Tag:Brian Stubits
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:23 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 12:19 pm
 

Bryzgalov enjoyed the taunting cheers in Winnipeg

By Brian Stubits

I'm not a Philadelphia Flyers fan, so it's easy for me to say this: Ilya Bryzgalov is my favorite player in the NHL. He won me over on HBO's 24/7 and he hasn't lost me since. You had me at Universe, Bryz. You had me at Universe.

The folks in Philly, though, wish they were able to share my sentiments. They'd love nothing more than to have a goaltender they could proudly call their own. But Bryzgalov's .898 and 2.82 save percentage aren't going to win over fans in Philadelphia, especially after he received a nine-year, $51 million contract.

But he has found some fans that will cheer for him. Since making comments about not wanting to move to Winnipeg while still with the Coyotes and about the 'Peg not having any parks, he became a target for Jets fans. On Tuesday night they finally had a chance to see him play at MTS Centre and unloaded taunting chants of "Ilya! Ilya!" on him throughout the game.

Always the humorist, Bryzgalov took it more than in stride.

As usual, we will share what he said in the video for anybody who might have video/audio problems. Courtesy of CSN Philly, here are Bryz's comments.

“You know, I like it,” he said. “It’s great atmosphere. I wished every building was going to be supportive like that. They going to support me like here. It was nice to hear cheering, ‘Ilya, Ilya.’

“I never heard that before anywhere. When 15,000 people support you, it’s [very impressive].”

Just like Philly, huh?

“No,” Bryzgalov replied. “Here there is cheering. In Philly, they boo me.”

What can I say, I'm a sucker for self-deprecating humor and this guy, he has it down pat.

More from Eye on Hockey

Bryzgalov not interested in going to Winnipeg
Bryzgalov steals HBO show

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:03 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 2:07 pm
 

Clifford avoids suspension for hit on Brule

By Brian Stubits

Kyle Clifford's five-minute major for a hit on Coyotes defenseman Gilbert Brule likely cost the Kings the game in Phoenix on Tuesday night, but luckily for him that's all it will cost him.

After technically being suspended because of the match penalty until the league could review, there was no hearing scheduled by the league and thus no suspension for Clifford.

Late in the game with the Kings holding a 4-3 lead -- shocking, I know -- Brule pushed the puck up the ice along the boards through the neutral zone and watched as the play developed ahead of him. Moments later Clifford came from behind and delivered a hit that was either to the high chest or the head. Either way it ended up getting Brule's head and Clifford was shown the gate while also being given a five-minute major.

As you can hear, the Kings broadcasters -- who I must recognize as being some of the most impartial and rational home-team announcers in the NHL -- debate whether it was a hit to the head or not of Brule. What they can't argue is that the hit was delivered very high on Brule and as a result if nothing else the follow through caught Brule's head.

I didn't think Shanahan would go easy Clifford in this case. The hit was unnecessary; it came to an unsuspecting player more or less from behind well after the puck had advanced up the ice. Throw in the placement of the hit and Brule leaving the game and you get the sense it's going to be a couple games minimum for Clifford.

But I admit, I'm as lost as a lot of people with what's OK and what's not.

Plays like this seem to have greatly reduced as the season has gone along, Shanny hasn't seemed anywhere near as busy to me in the past few weeks. So perhaps the players are learning, but there will still be hits coming through like this.

On the season Clifford has four goals and six assists for the Kings, playing the dirty minutes on the bottom lines for L.A.

More from Eye on Hockey

More NHL Discipline news
Winners & Losers: Vrbata helps Coyotes streak on

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:24 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:32 am
 

Report: Sharks stepping up in Nash sweepstakes

By Brian Stubits

And here you were thinking that it was mostly a two-team race in the Rick Nash sweepstakes between the Rangers and Kings.

Well make some room for the Sharks in this equation too. One of the teams who was reportedly on Nash's wish list, San Jose is lurking in the conversation too and could have a say in matters if Nash is dealt this week.

From TSN insider Darren Dreger:

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The San Jose Sharks are emerging as a strong contender for Rick Nash. Sources say Columbus initially targeted Logan Couture, but was quickly told that was a non-starter. But, make no mistake; San Jose will stay in the mix until Monday's deadline.

Nash and Sharks veteran Joe Thornton are good friends and have shown an impressive chemistry when playing together internationally that isn't being overlooked. The Sharks would prefer an off-season deal to avoid the in-season disruption, but San Jose is keen.

Boy, Scott Howson is really shooting for the moon, isn't he? Not that I blame him one bit but Couture and then some? The Sharks were right to balk immediately at that one. So who would it take? It's been made pretty clear that Howson is asking for one high-end player on top of everything else.

