11:54 PT Sportsnet reports that Brian Rolston is on the move from the Islanders to the Boston Bruins, Kypreos and Shannon also wonder aloud why the Capitals haven't made any kind of a move yet.

Deadline Day 2012 Noon to 2 PM (9 am over on the West coast)

The Noon Hour passes in the east, three hours til the bell rings and we're still at the Kostitsyn trade as the trade of the day, literally, one player movement to report thus far.

Sportsnet is back to their Strategy room where the GM's of the past suggest that we're close to crunch time for the GM's of today, despite the ringing of cel phone tones and such in the background there's still not much to relay as far a strategic training.

TSN grabs Steve Ott on the telephone to discuss with him the flurry of suggestions that he may be on the market, seemingly one of the Dallas Stars that may be among the moving should the trade board ever move past the number of one today.

Ott offers up the line of the day thus far, advising the TSN panel that they are making him laugh today, Ott may be laughing, we suspect that somewhere in a control room there's a number of folks getting ready to cry.

TSN's Reporters panel weighs in on Brian Burke's goaltending conversation of earlier today on TSN radio,  the debate his form of damage control from the weekend's activities.

Sportsnet joins in on the debate over the Leafs and their goaltending woes, the consensus being that Ron Wilson isn't exactly helping Burke's hand with his comments of the weekend.

TSN is looking in on the Flames morning skate, looking at the possibilities for Calgary as the deadline moves closer. They also blame the Blackhawks for the lack of trade  potential today, Chicago having helped to take Dustin Brown and Sam Gagner off the market thanks to their horrid visits to LA and Edmonton, as Crawford points out, the Hawks desperately need some defencemen and fast.

12:40 ET, 9:40 PT  Sportsnet offers up details of the second trade of the day, with Detroit sending Mike Commodore to Tampa Bay for a seventh round pick.  TSN discovers the trade and is less than overwhelmed.  Sportsnet is first to contact Commodore and gain some insight as to how a player feels and reacts to word that you've been moved.

12:55 ET, 9:44 PT Sportsnet again with the early returns on another trade, with the Oilers picking up Nick Schultz for Tom Gilbert who now will return to his home state of Minnesota. TSN picks up the trade scent a few minutes later with their own observations on the developments, highlighting how the Wild seem to be loading up on Minnesota boys.

1 PM ET.. 10 AM PT

As the hour passes towards 1 PM in the East, 10 in the West, there's much discussion on both networks as to the value that the Edmonton / Minnesota trade brings to both teams.

TSN grabs Ken Holland to talk about the Commodore trade with Tampa and about the pace of the deadline deals so far.

TSN is back to Pierre LeBrun in Britsol, who puts the damper on any thoughts that Nabokov can be grabbed out of Long Island today.

Bob McCown plays mischievous devil on his twitter feed, with a rumour that they're taking the Rick Nash banners down from the Columbus Arena...

TSN highlights how the trading deadline can cause havoc within team lineups, Minnesota apparently never informed Nick Schultz that he was traded before it hit the various networks and other portals, a situation that seemingly has annoyed the Wild players.

Sportsnet adds to the Bus cam legions with a cab cam, video of Andrei Kostitsyn heading for the airport and his reunion with brother Sergei.

It's back to the Strategy room and the GM's who direct the less than furious nature of the trading day today.

TSN chats up Tom Gilbert who is destined for Minnesota.

Time to check in on Columbus, and the phrase that has been repeated a number of times today, "Nothing much to report James",  repeat and rinse...

TSN has Kypreos and Shannon on their panel, the consensus is that Washington best make some kind of deal today if they have any plans of at least making the playoffs, also Boston may be looking for some depth as the day draws to a close.

Sportsnet heads out to Canuckland, Mason Raymond rumoured to be available, meanwhile Alain Vigneault and the staff are busy tossing a football around,  Wally Buono no doubt is set to make a contract offer as we speak...

1:35 ET, 10:35 AM PT, TSN has details of our fourth trade of the day with Tampa Bay picking up Keith Aulie from the Leafs, Toronto receives Carter Ashton in return, Ashton clearly a player for the future and not for the now.

Sportsnet also reports in on that latest development, advantage to TSN on this one.

As we digest the ramifications of the Leafs and Lightning trade, Sporstnet reaches out to Keith Aulie for his thoughts, Aulie outlines how he enjoyed playing for his new head coach Guy Boucher while with the world Junior team.

1:54 ET, 10:54 PT Trade number five is in, Sportsnet reports that Colorado and San Jose have conducted a deal, Daniel Winnik is on his way to San Jose. no word on what the Avs get in return.

1:56 ET, 10:56  PT Sporstnet continues with some scoops, Vancouver picks up Sami Pahlsson from Columbus.

1:58 ET, 10:58 PT  Sportsnet again, with word thatTrader Steve strikes again, as Steve Yerman in Tampa Bay sends Matt Gilroy to Ottawa for Brian Lee.

Deadline Day 2012 10 am to Noon (7am over on the West coast)

The third hour of the breathtaking pace of wheeling and dealing is underway and we're where we were when we awoke from our slumber a few hours ago, awaiting the first trade of the day.

