Category:NHL
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:05 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 1:06 pm
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Nash watch: Agent speaks, Preds trying to get in

Will Nash have a new jersey on Monday afternoon? (US Presswire)

By Brian Stubits

In the last day or so I went from being not so optimistic that Rick Nash would be traded before Monday's deadline to being at the point of a coin flip. That's what one little statement from an agent can do.

For the first time since the Nash trade talk picked up a few weeks back, his agent Joe Resnick shared his thoughts on the situation. And they put a little pressure on Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson.

"We're hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that is fair and equitable for the Blue Jackets," Resnick told TSN. "However, if a deal is not reached, then the list of acceptable teams will not change at a later date."

So much for the idea of summer opening up the market.

It already seemed like a good idea to get a deal done before the deadline passes for Columbus. You knew once the word spread they were willing to listen to offers his days in Columbus were done. There was just no backtracking from how far things had gone. Especially now. It's to the point where Nash's camp is "hopeful" for a trade before the deadline? Talk about a lame duck if he sticks around.

The question then becomes who backs down for a deal to get done? Scott Howson has maintained his high asking price while teams like the Rangers and Maple Leafs haven't backed off their insistence to not include certain players (see: Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Jake Gardiner).

All the while, the Rangers remain the favorite if Nash is to go in the next 26 hours. Here's the latest from Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

One informed source told The Post that Sather has held firm in his refusal to send 2009 first-rounder Chris Kreider, the Boston College winger who is regarded as a can’t-miss prospect, to the Blue Jackets for Nash. Neither will the general manager agree to move young blue-line chips Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto.

A second source told The Post that Sather has agreed to include 21-year-old defenseman Tim Erixon in the package that would go to Columbus in exchange for Nash, who has indicated a willingness to waive his no-move clause for a deal to a select number of big-market teams.

It is unclear whether Sather is willing include 2012 first-rounder J.T. Miller in the package for Nash that would include Brandon Dubinsky, a future first-rounder, and likely at least another well-regarded prospect.

But there is another team at least trying to enter the conversation. The Nashville Predators are as big of buyers right now as they ever have been. They are trying to prove to their defensive Stars Ryan Suter and Shea Weber that they are committed to winning it all in Nashville so they'll re-sign.

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And they have reportedly put forth a pretty good looking offer for the Jackets to consider. They apparently have a standing offer on the table for the Jackets and Nash and Predators beat writer David Boclair speculates it would likely include Colin Wilson, Ryan Ellis or Jonathon Blum, a first-round pick and maybe a little more.

Keep in mind that Nash has a no-trade clause and at no point have the Predators been rumored to be on that list. If you are to gauge based on the teams that are thought to be on it -- Rangers and Leafs for starters -- Nashville doesn't seem to fit that bill, either. Oh, and the Predators play in the same division as the Blue Jackets. So there's that.

The odds of getting a deal done with Nashville seem so remote from two fronts. But still, Section 303 points out that perhaps it could all be too much for either the Jackets or Nash to say no.

The Predators are willing to give up a Stepan-type (Wilson), a young blueliner with the same offensive upside (if not moreso) as Del Zotto and McDonagh (Ellis), a little insurance in Laakso and a first round draft choice for the same player that those other GM’s are saying no to.

If you’re Columbus, this is the best deal on the table right now by far. This is when the motivated parties come together and do what’s best for everyone involved and make the deal.

Howson goes to Nash’s camp and says “Look, you want out by Monday. This is your chance. Nashville has offered far and away the best deal. Take it or stick around until the summer.” At that point, Nash and his agent have a decision to make. Accept the trade to Music City where Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne and future Norris Trophy winners Weber and Suter await or stay in the Buckeye State with the likes of Steve Mason between the pipes and an overpaid mediocre defense corps.

Wishful thinking to be sure, but there is some soundness to the conversation. I just can't see Howson dealing within the division even if Nash agreed to a move to Nashville.

So this all sets up for a very interesting final day of the Nash trade deadline sweepstakes. The heat is on Howson to move now, nobody likes a lame duck. It becomes a question now of who blinks first. Or if anybody will blink.

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

Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Senators acquire G Ben Bishop from Blues

Bishop has a .928 save percentage, 2.26 GAA this year for Peoria. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Days after it was announced Craig Anderson was going to be out an undetermined amount of time after slicing his finger while cooking, the Ottawa Senators went out and acquired goaltender Ben Bishop from the St. Louis Blues. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun was the first to report the trade.

