Tag:Bobby Ryan
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:47 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 9:51 am
 

Pregame Skate: Jeff Carter back in Columbus

Carter returns to Columbus, just in black. I guess that's fitting. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Pregame 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.

7 ET, Los Angeles at Columbus

Sure, there's the story of the Kings' playoff push to watch for in this one. They only enter the night in a three-way tie for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. So, ya know, the game is pretty important in that regard.

But even at this time of the year that takes a little bit of a back seat to the bigger storyline of the game: Jeff Carter returning to Columbus. Already. Even though he denies it, Carter never seemed to be too pleased to be in Columbus after the summer trade out of Philadelphia. His short time in Ohio was also disturbed by a few injury setbacks that have cut his season shorter.

“Obviously when I got traded from Philly, it was hard on me, something that I didn’t expect. Over time, you get over that," Carter told Rich Hammond of L.A. Kings Insider I came in here [Columbus] with an open mind. There were a lot of expectations around the team, from the fans and the city and stuff like that. For whatever reason, it didn’t really work out that way, and things just started to snowball from there. When you’re losing games, like we did, and giving up leads late, it’s pretty tough on guys. It’s hard to kind of keep going. It was a tough year."

You know the already disgruntled Blue Jackets fans who have sat through that tough year are going to let Carter know how they feel about him, and I can only guess it's not overwhelmingly positive. And while the Carter storyline might be front and center to start the game, once the puck drops it's back to the action.

“Obviously you want to go out and play good and beat your old team," Carter said. "I think above all that is, we’re in a pretty tight race here too. We need two points, for sure."

7 ET, Tampa Bay at Washington (NHL Network)

The Capitals and Lightning enter the night only two points apart in the Southeast Division with a couple weeks left. It feels like last season for one night, at least.

The problem, of course, is that they aren't battling for first in the division on Thursday night. They are fighting for eighth/ninth in the East. That's a position the Caps are in with their current 1-2-1 home stand and the Lightning from a first half of the season of very mediocre play. But speaking of mediocrity, the East has it and so these teams are still dreaming.

It's amazing to think that with a regulation win tonight, the Lightning will pull even with the Capitals in the playoff race. They'll have to await the final between the Jets and Canucks to see where they stand in relation to the last playoff spot.

Of course for Tampa they come in with an injury at their worst position on the ice, goaltending. Mathieu Garon is out and so it's up to Dwayne Roloson and Dustin Tokarski. The good news? The Caps aren't doing a whole lot of scoring this season, so this game could prove to a remedy for either side: the Caps offense or Lightning goaltending.

8:30 ET, San Jose at Dallas

This much we know: The Stars will remain in first place by the end of the night. But what they could do that's even more impressive is open up a five-point advantage on the Sharks in the Pacific and Western Conference race. Now that would be something.

The Sharks have been in a freefall for a few weeks now and it has led them to the brink of slipping out of the playoffs altogether. Imagine that, the Sharks missing the playoffs? It's not too tough to imagine right now. By virtue of having games in hand on the other teams, the Sharks hold the eighth position right now in the three-way tie, but with both the others in action, it's possible the Sharks could be 10th by night's end.

NHL Playoffs
2011 NHL Playoffs
More NHL coverage

I'm still trying to figure out which is more surprising, though: The Sharks being on the playoff bubble or the Stars being the division leader.

By the way, this is the third meeting between these teams and the final day of the season, April 7. So they're going to have a few chances to make some big swings in the standings, starting with tonight.

Others worth watching

9 ET, Minnesota at Phoenix: It was only a few days ago that the Coyotes were the surprise Pacific Division leader. Now they have lost four straight, including two to Columbus. They get another bottom feeder in the Wild. They kind of need to win this.

10 ET, Winnipeg at Vancouver: Now we find out how real the Jets are. They did what they had to do and held down the home-ice advantage on their long home stand, but where they will make the playoffs is on the road. It starts at the Canucks.

7 ET, Buffalo at Boston: Another hard to believe sentence: The Sabres can move into the eighth position in the East with a win tonight. This was expected to be the Northeast battle this season, but at least it's a big game with the Sabres' resurgence.

