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

Morning Skate: Sharks, Wild meet desperate for W

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

By Brian Stubits

The Morning Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

Playoff Race

6 ET, San Jose at Minnesota

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

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

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

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

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

5 ET, Montreal at Florida

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

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

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

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

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

3 ET, Vancouver at Dallas

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

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

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

Others worth watching

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

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

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

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

Your promised miscellany

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

Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:32 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 3:38 pm
 

Quincey apologizes for comments about Avs

Quincey had five goals and 18 assists with the Avs this season. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Kyle Quincey caused some ripples back in Colorado after the Avalanche traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who then quickly flipped Quincey to the Detroit Red Wings. He talked to Yahoo!'s Nick Cotsonika about life on the trading block and moving on from the Avs.

They came off a bit rough.

“Everyone is ready to get shipped out any day,” Quincey said. “There’s a lot of guys, their bags are packed beside the door, and they wouldn’t be unhappy to go -- trust me. I know I had a big smile on my face, and all the guys were jealous. I think there’s a bunch of guys that were pissed off they weren’t in a package deal.

“I truly believe, if you have confidence in a player, then give it to them, show it to them,” Quincey said. “When there’s so much uncertainty if those guys are going to be there next year, it would be nice for guys to get extensions. But that’s their policy, and that’s what they do.”

Consider the feathers ruffled. But it didn't take Quincey long to backtrack and apologize for his comments, playing the "out of context" card.

“That was taken out of context and I didn’t mean any of that. And the stuff that I said about guys having their bags packed was bad ... but it wasn’t all in Colorado, it was the whole league," Quincey said. “Everyone until Monday at 3 [p.m.] is pretty anxious, not just in Colorado.

“I don’t want to put any of my former teammates in hot soup. I regret saying the stuff that I did, but it wasn’t towards them. Colorado is an unbelievable place to play, I had a great time there, I love it there, I bought a house there, and that’s my home now, so the last thing I want to do is get them upset with me."

I'm not going to skewer the guy here. He was probably a bit excited to get traded from a team fighting for its playoff life to a team that's fighting for a Stanley Cup.

I wouldn't doubt the sincerity of his apology. NHL locker rooms are tight, they spend so much time together and develop strong relationships. No doubt Quincey has some very good friends in that Colorado locker room and that doesn't just disappear the moment he's traded.

I only hope that something like this doesn't make Quincey clam up and become as robotic as most athletes when it comes to quotes and spit cliché after cliché.

By the way, the Avalanche visit Quincey and the Wings on Saturday night. He can mend a few more bridges then if there are any left to be mended.

More from Eye on Hockey

Quincey goes to Wings in three-team deal

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

Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:30 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 2:34 pm
 

Video: Burrows celebrates snapping Wings streak

By Brian Stubits

The Vancouver Canucks said before beating the Red Wings in Detroit to snap their NHL-record home winning streak that they wanted to be the team to do it. Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo said they hoped the Wings would still be unbeatenwhen they came a calling.

All of that happened, the tables were set just as they requested and the Canucks were indeed the team that snapped the streak.

It took them more than 65 minutes to do it, but they got it done. Thanks to Henrik Sedin's goal with less than 20 seconds to tie the game, it wasn't until Alex Burrows scored in the shootout that the streak was done, the record book closed on this matter

It was a nice move from Burrows to go to his backhand and beat Jimmy Howard for the decider.

Well that was a nice celebration, but it would have been way cooler if he actually broke the stick. And why is he paying homage to Bo Jacks ...... ooooooh! I get it! He snapped the streak!

Need I point out the obvious, that it's reasons like why people and players dislike the Canucks and refer to them as arrogant? It's no surprise that Burrows' name is one of the two that come up most often when that conversation is breached.

I'm more new school this way, but I don't mind this stuff at all. I like it. I think it's fun and entertaining. Ovechkin's old celebrations? I dug those. Just the same as how I really enjoyed when Chad Ochocinco Johnson was good and scoring touchdowns for the Cincinnati Bengals.

It also makes me realize that there is pretty much no matchup that the Canucks can have in the Western Conference semifinals or finals that wouldn't be entertaining and intense.

More from Eye on Hockey

Recap: Canucks 4, Wings 3 (SO)
Gretz: Wings streak ends at 23 games

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

Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:15 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 2:04 pm
 

Is Kings captain Dustin Brown now on the block?

Brown has 15 goals and 17 assists on the season for L.A. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Almost as soon as the Los Angeles Kings snagged Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jack Johnson and a first-round draft pick, the buzz picked up about another Kings trade. This one would actually be the team moving out one of their better scorers. And their captain, no less.

