Tag:Adam Gretz
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:04 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:08 am
 

Andy Sutton re-signs with Oilers

OilersBy: Adam Gretz

Another potential trade target appears to have come off the market, as the Edmonton Oilers announced that the team and defenseman Andy Sutton have agreed to terms on a new contract. The contract is a one-year deal worth $1.5 million deal (with additional games played bonuses) according to TSN's Bob McKenzie, and will keep Sutton in Edmonton for another season.

He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, and that status, as well as Edmonton's place near the bottom of the Western Conference standings led to the inevitable trade speculation.

In 33 games this season the 6-foot-6 defenseman has scored three goals to go with six assists, and is playing for his fourth team in the past three years, having also spent time with the Islanders, Senators and Ducks in recent seasons.

A physical presence on the blue line for Edmonton, Sutton has sometimes taken it a bit too far this season and has been suspended on two separate occassions for a total of 13 games. He received a five-game banishment back in October for elbowing Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog, and then missed eight games in December for charging Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Sutton is currently in the final year of a two-year contract that pays him $2.12 million per season.

Sutton's re-signing with the Oilers comes just a couple of weeks after Carolina locked up Tim Gleason with a four-year deal.

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

Posted on: February 12, 2012 12:18 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 12:21 pm
 

The value of Jordan Staal



By: Adam Gretz


The Pittsburgh Penguins were able to get one of their injured centers back this weekend, and while Jordan Staal's absence didn't have quite the same impact, intrigue or uncertainty of his teammate, Sidney Crosby, that doesn't take away from how important he has been on the ice for Pittsburgh, or how important his return to the lineup will be going forward.

Over the past month, since Staal was injured in a game against the New York Rangers during a colission with Mike Rupp, the Penguins were getting by with Evgeni Malkin carrying the load at center, and what was basically a patchwork group at the position behind him, a situation that has become all too familiar for a team that is built on the strength of its centers (when all are healthy) over the past two seasons.

That resulted in Malkin seeing a lot of assignments against other teams top lines and, honestly, required his line (along with James Neal and Chris Kunitz) to provide almost all of the offense. With Staal back, the Penguins once again have the player in their lineup that does a lot of their heavy lifting when it comes to drawing the toughest assignments, which can possibly help to free up Malkin's line even more and take some of the pressure off of them.

"Especially on the road there have been situations where it's been head-to-head for Malkin with the other teams top line," said coach Dan Bylsma before Pittsburgh's 8-5 run-and-gun win against Winnipeg on Saturday.

"Now with Jordan in the mix and his line, especially with [Matt] Cooke and [Pascal] Dupuis getting the opportunity to match up against other teams top lines, for the most part, it will free up Evgeni a little bit. Also, I think it's a tough matchup against Jordan as well, which can lead to situations where it might be advantageous to get Malkin's line up against different pairings and different people. Jordan brings a lot in that regard, he's going to be bring a big responsibility against the other teams top line, and it should be helpful in the match-ups and situations Geno's line can find themselves in."

And that's the beauty of Staal's role.

If you look back at his career with the Penguins, especially over the past three years, he's always been the center -- even when you include Crosby and Malkin -- that seems to draw the toughest matchups (using Behindthenet's Corsi Relative Quality of Competition), and this season has been no different. Even though he typically draws the most difficult assignments on the team, his line usually ends up coming away with the upper hand, not only in terms of goals for/goals against, but also in terms of controlling possession of the puck and keeping it in the offensive zone.

Looking at something as simple as On-Ice Corsi, which is simply the total shot-differential (goals, saves, missed shots, blocked shots during 5-on-5 play -- it's basically a way of measuring puck possession and offensive zone time) when a player is on the ice, Staal entered the weekend third in the NHL among players that have played at least 30 games this season, and he's been a positive player in that area in each of the past four seasons. And he's been able to do that while playing against top competition and starting a large percentage of his shifts in the defensive end of the rink.

In other words: When Staal's line is on the ice, the Penguins are keeping the other teams best players bottled up in their own end, which is a pretty good way of making sure they're being shut down. That's an extremely valuable role, and it's one that Staal has excelled in. He's become a big-time player, even though he's never been one that puts up huge numbers offensively.