Your promised miscellany

  • Wednesday's Winners & Losers
  • The Canucks have hit a bump in the road, but it's hardly a reason to panic. Just look at the Bruins a year ago. (The Province)
  • Bobby Ryan is looking ahead to life after Teemu in Anaheim and he wants to take that second-line role. (O.C. Register)
  • Did Brian Burke also target Ron MacLean when he complained to the CBC about Coach's Corner. Yes, yes he did. (Pro Hockey Talk)
  • Lastly, I'm a proud American and make no apologies for it, but I'm a fan of Canada ... and it's national anthem. So even I cringe at this from last night's game in Buffalo.

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

Posted on: February 16, 2012 2:26 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 2:32 pm
 

Can Ducks complete comeback and make playoffs?

Selanne and Anaheim can see the eighth spot now. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

This is shaping up just like a Disney movie. They could call this one The Mighty Ducks. Oh, wait ...

Go back about two months and you'd find the Anaheim Ducks left for dead. They were playing the Columbus Blue Jackets with the loser taking the lead in the Fail for Nail (Yukupov, top draft prospect this year) race. That's how far in the dumps they were.

A look at the standings today after their 2-1 win in Pittsburgh Wednesday night reveals the Ducks are only six measly points out of a playoff position with 25 games to go. Meanwhile, they are now 17 points up on the Jackets, having passed six other teams on the way up.

It has people wondering if they can do the unthinkable, pull of a remarkable comeback and sneak into the playoffs. In looking at the bubble teams earlier this week, colleague Adam Gretz estimated the Ducks will roughly have to finish the season 20-6-0. That could possibly come down. Perhaps an 18-7-1 record could be enough. Those three fewer points make it seem a lot less daunting, don't they?

The point is, the odds are still long. But are they too long for the Ducks?

Remember how they finished last season, on a tear that took them to the playoffs and Corey Perry to the Hart Trophy as league MVP. Anaheim closed out the season going 15-5-0. Considering it's mostly the same group of guys just with their No. 1 goaltender actually on the ice this time, why couldn't they put together a similar record this year?

I don't have a good reason for you other than it would mean stretching this strong run out for much longer and the odds of a team staying that hot for that long aren't good. Then again, they did stay so cold for so long earlier this season.

With Perry, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and the rest of the crew scoring goals again -- something they weren't doing earlier this season -- it's possible. When they are on, that's one of the most talented group of players you'll find in the game.

You'd think the road-heavy schedule might be the big obstacle, and it well could be. But right now they are halfway through an eight-game road trip and have picked up seven of the eight possible points so far.

If it happens that the Ducks do find themselves sneaking into the playoffs, I can't imagine there will be a team that would want that first-round matchup. Also, you can anticipate hearing some calls for Bruce Boudreau to win the Jack Adams Award as the league's top coach. A turnaround like that would put him in the conversation with Ken Hitchcock, John Tortorella, Kevin Dineen and more. Imagine that, a coach winning the Jack Adams in the same season he was fired.

Personally, I wouldn't say Boudreau would be deserving of the Adams. No, I'd vote Bob Murray for general manager of the year over Florida's Dale Tallon. Remember, it wasn't the hiring of Boudreau that was the impetus for this surge, it was Murray threatening to trade everybody but Selanne and Saku Koivu. Talk about a kick in the pants.

I'm going to go out on the limb and say I think the Ducks will get it done and make the playoffs. Unfathomable two months ago, I'm going to say I'm one of the believers now. What's your call?

More from Eye on Hockey

Ducks believe in miracles
Murray says players available
NHL's playoff race

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

Posted on: February 2, 2012 4:37 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 4:38 pm
 

Ducks believe in miracles, their shirts show it

It would certainly be a miracle for Anaheim to make the playoffs. (Twitpic)

By Brian Stubits

Do you believe in miracles?

The Anaheim Ducks' answer is Yes!

Not long ago, the Ducks were playing so poorly that their general manager Bob Murray first fired well-respected head coach Randy Carlyle then threatened to trade anybody not named Saku Koivu or Teemu Selanne. The most discussed player was Bobby Ryan.

Since then, the Ducks have been one of the hottest teams in the league. They recently went through an 8-1-1 stretch. Still, they are 10 points behind the Minnesota Wild for the last playoff spot with four more teams between them.

