Tag:Morning Skate
Posted on: June 22, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 6:42 pm
 

Daily Skate: Jagr loves Mario; Bryzgalov money

We present to you the return of the Morning Skate here at the Eye on Hockey blog, where we catch you up on what you might have missed while you were sleeping.

JAGR WATCH CONTINUES: First, it was contacting the Red Wings. In the last couple of days, it's been all about the Penguins. Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sheds some light on Jagr's interest in returning to Pittsburgh: "A longing to reconnect with the Penguins could be part of what brings back legendary forward Jaromir Jagr. He loves that team, that city," agent Petr Svoboda said Tuesday from the Czech Republic. "And he loves Mario [Lemieux], so that is all on his mind." Jagr is expected to speak with the Penguins some time today.

BRYZGALOV LOVE: The Flyers and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov are still working on getting a deal done to help cover Philly's Achilles' heel, but as of yet, nyet. There has been talk that Bryz wanted to be the highest-paid goalie in the NHL and reports are starting to leak that he could become just that as the ballpark number right now is $7 million. Seems a bit much, don't you think?

LONG FOR LONG ISLAND: The Islanders are getting closer and closer to solidifying their home in New York as sides work toward a new arena. According to Newsday, details of the deal have emerged, and it would call for Nassau County to receive 11.5 percent of all revenue from a new Nassau Coliseum and would give owner Charles Wang a 30-year lease, beginning in 2015.

SHIRTS AND SKINNER: A finalist for the Calder Award as the NHL's top rookie, Carolina Hurricanes teen-sensation Jeff Skinner agreed to let readers of Seventeen dress him for the occasion (tonight at 7 ET on Versus). He and his family had a good laugh when reading Skinner was referred to as "The Justin Bieber of hockey."

NEVER TOO SOON FOR SNUBS: The Calder hasn't even been handed out yet (it will go to Skinner), but that doesn't stop Ricky Doyle at NESN from thinking Brad Marchand not only should have been invited, but maybe even should be the front-runner. He makes the argument, but I just don't see it. If we included playoffs, sure, but Skinner, Logan Couture and Michael Grabner all earned their spots.

PERRY GOES BLUE: Ducks star Corey Perry is in Las Vegas too as he's up for the biggest trophy of them all, the Hart. If his name isn't called for that award, at least he won't leave Vegas without making an appearance on a stage. Perry was called onto stage by the Blue Man Group and took part in their show. I was very excited to watch this video when I came across it, until I saw the footage and was left wondering what exactly Perry did. That was the equivalent of an empty-netter.

DEALIN' DAYS OF SUMMER: This is always a busy time for trades across the NHL, what with the draft on the docket and all. One team that could be an active participant is the Blue Jackets. The Columbus Dispatch says GM Scott Howson is surprised at some of the names available, and it would be wise for him to look at trades since the team's needs are plentiful.

NOT SMITTEN FOR SMYTH: There's been some debate on whether Kings forward Ryan Smyth asked L.A. for a trade to Edmonton, where he began and played most of his career. Smyth himself denied it, but media sources like Bob McKenzie of TSN wouldn't back off their reports. John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal says it shouldn't matter; Smyth isn't a good fit for the rebuilding club anyway.

TRADE TRACKER: Trying to remember who exactly your team traded to get that backup goalie in November? Want to forget that organization-crippling move your GM made? Here's a handy, dandy look at all the NHL trades made last season, thanks to hockeyinsideout.com.

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL

Posted on: April 7, 2011 1:41 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 2:28 am
 

Morning Skate: 'Canes, Stars only 2 chasers left

And then there were two.

The Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes are the only teams outside the top-8 in each conference who remain mathematically in the hunt for a playoff spot after Wednesday night’s action. Despite a 6-1 victory over the rival Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames didn't get the help they needed elsewhere. Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks -- one of which needed to lose -- both won, although Chicago's OT victory over the St. Louis Blues wasn't without controversy.