The pick heading to St. Louis for Bishop is Ottawa's second-rounder in the 2013 draft.

Bob McKenzie of TSN added that just after the deal was completed, Bishop signed a one-year contract extension with the Sens. He was scheduled to become a free agent after this season so this ensures the Senators will have him through next season at the least.

“I’m very excited," Bishop told the Sun. "I couldn’t be more happy, especially to a team lwith a great history and the fan support they have.”

Bishop, a highly regarded goaltending prospect, has been stuck in the AHL for the Blues this season with the play of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. He was an All-Star in his own right, representing the Peoria Rivermen in the AHL's extravaganza.

He had hoped before the season to win the backup job in St. Louis but it went to Elliott who has run with it. It led to Elliott receiving a contract extension earlier this season, leaving Bishop's future with the team as one of being in the AHL for some time.

He's the biggest goalie of today's big goalie trend in the NHL. The University of Maine product stands 6 feet 7 has been viewed as one of the better goaltending prospects in the game, he was just blocked in St. Louis.

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There figured to be a lot of teams interested in Bishop, most notably the Tampa Bay Lightning and possibly the Maple Leafs with their goaltending issues. Instead it's Ottawa that gets him and if nothing else, he will give the Sens a chance to rest Anderson a little more when they're both healthy.

I like the deal from both sides. The Blues were likely going to lose Bishop any way after this season, he was going to become an unrestricted free agent despite his age because of the lack of playing time. He was not likely to re-sign with the team if it meant staying in the AHL. So in that regard the Blues got something in return. Maybe they could have gotten a little more for Bishop, but all in all not bad.

For the Sens it means they didn't give up a whole lot to get a goalie they are probably hoping can carry them down the stretch this season. Potentially a lot more.

Where it leaves Robin Lehner, the Sens' top goalie prospect, is another matter. It was expected that next season is when Lehner was going to make the move to the NHL full time and take over Alex Auld's spot as the second goalie in Ottawa. But it's tough to argue that Bishop isn't a better prospect at the position. Lehner is now left in the same spot that Bishop was in in St. Louis, the third goalie blocked by others. A one-way deal for Bishop means that he isn't going to be in the AHL next season.

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

Posted on: February 26, 2012 10:18 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 12:00 pm
 

Morning Skate: Sharks, Wild meet desperate for W

Marleau and San Jose are in Minnesota. (US Presswire)

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.

Playoff Race

6 ET, San Jose at Minnesota

Here's a bit of a shocker: The San Jose Sharks wake up Sunday morning in seventh place in the Western Conference, only three points up on the three-way tie for eighth place. A nine-game road trip can do that to a team.

Those numbers are slightly skewed. The Sharks are the only team in spots 1-11 in the West that have played fewer than 62 games and the only team in the conference thus far who has played only 60. So there are games in hand on others in the picture, including the Coyotes, who now lead the Pacific Division outright.

That's why the final game of the trip today is a big one. Those games in hand mean nada if they aren't converted into points. They can't really afford to let the Coyotes get some separation in the division race with how incredibly hot they have been lately.

For the Wild, it means just staying in the race for that eighth seed. The magic number is more or less five points. If you fall any further behind that, the chances of coming back become very long. The Wild enter Sunday's game five points behind that logjam for eighth. The home games need to turn into two points for them.

With San Jose having lost eight of their last 11 games -- and the division lead -- it means we should have two desperate hockey teams on Sunday evening. Sounds like fun.

5 ET, Montreal at Florida

The Florida Panthers scored an absolutely huge win on Saturday night in Raleigh, taking down the Hurricanes in a shootout, 3-2. They were down 2-0 until Tomas Fleischmann hit for a score with 6:02 left and new addition Wojtek Wolski tied it with under two to play. It was Florida's third straight win on the road and vaulted them back into first in the Southeast while keeping games in hand on everybody else.

Ironically enough, while they have won three in a row on the road, they have lost four straight at home. That has to change if Florida wants to see the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

This represents the first chance a team in the Southeast Division will have a shot at reaching 70 points on the season, too. Oof. But at least Florida has played fewer games than any team, so they need to use these games in hand (four on Winnipeg, two on Washington) to push themselves back ahead of the division.

With Montreal coming to town, it's a perfect opportunity. The Canadiens have not won a game in regulation in their last six tries. The only win in that time came in a shootout four games ago. They enter today's matchup having scored two goals in the last three games, all losses.