You'd have better odds fielding an Olympic hockey team from Brazil than you would the Ducks do of making the playoffs. Too extreme? OK, I'll just go with what Orange County Register columnist Jeff Miller who compared the Ducks' chances of making the playoffs to Ron Paul earning the Republican presidential nomination.

But don't tell the players who, as plainly seen above, still believe.

Don't get your hopes up, fans. Oh sure, you can hope all you want they pull of a miracle down there in Disney land that could inspire the next Mighty Ducks movie. I'm referring to the getting your hands on the shirt. Sorry, it's only for the players. Because, you know, they have to make sure everybody knows they believe, maybe they'll convince themselves it can happen.

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

Posted on: January 7, 2012 3:07 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 3:10 pm
 

Remaining cap hits for Ducks players in trade

DucksBy: Adam Gretz

The Anaheim Ducks are struggling through a brutal season that's seen the team win just 11 of its first 39 games and, as of Saturday afternoon, get outscored by a larger margin than any other team in the league. Nothing is going right, and last week general manager Bob Murray made it known that just about every player on his roster not named Teemu Selanne or Saku Koivu is in play, which is definitely an intriguing start to the trading season.

Even though the team is lousy right now, and Selanne and Koivu are off the market, that still leaves quite a list of players that would be attractive to just about every other team in the league, including Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry among others. Ryan's name was in trade rumors earlier this season, right around the team changed coaches, bringing in former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau to replace Randy Carlyle, and nothing came of the rumors at that time. Who knows what's going to happen now that there's an "open for business" sign hanging on the front door.

For a team to complete a trade for one of Anaheim's many marketable players it's not only going to need an offer of players and draft picks that fits what the Ducks want and need, that team also needs enough salary cap space for the remainder of the season to make such a move, and a lot of these guys aren't cheap. When an in-season trade is made the team is responsible for a prorated portion of the players salary cap hit for that season, and it's determined by the number of days remaining in the season when the trade is completed.

To help figure out how much of a players cap hit a team is responsible for, the folks at CapGeek have a calculator that figures out the remaining value on each contract.

Below is a quick table for how much salary cap space a team would need to acquire one of Anaheim's top players this season on the following dates: January 7 (the present date), January 21, February 1, February 15 and the NHL's trade deadline, which falls on February 27 this season.

Does your team have the combination of players that can fill Anaheim's needs/wants as well as the available cap space?

Remaining Salary Cap Value: Anaheim Ducks, 2011-12 Season
Player 2011-12 Cap Value Jan. 7 Jan. 21 Feb. 1 Feb. 15 Feb. 27
Ryan Getzlaf $5.32 Million $2.61 Million $2.21 Million $1.89 Million $1.49 Million $1.15 Million
Corey Perry $5.32 Million $2.61 Million $2.21 Million $1.89 Million $1.49 Million $1.15 Million
Bobby Ryan $5.10 Million $2.50 Million $2.12 Million $1.81 Million $1.43 Million $1.10 Million
Lubomir Visnovsky $5.60 Million $2.75 Million $2.33 Million $1.99 Million $1.57 Million $1.21 Million
Jonas Hiller $4.50 Million $2.21 Million $1.87 Million $1.60 Million $1.26 Million $972,000
Francois Beauchemin $3.80 Million $1.86 Million $1.58 Million $1.35 Million $1.06 Million $821,000
Toni Lydman $3.00 Million $1.45 Million $1.24 Million $1.07 Million $843,243 $648,000

Getzlaf, Perry, Visnovsky, Beauchemin and Lydman are all signed through the end of next season. Hiller is signed through the 2013-14 season and Ryan is locked up through the 2014-15 season.

Photo: Getty Images


For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:50 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:53 pm
 

Ducks GM says all but Selanne, Koivu available

By Brian Stubits

Pick a Duck, any Duck. You can have him if the price is right.

That was pretty much the message that Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray sent to the NHL on Wednesday. The only difference? There are two untouchables: Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, two of the Ducks' three players over the age of 36. They each have no-trade clauses. But if Selanne were asked to be traded, then even he'd be available.

The rest; Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler and the others? Hey, make an offer.