TSN continues on with their review of where the Montreal Canadiens are on this trade deadline day, with Chris Campoli apparently the most likely candidate to change his code postale as the clock ticks down.

It's off to Bristol, Conn and ESPN for a look in with Pierre LeBrun for the TSN crew, Rick Nash again is the subject of discussion, LeBrun once again throws a wee bit of cold water on the no trade for Nash theme of the day thus far.

Bob McKenzie has the hot rumour of the day, with Andrei Kostitsyn destined for Music City, they test out the sound effects for good measure just to be sure.

Sportsnet is back to the strategy room as they have been at the top of each hour thus far, the loquacious GM's reliving the Andy Bathgate deal of 1964, and now Sportsnet has the rumblings about Kostitsyn and they ratchet up the wish for a Nash trade, with a radio report that has the Blue Jackets talking with the Sharks and Leafs for Nash.

We have one of our first of what we imagine will be ongoing reports live from outside the Blue Jackets practice arena, no doubt awaiting puffs of white smoke to appear in the Columbus sky.

Sportsnet offers up the first picture of a team bus in recent memory, and in this case its the Montreal bus and no one has been thrown under it yet, we also learn that HockeyCentral trade deadline has Coors as a sponsor, the Beer wars are underway nicely in this morning period.

Sportnset also offers up the chance to create your own trades, which as things stand thus far could be the closest we get to any real action yet, we can follow along at home on twitter we are reminded.

And now it's off to Winnipeg to learn if the Jets will be looking to move some pieces as they seek to grab a playoff spot in the east. Quiet is the impression we get out of River city, with little in the way of movement anticipated.

TSN with no new trades to discuss, goes back to a few days with an interview with Jack Johnson who now is a Blue Jacket. A few how do you dos and they ask Johnson his thoughts on the Rick Nash rumblings, Johnson says its a pleasure to play with him, don't get too attached there Jack.

I'ts improv time for TSN as they look back at the winners and losers...  of 2011.

Sportsnet has video of Brian Burke's SUV, nice looking ride and he has a primo parking spot too, management does have its privileges.

As we cross over the half hour mark of hour three, both networks are in commercial, off to the coffee maker we go...

And as they come out of commercial both networks have word of the first trade of the day

10:35 AM (7:35 PT) Nashville has acquired Andrei Kostitstyn from Montreal, he now is reunited with his brother Sergei in Music City, no confirmation on what Montreal gets in return but they reportedly have gained the rights to Alex Radulov in the trade, is this the start of an exodus from Montreal?  Update: the Habs gain a 2nd round pick in 2013 and a conditional 5th round pick in 2013.

Turning away from the first trade of the day, TSN takes a look at the Edmonton Oilers and where they might be on this trade deadline day for 2012.

Sportsnet's strategy room in the meantime examines the Kostitsyn deal, the consensus is that Montreal might have been a winner, moving the enigma of Kostitsyn to Nashville, for what could be a solid pick up.

Breathless coverage of the return of Brian Burke to the Air Canada centre, a peek into the Senators War Room and its off to a commercial for Sportsnet.

TSN continues on with their look at the Oilers, Darren Pang is urging patience for the Oilers faithful.

Both networks take a breather as we cross over the top of the hour and into hour four of the day long marathon.

11 to Noon ET, 8 am to 9 am PT

And with deals reportedly percolating or so we're told, we still sit at but one trade thus far in our Trade Deadline festivities.

Sportsnet opens up hour four with a review of the top five big trades of the Ottawa Senators.

TSN takes us to the Reporters panel, sans Mr. Hodge, they are discussing the different GMs and the level of difficulty that they're teams face these days, not so much trouble for Detroit a wee bit more in Dallas it seems.

TSN tees up the situation in Calgary, with a review of their needs and where Jay Feaster may go coming up after the break they tell us.

Sportsnet checks in with Bryan Murray in Ottawa, discussing the pick up yesterday of Ben Bishop to shore up their goaltending.  He gives no real indication as to whether Auld or Bishop will eventually become Craig Anderson's back up once his hand heals.

It's off to the Strategy room as the assembled alumni of GM's once again discuss what Brian Burke will want to achieve on this deadline day.

TSN is examining the prospects on Long Island and what Garth Snow may wish to try and achieve today. It's time for Trade Bait once again, a listing of those potential trading pieces available.

Sportsnet turns to Nick Kypreos and Jim Shannon to examine the goaltender sweeps, with Toronto and Washington apparently the most anxious to shore up their own end of the rink today.

With few trades to report on, that would be one so far, Kypreos and Shannon suggest things will heat up as we get closer to the Noon hour in the east.

Stephen Brunt and the radio panel is up next for Sportsnet as they head off to commercial.

TSN is back with Darren Pang and Ray Ferraro how and if Calgary can improve enough this season, with little on the farm to help them out.

Sportsnet checks in with Craig Patrick who is an advisor in Columbus, nothing new on the Nashwatch (TM) they then shift to Toronto where Brian Burke outlines that not much is happening with the Leafs and he doesn't see the prospect of much action out of the Leafs War room today.

Burke provides some cover for Ron Wilson's comments of the weekend about James Reimer, seemingly gives him a vote of confidence (might want to share those thoughts with the coach).