His return to the lineup gives the Penguins another top-center to pair up with their MVP contender (Malkin) which could make them one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference come playoff time, even if they don't get Crosby back anytime soon.

(Corsi and Quality of Competition data via BehindTheNet.ca)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 11, 2012 1:42 pm
 

St. Louis and Detroit's home-ice domination

HomeIceWesternConferenceBy: Adam Gretz

Sitting on top of the NHL standings with 76 points, the Detroit Red Wings are in a rather familiar position as one of the top contenders to compete for the Stanley Cup.

Always a dangerous team come playoff time, the Red Wings domination on home ice this season has to make them one of the scariest teams to match up with in the postseason if they can secure the No. 1 seed and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

After Friday's 2-1 shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks, the Wings pushed their home record on the season to 22-2-1, a mark that only one other team in the league can come close to matching -- their central division rivals, the St. Louis Blues, who currently own a 22-3-4 record on home ice.  

As of Saturday afternoon, only five points separate the two teams in the standings while St. Louis still has three games in hand. Seeing as how the two teams are nearly unbeatable on their home rinks but are .500 teams on the road (between them the two teams are 44-5-5 at home, but just 25-26-4 on the road) wrapping up the top spot in the division, as well as what could be the top spot in the conference, has to be a top priority for both clubs.

Given the upcoming schedules, you have to like the Red Wings chances. Detroit is currently riding a 19-game winning streak at Joe Louis Arena, the second longest run in NHL history, trailing only the 20 game runs that the 1975-76 Flyers and 1929-30 Boston Bruins achieved (oddly enough, the Red Wings next home game is on Sunday night against the Flyers).

The incredible thing about Detroit's winning streak at home isn't just the number of wins, it's also that a lot of these games haven't even been that competitive. Of the 19 wins 10 of them have been by a margin of three goals or more, and overall they've outscored their opponents by an 80-27 margin.

They're not just beating teams at home, they're crushing them, and they're in the middle of a stretch that has them playing nine of their next 12 games at home.

The Blues? Eight of their next 12 are on the road.

Unless either team does something to reverse the script that's been written through the first half of this season, this looks like a pretty big opporunity for Detroit to open up quite a lead in the Central Division race.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:49 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2012 12:34 am
 

George Parros scores first goal since 2010

By: Adam Gretz

It didn't get quite as much attention as the goal-scoring drought that Montreal's Scott Gomez was riding, going a full calendar year without scoring, but Anaheim's George Parros entered Friday's game in Detroit without a goal since December 1 ... of 2010. Because Parros isn't one of the highest paid players in the league and playing in the hockey madhouse that is Montreal, his run of 84 regular season games (89 games if you include the playoffs) without a goal kind of slipped under the radar.

Also because he's known more for using his fists (and for having what is perhaps the best mustache in the league) than he is for scoring goals.

Still, that's a long time between goals and on Friday during Anaheim's 2-1 shootout loss to the Red Wings (a game that saw the Red Wings extend their home winning streak to 19 games) Parros finally found the back of the net, using his skate to re-direct a pass from Rod Pelley past Joey MacDonald. The play had to be reviewed to confirm that it wasn't a kicking motion (and it wasn't).



The role Parros plays for the Ducks is pretty easy to see when looking at his career numbers, and since his last goal he only played about six or seven minutes per night and had been involved in over 15 fights, racking up 170 penalty minutes while recording just 26 shots on goal.

His goal on Friday was the 17th of his career.

Also at Eye On Hockey

Gomez finally ends his goal drought
Gomez: by the numbers

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 10, 2012 9:00 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 9:03 pm
 

Dominic Moore fined $2,500

By: Adam Gretz

The New York Rangers were upset about a hit that Dominic Moore put on Ruslan Fedotenko Thursday night, and there was some discussion as to whether or not it would result in any supplemental discipline from the league.

