A look around the NHL & Memories of a Miracle on Ice
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Two Questions For Wednesday
1. What is the biggest current need for the Pens?
2. Who would you like to see the Pens pick up at the deadline?
What were you doing 32 years ago today? I was 14 years-old watching the Americans knock off the Soviet Union. It was great. A couple of my street hockey buddies (and neighbors) Eddie and Tom watched the game with me at my house. I remember rooting for Penguins prospect Mark Johnson, in particular. Tom rooted for Jim Craig because he was a goalie. I couldn't believe the Penguins actually had a bonafide young offensive prospect. Johnson never really lived up to his Olympic showing in the NHL, but it didn't matter. Looking back, it’s incredible to think that his dad, Badger Bob Johnson, would leave an indelible mark on the Penguins franchise a decade later.
Whether you were a Canadian or an American, you had to feel proud of the North Americans knocking off the USSR. Take a look at this YouTube clip from the 1:46 to 1:56 mark and you’ll see a younger Craig Patrick (with lots of hair) congratulating his players. Patrick served as an assistant coach to Herb Brooks. The Penguins blood line runs deep in this Olympic miracle.
St. Louis losing Jamie Langenbrunner won’t make it easier to pry away any of its NHL forwards. There’s been talk of the Blues dealing prospect Jaden Schwartz but the talented forward wouldn’t help the Pens at all in 2011-12.
Phoenix is playing too well to trade away Shane Doan or Ray Whitney. The Coyotes came back from a three-goal deficit to beat the usually stingy LA Kings on Tuesday. The organization also received good news about its future in the desert. Doan and Whitney aren’t going anywhere.
Wouldn’t it be something if Jeff Carter got traded to the Kings. He could have a Carter-Richards reunion. Don’t laugh, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. LA doesn’t have the depth the New York Rangers do to deal for Rick Nash.
Crucial 3-2 loss for the Ducks to Tampa Bay on Tuesday. "When you get into that feeling that you're going to win every single game, it's a good feeling," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told the Orange County Register. "But in the end, you're not going to win 35 in a row." A couple more losses might turn Anaheim into the sellers that teams once thought they would be. The Ducks only have two games, at Carolina and against Chicago, before the Monday afternoon deadline, however.
Is it just me or does Boston’s Claude Julian look like Bruce Boudreau’s sane brother. The Bruins are unwilling to part with defensive prospect, Dougie Hamilton, limiting their options. What the team really needs is for Nathan Horton to get past his concussion.
Hope is a dangerous thing and now the Buffalo Sabres have it. After a 2-1 win over the Islanders on Tuesday, the Sabres are six points out of the playoffs with 22 games to go.
"We're happy, but at the same time we've got to get some more points," Forward Derek Roy said in the Buffalo News. "We can't win one, lose one anymore. We've got to keep winning games, put a streak together. We've got to gain some ground." The Sabres were a pet team of many entering the 2011-12 season but have played like dogs. Is it too late or can they make a run at a playoff seed? The eighth seed is still up for grabs.
The Buffalo News discusses the thought of centerman Paul Gaustad moving at the deadline.
"As a veteran who is seventh in the league in faceoff percentage, can kill penalties and play against another team's top scoring line, Gaustad might rank as one of the better rental players on the market. Basically, his name is everywhere from major media outlets on both sides of the border to Johnny's Blog from the Basement."
Ottawa GM, Bryan Murray, says he doesn’t want to deal Erik Karlsson’s defensive partner, Filip Kuba, at the deadline. Of course, the demand for the 35-year-old blueliner isn’t great and his value to the Sens might be higher there than anywhere else. The Hurricanes are only eight points out of the eighth-seed, but the problem is that there are seven teams ahead of them fighting for the last playoff spot. Moreover, Carolina is 13 points behind seventh-seeded Ottawa.
Luke DeCock talks about the ‘Canes chances here but reminds fans of a throat-slashing gesture by current Penguins player, Craig Adams, that has long since been forgotten.
Chicago beat the Red Wings, 2-1, on Tuesday for its fourth straight victory. Corey Crawford has picked up the pace in goal and the ‘Hawks need for a netminder is no longer quite so necessary. Rookie forward Jimmy Hayes bumped his trade value up with a goal and an assist against Detroit, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Blackhawks need a top-four defenseman and might be willing to part with Hayes.
The Denver Post discusses the Kyle Quincey-Steve Downie deal and talks about the Avs’ depth on the blue line.
