Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2006 Trade Deadline Analysis

With the 2006 NHL Trade Deadline fast approaching, here is a team-by-team analysis of what players might be available. Thanks to TSN.ca for the report:

The 2006 NHL trade deadline is Thursday, March 9 at 3pm et/Noon pt, and TSN will have live coverage of all the breaking trades, updates, news and negotiations with NHL on TSN TradeCentre beginning at 10am et/7am pt. Click below to get a complete list of who went where during the season.

Lowdown on the NHL's 30 teams
Complete Trade List - 2005-06
TSN.ca TradeCentre Page

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim - Brian Burke has already dumped two huge contracts in Sergei Fedorov and Petr Sykora, and likely won't stop dealing until he gets the lineup he's happy with. Reports have goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the block, as the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy winner has struggled this season with Ilya Bryzgalov getting more playing time.

Atlanta Thrashers - GM Don Waddell guaranteed a playoff spot for his up and coming squad, and that means improvements could be on the way. With centre Bobby Holik out since early January, a third-line centre could be on the wish list.

Boston Bruins - The Bruins have showed a lot of improvement in the aftermath of November's Joe Thornton trade. Marco Sturm has been a huge contributor, and Boston is in the thick of a tight playoff race. With Tim Thomas getting the spotlight in goal and Hannu Toivonen still being groomed as the netminder of the future, all signs point to 2004 Calder Trophy winner Andrew Raycroft being the odd man out. But Toivonen is still a couple of weeks away from playing because of a high ankle sprain, so the duo of Thomas and Raycroft will stand. Another name being thrown around is forward Sergei Samsonov, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Buffalo Sabres - Any moves to improve the club depend on the market for Martin Biron. He hasn't played much since the return of netminder Ryan Miller, despite winning a club-record 13 starts in a row. There are a lot of goalies on the market right now, and supply could very well exceed demand.

Calgary Flames - GM Darryl Sutter has been busy throughout the season, acquiring forward Kristian Huselius along with Mike Leclerc and netminder Brian Boucher. He may not be done yet, as reports have said the Flames could be interested in getting Olli Jokinen from Florida.
Carolina Hurricanes - The Hurricanes may sit out the deadline after dealing forwards Jesse Boulerice, Mike Zigomanis, Magnus Kahnberg and three draft picks for centre Doug Weight and forward Erkki Rajamaki. Then again, Carolina hasn't been this good in the regular season in a very long time, so some more deals could be made to ensure a full Stanley Cup run.

Chicago Blackhawks - GM Dale Tallon was very active signing free agents over the past two summers, but the team struggled right out the gate. With the possible exception of forward Mark Bell and defenceman Duncan Keith, no player on this roster is untouchable. Tyler Arnason, Kyle Calder and Matt Barnaby have been tossed around in the rumour mill, as well as Adrian Aucoin and Nikolai Khabibulin.

Colorado Avalanche - It's been three years since Patrick Roy's retirement, and the Avalanche are still reportedly putting out the feelers for a bonafide successor. David Aebischer has improved his game of late, and the Martin Biron-Jose Theodore-Roberto Luongo rumours have quieted down. But as the postseason nears, what will Lacroix do - stand pat, get insurance in net or grab a new No. 1 guy for a Cup run? Remember his answer in 2004...Tommy Salo.

Columbus Blue Jackets - The Blue Jackets have been a very good team of late, and everything on deadline day depends on their spot in the standings. If the Jackets are active, reports say unrestricted free agents Luke Richardson, Cale Hulse and Jan Hrdina - who combine for more than $4 million US in salary could be shipped off for a top-six forward. Forget the Marc Denis trade rumours, as GM Doug MacLean has already said the netminder won't be traded.

Dallas Stars - The Stars are on top of the Pacific Division, due in part to some solid acquisitions in Janne Niinimaa and Niklas Hagman. Losing Aaron Downey to Montreal via waivers prompted them to get another big guy in Jeremy Stevenson. It may be fine-tuning for the Stars at best, especially when they have Marty Turco holding the fort well in net.

Detroit Red Wings - The Wings entered the Olympic break with the NHL's best record, but could goaltending actually be something that needs to be addressed? "You look around this room; it is a weak point," Manny Legace recently told the Detroit Free Press. "If we have anything to point our finger at, it's this." Legace and Chris Osgood aren't as established as guys like Hasek or Brodeur, but the Wings will likely stick with this successful tandem for the postseason.