But you can bet the Habs fans will still fill up the seats in Florida. It never quite feels like a road game for Montreal when it is in Sunrise. South Florida is a popular winter destination for the Quebecois, so Habs-Panthers is one of the rare tough tickets at the BankAtlantic Center.

3 ET, Vancouver at Dallas

That aforementioned logjam in the West? The Stars are part of it. By virtue of the tie-breakers at this point, the Stars are actually the team in the playoffs if they were to start today. Not too bad for a team that still seems to be a seller before tomorrow's trade deadline.

The Stars come into the game on a little roll, having won three in a row including Friday's 4-1 victory over the Wild. But the Canucks are a whole different cup of tea.

Vancouver has taken a lead on the Red Wings and Rangers in the Presidents' Trophy race and it would like to stay up there. The Northwest Division is damn near mathematically locked up already, they're up 18 points on Colorado. But that best record in the league is something worth fighting for, so this isn't a team that's already put it on cruise control.

Others worth watching

7 ET, Chicago at Anaheim: The up-and-down Blackhawks take on the desperate and hot Ducks. An Anaheim win could pull it within four of the eighth spot out West depending on results.

1 ET, Tampa Bay at New Jersey: It looked like the Lightning might have a little life a week ago, but not so much anymore. The Devils, though, are still fighting for that fourth spot in the East.

5 ET, Islanders at Ottawa: The above description of the Lightning describes the Islanders. The Senators are pretty safely in but still have an outside shot at the Northeast Division.

1 ET, Columbus at Pittsburgh: They most intriguing thing about this game -- other than how many points Evgeni Malkin can accumulate -- is if this is Rick Nash's final game with the Blue Jackets.

Your promised miscellany

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

Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:20 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 3:04 pm
 

Video: Kyle Turris headshot on Joe Corvo

By: Adam Gretz

Ottawa Senators forward Kyle Turris is not an overly physical player. In 36 games this season he's been credited with just 16 hits (and yes, I'm aware of how flawed and biased the "hit" statistic can be), which is why it's kind of surprising to see him involved in a questionable hit to the head that may receive some extra attention from the NHL.

Late in the third period of the Senators 5-3 loss to the Bruins, Turris caught Boston defenseman Joe Corvo with what appeared to be an elbow to the head, resulting in a two-minute minor for boarding and a pretty incredible rant from Bruins announcer Jack Edwards.

(Also featured: Chris Neil's big hit on Johnny Boychuk earlier in the period.)



The NHL looks at everything, so this hit is definitely going to be reviewed, it's just a matter of whether or not Brendan Shanahan and Co. feel it's worthy of additional punishment.

These two teams meet again Tuesday night in Boston.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 10:50 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:03 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Coyotes, Kings and Capitals



By: Adam Gretz


There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Winners

1. Phoenix Coyotes: Is it too soon to give Dave Tippett the Jack Adams Award? Maybe, but it looks like he might have another one coming his way if this continues in Phoenix.

With their 3-1 win against the Oilers on Saturday afternoon the Coyotes won for the ninth time in the past 10 games, a stretch that has seen them go without a loss in regulation, and thanks to San Jose's loss in Nashville, they actually moved into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division. For now, anyway.

And this is a team that looked like it may not make the playoffs as recently as three weeks ago.

[Related: Coyotes 3, Oilers 1]

2. Los Angeles Kings: Jeff Carter's debut with the Kings was a rather large success. He didn't record a point in the Kings' 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, of course, but the fact the Kings scored four goals in a single game is impressive enough. Entering Saturday night they have scored just 18 goals in their previous 11 games.

Leading the was captain Dustin Brown as he did his part to respond to recent trade rumors with a hat trick, scoring two power play goals and a shorthanded goal, while also assisting on Willie Mitchell's second period goal.

Big-time performance for a Kings team that desperately needed it. Oh, hey, and another shutout for Jonathan Quick.

[Related: Kings 4, Blackhawks 0]

3. Washington Capitals: A fast start and a huge road win -- 4-2 over the Maple Leafs -- for what has been one of the worst road teams in the Eastern Conference . It's only the third road win for the Capitals in their past eight road games, and it allows them to keep pace with Florida and Winnipeg in the race for not only the No. 8 spot in the East, but also the top spot in the Southeast Division.

[Related: Capitals 4, Maple Leafs 2]

4. Wojtek Wolski and the Panthers: On the same day that the Florida Panthers acquired him from the New York Rangers, Wojtek Wolski was in the lineup for his new team and he not only scored his first goal of the season, it came with less than two minutes to play in the third period to tie the game at two, sending the game to overtime where the Panthers would eventually win in a shootout. That's how you make a debut and make an impact for your new team.