Line Changes
  • Eye on Hockey: Torres to speak with NHL
  • Eye on Hockey: Edmonton moves on new arena
  • L.A. clinches playoff berth
  • CBSSports.com playoff tracker

  • Carolina pulled to within two points of the idle New York Rangers with a 3-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. It was Cam Ward’s fourth shutout of the season and captain Eric Staal assisted on all three goals. Both the Hurricanes -- Atlanta (Friday) and Tampa Bay (Saturday) -- and the Rangers --- Atlanta (Thursday) and New Jersey (Saturday) -- have two games remaining. 

    The 'Canes and Rangers are currently even in the first tie-breaker, regulation and overtime wins (34). The Hurricanes have the edge in the second tie-breaker, points head to head. Carolina has picked up six over their four meetings to the Rangers’ four points. 

    "Up to this point, no team has done us any favors," Derek Joslin, who scored a power-play goal in the second period, told The News & Observer. "If we can get two more wins we definitely give ourselves a shot at making the playoffs.

    "I know the Rangers are peeking over their shoulders, especially after a big win tonight against a team like that. Maybe they'll be gripping their sticks a little tight."

    Neither the Flames nor the Stars were done any favors either by the referees or the replay officials in Toronto. The Chicago Blackhawks used an iffy  second-period tally to help force overtime, where they eked out a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. 

    Trailing 2-0, replays appear to show Chicago forward Marian Hossa kick the puck across the goal. (Hossa may very well have tipped it with this stick after he booted it to make it a legal play, but it was hard to tell in the replays.) Even more difficult was determining whether the puck indeed crossed the goal line since Blues goalie Ty Conklin’s catching glove was over top of it. 

    Judge for yourself:




    Here's what Calgary Sun's Scott Fisher, who was live blogging the game, had to say: 
    After a lengthy review, Hossa’s goal is upheld — even though he appeared to kick the puck, which went off the post and never conclusively crossed the line. Considering the Flames’ recent dealings with the NHL’s war room, conspiracy theorists are given added ammunition.

    Either way, the game’s in the books and the Blackhawks finished the night tied for seventh place points-wise with the Anaheim Ducks. Both teams are four points up on the Dallas Stars, who finish with games against the Colorado Avalanche (Thursday and Friday) and the Minnesota Wild (Sunday). 

    PERRY REACHES 50: Corey Perry’s third career hat trick in a 6-2 rout of the San Jose Sharks pushed the Anaheim Ducks forward over the 50-goal mark on Wednesday. 

    He became the third player in franchise history to reach that plateau -- joining Paul Kariya (1995-96) and Teemu Selanne in 1996-97 and 1997-98) -- and extended his points streak to 10 games in the process. 

    Perry, one of the leading candidates for the Hart Trophy, is six goals ahead of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos in the race for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy.

    WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS
    Washington 5, Florida 2
    New Jersey 4, Toronto 2
    Boston 3, NY Islanders 2
    Carolina 3, Detroit 0
    Chicago 4, St. Louis  3 (OT)
    Calgary 6,  Edmonton 1
    Anaheim 6, San Jose 2
    Los Angeles 3, Phoenix 2 (SO)  

    -- A.J. Perez
    Posted on: April 6, 2011 2:13 am
    Edited on: April 6, 2011 2:14 am
     

    Morning Skate: Leafs' skid officially extended



    The Toronto Maple Leafs’ playoff drought officially reached six seasons on Tuesday, although most of Ontario saw that coming with club’s horrific start. 

    The skid, the longest in franchise history, predates the NHL lockout. Two teams (Carolina Hurricanes and Anaheim Ducks) have seized Stanley Cup titles for the first time and two other Original Six franchises (Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks) earned championships as the club at the center of the hockey universe has called it a season at 82 games.