Burke gives no details on Joffrey Lupul's soft cast, as though he would provide any kind of insight there, when you have to fill time you have to fill time.

Bob McCown and his radio panel are back for Sportsnet, Brunt and Cox flank the cantankerous one, they seek out an over / under on how many trades take place by the time proceedings come to a conclusion later today.

Sportnset closes out their session with McCown with a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs Situation Room, wait for it, wait for it, Sportsnet that's Wolf Blitzer on line two, he is looking for a payment for his intellectual property.

TSN in the meantime is looking over the Vancouver Canucks, Duthie goes to a panel with some kind of ancient country jingle, not sure exactly how that is Pacific coastal cool...  the Canucks panel looks at what Mike Gillis may want to do with that 4 million dollars freed up by the injury to Keith Ballard.

They ruminate about the prospects of Cory Schenider relocating by the time the deadline arrives today. Marc Crawford suggests that while tempting to gain much for the promising youngsters, the Cancuks may wish to hang onto the backup just in case Roberto Luongo falters down the drive.

Sportsnet has more Bus cam footage, this time its off to Winnipeg where a number of the visiting Oilers are disembarking many of them carrying their daily dose of Java, it's riveting stuff this bus cam imagery, Starbucks or Tims gents, Starbucks or Tims?

Deadline Day 2012 8 am to 10 am (5am over on the West coast)

8 am to 9 am (5 to 6 PT)

Sporstnet introduces a new panel to weigh upon all matters of Deadline Day, mainly at the moment focused on the long farewell to Columbus of Rick Nash, though at the moment, they seem to be reducing the expectations of a deal for him today.

The lack of trading developments that is always the theme in the early hours of the trade deadline, suggests we're going to hear a lot of this over the next few hours,

Ah, here you go Leafs fans, the panel is discussing the prospect of Nash getting shipped off to Toronto, Damien Cox introduces the elephant in that Leafs dressing room and the need for a goaltender, we imagine Ron Wilson raised his coffee cup up in a toast.

TSN as well is discussing all things Maple Leafs (we sense a recurring theme here) Dreger and MacKenzie also weigh in on the nature of the Leafs goaltending woes, the latter dashing any hopes that Leafs fans may have on the idea of Nabokov pulling on a Leafs sweater.

TSN loves their sponsorships, Trade Bait is brought to us by Budweiser, they examine some of the players that may be dangling in front of prospective GM's.

Ooh TSN is going team by team for the Canadian teams and we start with.... drumroll please....  the Toronto Maple Leafs, as opposed to what we've been doing for the last twenty minutes I guess.

Sportsnet has introduced what they call their Cheat sheet, which we imagine is kind of their version of the Trade Bait, though in our frenzy of clicking we missed out whether it was sponsored or not. As we check in the discussion is about the Montreal Canadiens, who are in the unusual position of actually wondering about how they may want to use their first pick at the end of the season.

Sportsnet looks at the Senators needs, a personal chef for the Anderson family isn't on the table yet, but it could be the most important thing Bryan Murray could ever invest in.

The Sporsnet panel reviews the pick up yesterday by Ottawa of Ben Bishop , a move they believe was a wise one by Murray, providing him with a hidden gem that was lost on the St. Louis depth chart.

TSN has brought Pierre Gauthier into the conversation of the Leafs goaltending woes.

As hour one comes to an end, we're back in the Sportsnet Strategy Room, where our collection of once upon a time (and for some the wish to be back at the table seems still there) General Managers are examining the entrails of the Canadiens woeful season.

They debate the changing nature of hockey management, where it seems that anyone with a Google browser can become a General Manager.

9 am to 10 am (6 - 7 PT)

The Sportsnet panel cross over the top of the hour discussing the state of the Calgary Flames decision day thoughts.  What holes the Flames need to fill.

TSN is in commercial as we watch the clock shift into the second hour of coverage, you get the feeling that the most important feature of the day in homes and offices across the country is going to be frequent battery changes for the clicker.

Sportsnet lists the requirements of Jay Feaster, a laundry list of required scoring and shoring up of positions.  The social media desk features Puck Daddy, which should be a helpful addition to the days proceedings.

Bad News for the coverage desks, even Puck Daddy says that he doesn't foresee the movement of Nash today, only six more hours of much of the same for all our chattering types today.

TSN's desk is wondering if it's going to be busy today, Pierre LeBrun offers up the thought it may be a wacky day.  Trade Bait is back brought to us by Budweiser, you know it's too bad that Puck Daddy didn't sign on with TSN, their drinking game would be a natural with the TSN stable of sponsor mentions.

TSN is making good use of its partnership with ESPN, besides LeBrun they make much use of the other of the Pierre's with more evaluation of the needs and wants of the GM's from Pierre Gauthier. The focus in this segment the Habs.

TSN wold appear to have more ambitious time salespeople what the heck is a tatstytop, there is a website to check out this delicacy, wonder if they can cross pollinate Budweiser into the cake tops... strange mix of advertising, though the commercials aren't quite the thing of oh lets say the Super Bowl or the Oscars...