Edmonton Oilers - Mike Morrison already said he wants the chance to be the No. 1 goalie, but is that enough to address the Oilers' issues in net? Remember that the team has a surplus of defenceman after getting Dick Tarnstrom and Jaroslav Spacek, so all signs point to Kevin Lowe shipping out a blueliner and getting a goaltender for the stretch run.

Florida Panthers - Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen have already rejected long-term offers from the Panthers, raising a lot of questions about their futures in Florida. Granted, the team could still sign them later this spring, but it hasn't stopped the rumour mill going on possible deals. The Senators and Flames are aggressively chasing Jokinen, especially after Doug Weight went to Carolina. Where Luongo goes is anyone's guess, and don't count out the Panthers when all is said and done.

Los Angeles Kings - Reports indicate GM Dave Taylor could be planning to acquire a defensive defenceman like Washington's Brendan Witt, St. Louis's Eric Weinrich or Minnesota's Willie Mitchell. Sean Avery has been mentioned as trade bait, especially with recent arguments with head coach Andy Murray over playing time.

Minnesota Wild - With Manny Fernandez and Dwayne Roloson set to become unrestricted free agents this summer, GM Doug Risborough will be listening to offers from teams wanting goaltending. The team's blueline could also be testing the market this summer with Willie Mitchell, Filip Kuba and Andrei Zyuzin headed for free agency.

Montreal Canadiens - A lot of fans and media outlets in Montreal are calling for Bob Gainey to ship out struggling netminder Jose Theodore. But even if the GM is looking to swing a deal, it could be difficult finding a suitor willing to pay $5.3 million US over each of his next two seasons. And that was before the recent injury to his heel. More moveable names could be forwards Mike Ribeiro, Richard Zednik and Jan Bulis, depending on Montreal's postseason hopes.

Nashville Predators - The Predators traded for centre Mike Sillinger in January, adding some much-needed experience and offence for their playoff push. That likely won't be the only move for the Predators, who hope to add a veteran defenceman before the deadline.

New Jersey Devils - Unless they trade forward Alexander Mogilny and defenceman Vladimir
Malakhov, the Devils will be in salary cap trouble next year. The team is going to have to eat up $7.1 million US in cap room for two players who quite likely will be retired. Mogilny's $3.5 million salary and Malakhov's $3.6 million are going to put the Devils behind the salary cap eight ball, even if they're not actually paying them. Their deals also gave the Devils little breathing room under this year's cap. So are the Devils going to be buyers on deadline day? Probably not.

New York Islanders - The Isles entered the Olympic break just six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, so their fate on deadline day could go either way. Alexei Yashin who is making $7.6 million a season for the next five years, is going nowhere. Media opinions vary on team's trade plans, with names like Mark Parrish, Brad Lukowich, Miroslav Satan, Trent Hunter and Arron Asham being thrown around.

New York Rangers - The Rangers are doing so well at this stage of the season, it is hard to fathom the team making any major moves going into the playoffs. A bit more defensive help on the blueline may be in order, with defenceman Tom Poti and goaltender Kevin Weekes as possible candidates to be dangled. Could Brian Leetch be on his way back to Broadway? Don't bet on it.

Ottawa Senators - The Senators went into the Olympic break on a bit of a slump, and GM John Muckler is already looking to bolster his lineup down the middle - with Olli Jokinen. The Jokinen-to-Ottawa rumours just won't go away, as the Florida Panthers' leading scorer can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and the team has been unable to sign him to a long-term contract. How much the Senators are willing to give up for him is the concern, and a bidding war with a team like Calgary is all but inevitable.

Philadelphia Flyers - Like the Senators, the Flyers have also been struggling of late, with injuries to Peter Forsberg, Keith Primeau (for the season), Eric Desjardins, Mike Rathje, Michal Handzus, Sami Kapanen, Joni Pitkanen and Petr Nedved taking their toll at different times. With Primeau gone, Bob Clarke could be looking for some more experience up front. Could Mark Recchi make a return?

Phoenix Coyotes - GM Mike Barnett has made a flurry of moves since the summer of 2004, constantly looking for that right lineup that will make a postseason run. They may be active again leading up to the deadline, and Curtis Joseph - with a small portion of his salary left to pay this season - could be a good addition should the Coyotes bow out of the playoff hunt early. Shane Doan rumours keep popping up, but it's hard to imagine the team parting ways with their captain.