"The Avs are loaded with big, shutdown-type defensemen and young, offensive-minded blue-liners. The current corps features Erik Johnson, Shane O'Brien, Jan Hejda, Ryan O'Byrne, Ryan Wilson and Matt Hunwick — and Stefan Elliott, 20, was recalled from the minors after the Quincey trade was announced."
Ryan O’Byrne was an undisciplined defenseman when he was with the Habs. If the 27 year-old has a more mature on-ice presence, he’d be a good source of hits and blocked shots on Pittsburgh’s blue line.
Jeff Carter netted his second hat trick of the season Tuesday with scouts from eight teams in attendance, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Antoine Vermette played in his 600th NHL contest. Backup goalie, Curtis Sanford (back), practiced with the team and could be ready for Friday’s game. Vermette and Sanford are two players the Pens could have interest in. Neither represents a huge investment. If you look at the Blue Jackets' link, note the (warranted) bitterness of the Jackets’ fans in the comments section.
Those looking for Brenden Morrow in a Penguins sweater might want to read this. The article is about the Stars’ dismal attendance, but at the bottom is this revealing nugget.
"As for Morrow, he played very well when he came back after a six-game break earlier in the season. From everything I hear, the new diagnosis is he won't have surgery until he retires because it probably won't help him play the game. Again though, that's something that could change depending on how the doctors see his neck. If the team starts winning, he might attempt a comeback in March. If they don't, there could be a temptation to shut him down for the rest of the season and let him rest on it all summer."
Did the Red Wings pay too much for Kyle Quincey? Quincey will be a restricted free agent at season’s end. He does know the Detroit system, which is important, but is he worth a no. 1 pick – even if it’s no higher than number 20 overall? Do the Wings care? Stevie Yzerman did a nice job here and has accumulated more than his fair share of draft picks. We’re going to see a lot of him at CONSOL for the summer draft.
The Florida Panthers aren’t in the market for a big trade, the Sun Sentinel reports. The Panthers might make some minor changes, but the return of Jason Garrison, Ed Jovanovski and Dmitry Kulikov should help with their recent slump. Hal Gill helps shuts down Ryan Kesler on Tuesday, according to the The Tennessean.
Daniel Hamhuis offers his opinion on soon-to-be unrestricted free agent, Ryan Suter. The Pens traded for Hamhuis’ rights at one point.
It might be pretty obvious, but Zach Parise isn’t getting traded. "It hasn't been a distraction (this season)," coach Pete DeBoer told NJ.com. "I think, because our general manager has made it very clear that it's not an issue. He's not going anywhere. He's a big part of our team. He's our captain. I think that ended the distraction right there."
“Rangers fans expect a Stanely Cup”according to Newsday. I think that can be arranged. "Lord Stanely, Lord Stanely."
In case you were interested in reading Jaromir Jagr’s blog, click here.
Coyotes GM, Don Maloney joked that his team might be looking to add Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, the Arizona Central reports.
Maloney believes that new sellers will emerge as the deadline approaches.
"It's a different marketplace now," Maloney said. "There's probably three sellers, that might change; all you have to do is look at the standings. The last two days there's been a shift in two or three teams in the discussions I'm having, so I do believe as we go into next week, more players will be available."
San Jose is reportedly making a strong push to acquire Rick Nash, the Mercury News reports.
The Sharks are unwilling to include Logan Couture in the deal but talks remain fluid.
The Lightning might be done trading for a little bit, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
GM Steve Yzerman said, "I don't expect to be incredibly busy" before Monday's trade deadline, partly, he joked, because "we're running out of bodies."
Even so, he added, "Any situation that comes along through the trade deadline to the offseason we're willing to look at.
"These draft picks give us options. They don't help today, no question, but, again, my goal is to win a Stanley Cup here. We have to do some difficult things to do that."
Mikhail Grabovski doesn’t want to leave the Maple Leafs, according to Slam! Sports.
The bi-polar case of the Washington Capitals, sellers or buyers?
Tarik El-Bashir talks about the luck of the playoff draw here.
"Playoff success is often determined by a random confluence of getting a favorable matchup, being on the right side of a referee’s call and having a hot goaltender. And, for the first time in years, the Capitals have a goalie capable of igniting a postseason run."
For all of the talk about how the Rangers have dominated Pittsburgh, the Penguins are now 9-5-1 in their last 15 games against New York.