Speaking of ads, maybe its me, but accessing the HNIC live steam involves a number of clicks that take you to a number of commercials first (I"m hungry for some Philly cheese all of a sudden)and then no actual items to view, my patience is limited at the best of time, so if my video is going to play after these commercials it best happen soon.

Ah yes more social media observations, this time from TSN's Reporters stable, sans Dave Hodge who is apparently ill, which is unfortunate as he always provides some good balance to the TSN broadcast.

Over to the TSN Trade Breakers, who uh, don't have any actual trades to break for us.

Sportsnet is back in the Strategy room discussing the needs of the Canucks, an injury to Manny Malhotra over the weekend creates a hole that the panel believes the Canucks will want to fill.

TSN is discussing the surprising success of the Senators this year in the NHL and how that may impact on Bryan Murray's deliberations on this Trade Deadline day.

Deadline Day 2012

Places people, places...  It's showtime!

Coffee is percolating, the furnace turned on and fresh batteries are in the clicker, so lets get ready to trade!

And it's underway, the various networks have assembled their war rooms and the gaggle of commentators are already filling the void, Sportsnet kicks off their coverage with the General Manager's table at the "Strategy Room", Smith Quinn, MacLean  and Lawton reliving their days of the deadline when they traded back and forth, a hot stove league of past stories to tide us over until the trading begins.

Pat Quinn seems to be the designated talker to open up the coverage as he recounts some of his deadline deals.

When it comes to the current era of the NHL, Sportsnet begins by discussing the pre deadline deal that saw Jeff Carter sent off to LA for Johnson.

Over at TSN once they have the plugs out of the way, a beer sponsorship for the early hours of their coverage. Not surprisingly they are featuring the Rick Nash watch, the beginning of what could be the never ending theme to take us up to the 3 PM deadline ET, James Duthie advising us that they don't expect many trades to break in these early hours of the trading.

Hockey Night in Canada's coverage on the CBC is limited to their portal with twitter feeds and online streaming planned set to start at 9 AM ET, 6 AM PT.

We'll provide our own live blog coverage through the morning breaking down our observations in blocks of time, entries to follow above and on our twitter feed.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Buyers, Sellers and Lookie Loos

As Sunday's scheduled games come to a close, some members of each team today may perhaps be bidding farewell to their team mates for the final time.

The NHL's trade deadline madness gets underway at 8 am ET on Monday, 5 am for those unfortunate souls that play for the West coast teams.

A day long roller coaster of rumour and speculation, of pundits putting together pieces of puzzles that may or may not resemble the actual blue prints of the league's 30 General Managers.

As deadline day dawns, those GM's will have to make what could the career threatening decision of whether their team is to be a buyer or a seller on the day, whether they will run up the white flag of surrender on the current season, or fly the battle flag high as they pick up the pieces that they believe will lead their squad on to playoff hockey in April, May and for the truly gifted GM into June.

It's a day of anxiety for players, well those without the benefit of the no trade clause, where perhaps a championship team moves them off to a bottom feeder all part of the larger picture of designing an NHL roster for the future.

For those that have been wallowing in the dungeon of the NHL for a few years (Hello Rick Nash, how coin') Monday could provide deliverance to a contender, the fanciful dreams of their youth of a Stanley Cup appearance suddenly achieved, all by the click of a telephone line as GM's reconfigure their franchises.

Some players will find that the day provides them with a second chance from a woeful year, one where the Stanley Cup is still within reach, for others, it will be a signal that it's time to dig around in the garage and find out where they put those golf clubs.

For the fans, each trade provides the chance to divine if their team is closer or further away from a serious run at Lord Stanley's Cup, for some Monday will reveal that their favourite team has abandoned all hope.

As has been the tradition over the years now, the Sports channels will all have their panels and reporters chomping at the bit to deliver the news first, sometimes even accurately.  Newspaper websites will be updated regularly, the sports radio shows both local and on Sirius will devote hours and hours to the deadline deals and the twitter world will tweet furiously ever single rumoured move.

Links to the various media options on trade deadline day can be found below.

We'll offer up some overview of all the madness from our humble little portal (our year round Trading Post is always available for the latest trades in the NHL),  fully realizing that the full weight of the continents sports machines out number our efforts and out spend us in numbers to hard to comprehend.

It all gets underway in the early morning hours, grab some sleep, set the alarm and fill up your coffee maker, Deadline day is but hours away. Trade Deadline 2012 Page

Senators shore up the goaltender situation

With the Ottawa Senators currently holding onto a playoff spot and some ambition to snare first overall in the Northeast, Bryan Murray got a head start on the trade deadline by picking up some insurance at goaltender.

As Craig Anderson mends from the freak household injury which saw him slice a tendon in his hand, the Sens have added to the goaltender depth chart with the acquisition of Ben Bishop from the St. Louis system.

Bishop has been playing with the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL and will be ready for the call should Bryan Murray decide that he will go to a back up position to Alex Auld, or perhaps supplant him in Ottawa.

At the moment Auld is being backed up by Robin Lehner who had a rather impressive game of his own on Sunday agains the Islanders.

Still, it's hoped that Anderson returns sooner, rather than later to help lead the charge of the Senators towards what Ottawa fans hope will be playoff destiny.