Andy Strickland of True Hockey says that could mean Joe Pavelski would be the target. Even if it were straight up Nash for Pavelski, would you be convinced the Sharks were getting the better end of the deal? I wouldn't be.

However Howson has to be liking this whole scenario that's playing out. The more teams that enter the bidding the better, more leverage to get the price he wants in return.

Still, I don't think any team is going to give up what the Jackets are looking for right now. If Nash is going to be traded before Monday's deadline, which is no guarantee, the price will have to come down but still be good enough for Howson to show to the fans and brass in Columbus.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:38 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 9:47 am
 

Morning Skate: Caps, Avs keep chasing playoffs

By Brian Stubits

The Morning Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

There are only three games on the schedule for Wednesday night and who'd a thunk that the Bruins visiting the Blues would be the least interesting of the three in terms of the playoff picture? These two are both fighting hard for positioning in their respective conferences and in the case of the Bruins, actually for the division lead as hard as that might be to believe. But more on that a little further down.

7 ET, Washington at Ottawa: The Capitals have become everybody's favorite trainwreck to watch. For some reason I have never quite understood, fans around the league just love to watch the Caps fail and this season is shaping up to be a whole heaping of fail. It's to the point where they are ready to point fingers and find the biggest offenders of them all.

But here's the miraculous thing: The Capitals have gone 0-5-1 in their last six games against teams not named the Florida Panthers. Yet they go into Ottawa to finish up a four-game roadtrip only two points behind the Panthers -- and Winnipeg Jets -- for first place in the Southeast. They are the same distance from the eighth spot in the East. So yes, by deduction, the Southeast leader is good enough to be seventh best in the conference, not third.

Point is, getting two points tonight is massively important for the Caps. Not only does it forge ties for a playoff berth but sends them back home with a 2-2-0 roadtrip which isn't so bad when you consider it included an embarrassing loss in Carolina.

From the Senators perspective, the rest of the East has mostly caught up in terms of games play and they're still comfortably inside the playoff picture, five points clear of eighth. But now they can actually turn their sights on the Northeast Division lead. They enter Wednesday night only two points behind Boston, although the Bruins are one team who hasn't caught up in games played yet as they have four games in hand.

9 ET, Los Angeles at Colorado Talk about two teams fighting for their playoff lives. Each of them can see their postseason hopes fading away, so the good news is that at least one of them is going to get points tonight and stay in the race for that final spot out West.

Despite a complete inability to score goals (Tuesday night not withstanding) the Kings are clinging to that last spot right now, one point ahead of Calgary, two ahead of Dallas. At four back is the Avalanche who made it clear on Tuesday that they're still trying to make a push for the playoffs by acquiring Steve Downie from the Lightning.

Especially considering the game is in Pepsi Center, it's a crucial game for the Avs. They really can't afford to fall six points back of the eighth spot. With so many teams in the mix for it, that's a lot of ground to make up being made more difficult by the number of teams to pass. When you're playing a team struggling as much as L.A., you can't miss the opportunity.

And yes, L.A. is struggling. It is 2-5-2 in its last nine games. But at least they showed some life in Phoenix, even if they did blow a three-goal first-period lead. Much like the Caps in the West, it's pretty hard to believe the Kings are only three points out of the division lead shared by the Sharks and Coyotes.

Your promised miscellany

  Zach Parise appreciated David Clarkson sticking up for him on Tuesday night and taking on Dion Phaneuf. Chalk one up for the pro-fighting side. (Fire & Ice)

  Claude Giroux accidentally broke a commentator's watch with a slash on Tuesday night in Winnipeg. (Puck Daddy)

  Canadiens goalie Carey Price has debuted another goalie mask, this one having an Old West theme to it. (Backhand Shelf)

  Lastly, relive the greatest moment in American hockey history, the Miracle on Ice. That happened 32 years ago today in the medal round against the U.S.S.R.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 21, 2012 5:46 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 8:54 am
 

Nash Dash: How would Nash fit with Rangers?

What Nash would look like in a Blueshirt.

By Brian Stubits

In the days leading up to the trade deadline (Monday, Feb. 27) we're going to keep tabs on the biggest name on the block, Columbus Blue Jackets star and captain Rick Nash.

The list of teams rumored to be in on Nash isn't incredibly long and it's the usual suspects that you'd expect to be in on a big-name, high-priced star like Nash. His wish list -- put into song so wonderfully -- was supposedly five teams long with possible Wild cards in the mix too.

We're going to take a look at each of the rumored wish-list teams and how Nash would fit, starting today with the New York Rangers.

From the moment the Jackets said they'd entertain offers for Nash, the Rangers jumped to the front of the pack as a favorite to land him. With a team on its way to its best season since winning the Cup almost two decades ago lacking just a little in the scoring department and a rich farm system, Broadway seems like an ideal situation.