"And the rest of the players in that locker room, I thought they'd figure out when we changed coaches that time was running, the clock was running quickly here. And I don't care who you talked about," Murray said after the Ducks' 3-1 loss to the Sharks on Wednesday.

"But we will not go to draft picks. It's not my intention."

So it has come to this. I don't think many saw this happening in Anaheim this season. Was it a team with flaws coming into the year? Of course. There's not a lot of depth at the forward position and the defense could be better as a unit.

But who saw Jonas Hiller struggling this much after dealing with vertigo last season? Who saw a team with Perry, Ryan, Getzlaf and Selanne struggling so much to score goals? Who saw the Ducks having only 10 wins though 38 games?

Not many, if any. A coaching change didn't work. Letting the players try and work through it hasn't gone so well. What's left then but to head to the trade market with some amazing assets?

So let the rebuilding begin, right? Well we're going to play a little semantics game and say no. Let the retooling begin.

"We're going to get ready for next year," Murray said.

"I think this team can be turned around to make the playoffs next year. I think it's going to be hard to do it this year but I do want them to make a run. But it's got to happen quick. Everybody knows that. ... Let's start playing better hockey."

Honestly, at this point the last thing I'd hope for if I'm Murray is false hope. This hole is pretty much insurmountable. My colleague Adam Gretz detailed that in a recent edition of Pucks and Numbers.

Murray is in a better place than most GMs trying to do the same. He has a lot of desirable players at relatively cheap prices to move. It's pretty easy to get talented players to help you compete now when dealing from such a position of strength.

The hottest name for most of the season, of course, has been Bobby Ryan. Just before Randy Carlyle was fired, there was a lot of speculation that Ryan was going to be the one hitting the road, not Carlyle. Instead, Carlyle was replaced by Bruce Boudreau and Ryan was seemingly pulled off the block. That didn't last long.

It's a really tough spot for Murray. On one hand, the need for change is obvious. This roster just isn't getting it done. On the other hand his trio of Ryan, Getzlaf and Perry is incredibly talented, young and reasonably priced. That's a great mix, who would actually want to get rid of that? Hence, rock and a hard place. How many of the available players do you trade? All of them? Just one?

"I still believe we have some core players. Now, whether we have to change a few core players, so be it," Murray said. "They're deciding who's staying and who's not staying at this point."

I'd anticipate Murray being pelted with offer after offer for any one of these guys. Of course the price will be high. Murray has made it clear that he wants proven NHL talent in return. What team wouldn't want to get its hands on any of Anaheim's top players?

And I'll just throw this out there: The Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs have done business with one another plenty of times in the past.

Now have fun playing with Cap Geek's trade calculator. See if your favorite team can swing a deal.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: December 18, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: Selanne returns, but Jets take off

By Brian Stubits

Saturday night in Winnipeg was just a little bit louder this time. That's because the Jets fans were more than eager to welcome back Teemu Selanne, a one-time favorite son in the 'Peg under the Jets 1.0.

He didn't leave Winnipeg in a bad fashion (he was traded to the Ducks). He didn't burn any bridges or ever say anything negative about Winnipeg and the fans there. Oh, and he was pretty damn good when wore the red, white and blue of the old Jets, too.

As good as Selanne has been throughout his career, he was never better than he was in his first season in the NHL, playing for the Jets. He set career highs that season with 76 goals and 132 points, marks that he really hasn't come even close to seeing since.

So it took an awful long time (try 15 years) for the Jets fans to get their chance to welcome him back, and they took it.

When Selanne's Anaheim Ducks took to the ice, the crowd was already cheering for the hometown team. The cheer was almost doubled when Selanne came out and the ovation continued through Selanne getting a standing ovation. It was a great moment.

That was well and good, a highlight of the weekend to be sure.

But then came the hockey game. And with that came another Jets home win, 5-3 over Selanne's Ducks.

Yes, the Jets are playing some pretty good hockey these days, especially at home. Coming into the season, the assumption was easy to make that the Jets would be a much better home team, but I still don't think many believed that would translate into Winnipeg having the best home record in the Eastern Conference a week before Christmas.

As things stand right now, the Jets are the closest competitor to the Southeast-leading Panthers. They got off to a bad start, but have flipped the script. The Jets have won six of their last eight games and are just one point behind the Sabres and Maple Leafs in the East playoff picture.