To that end, perhaps the best acquisition that Murray might make on trade deadline Monday might be to hire a chef and kitchen staff for the Anderson home front, keeping the Sens number one goaltender away from the sharp utensils of the kitchen could be the difference between a first round exit or a lengthy ramble along the playoff path.

Ottawa Citizen-- The legend of Bishop grows by the minute
Ottawa Citizen-- Free ride over for Lehner as Senators acquire goalie Bishop
Ottawa Citizen-- Anderson outlook improves after chicken mishap
Ottawa Citizen-- Senators hope kitchen caper becomes a laughing matter
Ottawa Citizen-- Craig Anderson's injury not as bad as feared
Ottawa Sun-- Bishop a big deal for Sens
Ottawa Sun-- Sens' Lehner stops Isles under pressure
Ottawa Sun-- That's Auld, folks... B's drop Sens
Ottawa Sun-- Curse of the goalie gods
Ottawa Sun-- Something Auld or something new?
Ottawa Sun-- Sens wait and see on goalie trade
Ottawa Sun-- Anderson out with cut hand; Sens call on Lehner
Globe and Mail--  Young goaltender shines in Sens win
Globe and Mail-- Senators acquire goalie Bishop from Blues

Friday, February 24, 2012

Canucks top Red Wings in potential playoff preview

For a game in the dead of winter, Thursday night's showdown in Motown provided a tantalizing prospect of what could be in lat May, as the two top teams in the Western Division squared off, with the Canucks besting their hosts in a shoot out.

It was perhaps one of the more exciting of regular season games thus far in the 2011-12 campaign, two teams that seem set for the playoffs already, perhaps not requiring much if anything by Monday's trade deadline to improve their squads.

The Canucks proved to be up to a challenge that had eluded NHL teams in the previous 23 games, that of ending the Red Wings remarkable winning streak at the Joe, not for lack of effort mind you, as the Wings and Canucks traded scores through three periods, wrapping up regulation time in a draw, with nothing solved by the OT, it came down to Roberto Luongo and Jimmy Howard to stare down the shooters, Luongo outlasting his Detroit rival.

The Canucks Alexandre Burrows can most likely add another city to the "we hate Burrows club", it was his OT marker that brought an end to the Red Wings record run, though to his credit Burrows made mention of the record in his post game comments, paying his props to the Wings for their success.

The game, while enthralling was at times limited by the officials who seemed to enjoy the close up shots for Sportsnet that blowing the play dead would provide, penalty calls early on in the game threatened to choke out much of the flow of a good hockey game, but on this occasion the two teams prevailed to still deliver a fast paced night of action.

If the Hockey Gods are of a mind, this would be a nice little seven game series when May rolls around.

Vancouver Province-- Canucks stop Red Wings 23 game streak dead with Burrow's SO goal
Vancouver Province-- Canucks and Wings showdown Joe Louis doesn't settle much
Vancouver Province-- Luongo magic in Motor City for Canucks
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks snap Red Wings record-setting winning streak
National Post-- Canucks become a part of history
Detroit Free Press-- Oh, shoot! Wings' home win streak ends at 23 
Detroit News-- Wings' streak fizzles in stunning fashion
Detroit News-- Wings' 23 game home win streak ends with shootout loss to Canucks
Detroit News-- Canucks leave Detroit full of confidence

Woeful Washington wonders of what may have been

It wasn't much more than a year ago that hockey fans sat transfixed upon their television screens as the Washington Capitals played Belles of the ball as part of the original HBO 24 / 7 series.

The talkative Bruce Boudreau, in happier days in Washington shown to be in control of his Capitals, profanity laced tirades notwithstanding, the Caps appeared at that time to be very much the team on the rise that everyone anticipated they would be.

As history has shown, the Caps flamed out spectacularly in the second round of the playoffs last year, setting the stage for the season of drama that would come, a season that would see the head coach sacrificed over the lack of effort of his players.

And while Bruce Boudreau has landed nicely on his feet in Anaheim and has that struggling squad making noises about a playoff race now, his former team the Caps continue the free fall towards the bottom, the latest step backwards, Wednesday night and another lethargic loss, this time to the Senators, a loss that provides the Winnipeg Jets now with fanciful thoughts of perhaps claiming first place in the Southeast and enshrinement as one of the top 3 seeds at playoff time, go figure.

Wednesday nights game in Ottawa was the Capitals season in sixty minutes, a game that for the most part the opposition Sens controlled nicely, leaving the Caps for about a ten minute flurry in the third to show some hope before surrendering completely once again.

About the only positive for the Capitals on Wednesday, and in its way its a negative, is that Alex Ovechkin would not be subjected to the boos from the Ottawa faithful for his All Star rebuff, Ovechkin is still on the injured list and did not appear in Wednesday's defeat.

With each successive loss, the Capitals slip further and further away from a playoff spot, their only hope now it seems is to somehow sneak in the NHL's equivalent of the back door, that of winning the woeful Southeast division crown and grabbing the third seed, deserved or not.

Surely not a fate that many NHL observers thought would be the main thrust of the Capitals season back when the current campaign got underway in October.