But you're left wondering why. Why would the Rangers want to risk what they have going for them by bringing in Nash? They already have the best points percentage in the NHL, obviously they are doing something right.

It seems to me that you're flirting with disaster by mixing up the formula. That's especially the case if it requires losing some assets that are currently on the team, going beyond the prospects.

Usually this time of year everybody is enthralled with adding a star to their team, consequences be damned. The fans schmooze them on the Internet and in some cases Twitter, they serenade them with chants and creative signs when they visit. Then dismiss and even trash the player when they don't end up coming to their team. It's the way fandom goes these days.

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Not like this is the first time we've said this, but the Rangers fans are different. They had the chance to warm Nash to MSG this week. Instead of serenading him they pretty much insulted him, chanting "We don't want you!" throughout the game.

Now Rangers fans haven't always been the best at making personnel decisions for their team. They were advocating Sean Avery playing earlier this season. But in this case I think they're on to something.

Would the Rangers and their fans like to have Nash? Of course they would. But should they be willing to pay the price (both in terms of the trade return and the salary) to get Nash? The fans have made their side clear, the brass hasn't yet.

The decision becomes a lot easier for GM Glen Sather and crew if the Jackets are insistent on getting Michael Del Zotto in a deal. In his third year in the league, Del Zotto is growing into one very good defenseman for the Blueshirts. With seven goals and 25 assists, he's 10 points clear of any other Rangers defenseman this season in scoring.

It's believed that any deal for Nash would cost the Rangers somebody like Del Zotto plus perhaps a Derek Stepan, elite prospect Chris Kreider and a draft pick. Brandon Dubinsky's name has also floated around.

In return they get an upgrade to their scoring this season, assuming he'd fit in well. As Brad Richards has shown, there's no guarantee they will get the same kind of production if he moves to the Rangers. Of course he could give better production too.

But with the asking price so high, the risk seems to outweigh the reward. Do people really feel that the Rangers as presently constructed couldn't compete for the Stanley Cup? I know I don't. The risk of bringing in Nash is to lose that contender status while the reward is that they're a Stanley Cup contender. Hmm.

If I'm Slatts, I think I'd pass. If it ain't broke ...

More from Eye on Hockey

Latest on Nash, other deadline rumors
Nash down to five teams?
Nash not untouchable for Columbus

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 21, 2012 4:31 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 5:06 pm
 

Avs' Quincey goes to Wings in 3-way deal with TB

By Brian Stubits

There's one team that's ready for the trade deadline, and that's the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After making two deals already this month, the Lightning made two more on Tuesday in rapid succession. They began by dealing Steve Downie to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Kyle Quincey. The Bolts then turned around and flipped Quincey to the Red Wings for a first-round draft pick and prospect Sebastien Piche. Both moves were first reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie.

Oh, this is rich. The Red Wings and Avalanche may not have the burning hatred for each other that they once did, but that rivalry still burns, particularly for Avs fans. So to see them get played by a former Wing to help out the Wings? That can't be fun to see.

But when you sum it all up, it makes Bolts GM Steve Yzerman look like a genius. The sum of the two moves from Tampa Bay's perspective is that Steve Downie was just traded for a first-round draft pick plus more. So a guy who might score 20 goals a season -- might -- while racking up a lot of penalty minutes turns into a first-round pick and a prospect. Not a bad day at the office, I'd say.

Although there is a little irony here in that Downie was originally drafted by the Flyers with the 29th pick overall in the draft. With the season the Wings are having, that's certainly a potential spot for their pick to come in at. But at this point in his career, getting a first-round pick for Downie seems like a pretty good deal to me.

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Combine it with getting a second-round pick for Dominic Moore earlier this week and a couple picks as well for Pavel Kubina, the Lightning are loading up for a major farm system influx to come. They now hold two first-round picks, three-second picks with the possibility of a fourth in next year's draft. The possibility hinges on Florida's conditional pick for Kris Versteeg, just deciding whether the pick is in 2012 or 2013.

For Detroit it gets some defensive support. A weak spot coming into the season, this helps shore up a defensive corps that they are hoping can bring Lord Stanley's Cup back to Detroit. It's a moderately expensive price to pay for Quincey, particularly when you consider he was drafted by the Red Wings and got away on waivers back in 2008. But he's a good, puck-moving defenseman who will shoot and can carry a little scoring load.

The good news too is that Quincey is a restricted free agent, so this isn't a rental situation for Detroit. It makes the first-round pick asking price a little easier to swallow.

Meanwhile, there is Colorado. They get Downie in the deal, a scrappy and physical player that everybody loves to hate. He has some skill for a guy who fills that role, he might get you 20 goals in a good season. He brings the Avs a little more toughness as they try and chase down a playoff spot in the West. They enter Tuesday three points back of the eighth spot.