    Line Changes
  • Eye on Hockey: Vancouver's Torres ejected
  • Eye on Hockey: NYR's Callahan on shelf
  • Buffalo inches closer to playoff berth
  • CBSSports.com playoff tracker
  • So, where was the outrage Tuesday night? Imagine if baseball’s equivalent, the New York Yankees, or the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakes, went that long without a playoff berth. Heck, the fanbases for those franchises would be in an uproar if their teams didn’t secure a title or two. 

    The dependable Damien Cox of the Toronto Star for one wasn’t about to let the Leafs off the hook, understandably setting a good heap of the Leafs' lack of success on GM Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson: 

    They’ve had their honeymoon period, and now this hockey town needs to demand answers and achievement.

    “I’m not going to conduct an autopsy here,” said Wilson after Tuesday night’s loss to the Caps.
    No problem. We’ll do it for you, coach.

    There were clearly factors that injured the Leaf season, including the failure to identify the organization’s best goaltender earlier, a serious injury to captain Dion Phaneuf, a good but not great season from (Phil) Kessel, the struggles of Mike Komisarek and, of course, that nightmarish power play.

    But the overriding issue that made the first half of the season a disaster and the second half not good enough is that this hockey club still lacks a defining personality, an identity that explains what it wants to be night after night.

    Burke built a solid nucleus in Vacouver, which included drafting the Sedin twins. After his contract was not renewed and a little bit of TV work, Burke needed only two seasons to turn the Ducks into Stanley Cup champs.

    He’s now about to complete his second full season in Toronto without nearly the success despite more resources at his disposal. Burke recently reaffirmed his backing to Wilson, who will return for his fourth season behind Toronto’s bench. 

    Nobody can question the credentials of either Burke or Wilson, but time could be running out for each -- and it doesn’t help that the team has hung out the “for sale” sign and could soon have new ownership that might not be as patient. 

    There are some positives, but who knows if they carry into next season. The Leafs are tied with the Los Angeles Kings with the fifth-most points (41) since the All-Star break. Rookie James Reimer (pictured above) was solid in net down the stretch, oftentimes keeping the Leafs in games to make their late-season run possible. Even in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals, Reimer made 39 saves in regulation and overtime. 

    "We can hold our heads high," said Reimer told the CBC Sports. "We’ve gained a lot of confidence."

    This is the latest, as CBC points out, the Leafs have gone (third-to-last game of the season) before getting eliminated since 2006. I guess that is what is considered progress these days in Toronto. The Leafs were actually eliminated a few minutes before their game ended via Buffalo’s victory over Tampa Bay. 

    "Everybody’s going to be really excited to get back here," Leafs forward Joffery Lupul told the network.

    Maybe it’s odd that the Leafs have lapsed into the “wait ‘til next season” mentality, but it has been 44 years since their last championship. It's quite understandable. 

    TUESDAY'S RESULTS
    Buffalo 4, Tampa Bay 2
    Washington 3 , Toronto 2 (SO)
    Ottawa 5, Philadelphia 2
    Pittsburgh 4, New Jersey 2
    Montreal 2, Chicago 1 (OT)
    St. Louis 3, Colorado 1
    Nashville 6, Atlanta 3
    Dallas 3, Columbus 0
    Edmonton 2, Vancouver 0
     
    -- A.J. Perez

    Photo: Getty Images 

    Posted on: April 5, 2011 3:25 am
     

    Morning Skate: Deep run or Canada for Coyotes?

    The Phoenix Coyotes are a day or two from clinching a berth in the postseason, one that could very well dictate where the team lands up next season. 

    The Phoenix Business Journal reported Monday evening that the longer the team remains in the playoffs, the more likely a deal can get done to keep the club in Glendale, Ariz. That’s because more games means more seats, hot dogs and overpriced beer purchased, which would lower the asking price for the financially strapped team. It would also give Glendale officials more time to sell the bonds necessary to allow Chicago investor Matthew Hulsizer to seize control and keep them in the desert. 

