Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Adam Gretz
Posted on: February 27, 2012 10:13 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 10:14 am
 

Capitals place Nicklas Backstrom on LTIR

CapitalsBy: Adam Gretz

As of 10 ET on Monday, the most interesting news to come out of trade deadline day was the fact that the Washington Capitals placed center Nicklas Backstrom on the long-term injured list, opening up additional cap space which could make the Capitals a candidate to make a big move ahead of the 3 ET trade deadline.

Backstrom hasn't played for the Capitals since Jan. 3 when he suffered a concussion on a hit by then-Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque, and his return at this point is still very much uncertain. Even though he's missed over 20 games this season Backstrom is still the second-leading scorer on the team with 42 points in 38 games, only six points behind Alex Ovechkin.

If he doesn't return for the remainder of the regular season the Capitals can add a significant salary in any potential trade and still bring Backstrom back (if he's ready at that point, of course) for the postseason where the salary cap is no longer in place.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 9:16 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 9:20 am
 

Morning Skate: close to a must win for Ducks, Avs

Ducks

By: Adam Gretz


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

DucksAvalanche9 PM, Anaheim vs. Colorado

All eyes will be on the NHL trade deadline on Monday, but it's also a huge day in the NHL playoff race.

It's hard to say a game at this point in the season is a "must win" for any team, but if the Anaheim Ducks are going to find a way to pull off this miraculous comeback (and that's really what it would be) to make the playoffs they're going to have to win games like this, against one of the many teams they're still chasing. Preferably in regulation. The Ducks enter Monday's game in Colorado four points behind the Avalanche in the standings, and still six points behind Dallas for the No. 8 (and final) playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Anaheim is coming off yet another win on Sunday night, knocking off the Blackhawks by a 3-1 margin, and have won seven of its past 10 games. Despite all of the Ducks wins over the past month-and-a-half it's been difficult for them to gain any significant ground or move up in the standings. With a win on Monday the Ducks can jump ahead of the Minnesota Wild to move into 12th place in the West.

It's still going to take a ton of work, and Monday's game is one of the big ones.

It's also a big game for the Avs, who also remain in the jumbled mess that is the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race, and a win could move them into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot.

PredatorsKings8 PM, Los Angeles vs. Nashville

Another team that could move into a tie on Monday night? The Los Angeles Kings, fresh off their 4-0 win on Saturday night in what was Jeff Carter's debut with the club. He didn't make an impact on the scoreboard, but Dustin Brown stepped up after his name was mentioned in trade rumors, recording a hat trick and a four-point game.

It was only the fourth time in their past 17 games that the Kings, the lowest-scoring team in the league, scored more than three goals in a single game. So that was a bit of a rarity, and perhaps a sign that the addition of Carter, a top goal-scorer in the NHL over the past few years, can open some things up for other players on the team. If nothing else, it was a nice start.

It's going to get a bit tougher on Monday night as they head into Nashville to face Pekka Rinne and the always stout Predators defense, and a team that's still fighting for potential home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

This is also the first of three meetings for these teams over the next three weeks. So they better get familiar with one another.

BluesFlames9 PM, St. Louis at Calgary

After losing four of their past five, including a shootout loss against Philadelphia on Saturday, a game that saw them blow a 3-0 lead, the Calgary Flames could really use a win on Monday night when the St. Louis Blues come to town. And while a matchup with the Blues, one of the top teams in the West, doesn't seem like a favorable matchup to get back in the W column, the Blues have done most of their damage this season on home ice.

On the road, where they will be on Monday to continue what is a four-game road trip, they've been a losing team this season and carry a 12-13-3 record into Calgary, which is the second worst road record (behind only Chicago) among the current playoff teams in the West.

Others worth watching

7:30 ET, New York Rangers vs. New Jersey: It's always fun when the Rangers and Devils get together and they continue their rivalry on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. The Devils have won two of the first three meetings this season.

8:30 ET, Winnipeg vs. Edmonton: With a win against Edmonton the Winnipeg Jets can, once again, take over first place in the back-and-forth crazy world that is the NHL's Souteast Division.

Your promised miscellany
Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 5:33 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 7:47 pm
 

Nash: 'I'm a Blue Jacket today'

Jackets fans in Pittsburgh make their plea on Sunday. (Getty Images)

By: Adam Gretz

PITTSBURGH -- During the pre-game warmups at the Consol Energy Center on Sunday afternoon, in advance of their 4-2 loss to the Penguins, a collection of Blue Jackets fans assembled along the glass and made what can only be described as a desperate, hail mary attempt to persuade the Columbus front office to not trade their captain -- and best player -- Rick Nash.

It's not going to have any impact on what happens over the next 24 hours, of course, but you certainly can't blame them for making the effort.

You also can't blame Nash if he's simply ready for Monday's 3 PM trade deadline, no matter what happens (if anything happens), to come and go, ending what has been three weeks of speculation, rumors and, well, at times complete insanity.
NHL Trade Deadline
More NHL coverage

He had no interest in addressing questions as to whether or not Sunday's loss, a game that saw him score a shorthanded goal in the second period, would be his final one in a Columbus sweater, the only one s ever worn during his first eight-plus years in the NHL.

He offered "no comment" when asked if he agreed with his agents recent statement about it possibly being for the best if a trade is completed sooner rather than later.

And who knows, at this point, even if he won't admit it, it might be for the best if something does happen sooner rather than later.

His agent already made it clear that the list of teams that he will accept a trade to will not grow in the offseason, so the list of potential trade partners for Columbus isn't going to change.

The Blue Jackets, owners of the worst record in the NHL through the first five months of a season that, at its best, can only be described as a complete  disappointment, are already in what appears to be an everything-must-go fire sale mode. Over the past week alone the team has traded forwards Antoine Vermette (to Phoenix) and Jeff Carter (to Los Angeles), seemingly selling them off at their lowest possible value, perhaps before they had to, blowing up the ship in a season that has been crushed by inconsistent (or just plain bad) goaltending, injuries, and performances that have fallen below expectations.

At this point it's hard to imagine the Blue Jackets, Nash or no Nash, making much of a push next season especially in a division that already houses some of the best teams in the NHL (Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis), which would just be another year in what has been a never-ending cycle for Nash and the Jackets.

Through it all, he has certainly been a patient man over the past nine years in Columbus, easily the best player in franchise history and one of the few consistent bright spots for a team that has made the postseason just one time in its existence.

It's still not known what's going to happen before Monday, but everybody involved has taken pretty much the same approach as the waiting game continues -- for now, he's still a Blue Jacket.

"It's been a great time living in Columbus," said Nash on Sunday. "I'm a Blue Jacket today and we're going to do everything we can to move forward as a team. Like I said the other day, these fans deserve a winning team. They're the ones that have been the most patient."

His head coach, Todd Richards, said pretty much the exact same thing.

"Rick Nash is part of our team," said Richards. "Right now he's a Columbus Blue Jacket. Twenty-four Hours from now that might be a different story but right now he's a Columbus Blue Jacket and you treat him as one of our players."

For as long as he is one of their players, of course.

Photo: Getty Images

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