Pittsburgh Penguins - An offseason full of free agent signings and promise quickly turned into a regular season on a downward spiral. With postseason hopes all but lost, the Penguins could be looking to trade away veterans like Mark Recchi and John LeClair. Recchi has already stated he wants to stay in Pittsburgh, but no one knows what his fate may be come deadline day. LeClair is not the same forward that once dominated the scoreboard, but a change of scenery could boost his short-term productivity.

San Jose Sharks - The Sharks already made their big splash, so to speak, back in November
when the acquired Joe Thornton from Boston. If the team wants to add some depth, netminder Vesa Toskala, due to be an unrestricted free agent this summer could have been offered up. But by signing Toskala after the Olympic break, the Sharks don't need to deal him at the trade deadline just to get something in return.

St. Louis Blues - The lowly Blues have already begun the process of selling, with Mike Sillinger and Doug Weight gone on to happier days elsewhere. That leaves the rumour mill buzzing about the fate of Keith Tkachuk. He may just stay in St. Louis, as the Blues hold a $3.8 million US option on him for next season. More likely candidates to be moved are forward Dallas Drake and defenceman Eric Weinrich.

Tampa Bay Lightning - For all the preseason talk about the Lightning struggling without Nikolai Khabibulin, John Grahame has been solid for the defending champions. Nevertheless, reports continue to surface on the possibility of Jose Theodore, Dwayne Roloson, or Martin Biron possibly heading to Tampa. In return? Players like Brad Richards, Pavel Kubina, Ruslan Fedotenko, Grahame and Cory Sarich (all UFAs this summer) have all been rumoured.

Toronto Maple Leafs - The Maple Leafs don't have a lot of cap room to work with, so bringing in talent may not be an option at the deadline. The team has struggled as of late, prompting the local media to speculate on the futures of Jason Allison, Nik Antropov, Darcy Tucker and yes, even captain Mats Sundin. Such is life for hockey news in Toronto.

Vancouver Canucks - Alex Auld has been steady in net in place of the injured Dan Cloutier, with a 25-16-3-2 record and 2.86 goals-against average going into the Olympic break. It's up to Dave Nonis whether or not the team should make an upgrade in goal. With defenceman Ed Jovanovski out and Sami Salo and Mattia Ohlund on the shelf during the Olympics, Nonis will be more pressed to get some help on the blueline.

Washington Capitals - Signing veteran netminder Olaf Kolzig to a contract extension essentially took him off the trade market. That leaves GM George McPhee with the task of getting some value for defenceman Brendan Witt, who asked for a trade earlier this season. Witt becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, and could be a big help to any team looking for a strong defender down the stretch. Another name on the block could be forward Jeff Friesen, who has also been mentioned in trade rumours.

Lindros set to return tonight

Forward Eric Lindros pronounced himself fit to play against the Capitals after missing more than two months with an injury to his right wrist.
"It's been a long road, but hopefully it's over," said Lindros, who practised with a brace on the wrist and looked reluctant to shoot the puck during drills.

The top two teams in the Northwest Division clash tonight when the first-place Calgary Flames welcome the Vancouver Canucks to the Saddledome. While Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is well-rested after skipping the Olympics, the Canucks could be without four Olympians tonight.FULL STORY...

Maple Leafs vs. Capitals
Canadiens at Islanders

Flyers' Primeau done for the year
Flyers captain Keith Primeau will miss the rest of the season because of lingering symptoms from a concussion four months ago.

Flames send Severson to Columbus
The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired forward Cam Severson from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Cale Hulse.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Welcome Back! It's the season's stretch drive...

With the 2006 Torino Games in the record books, Canada's "winter ballet" is back in the spotlight Tuesday as the National Hockey League hits the stretch drive to the playoffs - minus some injured Olympians. FULL STORY...

Ice Chips: The Latest NHL Updates
TSN.ca TradeCentre Page - Deadline is Mar. 9
NHL on TSN Broadcast Schedule
2005-06 NHL Regular Season Standings

Flyers to address Keith Primeau's status
The Philadelphia Flyers have called a Tuesday morning news conference where they are expected to announce that forward Keith Primeau is done for the season.

Leafs' Lindros says he's ready to return
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Eric Lindros pronounced himself fit to play against the Capitals after missing more than two months with an injury to his right wrist.

NHL Mail: Young Guns
Sharks sign Toskala to contract extension
Senators call up goaltender Thompson
Absent NHL Olympians may be docked pay
Lemieux has successful heart procedure
Plante's memorabilia put up for auction
Sharks recall Bernier from Cleveland
Flames recall Giordano from Omaha
Swedes edge Finns to win hockey gold
Jagr injured in win over Russia
Gagne may miss 2 weeks with bone bruise
More Headlines >>

NHL News and Rumors

Lowe taking over for Canada?February 27 @ 8:50 AMIt could be the Great One has had enough of being the fall guy.According to a report out of the Calgary Sun, insiders have indicated Wayne Gretzky will step aside as Team Canada GM, leaving the door open for Oilers GM Kevin Lowe.The report also speculates the preferred coach, although early, would be Darryl Sutter.