    Winnipeg and Quebec City -- two of the likeliest places for the Coyotes to land up if a deal can’t get done -- could become huge Los Angeles Kings fans. (That’s who Phoenix would face in the first round if the playoffs began this morning.) Facing the Kings would be fitting since all the drama is fit for a Hollywood script, one that includes bankruptcy, threats of lawsuits, league stewardship and rebuffed efforts by rich Canadians to take the team back to Canada 

    Line Changes
  • Eye on Hockey: Janssen aims to raise funds
  • Eye on Hockey: Lecavalier has eye scare
  • San Jose clinches division title
  • CBSSports.com playoff tracker

  • Maybe since this has gone on for nearly three years, it’d more fit for a miniseries. How’s “Way North and Sout” sound?

    Of course, there’s little agreement on which NHL-jilted area would be best for the team. (This all remains in the “conjecture” category since the league hasn’t discussed publicly what happens if the Glendale deal falls through.) Coyotes forward Eric Belanger, for one, said he’d prefer Quebec City if the team were to move, comments that still reverberate in Manitoba. 

    “There are reasons why hockey wasn’t working in Winnipeg at the end  . . .  I don’t see how that would have changed,” Belanger told Sun Sports last week.

    In the end, the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix before settling in a new arena in Glendale. 

    Winnipeg Sun columnist Ted Wyman responded to Belanger on Monday: 

    Well, Mr. Belanger, a lot has changed since those days and Winnipeg is more ready for an NHL franchise than any other North American city, including Quebec, at this point.

    Winnipeg has all the ingredients in place for the return of an NHL team and has had for quite some time. It has addressed the biggest issues that forced the team to leave.

    There’s a relatively new downtown arena, built to generate revenue, and there are deep-pocketed owners who want to own a team in Winnipeg.

    All this again obscures the efforts of Phoenix coach Dave Tippett and his players, who about to secure a second consecutive season that ends in the playoffs. (The Coyotes can clinch as early as tonight by getting a point against the Los Angeles Kings.) The franchise hasn't gone to the playoffs in back-to-back seaosn in more than a decade. 

    Now to stay in Arizona, the Coyotes might have to do something they haven’t done since they arrived before the 1996-97 season: get out of the first round. 

    The Phoenix Business Journal, citing sources, reports how crucial that might be:
    Those sources say once the Coyotes are eliminated from title contention, the NHL will have to start looking at its watch in terms of when it might pull the plug on the deal here. That then opens up the team to a sale to a lurking Canadian investment group that’s ready to buy the Coyotes and move them back to Winnipeg.

    The NHL has worked hard to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix despite numerous roadblocks, and will not pull the plug on a deal here until after the Coyotes season ends.

    The league could hold off on a Phoenix decision until the Stanley Cup finals are over — whether or not the underdog Coyotes are in the finals or not.

    Speaking of a Hollywood ending, the Coyotes hoisting the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in their first trip to the final could be something that not even Roland Emmerich would put in one of his disaster flicks. That’s just too unbelievable. Right?

    MONDAY'S RESULTS
    New York Rangers 5, Boston 3
    San Jose 6, Los Angeles 1 

    -- A.J. Perez
    Posted on: April 4, 2011 9:00 am
     

    Morning Skate: Not much drama in final week

    Several days ago it looked like we had an epic down-the-stretch battle for playoff berths on our hands, especially in the Western Conference. 

    Maybe the objects in the mirror aren’t really closer than they appear. 

    One team in the East (the Carolina Hurricanes) and one in the West (the Dallas Stars) have legitimate shots of unseating one the current low seeds in their respective conferences. Sure, Toronto and Calgary are mathematically alive, but let’s be real. 

    The Hurricanes, in fact, could have pulled even with the Buffalo Sabres points-wise for the eighth and final playoff slot in the East had things turned out just a bit differently in their game Sunday. Rookie Jonas Enroth made 35 saves and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani scored with two minutes left in overtime as the Sabres pulled out the 2-1 victory. (Here’s our game recap.) At least the Hurricanes picked up a point as they head into their final three games --- Detroit (Wednesday), Atlanta (Friday) and Tampa Bay (Saturday) --- three points behind the New York Rangers, who fell to eighth with the Sabres' win.