It's essentially the same team that was playing in Atlanta as the Thrashers this time last season, so we can still draw comparisons and warnings from that team. So I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everybody that the Thrashers were leading the Southeast Division this week one season ago. How did that turn out for them, exactly?

Still, it's hard not to believe this team is taking strides, as small as they might be. Evander Kane is beginning to break out and become the player the franchise thought he could be. The young sharpshooter has a team-high 15 goals, five behind the league-leading pace from Steven Stamkos. Dustin Byfuglien, for as rough of an offseason as he had, is still playing well ... offensively at least.

More from the weekend
Recaps
Stories

Ondrej Pavelec has been good enough in goal. His numbers are hardly stellar, but that's pretty much the goalie that he is. He won't compete for any Vezina trophies, but he is good enough to hold the Jets in a lot of games.

If the ship continues to take on water in Anaheim -- and really, at this point it seems like the holes won't be patched this season, even with a new coach in there -- they will have decisions to make with the roster. Talks about Bobby Ryan were already a hot topic. But the Ducks might consider doing more.

At this point in his career, Selanne made it very clear that he was going to only play in Anaheim if he were to play this season. He likely wouldn't waive his no-movement clause if asked. But maybe, if there were one place he would consider it, perhaps it would be Winnipeg. At his age, the Ducks obviously don't have Selanne in the long-term plans, so if they were able to get a player/players or picks for Selanne, they probably would love it at this moment.

That's all pure speculation and the chances of a Selanne trade are awful at best. But wouldn't it be great if Selanne had another return to Winnipeg later this season?

Wish finally granted

For months, Kyle Turris made it clear that he didn't want to play for the Phoenix Coyotes any more. His contract negotiation was long and contentious. During that time, Coyotes GM Dan Maloney was insistent he wasn't trading Turris, no matter what teams offered for the 22-year-old former first-round draft pick. He held firm and eventually got Turris under contract or two years and $2.8 million.

But the calls didn't stop and Turris certainly didn't seem to be secure in his position with the Coyotes. He had to be under contract or risk sitting out the entire season. So this weekend Maloney found a deal to his liking for Turris from Senators GM Bryan Murray. In exchange for Turris, the Coyotes received young and promising defenseman David Rundblad and a second-round draft pick.

I had long held the notion that any return in the trade that netted the Coyotes even a decent return would be a good deal. This would qualify as at least a decent return.

I have just never understood the drooling over Turris from a lot of teams. There was reportedly a lot of interest on Turris from numerous teams, both before he signed the contract and after. And just as he should have, Maloney was playing hard to get and making it obvious that it was going to take a lot for him to trade Turris.

Who knows, maybe Turris will find the environment suitable enough to become the player that everybody seems to think he can be. Maybe getting more of a chance to play and being in a less-regimented system will allow him to put up the best numbers of his career. If he does, I'll eat my crow.

But at this point in his career, he has been underwhelming, for sure. Heck, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett had made Turris a healthy scratch in his final two games as a member of the Coyotes. The interest in him still surrounds that potential tag, and I don't know how many seasons a player gets to play while still holding onto that tag.

Rundblad, meanwhile, has that potential tag, too. But he's a rookie in the NHL, so the sample size is much, much smaller. And with the way Erik Karlsson has developed this season for Ottawa, it made Rundblad a bit more expendable. However it is never an exciting prospect when you give up a young defenseman with loads of potential, those are pretty solid commodities.

My immediate reaction is that I don't like the deal for Ottawa. But like any trade, you can't truly judge it for another five years or so.

Give the Devil his due

The New Jersey Devils are starting to play some pretty good hockey. With their 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens and interim coach Randy Cunneyworth, New Jersey has run off four wins in a row and has two points in six of their last seven games. They have moved into sixth place in the East, joining Atlantic foes the Penguins, Flyers and Rangers in the top six.

The line of Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and rookie Adam Henrique has been spectacular. Henrique is the name that sticks out like a sore thumb in that trio with two perennial All-Stars, but he has been just as terrific. Any time this line is in the game right now, you get the sense that the Devils are on the verge of scoring.