TSN's Bob McKenzie -- whose word is about as good as gold in these matters -- reported late on Thursday night/early Friday morning that the Kings were looking to trade Dustin Brown.



Of course things in the hockey rumor world are never that easy. Several hours after the water cooler talk heated up around Brown being available, CBC's Elliotte Friedman reports that Brown is off the trading block. 


So, it might be easier to list the teams who aren't interested in Brown. Here, I'll put my insider use to work and take care of that right here. These are the teams who don't want Brown: ........ (*crickets) .....

Who wouldn't want Brown, anyway? He has one of the most team-friendly contracts in the entire NHL. He is signed through this season and the next two for a cap hit of $3.175 million per season. For a guy who is a captain and who, until this season, had consistently been in the mid-to-high 20s in goals throughout his career with a high of 33 in 2007-08? Sign me up.

NHL Trade Deadline
More NHL coverage

It does beg the question, then, of why would the Kings want to get rid of him? If everybody else would like him, that should be a sign you have somebody worth keeping around.

Well there are a couple of theories. McKenzie hypothesizes that the Kings do like Brown as a player but he leaves something to be desired as a captain and that Mike Richards is going to assume that role. Seems to me it would be a lot easier to just take away the C, but hey. Another thought is that he could be shipped to get draft picks back after the Kings have unloaded a few.

This much is certain: The trade market just got a whole lot more interesting. I'm not going to say that Brown has the same upside that Nash does, but he's a pretty darn good player. And he's less than half the price of Nash. Both guys are having subpar seasons, so they're kind of a wash there.

That's where it adds some skepticism for me. as mentioned, Brown is having a poor season. It would be selling low instead of high and that's not usually a good business strategy. However if they can still get a high return, then I suppose it doesn't much matter. Everybody on the team is having a down year, that has to be taken into consideration by everybody.

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson can't like this. All of a sudden there has become a much cheaper alternative to his highly coveted forward. That's not going to help the asking price remain high.

If there is serious traction to this Brown talk, then that only decreases the chances that Nash is traded in the next couple of days, I'd say. Teams will focus on Brown first would be my guess and then once that card is played it will be too late and the Nash sweepstakes will have to reopen in the summer. I already thought the chances for Nash actually being dealt this month weren't great and this doesn't do much to help.

And this, by the way, is obligatory. Any post with Brown must include the following video. From what I've been told, that's a blogger's requirement.

More from Eye on Hockey

Kings acquire Carter from Columbus
How L.A. reunited Carter and Richards

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

Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:01 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 10:57 am
 

Morning Skate: Stars and Wild in West's big one

By Brian Stubits

The Morning Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

Playoff Race

8:30 ET, Minnesota at Dallas: With how quiet they have been since their early-season run, it's a little surprising to wake up on Friday and see that the Dallas Stars are in the eighth position in the Western Conference.

With how bad they've been since their early-season run, it's a little surprising the Minnesota Wild are still within earshot of the playoffs in the Western Conference.

Today's movin' and shakin' game in the massive battle for the West's last playoff spot is the matchup of the two teams that have called Minnesota home. It's like their step-brothers or something and the "first" brother doesn't take kindly to the "new" brother moving in. It's been 15 straight trips to Dallas without a victory for Minnesota. Yikes.

This would be as good a time as any to snap that. The Wild head into Friday three points behind the logjam for eighth place. Fall five back and they really have a tough task at hand.

But the Wild have picked it up here. Over the weekend it looked like they were about to be buried for good until they turned in one of their best performances in months and beat the Bruins. Then on Thursday night they got a rare shootout win over the Panthers in Florida. They're getting back to that Mike Yeo hockey that was so successful.

The Stars, meanwhile, aren't setting the world on fire but nobody at the bottom of the West is, so they're tied for that No. 8 spot after a strong win in Chicago on Thursday. Yet they are still reportedly considering being a seller at Monday's deadline.

For teams teetering, every game before the deadline is that much more important, especially when the playoff race is in full swing.

7 ET, Montreal at Washington: No two teams have been a bigger drama show this season than the Capitals and Canadiens. So maybe it's fitting they play each other just before the trade deadline, the season's biggest big top.

These are two teams either on the brink (Washington) or already over it (Montreal). The Habs are now in the bottom three. Starting Friday eight points out of a playoff spot, they are close to done for. At this point it's more like playing out the string ... and playing spoiler.

Really, most everybody's eyes will be on the Capitals. They have been significantly better on home ice this season so perhaps that can be the cure for the three-game losing streak that ails them. They are still miraculously in the Southeast Division race, entering Friday four points behind the Jets and three behind the Panthers. But remember they have four games in hand on Winnipeg. Florida, meanwhile, will have two in hand on Washington after Friday.