    Here’s Carolina coach Paul Maurice told The News & Observer after the loss:

    "We've been feeling like this for the last two weeks, three weeks -- that you had to win that game," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "There seems in every one of these you're going to lose a game that feels like it's the end and you can't let it be that way.

    "You get a real feeling of disappointment after a loss like that. But not a feeling that you let one slip away, because you did what you were supposed to do."


    The Dallas Stars, who entered on a six-game skid, netted a must-win victory, 4-3, against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. (Here’s a link to the game recap.)  The Stars’ win -- aided by two Ducks goals that were waived off over the final couple minutes--- kept  Anaheim, Los Angeles and Phoenix from clinching playoff berths, at least for another day or two. 
    Dallas coach Marc Crawford sounded upbeat Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika reported

    "There's no quit in our team, and we're still in the race. We have to keep coming out and having performances like this. This was a very deserving game for our team. You make your luck, and tonight we played with the desperation we've been striving for. It's a huge win, and hopefully we can get this to snowball."


    The Stars, who trail eighth-place Chicago by three points, have four games left on the schedule, all against non-playoff teams: Columbus (Tuesday), Colorado (Thursday), Colorado (Friday) and Minnesota (Sunday). The ‘Hawks also have four games left in the schedule. 

    The Flames are only two points in back of eighth, but they only have two games left to play. 

    SCHWARTZ PASSES: Yale Hockey player Mandi Schwartz’s lost her battle with myeloid leukemia Sunday, certainly a sad day for all those she inspired in her two-plus years battling the disease. She was 23. 

    Here’s part of the statement from the school
    The grace and courage with which Mandi approached her treatment, and the enthusiasm and optimism with which Mandi approached life itself have inspired countless people, both here in New Haven and beyond. Her efforts -- and the efforts of those close to her -- to raise awareness of, and participation in, marrow and cord blood donor programs have already yielded potentially lifesaving results.

    Thousands of people were brought into donor programs on her behalf, not to mention her perseverance despite continuous setbacks were an inspiration. 

    My former AOL FanHouse colleague, Lisa Olson, caught up to Schwartz -- whose treatment included several rounds of chemotherapy along with bone and stem cell transplants -- at a rink in Seattle where she helped coach a girls hockey team last December
    Rarely has there been a one-time assistant coach as satisfied as Mandi Schwartz was on that fine day. For three glorious periods, in a frosty rink similar to the hundreds she frequented as a child in Saskatchewan, Mandi wasn't a leukemia patient. She was a hockey nut, swaying to the music of blades skimming ice. 
    Nora Keaney, wobbling atop skates at age four, is 13 now, and she plays alongside Maddie Davis on an elite select team. They competed in the MLK Invitational Girls'/Women's Hockey Tournament in San Jose over the holiday weekend, took second place, and talked about Mandi Schwartz the way teenage boys talk about Sidney Crosby. 
    "When I first met her she was at the hospital. She didn't look too good. We were just happy she was getting better," Nora says. "There aren't a lot of (hockey) opportunities for girls. The leagues are almost always all guys. She's such an inspiration to us."

    SUNDAY'S RESULTS
    NY Rangers 3, Philadelphia 2 (SO)
    Detroit 4, Minnesota 2
    St. Louis 6, Columbus 1
    Buffalo 2, Carolina 1 (OT)
    Tampa Bay 2, Chicago 0
    Calgary 2 Colorado 1
    Dallas 4, Anaheim 3  
    -- A.J. Perez
    Posted on: April 1, 2011 2:46 am
    Edited on: April 1, 2011 12:48 pm
     

    Morning Skate: Can Canucks shun Prez Trophy jinx?



    The Vancouver Canucks won their first Presidents' Trophy Thursday, an award for the league's best record that comes with a banner but not much else in recent seasons.