But there is still some secondary scoring coming right now, including two goals from Patrik Elias in Saturday's win. Why is that noteworthy? Because the two goals allowed Elias to tie then surpass John MacLean as the franchise's all-time leading goal scorer.

Also on the minds of the Devils is the status of this year's top draft pick, defenseman Adam Larsson. He took an elbow to the head from the Canadiens' Erik Cole behind the net, a hit that Brendan Shanahan didn't deem worthy of a suspension.

Outside of that, things are going pretty well for the Devils these days.

Tip of the hat

Without Sidney Crosby on the ice, it's a lot easier for Evgeni Malkin to get the spotlight and attention that he deserves. That's easy when you have a game like he did on Saturday, with or without Crosby playing.

Malkin had a hat trick and two assists (of course I'm going against him in Fantasy this week) as the Penguins drilled Ryan Miller and the Sabres, 8-3. That brings Pittsburgh's goal total to 107 this season, behind only the Flyers and Bruins for the most in the league.

What makes it even all the more amazing is this gem of a stat from @PensInsideScoop.

"#Pens salary of their 20-man roster Sat was $38.9 million. That's 25 mill under cap (64.3) and 9 bellow cap bottom (38.9) missing $25 million in salary w injuries 2 Crosby, Staal, Letang, Martin, Michalek. That doesn't include 5 other hurt guys"

Speaking of injuries ...

This won't surprise too many fans out there, but San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat appeared to injure himself pretty badly in San Jose's 3-2 win on Saturday night.

When he was hopping onto the ice in a line change, Havlat seemed to get stuck for a second on the boards and immediately came right back off the ice in pain, seemingly in his leg.

It comes just when the Sharks appear to be finally piecing things together a little bit. For the first time this season, San Jose has won three games in a row at the shark Tank and is now in first place in the Pacific, tied at the moment in points with the Stars while having a game in hand.

For Havlat, though, maybe a break could give him a chance to revitalize himself. It's been a big struggle for him since being traded to San Jose this summer. He has just two goals and 13 assists through 26 games, well off his 22-goal, 40-assist season he had with the Wild last year.

Quote of the weekend

"The Leafs have always been a team I hated as a kid. For some reason it feels good to play here -- it's a great building, the fans are great, it's nice to play. I know a lot of fans in Vancouver don't like this team. ... It just makes it extra special." -- Alex Burrows, Vancouver Canucks.

Burrows, who hails from Quebec and grew up a Canadiens fan, finds it awfully easy to hate the Maple Leafs for that reason alone.

So for him, scoring the game-winning goal in Toronto is always special, particularly when it's on Hockey Night in Canada.

And with the 5-3 win, the Canucks keep climbing back to where people expected them to be this season. They are now 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and have climbed to within five points of the Wild in the Northwest Division.

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

Posted on: December 2, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Flames GM adamant Iginla trade rumors are false

By Brian Stubits

On Thursday, one bit of trade speculation was squashed when Ducks GM Bob Murray said he thinks the talk of Bobby Ryan being traded is going to die down now that the team hired a new coach in Bruce Boudreau. It worked pretty well, the dreams have, for the most part, stopped.

Now Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster is taking his shot at stopping the rumors surrounding one of his Stars. That would be captain Jarome Iginla. The speculation has been circling around him wildly for some time. What team would love to have a veteran leader and scorer like Iginla?

While the Flames are struggling, Feaster told Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun. Rather emphatically, too.

“It is not true,” Feaster emphatically stated Friday morning at the Saddledome. ” Jarome Iginla has not been asked to waive his no-trade and Jarome Iginla has not demanded a trade or asked for a trade. There is no list. There is no smoking gun. There is nobody on the grassy knoll.

“What else do you need?”

Deals have reportedly been so close to done, all they needed were for Iginla to waive his no-trade clause and accept to be moved. The Montreal Canadiens were one team rumored to be close. Others have suggested the Dallas Stars, Iginla's original team, would be interested.

All the talk seems to have Feaster at his wit's end.

“Here’s the trouble. When it’s a non-story, and we have to stand here and rebutt it, the rebuttal becomes the story. It puts us in a position that I don’t know is fair to the organization and I know is not fair to Jarome,” Feaster said.