[Related: Panthers 3, Hurricanes 2 -- Wolski traded to Panthers]

Losers

1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Entering Saturday's game the playoff chances for the Tampa Bay Lightning were slim, especially now that the team has established itself as a seller. Their 8-1 loss to the Penguins can be described using only one word: Woof.

[Related: Penguins 8, Lightning 1 -- Malkin's highlight reel goal]

2. Toronto Maple Leafs: In what was a classic four-point game in the standings for both Toronto and Washington, the Maple Leafs got off to a slow start giving up two goals just three minutes into the first period and were never able to recover on their way to a 4-2 loss to the Capitals. The Leafs have now lost four in a row and eight out of their past nine. Perhaps being a buyer at the trade deadline isn't the best course of action for Toronto at this point.

Then again, Ron Wilson did his part to throw James Reimer in front of the bus during his post-game press conference, and seemed to be begging for a goaltender to be added. It could be an interesting 36 hours in Toronto.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 4:02 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 4:20 pm
 

Video: Evgeni Malkin goal of the year candidate

By: Adam Gretz

During the second period of Pittsburgh's 8-1 win against Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon, Evgeni Malkin collided with goaltender Dwayne Roloson, resulting in the Lightning netminder giving Malkin a punch to the face.

Malkin would eventually get his revenge on the scoreboard by recording his ninth career hat trick, and his second against Tampa Bay this season.

His second goal of the game, which came mid-way through the third period to give Pittsburgh a 6-1 lead, was one of the smoothest, prettiest goals of the year as he took the puck at his own blue line line and skated through the entire Tampa Bay defense before finally beating Roloson.

Brett Clark, No. 7 in white, had a particularly good view of the play as Malkin completely turned him around on his way to the net.



Immediately the play drew comparisons to a goal that Hall of Famer (and Penguins owner) Mario Lemieux scored for the Penguins during the 1991 Stanley Cup finals when he went through the Minnesota North Stars defense in a similar fashion during a Game 2 win.



Pretty similar moves. Of course, Lemieux's goal came on a slightly bigger stage.

Malkin entered Saturday's game against Tampa Bay tied with Steven Stamkos for the league in points with 73, and he managed to re-take sole possession of first place with a four-point effort, also assisting on a Chris Kunitz goal in the first period. Through 54 games Malkin now has 36 goals and 77 points, which is a points per game average of 1.42. The next closest player, as of Saturday afternoon, is Philadelphia's Claude Giroux at 1.25 points per game. Stamkos and Washington's Nicklas Backstrom are the only other players above 1.10.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:54 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 2:55 pm
 

Video: Chris Simon elbows KHL ref during fight

By: Adam Gretz

How many KHL referees does it take to stop former longtime NHL tough-guy Chris Simon from getting into a fight?

Apparently, it takes three.

Simon has spent the past four years playing in the KHL, including  this season with his current team, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, and during Friday night's game against Dinamo Riga he attempted to get into a fight with Janis Sprukts, a move that was blocked by three of the on-ice officials, including one that was in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to catch an elbow from Simon in the side of the head at the 1:05 mark of the video featured below.



This little tantrum from Simon ended up earning him 27 penalty minutes late in the third period of his teams 4-1 loss.

Simon, if you recall, spent 15 years in the NHL with seven different organizations, including parts of seven seasons with the Washington Capitals. And that includes one particularly crazy season in 1999-00 when he scored 29 goals and logged 146 penalty minutes.

(H/T Puck Daddy)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 1:13 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 1:27 pm
 

Wojtek Wolski traded to Panthers

PanthersBy: Adam Gretz

For the second day in a row the Florida Panthers added to their roster, this time by acquiring veteran forward Wojtek Wolski from the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round draft pick and Michael Vernace according to TSN's Darren Dreger.

Wolksi has appeared in just nine games this season scoring no goals and recording three assists for the Rangers. He scored 12 goals during the 2010-11 season which he split between the Rangers and Phoenix Coyotes.

For the Rangers, the biggest value they may get from this deal, along with getting any sort of a return for Wolksi given how little he's played this season, is the simple fact that they were able to clear some salary cap space in advance of Monday's trade deadline (where the Rangers are rumored to be interested in adding Columbus' Rick Nash) dumping the remaining portion of Wolksi's $3.8 million cap hit for the season.

He's eligible for restricted free agency after this season.

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