    The previous two winners, the San Jose Sharks (2009) and Washington Capitals (2010), failed to make it out of the first round. Only one team over the last seven seasons -- the 2008 Detroit Red Wings -- has won the Presidents' Trophy and then the Stanley Cup. 

    No team that has won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time has clinched a title the same season.

    "I don't believe there is a Presidents' Trophy jinx," Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis told The Vancouver Sun this week.   

    Line Changes

    Introduced coincidently the same year as New Coke, this award was first handed out during the 1985-86 season -- and the trophy has been about as well-received by some as the ill-fated soft drink. It’s the kind of award franchises don't tend to celebrate unless they don't have anything else to raise to the rafters come their home opener the next season.

    One of the Sedin twins told The Vancouver Sun after Thursday’s 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings what it meant to him: 

    “Nothing,” Daniel Sedin said after pushing closer to matching brother Henrik's Hart Trophy-Art Ross double by scoring one Vancouver goal and setting up another. “Ninety-five per cent of this team has been through playoff failure and we don't want to be part of that anymore. I don't think it's about learning anymore; we've learned enough.
    “We're focused every game on playing the right way, and that can't change in the playoffs. That's the mindset we have to have. We don't need to do anything extra, just go out there and take care of business."

    The “jinx” may have started at the beginning. The Edmonton Oilers had won back-to-back titles before they became the first recipient of the Presidents’ Trophy. Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Co. went on to lose in the second round to the Calgary Flames. The Oilers won the Presidents’ again a season later en route to the Stanley Cup title, the first of another back-to-back run. 

    Of the first 24 teams to win the Presidents’ Trophy, seven teams (29%) won the Stanley Cup the same season. This comes despite having home-ice advantage, the one tangible reward for the trophy. That could prove huge for the Canucks, who have a league-best home record (26-8-5). 

    Vancouver may not be plagued by any curse this postseason. It could just come down to injuries. 

    Center Manny Malhotra, whose value in the locker room could be just as key as his prowess in the faceoff circle, is out for the season with an eye injury that required a second surgery this week. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis suffered his second concussion in less than two months on Sunday and is out indefinitely. Forward Mikael Samuelsson missed his fifth consecutive game with an undisclosed injury. Winger Tanner Glass has been out now nine games in a row with an undisclosed injury. 

    But the Canucks still have plenty of pieces left, including the matching Swedish ones. Daniel Sedin leads the league with 100 points (41 goals, 59 assists), while brother Henrick has 91 points (19 goals, 72 assists.) Goalie Roberto Luongo its tops in the league in wins (37) and he's third in save percentage (.927) and goals-against average (2.14). Center Ryan Kesler has 37 goals, good enough for fourth in the NHL. 

    The Canucks, a franchise celebrating their 40th anniversary, has also set new marks for wins (52), points (113) and road victories (26). 

    Of course, not much of this will be looked upon to fondly if the Canucks follow the path of the 2009 Sharks, 2010 Capitals or the other 15 Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams that fell short of getting their names etched on the Cup. 

    THURSDAY'S RESULTS
    Atlanta 1, Philadelphia 0
    NY Islanders 6, NY Rangers 2
    Washington 4, Columbus 3 (OT)
    Toronto 4, Boston 3 (SO)
    Ottawa 4, Florida 1
    Tampa Bay 2, Pittsburgh 1
    Minnesota 4, Edmonton 2
    Nashville 3, Colorado 2
    Vancouver 3, Los Angeles 1
    San Jose 6,  Dallas 0  
    -- A.J Perez

    Photo: US Presswire
    Posted on: March 31, 2011 1:37 am
    Edited on: March 31, 2011 1:48 am
     

    Morning Skate: Does that seat feel a bit warm?

    Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke declared Wednesday that Ron Wilson would back next season, even if the club falls short of the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season.

    “I said back in the fall, we would not consider a change, even when all the hounds were baying,” Burke told The Globe and Mail. “I feel the same way now. Ron is coaching this team next year.”