“One of the questions I have is where do these things start? Are they legitimate sources or is it a blogger in the basement in his underwear that says, ‘This is the rumour du jour’ and you guys feel the need to track it down.”

Ah yes, the old blogger stereotype. Well for the record I would like to state that I work in my pajamas, thank you very much.

But seriously, I see where Feaster is coming from, assuming he's telling the truth. It's a Catch-22, he can't let the rumors just fester and become a distraction for his team, so he has to address them. By doing that, he in a way legitimizes the rumors.

The best thing he could do is exactly what he's doing right here: Don't mix any words and flat-out deny. There will be plenty of people who still won't believe him, but it's his best option if he wants to quiet the crowds.

Now maybe he'll be singing a different tune when the trade deadline draws closer.

One player who could be on his way out of Calgary is Cory Sarich. According to Roger Millions (what a last name) of Sportsnet, Sarich has asked for a trade. Yes, that's correct, Sarich with a trade request.

With the news that Mark Giordano is going to be out indefinitely after partially tearing tendons in his leg, the Flames might not be interested in getting rid of a defenseman at the moment. But we'll see. The trades could pick up for the Flames.

Just know that right now they don't include Iginla.

Here is Feaster addressing the media on the matters at hand.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 8:42 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Quick on top of his game again

By Brian Stubits

Schedules: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

It's tough to find a position in sports that lends itself to streakiness more than goaltender in hockey. For some reason, most of them fail to maintain an even balance throughout the course of a season -- Tim Thomas' consistently spectacular play notwithstanding. There season charts resemble roller coasters tumultuous enough to turn even the heartiest rider's stomach.

L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick isn't immune to the turbulence. In the opening month of the season, Quick was absolutely phenomenal. He turned in three consecutive shutouts in mid-to-late October. For his work, he was given a day off on Oct. 25 and that good mojo seemed to vanish.

In his next seven starts and nine of 11, he surrendered at least three goals. Instead of being a large part of why they were winning early in the season, he became a large part of why they were losing. It was a quick reversal of fortunes, if you'll pardon the pun.

But like any streaker -- we're still talking goalies here -- he has reversed course again. Entering Saturday's matinee against the Montreal Canadiens, Quick comes in on a tear. Thanks to a shutout of the Sharks and a nearly flawless 41-save showing against the Panthers, Quick has stopped 74 of the last 75 shots he has seen. Go back a little further and he has actually saved 84 of the last 85 shots.

Here's what Pierre McGuire told an Ottawa radio station about how good Quick was in Thursday's win. "If the kings don't have Quick Florida wins that game. Kevin Dineen's team dominated with speed game".

Yes, he's back on his game. It really is no coincidence, then, that the Kings enter their game against the Habs having earned points in seven of their last 10 games.

They really need him to be the good Quick this season. The Kings have high hopes for this season. Many, myself included, saw them as legitimate threats in the Western Conference race this season. Despite the addition of Mike Richards to some other talented offensive players like Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, the Kings aren't going to do a whole lot of scoring. As of now, they are 24th in the league in goals per game with 2.32.

So much more than other goalies, when Quick is playing poorly it shows.

Assuming he'll get the start on Saturday, he'll have a chance to extend his already league-high shutout mark of four. The Canadiens haven't been very good this season, that's obvious. But moreover, they have really struggled on the road. You have to go back four weeks to Nov. 4 to find the last time the Habs won a road game in regulation.

In Kings terminology, that was near the beginning of the bad Quick days.

As a bonus for L.A., if the Kings are victorious, coach Terry Murray will have his 500th career victory.

The Bryz is back in town

When the Flyers visit Phoenix on Saturday Ilya Bryzgalov's arrival will be highly anticipated by the local crowd for the second time this season. Earlier this year he made his first trip to Winnipeg, a city he wasn't too fond of possibly moving to once upon a time. He didn't play in that game.

Now Bryzgalov returns to Phoenix, the city where he did play and left this past offseason. It was with the Coyotes that Bryz built up his reputation as one of the better goaltenders in the league before taking a bigger pay day with the Flyers.

This will be the second time Bryzgalov has faced his former team this season. Before the first meeting in Philadelphia, some of his former teammates had some less-than-kind things to say about Bryz. Derek Morris even admitted to being glad that Bryzgalov was gone.