Washington might have to do it without Alex Ovechkin again, too. He missed the team's game in Ottawa earlier this week with a "lower-body injury" and has been listed as day to day. For a team that's struggling to score like the Caps are, being down an Ovechkin really isn't helping matters. They'll have to rely on some quality goaltending, whoever might get that nod.

7 ET, Vancouver at New Jersey: After taking out the Red Wings in a shootout and ending their home winning streak at 23 games, the Canucks set their sights on taking over the West's top spot for the time being with a trip to New Jersey.

Only problem for them is the Devils are no slouch. They have been one if the absolute best teams in the league since the All-Star break and have climbed into the East's No. 4 position, that critical spot for home-ice advantage in the first round.

Hard for me to believe that with both of these teams' pedigrees that people seem to be sleeping on them. The Canucks are quietly going about their business -- perhaps a refreshing change in Vancouver -- and are again in the Presidents' Trophy race. The same goes for the Devils who could potentially move to within five points of the Rangers for the top position in the East if they get some help from the Islanders.

Others worth watching

7 ET, Rangers at Islanders: What better way for the Rangers to get out of a scoring funk than to visit their neighbors on Long Island?

7 ET, Colorado at Columbus: The Avs are another one in that West logjam while the Jackets move on to the post-Jeff Carter era (era?).

7:30 ET, Boston at Buffalo: This was supposed to be a big game. Now it's about Brad Marchand calling Buffalo the worst city in the league.

Your promised miscellany

  • Kyle Quincey, just moved to Detroit after a three-way deal, wasn't very complimentary of the Avalanche franchise and said other guys were jealous that he got to leave. (Denver Post)
  • Want to know why the Canadiens have been called a circus act this season? Here's a reason. P.K. Subban got into a skirmish with a teammate at practice. Again. (TSN)
  • Peter Laviolette was just a bit unhappy with his Flyers' performance in Edmonton on Thursday night and he let the Philly media know. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Jeff Carter might not have welcomed his move to Columbus with open arms, but at least Jack Johnson is giving it a try. (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Flames GM Jay Feaster wasn't pleased with his team's effort in the last couple of games and threatened his team by telling Sportsnet it would be busy on Monday if they didn't pick it up. (Sportsnet)

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: February 23, 2012 5:07 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 5:15 pm
 

Nash Dash: How would Nash fit with Sharks?

What Nash would look like in San Jose. 

By Brian Stubits

In the days leading up to the trade deadline (Monday, Feb. 27) we're going to keep tabs on the biggest name on the block, Columbus Blue Jackets star and captain Rick Nash.

The list of teams rumored to be in on Nash isn't incredibly long and it's the usual suspects that you'd expect to be in on a big-name, high-priced star like Nash. His wish list -- put into song so wonderfully -- was supposedly five teams long with possible Wild cards in the mix too.

We're going to take a look at each of the rumored wish-list teams and how Nash would fit, looking today at the San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks were on Rick Nash's rumored wish list from the moment it was first reported and speaking only for myself here, I didn't anticipate they'd be in the conversation much. It was holding true with most all of the talk surrounding the Rangers and Kings.

Then TSN's Darren Dreger reported not only that the Sharks were definitely in the conversation, they were making a push.

At the heart of the matter, one of the driving forces in the connection of Nash and San Jose is his relationship with Joe Thornton. Nash and Jumbo Joe are good friends. Not to mention they'd make a pretty damn good pairing on the top line. Remember, Thornton helped Jonathan Cheechoo to some ridiculous numbers in San Jose, imagine what he could do for Nash.

The Sharks are still in first in the Pacific, but it's not unfair to say they could withstand for some reinforcements. They are now tied with the surging Coyotes and are only three points up on the offensively inept Kings. With the Canucks and Red Wings pulling away from the pack atop the West, the Sharks are going to need to find a way to go toe to toe if they want to get back to the Western Conference finals and go further.

What it would do is give the Sharks another left winger, a position where Patrick Marleau resides. But that's not a problem, no team will ever complain about having too many left wingers who could play on the top line. As I touched on yesterday, the Kings would love to have that problem.

As is the question with every team that could potentially land Nash, though, is what would it take to get him? Dreger reported the Jackets asked for Logan Couture but were immediately rebuked by the Sharks on that request. Hey, no harm in asking if you're Scott Howson.

It was speculated from Andy Strickland at True Hockey that they could ask for Joe Pavelski too. I said yesterday that I'm not sure even straight up that would be worth it for San Jose, so let me explain a little more here.