    It's hardly a surprise. Burke and Wilson were teammates back at Providence College and their friendship extends decades. Even if Wilson was already coaching in Toronto when Burke was hired as GM in November 2008, Burke wouldn't have wanted anybody else for the job.

    Other coaches around the NHL may not be so lucky come season's end. Here's a roundup of coaches that may find themselves out of work not long after April 10, the final day of the regular season.

    Cory Clouston, Ottawa Senators: It's not only his position that is shaky. There are no guarantees GM Bryan Murray will back next season. The Sens, who surged into the playoffs and entered as the fifth seed a season ago, never found a rhythm this season -- and that's being charitable. Ottawa is in the basement in the East, so it's fair to say some changes are coming.

    "A lot of things happened this year that put us in a situation where it didn't allow us to get into the playoffs,” Clouston told the Ottawa Citizen last week. "No one feels worse about that than I do, or more responsible for it than I do."

    Pete DeBoer, Florida Panthers: He told reporters that he doesn't know if he'll be back. At least, he's honest. This is his third full season behind the bench in Florida and he has a 102-108-34 record through Wednesday. Dale Tallon, in his first full season as GM ,may have seen enough.

    “I don't worry about next year. I sleep easy at night. I know how hard we have worked as a staff,'' DeBoer told The Miami Herald recently. “I think our team plays with structure and plays hard every night. They have all year. If that's not good enough, that's for other people to decide.’’

    Line Changes

    Todd Richards, Minnesota Wild: This seat got hot in a mere few weeks. The Wild were up to fifth in the West just a month ago before dropping to 11th and all but mathematically out of the playoff contention. (Minnesota also missed the playoffs last season, the first season with Richards was at the helm.)

    "I knew this coming in when I took the job," Richards told the Minnesota Star-Tribune last week. "Are there some things that I would change? Maybe. That's all in hindsight. For the most part, I'm comfortable and happy with the job I've done. It's not the results I want, by any means. It's not the way I want the team playing, by any means. But the opinions, the (hot seat), it goes with the job."

    Then there's probably the only coach among the 16 playoff teams on the hot seat: Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau.

    Back at my previous stop, I piped up and asked questions to Boudreau and principal owner Ted Leonsis if a coaching change was afoot as the Caps were on an eight-game skid before Christmas. Boudreau bristled and said in so many words he doesn't worry about it and Leonsis preached patience.

    That patience may have a limit and we'll put that at an entry into the second round -- and that could be generous. Boudreau could be let go if the Caps don't make it to the conference finals. They have made it past the first round only once in since Boudreau took over in Nov. 2007, including last year's first round exit after the Caps won the Presidents' Trophy. His departure would be a downer for local advertisers in the Washington area since Boudreau pitches everything from rug cleaning services to cars. 

    The hot seat that isn't: Jacques LeMaire, New Jersey Devils. LeMaire's impressive turnaround of the Devils should result in some Jack Adams Award talk. Still, he had to be persuaded out of retirement and was non-committal last week about a return.

    “No. I don't think so. Why not? Because it's not how the team is, how the team plays. It's not about the players, not about the organization. It will be only about myself at that point," Lemaire told The Star Ledger. "What will be good for me."

    Finally, there’s the lukewarm sect. These coaches will likely be back next season, although they may not have much room to do wrong in 2011-12: Joe Sacco (Colorado Avalanche), Scott Arniel (Columbus Blue Jackets), Brent Sutter (Calgary Flames)  Davis Payne (St. Louis Blues) and Jack Capuano (New York Islanders ). 

    Is there anybody else you’d want to nominate?

    DETROIT LOSES BIG: A couple guys named Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were teammates on the Edmonton Oilers that last time the Detroit Red Wings allowed eight goals in two periods. 

    Vladimir Sobotka and Chris Stewart don’t quite have the cachet, but they were part of St. Louis Blues team that accomplished the same thing in a 10-3 victory over Detroit on Wednesday. 