Everybody knows the Coyotes don't draw a lot of butts to the seats. But this game should have a few more tickets purchases not only because of the abundance of Flyers fans who will be there -- rest assured, they will be -- but likely from a few of the Coyotes fans who just want to boo. Or thank Bryzgalov for his time there. Take your pick.

Welcome back, Bruce

We hardly forget ye.

Anaheim Ducks' coach Bruce Boudreau (looks weird) will make his debut with his new team on Friday with the Philadelphia Flyers in Southern California. One thing we know we'll see, at least to start the game, will be the reunion of Bobby Ryan with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on the top line.

In his final days as coach, Randy Carlyle had been trying to mix and match, trying to find the best results and cure the woes the lack of depth was causing his team. Boudreau, however, restored the top line to its old self and will try to make due.

Remember, when he arrived in Washington he didn't inherit a Caps team with a lot of depth. It was a very similar situation, actually, with some highly skilled forwards. They soared under his leadership. Will the same happen in Anaheim? We'll get the first glimpse on Friday when the Ducks host the Flyers.

Too bad HBO hasn't begun the 24/7 filming yet and depriving us a chance of more Boudreau, if only in a very small sampling.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

In this case, the ranch would be Washington, Boudreau's old stomping ground.

The Capitals enter the third game of the Dale Hunter era still searching for their first win. If the third time's the charm, it will have to come at the expense of the Ottawa Senators, who visit the Caps on Saturday.

They are badly in need of a win, for their confidence if nothing else. The Caps have lost four games in a row and seven of their last nine. They have fallen -- get this -- five points behind the Florida Panthers in the Southeast Division, and that's even with the Panthers leveling off in recent weeks.

There has been a whole lot of difference so far for Washington, but they do appear to be focusing more on defense again and the effort has appeared to be better. But right now they just need a win.

Jason Chimera put it better than I can. "We're going to find ourselves packing an early golf bag."

Still searching Part II

Carolina Hurricanes new coach Kirk Muller is in the same boat as Hunter, 0-2 in his NHL career behind the benches. His task, on paper at least, looks a bit tougher than Hunter's.

That's because the 'Canes will host the high-flying Penguins on Saturday night. Not exactly the team you want to see when trying to bust out of a slump.

It has to start with getting the defense squared away. In the Hurricanes' current five-game losing streak, they have given up at least three goals in each game. Tomas Kaberle isn't working out, that's no secret. But that's only part of the defensive woes. The unit continues to leave Cam Ward high and dry in net behind them.

Nobody told Muller this was going to be easy.

More to prove

The St. Louis Blues have been ridiculously good since Ken Hitchcock came aboard. They are 8-1-2 under his leadership.

But Hitchcock is still delaying his excitement for the team's play until their next stretch of games. Starting with the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night, they will begin playing teams for a second time. That's when you can start to draw some conclusions.

"We're going to get a push," Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "You can surprise a team, but we're now playing a second wave. When we start playing the Chicago's and Detroit's again, now we'll have a look. They'll be ready for us. They won't be surprised by our game

What's shocking about it all is that by the end of the weekend, the Blues -- 14th in the West when Hitchcock was hired -- could be leading the Central Division. With their crisp and disciplined play, that's certainly a possibility.

We're going streaking!

New York Rangers: It took them a few games to get going at the beginning of the season, but when they got going, boy did they. John Tortorella heads back to Tampa Bay with the Rangers having won four in a row.

Blues: In addition to Saturday's game against Chicago, they play the Avalanche on Friday night. That's where they take their four-game win streak.

Detroit Red Wings: All this team does is streak. No seriously, look at their schedule. Like the Blues, they have two games over the weekend, Friday in Buffalo then Sunday at Colorado.

Canadiens: Already mentioned, the Habs go into Los Angeles on Saturday having lost four straight.

Capitals: See above: Caps have lost four in a row headed into Saturday date with Senators.

Hurricanes: Currently at five losses in a row, the Penguins visit next. Ouch.

Edmonton Oilers: With the battle of Alberta looming, the Oilers enter on a three-game skid. They would probably like to have Taylor Hall back.

Photo: Getty Images

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