Ottawa Citizen-- Senators deliver Capital punishment
Globe and Mail-- Capitals, Senators heading in different directions
National Post-- Washington Capitals' empire crumbles around them
National Post-- Alex Ovechkin, Capitals are not what they used to be
Washington Times-- Capitals can't climb out of deep hole in loss to Senators
Washington Times-- Will the struggling Capitals be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?
Washington Post-- Reeling from demoralizing road trip, struggling Caps in need of a spark
Washington Post-- Without Ovechkin, Washington drops third straight...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sunday intercessions, save a prayer for Les Habitants

Bless us Father, for we have sinned, it's been 80 games since our last intercession...

So, things are now so worrisome around Montreal these days, that perhaps the only thing left to salvage a season from er, uh, ahem Hell, is to offer up a prayer or two.

That at least seems to be the current of thought around the Archdiocese of Montreal, with word of an advertising campaign that the Church has launched, part public awareness of the Church we imagine, but perhaps for some of the Canadiens faithful, as helpful a solution to the scoring woes yet, to adding to the debate of Montreal's main topic of discussion year round.

The Bos Advertising Agency designed the ad, which appeared in Montreal newspapers and is designed to provide the Archdiocese with some mainstream notice, and perhaps help to stem declining church attendance.

Which if things continue on for the Habs may just work, as we get closer and closer to the playoff cutoff, the pews may fill up as fast as seats at the Bell Centre, all in the quest of divine intervention for playoff spot number 8. 

We imagine across Quebec this Sunday, parish priests will be busy reviewing requests of Intercession for Sunday mass, prayers of assistance for Carey Price to continue to hold strong, for the woeful Canadiens defence to find some resolve, the power play to finally unleash its power, for Scott Gomez to score a goal (Mon Dieu, tis a miracle, that one has been received and answered).

Prayers for success are perhaps more forward looking than what may be required at the end of the season if the Canadiens don't pull out of their funk.

If Montreal doesn't start to find some wins and inch their way up towards heaven, or in this case eighth place, then the next encyclical from the Church regarding the Habs may be the administration of the Last Rites on the horrid season.

Of course, all this power of prayer thing puts the Church in Canada in a bit of a tough spot, after all, an answered prayer in Montreal could come at the cost of a playoff spot for Ottawa, Toronto or Winnipeg all seeking their own deliverance of a playoff spot in the east division.

A situation that could leave the Church having to calm the flocks of Ontario and Manitoba.

With this revelation from Montreal, no doubt Parish Priests from Ottawa to Brandon and all  points in between thank their compatriots in Quebec for the extra work load.

Globe and Mail-- New Catholic church ad: Let's pray Habs make the playoffs
National Post-- Church has message for Canadien's fans: Let us pray
ESPN-- Church ad urges prayer for Canadiens
TSN-- Montreal Church places ad asking fans to pray for playoff spot
Toronto Star-- Catholic church urges Montreal Canadiens fan to pray for a playoff berth
USA Today-- Catholic church: Pray for the woeful Canadiens Canadiens fans asked to pray for miracle

Big House for a Big Game

“It's Hockeytown versus the centre of the hockey universe,”  the sentiments of Brian Burke, the always loquacious  General Manager of the Toronto Maple  Leafs, with word of the next participants in the Winter Classic franchise. 

The Winter Classic 2013 is coming to the Motor City, well Ann Arbor to be exact, as the NHL announced on Thursday that their annual New Year's festival of outdoor shinny will feature two original six teams, the host Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The game to be played at the iconic Michigan Stadium, could very well draw in excess of 100,000 fans, setting a new record for outdoor games hosted by the NHL and no doubt making for a nice payday at the ticket window for Gary Bettman and the NHL accountants.

The NHL trumpeted the news in full on Thursday with a number of items posted to their website. Wings, Leafs to play '13 Winter Classic at Big House Michigan Stadium's history marked by great games Winter Festival provides great opportunity for Detroit Alumni of 'Big Chill' game recall special experience

The Winter Classic which has become the NHL's showcase moment outside of the Stanley Cup playoffs, will be but one of a number of hockey related events in the Detroit area over New Years.

While the Illitch family may have surrendered the home field advantage so to speak, by not hosting the Classic at their own stadium at Comerica Park, they will feature hockey at the home of the Detroit Tigers as well, with NCAA college, Junior A and minor league affiliate hockey games and the NHL Alumni Showdown all planned to coincide with the Winter Classic at Ann Arbor.

The action at Comerica Park will be part of what is being called the Hockeytown Winter Festival and is anticipated to draw over 150,000 visitors to downtown Detroit during the lead up to the Winter Classic.

Of course with the big game comes the big exposure, with HBO no doubt ready to feature the Leafs and Red Wings in their 24/7 series, an event that already has more than a few NHL officials ready to pop some popcorn and settle in for some fascinating dialogue.

Bruce Boudreau's language and vocabulary classes will no doubt take place over the summer, so as to ensure a well prepared and relaxed class of 2013 in time for their close ups.

Flyers head coach and 24/7 alumnus Peter Laviolette already has tapped a potential Emmy award for Leafs coach Ron Wilson, who Lavilotette feels may steal the show.  Of course, it's to be seen if Wilson will be the main character or just a supporting one to Leafs GM Brian Burke, who has yet to meet a microphone and camera that he doesn't like.