    “Thank God it’s over,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock told The Detroit Free Press. “It looked like it was never going to end there for a while. It was unacceptable. Any way you look at it — more than a touchdown — it’s ugly.”

    Ugly and historic. The Red Wings lost 12-3 to the Oilers in March 14, 1986, the game they allowed those eight goals in two periods. The last time they allowed 10 goals in a game was also via a Gretzky-led team, the Los Angeles Kings who won 10-3 in Oct. 9, 1993. 

    WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS
    New Jersey 3, NY Islanders 2
    Buffalo 1, NY Rangers 0
    Carolina 6, Montreal 2
    St. Louis 10, Detroit 3
    Anaheim 4, Calgary 2

    -- A.J. Perez
    Photo: Getty Images
    Posted on: March 30, 2011 2:38 am
     

    Morning Skate: 'Canes gain ground in East

    WASHINGTON -- Eric Staal let himself have a little glance at the out-of-town scoreboard after overtime Tuesday. 

    “I didn’t want to look until the shootout started,” the Hurricanes captain said. “It was a 4-3 final, so I knew the shootout was going to be huge. Then those guys came through with those huge goals.”

    Rookie Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu scored in the shootout as the Carolina beat the Washington Capitals, 3-2, at Verizon Center. The score Staal mentioned came from the only other game the ‘Canes had to concern themselves with Tuesday, a contest where the Maple Leafs squaked out win over the Buffalo Sabres.

    “We got a little bit of help,” Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. “Now we have to go back at it. That’s our fate with the schedule we have this year.”

    The Sabres hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the East and things just got a little tighter. Carolina moved to within three points of the Sabres and both teams have six games left on the schedule – including a head-to-head matchup on Sunday. The Leafs finished Tuesday five points behind the Sabres. 

    Carolina’s playoff hopes appeared slightly dim in the second period. Referees missed a high stick by Caps defenseman Karl Alzner that resulted in a gash in Staal’s forehead, a cut which required seven stitches to close. Maurice took issue with a couple other calls, including a too many men on the ice call just before the Caps pulled ahead 2-1 on a Marcus Johansson tally late in the period. 

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  • “This game was so much more important to us than what happened there in the second period,” Maurice said. “I didn’t know what was going on. At the same time, we had to refocus and get back to playing.”

    No matter. The Caps gave it all back when goalie Semyon Varlamov let in soft goal by Skinner that tied the game 1:46 left in regulation. Overall it wasn’t a bad way for the ‘Canes to avoid getting swept by the Caps in their six meeting this season. 

    “The biggest thing coming into the game was where we are in the standings,” Skinner said. “I don’t think you look back on a head-to-head. When you come this far, your focus is on the next game and the future and it was a big two points for us.”

    Maurice added that those points were bigger when you factor in the two players that returned to the lineup for the Caps. Captain and former MVP Alex Ovechkin (out three games with an undisclosed injury) and center Jason Arnott (out six games with an undisclosed injury) were both back in action. 

    “It was a little bit of curve ball when they got their players back,” Maurice said. “We handled that well, too. We wanted to beat at team with their best. Confidence is something that we’ve been searching for. We’ve played hard and played well. You should feel good about wins like this.”

    This victory can’t be savored long. The ‘Canes will host the Montreal Canadiens tonight, another team ahead of them in the East standings. 

    TUESDAY'S RESULTS
    Carolina 3, Washington 2 (SO)
    Toronto 4, Buffalo 3
    Philadelphia 5 Pittsburgh 2
    Columbus 3 Florida 2 (SO)
    Montreal 3, Atlanta 1
    Boston 3, Chicago 0
    Tampa Bay 5, Ottawa 2
    Minnesota 3, St. Louis 2 (SO)
    Vancouver 3, Nashville 1
    Los Angeles 2, Edmonton 0
    Phoenix 2 , Dallas 1 (SO)

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