NHL Trade Deadline
More NHL coverage

I'm a big Pavelski fan. I really like his game and he's taking it to a new level this season, already at his career high in goals for one season. He is excellent in the face-off circle. Digging into the advanced stats, Pavelski is second among Sharks forward in Relative Corsi behind only Thornton. He's a valuable player. That's not to say all 30 GMs wouldn't pull the trigger on a Pavelski-for-Nash swap, it's just that I was saying you're already starting at a very high price with Pavelski and we aren't talking about a slouch here.

Purely speculation on my end here, I haven't seen this even rumored, but you'd have to wonder if Thomas Greiss would be in the conversation. The Sharks obviously would like to have a good young goaltender around for many years, but Antti Niemi is their No. 1, the guy they have invested in and he's not necessarily an old guy at 28.

Not that there would be any concerns with how Nash would fit with any team, but it's hard to imagine a better fit than with San Jose considering the relationship with Thornton. The question is do the Sharks have the prospects and gumption to pull it off.

One thing that is important to remember in all of this is that Nash will have a serious decision to make. This is a matter of moving to a new home for many years, it's not something you decide on a whim (most of the time). And San Jose has prided itself in being a good home for hockey players. It's little wonder why not many guys seem to leave San Jose.

Here is what Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area.

“First of all, I didn’t read that story, I haven’t gotten into my clips yet. We don’t talk about other team’s players, and any conversation I do have with a fellow GM would be kept in confidence. Historically, though, one of the most important things we do is make this be a place where players do want to play, and make it an attractive destination for players.”

I've grown skeptical that any team will be able to pull the trigger on a deal before the deadline on Monday and this will drag into the summer. Either way, San Jose sure seems like it could fit well.

More from Eye on Hockey

How would Nash fit with Kings?
How would Nash fit with Blueshirts?
San Jose stepping into Nash talks?
Update on Nash, other rumors
Nash down to five teams?
Nash not untouchable for Columbus

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

Posted on: February 23, 2012 3:53 pm
 

How Avs logo came to be and name Extreme avoided

By Brian Stubits

Colorado Avalanche fans, here's a reason to be happy even while your team is not currently in the playoff seedings. Your team name could be the Rocky Mountain Extreme.

A bit of old folk lore in Colorado, it turns out it's true. The team was set to become the Extreme (what's with the non-living, single-entity nicknames, Denver?) until the Denver Post got word and the fan reaction wasn't so favorable.

In an interview with longtime Avs writer Adrian Dater, Dan Price, the man who oversaw the creation of the team's logo, talked about the whole scenario. He explained that they were looking for a name that would draw in the Generation X-ers right when the X-Games were beginning to launch and a name that would match the intense nature of hockey.

Well after the unfavorable reaction, it was back to the drawing board -- the figurative one in this case -- and eventually the Avalanche won in a fan contest.

Dater had a lengthy conversation on his podcast with Price about the design process of the Avalanche logo with the time crunch. It's some pretty cool insight into how these things are done, such as how the Jets just did it themselves after the move from Atlanta to Winnipeg.

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

Posted on: February 23, 2012 3:18 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 3:23 pm
 

Jonathan Toews OK after minor car crash

Toews' car is taken away from the crash site. (25stanley.com)

By Brian Stubits

The Chicago Blackhawks got more than a scare on Thursday afternoon. Captain Jonathan Toews was involved in a one-car accident in Chicago and was taken away from the scene in an ambulance.

Now before you get too worked up, the Blackhawks did say in a statement that Toews was in an accident but he was not injured.

“Jonathan Toews was in a minor one-car collision in downtown Chicago this morning while driving himself to the United Center. He was not injured."

Toes confirmed the team report himself in a text message to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.

When contacted via text following the accident, Toews responded by saying, "It's nothing serious at all" and added, "I'm good."

Phew!

Here's a little more on the specifics of the scene of the accident from CBS Chicago:

Toews’ black AMG Mercedes Benz struck an “L” support beam at the intersection of Lake and Garvey in the loop just before 10 a.m. 670 The Score confirmed the vehicle is registered to the Blackhawks center and witnesses said he was driving the car.

“I saw his car in the pole,” Theron Banks, an employee at Steak Express said. “I came out. People were everywhere. Toews was in the ambulance. People were videotaping and taking pictures and trying to get autographs, but police said they couldn’t get autographs.”

Really? Seeking autographs and trying to take pictures with somebody in an ambulance? I knows fans can get a little crazy from time to time, but man, that's just not one of those times. Obviously he's entitled to some privacy, is he not?

But back to the matter at hand. This has to really have the Chicago fans on edge, even if the team says there was no injury. Toews is already out of the lineup on a day-to-day basis and comes a day after the same CBS Chicago outlet reported that Toews might actually have a concussion. Talk about a bad week.

Toews was already scheduled to miss the team's game on Thursday night against the Stars with the upper-body injury.

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