Regardless, the bluster and the blarney and all the other b words you can think of will come to pass towards the end of the year, the hockey game itself comes along as the calendar turns over into 2013.

Globe and Mail-- NHL confirms Maple Leafs - Red Wings Winter Classic
Globe and Mail-- Alumni seeking bigger cut at 2013 Winter Classic
National Post-- It's official: Leafs, Red Wings to play 2013 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium
National Post-- Leafs-Wings Winter Classic has drawbacks
Toronto Star-- Winter Classic game excites Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Star-- You design the Toronto Maple Leafs' Winter Classic uniform
Toronto Star-- Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings all set for Winter Classic
Toronto Sun-- Leafs-Wings doesn't get bigger than this
Toronto Sun-- Leafs willing to mug for the cameras
CBC-- Leafs, Wings expected to smash Winter Classic record
Detroit News-- When the NHL takes it outside, everyone wins
Detroit News-- Former foes Wings and Leafs look forward to reliving storied rivalry
Detroit News-- Winter Classic at 'Big House' incentive for Wings' captain to keep playing
Detroit News-- NHL, Wings unveil plans for Hockeytown Winter Festival, Winter Classic
Detroit News-- Wings legend Steve Yzerman has no plans to play in alumni game
Detroit News-- Comerica Park, Michigan Stadium team up for hockey spectacle
Detroit News-- Regents OK $3 million lease of Michigan Stadium for Winter Classic
Detroit News-- Red Wings on Winter Classic at The Big House: "It's going to be quite a spectacle"
Detroit Free Press-- 2013 Winter Classic announcement
Detroit Free Press-- Winter Classic: Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay recalls battles with....
Detroit Free Press-- Ozzie's ready; Grind Line set for Wings-Leafs alumni game
Detroit Free Press-- Dave Brandon details process that brought Winter Classic to Big House
Detroit Free Press-- Ilitches don't forget amateur roots with Winter Classic Festival
Detroit Free Press-- Winter Classic: Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg hopes Nicklas Lidstrom will play
Detroit Free Press-- Detroit is the big-time winner in Winter Classic plans

Monday, February 06, 2012

Return of the Metropolitans?

Often rumoured, it seems that once again the idea of an NHL franchise in Seattle may be on the horizon, this time thanks to a proposed new development for Seattle.

With word of the work behind the scenes on that development, there's now a few clues from the Pacific Northwest that suggest that Gary Bettman may be about to solve his Phoenix Coyote conundrum.

The Seattle Times has posted a story to their website today, outlining the proposed development south of Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

A San Francisco based hedge fund is behind the plan, which would see a new arena developed for Seattle, the main thrust of the project to bring the return of the NBA to the city, which lost their Sonics a few years back when they relocated to Okalhoma City.

Should the plan come together, it's thought that Seattle would be a logical landing place for the struggling Sacramento Kings, who face an NBA deadline of March 1 to provide a plan of action towards their own new arena in the California capital.

It is a passing note in the article however, will be of interest to NHL fans and perhaps season ticket holders, few as they are of the Phoenix Coyotes, with the suggestion that Seattle, with a new arena could be much coveted home for the NHL's orphans.

It's a suggestion that John Shannon made a week or so ago on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown, at the time many might have thought it was just the usual laundry list of cities, (bonjour Quebec City, how ya doin' Kansas City and hello to all the other locales that come up whenever the topic of the Coyotes comes up), this time however, thanks to some digging by the Seattle Times which accessed e mails and other documents, there is a sense that there is something to the suggestion, that gives Seattle a push towards the top of the list.

Seattle currently has a WHL team the Thunderbirds, though one imagines the residents who are used to the Seahawks, Mariners and former Sonics would be quite intrigued at the idea of joining the NHL.

Seattle has been mentioned in the past as a potential NHL home, along with Portland, Oregon, however this is the first time that the prospect of an NHL team relocating there has had some legs.

The topic has been percolating in Seattle for the last year or so, most recently in January when the story once again began to pick up some steam.

It will be worth watching to see if the discussions, incubating as they are take root and if the Metropolitan's, one time challengers for the Stanley Cup and winners of Lord Stanley's mug in 1917, make a return to the ice, eager to renew acquaintances with their neighbours to the North in Vancouver.

Seattle Times-- Seattle sports-arena talks well under way, documents show
KING 5-- McGinn confirms talks to build NBA arena in SODO
Vancouver Sun-- Seattle talks fuel rumblings about NHL, NBA teams moving to the Emerald City

Friday, February 03, 2012

HockeyNation Headlines February 2012

Our archive of items for February 2012.