I can't help but feel like Colorado is the loser in all of this. Even though Quincey was expendable for them and they had been considering trading him with a full stable of young defensemen, it burns a little to see a guy they traded away turn into a first-round pick.

That's not to say they come out awful here, they don't. Moving Quincey out isn't the biggest thing in the world considering he has a salary of more than $3 million and does tend to turn the puck over. It just comes across not looking all that favorable for the Avs to me.

To the other GMs in the league, take note of Yzerman: This is how you sell at the trading deadline.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 21, 2012 12:55 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 8:43 am
 

Datsyuk to miss two weeks after knee surgery

Datsyuk leads Detroit with 59 points (16-43=59). (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Red Wings were able to withstand the loss of All-Star goaltender Jimmy Howard just fine. But now they'll really be put to the test as superstar forward Pavel Datsyuk is going to miss the next two weeks after having arthroscopic knee surgery.

Datsyuk, who was recently lauded by his fellow players in the NHLPA poll in six different categories, is certainly as critical a component as anybody to the Wings. Some argue that he's the world's best player. The good news, though, is that he's not expected to be out long. The two weeks sounds like a solid time frame after hearing coach Mike Babcock on Tuesday.

"Datsyuk had minor arthroscopic knee surgery this morning," Babcock said before Tuesday's game against Chicago. "Everything is real good."

With that two-week timeframe -- three to be safe -- that brings Datsyuk back in the latter half of March, giving up a couple of weeks to get back up to full speed before the playoffs. So that's why they decided to take care of it now.

"This way we have an opportunity to get [Datsyuk] going 100 percent before playoff time," Babcock said.

That is a luxury Detroit has right now, holding a big enough cushion to withstand the loss of Datsyuk for a little while and still keeping their playoff position. What it might do is open the door for the Vancouver Canucks to overtake them and move into the West's top spot.

The good news for Detroit at least is that Howard will be making his return against the Blackhawks. He has missed the past few weeks with a broken finger but Detroit just kept on winning, taking the last six games without Howard in the lineup.

On the other side of the ice in Chicago tonight the Blackhawks will be missing their top forward as well. The 'Hawks announced Jonathan Toews is going to miss the game too with an upper-body injury. So at least it's an even trade in players being out for the always entertaining Chicago-Detroit battle.

The absences take away a bit of the juice that was shaping up to be about Howard's return.

More from Eye on Hockey

NHLPA poll really likes Datsyuk
Datsyuk dramatically extends Wings' streak

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:06 am
 

Latest on Rick Nash, other trade deadline rumors

Is Columbus closer to a Nash deal? (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

We've not come down to the final week of the NHL's trading season and we've had so little action so far that you'd be forgiven if you mistook the deadline for a Kings game.

The only thing keeping this trade deadline interesting with all the non-action has been the discussion of Rick Nash's future in Columbus, which doesn't seem to be much anymore. That's because this season the Blue Jackets are the only real seller. Every other team is close enough to the playoffs to convince themselves they might still have a shot except for the Oilers, who don't really have many more players they would trade.

That's the price of parity in the NHL. At this point no team in the Eastern Conference is more than seven points out of the playoffs. That's pretty crazy.

So the only real blockbusters waiting to happen out there -- that we know of -- involved Nash or his teammate Jeff Carter.

It's just a matter of time before the Jackets swing a deal or deals. GM Scott Howson says he is getting closer but nothing is pending or anything right now. Here's what he told the Columbus Dispatch.

"We're waiting for the right deals," Howson said. "We're getting closer. But we're not there yet."

According to Bob McKenzie of TSN and the NHL Network, that "right deal" for Nash would involve a high-end player, two elite prospects and a draft pick. No word if the kitchen sink is part of the asking price as well or not.

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Whether or not it happens this week or this summer, it certainly seems like the Nash and Columbus marriage has hit an end.

The trade deadline is also massively important for Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who could see his marriage with Los Angeles end with this trade deadline, too. The Kings need so badly to make a deal for an elite scorer and only Nash and Carter seem to fit that bill right now of available players. The fan base has reached the point of expectation to deliver with high hopes all around entering this season.

It's really not an exaggeration to say that Lombardi's job is on the line with this trade deadline. That's what Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times believes.

I'm of the belief that the Kings should take to upgrading the offense this offseason. I don't foresee any addition this season that's going to do any more for the Kings than get them to the playoffs, perhaps. It's not like they will transform into a true contender this season with Nash.

But if Lombardi isn't guaranteed a job, then I get the urgency to do a deal now from his standpoint. Desperate men will do desperate things.

With all of that said, don't expect the trade deadline to remain dull. There will be some deals and McKenzie has the latest on the buzz, including a few teams who are slipping into selling mode and the other hot names of the season.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com