The NHL announced on Friday evening that it is going to hand out some additional punishment, fining the Lightning forward $2,500 for his hit that occurred early in the third period of the Rangers 4-3 overtime win. It's a decision that is probably going to fire up some debate and result in plenty of disagreement, not only because it came away from the play (Fedotenko didn't have the puck) but because it also appeared to be a clear hit to the head.

In case you missed it earlier, here is the play once again:



Moore was penalized on the play, receiving a two-minute minor for roughing while Fedotenko was pretty clearly shaken up as a result of the hit.

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Rangers upset with Moore Hit
More NHL Discipline News

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:11 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 10:16 pm
 

Hartnell scores, then fights Dion Phaneuf (video)

By: Adam Gretz

Scott Hartnell had a pretty solid game for the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, recording a Gordie Howe hat trick in a 4-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In a display of what can only be referred to as "old time hockey," Hartnell managed to earn two-thirds of his Gordie Howe Trick (the goal and the fight) on the same play, within seconds of each other.

Impressive, and very unusual.

After firing a bouncing puck past James Reimer from just inside the faceoff circle to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead late in the first period, Hartnell almost immediately stopped his post-goal celebration, turned around, gave Toronto's Dion Phaneuf a slash across the leg, and then started to fight the Maple Leafs defenseman.

Here's a look at the sequence (including a hit from Phaneuf on Hartnell just before the goal) that resulted in Hartnell picking up the extra penalty for slashing, via Hockeyfights.com:



For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:42 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 9:47 pm
 

Scott Gomez finally scores a goal

By: Adam Gretz

Finally, the Scott Gomez watch is over.

Riding the worst goal-scoring drought of his career, Gomez found the back of the net on Thursday night against the Islanders for the first time since February 5, 2011. That's more than a full calender year.

At the 9:50 mark of the third period, Gomez, on the power play, blasted a slap shot off of a rebound past Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov for what proved to be the game-winning goal in Montreal's 4-2 win (Max Pacioretty would add an empty-net goal to complete a hat trick later in the period).

It didn't long for didgomezscore.com to update.



We already highlighted the absurdity of his goal drought over the weekend, and when all was said and done he went 124 shots on goal and 1,311 shifts (including the playoffs) between goals, a pretty improbable run for a player that possesses a decent level of skill and has had the sort of career that Gomez has had.

Hopefully for Gomez and Montreal it's not another year until the next one comes.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:22 am
Edited on: February 9, 2012 1:28 am
 

Miikka Kiprusoff earns win No. 300 in style

By: Adam Gretz

On Wednesday night Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff became just the 27th goalie in NHL history to record his 300th win by stopping 34 of the 37 shots he faced in a 4-3 win against the San Jose Sharks, the team that originally draft him in the 5th round of the 1995 draft.

His best save of the night came with just under four minutes to play in the third period when he made what is being referred to as "the scorpion" save by somehow snatching a bouncing puck out of mid-air with his legs, behind his back, and keeping it from heading into the net for what would have been a game-tying goal.

Observe:



No idea how he did that, and as amazing as that save is, he managed to pull off a similar move back in 2009, also against the Sharks (click here to watch).

Along with being a milestone win for Kiprusoff, it was also a huge win for the Flames in their quest to reach the Western Conference playoffs and it pulls them to within just one point of the No. 8 seed Minnesota Wild. While Kiprusoff was making big saves in net, Olli Jokinen picked up a hat trick to lead the charge offensively.

Kiprusoff, as he has been since joining the Flames during the 2003-04 season, has been a workhose this season, and even though there was talk before the season about limiting his starts, he's already started 45 of their 54 games. He's started at least 70 games in each of the past six seasons, a number that looks to be within reach once again.

As always needs to be pointed out with post-lockout goalies and win totals, Kiprusoff has had the benefit of picking up wins in the shootout (goalies prior to the '05-06 season would have had such games result in ties, of course) but it's also worth mentioning that he never had an opportunity to become a full-time starter in the NHL until 2005, when he was already 29 years old.

Pretty impressive career for a guy that came up through the Sharks system around the same time as Evgeni Nabokov, Vesa Toskala and Johan Hedberg.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz 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