February 29-- Sutter demands more emotion from sinking Flames
February 28-- Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau in hospital after suffering stroke
February 27-- Blue Jackets GM reveals Nash asked for trade
February 26-- Calm before trade deadline storm
February 25-- Why the Leafs should fire coach Ron Wilson
February 24-- Columbus Blue Jackets at a crossroads
February 23-- Jeff Carter traded by Blue Jackets to Kings for Jack Johnson, No. 1 pick
February 22-- Karlsson rewrites Sens record book
February 21-- Habs caught in limbo between buy, sell
February 20-- Capitals continue Eastern Conference free fall to delight of Leafs, Jets
February 19-- Jets beat Avs to pull level with Leafs
February 18-- Canucks pound slumping Leafs
February 17-- Jason Spezza: From Sens' cute baby to whipping boy to hero
February 16-- Seattle arena plan not necessarily bad news for Quebec's NHL hopes
February 15-- The line starts here for Rick Nash suitors
February 14-- Nash on the trading block?
February 13-- Winnipeg can't get over hump
February 12-- Nicklas Lidstrom plays 1,550th game for Red Wings
February 11-- Canadiens spoil Leafs party for Sundin
February 10-- Pacioretty hat trick, Gomez goal lift Habs past Isles
February 9-- NHL, Wings unveil plans for Hockeytown Winter Festival, Winter Classic
February 8-- Taylor Hall plays a major part on NHL's hottest line
February 7-- Kane under microscope in Winnipeg
February 6-- Sabres coach Ruff suffers three broken ribs
February 5-- Scott Gomez celebrates unfortunate anniversary in Canadiens' win
February 4-- Leafs thrash slumping Senators
February 3-- Magic returns to Rexall Place
February 2-- Blue Jackets feel ripped off by Kings' apparent scoreboard error
February 1-- Burke vs Cherry not a fair fight

Grab some buds, head to the rink, wait for the crowd

The folks at Budweiser have tapped into one of those great shared experiences of beer drinkers everywhere, the pick up shinny game, featuring a pair of Ontario rec league hockey teams in an upcoming commercial for the Super Bowl.

The game between The Amigos and the Generals, based in Port Credit, Ontario probably an event that attracts even less than family and friends got the entire NHL experience recently, as Budweiser arranged for a surprise visit by a packed house, TV crew and assorted experiences that would make the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Islanders or any number of NHL teams at the bottom of the attendance tables jealous of all that fan attention.

It makes for a pretty fine experience for the players, who clearly were surprised by all the attention and rose to the occasion providing for a pretty intense game and exciting finish.

Hope they have their handwriting hands rested well, after Sunday and the massive television exposure their pick up game is going to gain, one suspects that they'll be signing a few autographs and with a little bit of luck, somebody will buy them a Bud...

Huffington Post-- Hockey Ad surprises Port Credit Hockey Teams
City TV-- Budweiser surprises Ontario hockey teams in Super Bowl Ad
Toronto Sun-- Hockey dreams come true in Bud's Super Bowl commercial

Sam's show

Groundhog Day in Edmonton was pretty special, and if Sam Gagner could have his way, we imagine it's a day he won't mind repeating over and over again if need be..


Thursday night at the Rexall Centre it was Star number on, Star number two and Star number three,  all belonged to Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers.

Thursday night provided for one of the easiest tasks in three stars history in a number of years, as Gord Miller and Ray Ferraro had a front row seat to the Sam show, as Edmonton's Sam Gagner came as close to bringing back the eighties feel as any Oiler since the days of Gretzky and Coffey.

Gagner, with four goals and four assists tied an Oilers record for points (up there with Wayne and Paul now) and came within range of Darryl Sitlers all time NHL record of ten points in a game, all part of an Oilers point explosion that set the Blackhawks on their heels for a good portion of the night.

Interestingly enough the Hawks actually had more shots on net over the course of the  8-4 loss to Gagner and his Oilers, lost in the bright lights of Gagner's achievement is a bit of credit to Dwayne Dubnyk who overcame that early game blip to shut the door on the Hawks.

The puck was like magic whenever Gagner took to the ice, putting the Oiler in on every single scoring play for Edmonton on the night.  The Oilers battled back from a 2-0 deficit, turning the direction of play around on the strength of Gagner's amazing night.

By the time the final horn had sounded the Hawks, who seem to have their problems when they play in Edmonton were no doubt glad to be away from the Rexall Centre and the flying hats of a hat trick and celebration of Gagner's eight point night.

It made for a night of scoring magic that will either increase Gagner's trade value by deadline day or take him off the potential trade list in pretty quick fashion.

It was the first eight point night in the NHL since some guy named Mario put together that point total for Pittsburgh back in 1988. In one night, Gagner almost doubled his goal scoring output on the season, heading into Thursday night he had five goals, he's up to nine there with four more points in the assist tables to push him up the Oilers scoring list.

So, hands up, how many picked Gagner in their pre season hockey pools?

Edmonton Sun-- Record night for Oilers' Gagner
Edmonton Sun-- 8 points for Gagner in Oil win
Edmonton Journal-- Gagner records NHL's first eight-point game since 1989
Edmonton Journal-- Magic returns to Rexall Place
Edmonton Journal--  Gagner trends on Twitter
Globe and Mail-- Gagner ties Gretzky's record in Oilers' win
Globe and Mail-- The price just went up for Sam Gagner
National Post-- Sam Gagner ties team record with eight points as Oilers rout Blackhawks
ESPN-- Sam Gagner's audition
ESPN-- Gagner's eight is great, Blackhawks net minding not so much