Niedermayer surgery a successFebruary 24 @ 11:05 AMScott Niedermayer's recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery is going well enough that the defenseman could resume skating as soon as Friday.Niedermayer had the meniscus removed from his right knee on Feb. 13 after playing in pain since injuring it in mid-December. While he had what he called a "setback" a few days ago when swelling reappeared, the Duck captain said he is happy with the progress.

Deadline routine for WittFebruary 24 @ 8:55 AMEvery year Washington defenceman Brendan Witt tops the list of players expected to be traded -- this year the veteran hopes it comes true.The Washington Times is reporting Witt would like to be dealt to a contender at the deadline, knowing his time to play in another Stanley Cup final is running thin."At my age (31) I want to win now," he said yesterday as the Caps gathered to resume workouts after the Olympic break. "I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me having that opinion. It’s a goal of mine to win a Stanley Cup within the next couple years. I have nothing against the organization, nothing, but they’re in a rebuilding process."Vancouver, Nashville and Los Angeles are teams expected to inquire about the services of the 10-year player.

Canucks looking for blueline helpFebruary 24 @ 8:55 AMThe MASH unit that is the Canucks defense corps may be getting some veteren help. With injuries already to Ed Jovanovski and Nolan Baumgartner, Vancouver must contend with both Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo possibly being out of the lineup for an extended period.To assist the ailing blueline, the Vancouver Province is reporting that rumours to acquire Eric Weinrich from St. Louis have resurfaced.Weinrich, 39, becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and -- with $443,000 US left on his $1.3-million deal -- it could be palatable to Nonis, who has about $3 million in salary-cap relief from long-term injuries to Jovanovski and goaltender Dan Cloutier.

Tyler Wright to retireFebruary 24 @ 9:00 AMDucks forward Tyler Wright got caught in a numbers game with the return of Sandis Ozilinsh. According to the LA Times, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks have waived the veteran forward to make room for Ozilinsh. Wright has refused assignment to the minors and is considering calling it a career."Any time when you're getting to be in the later stages in your career, you've got to look at all the possibilities," the 13-year veteran told the Times. "It's kind of foolish to say you're going to retire within a week."

Marchment way ahead of scheduleFebruary 23 @ 10:41 AMThe Olympic break has done wonders for injured defenseman Bryan Marchment. Literally. Marchment, who was written-off in Calgary after an expected season-ending injury, skated with the team on Thursday. There is still no timetable on his return, but the veteran is confident it will be sometime before playoffs."I could have gone before (the break) but the team was playing well and the coaches didn't think there was a need for a change," he said. "It doesn't hurt to give a knee another 10 days to fully heal. It's probably a little bit better than it was but it was pretty close to perfect before the break."Marchment tore two ligaments in his left knee in early January.Elsewhere on the injury front, Roman Hamrlik skated prior to the session but will remain out a couple of weeks yet due to his hand injury.

Canucks' Ohlund out with cracked ribFebruary 23 @ 8:11 AMSources tell Sportsnet Vancouver Canucks defenseman Mathias Ohlund will return to Vancouver on Friday to further assess a cracked rib that has ended his quest for Olympic gold. Ohlund was injured in the second period of Sweden's 6-2 win over Switzerland in men's Olympic hockey quarter-finals. The Canucks blueline, with the emphasis on blue, is already missing Sami Salo and Ed Jovanovski.

Primeau can't admit season's overFebruary 21 @ 8:10 AMKeith Primeau knows his season is over but he just can't find the words to say it.According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Primeau is not recovering from post-concussion symptons and will soon announce his season is over."I haven't made any decisions known or made an announcement," he told the Daily News yesterday. "But I have an idea what I have to do. I'm having such a hard time committing to not playing. I can't come to grips with it and I just keep procrastinating, and avoiding it. I can't even say it."

Coyotes must be sellers at the deadlineFebruary 22 @ 9:10 AMAs the Phoenix Coyotes prepare for another season without playoffs, front office must consider being sellers at the March 9 trade deadline, writes azcentral.com's John Gambadoro.The Coyotes must get younger and prepare to be players in the summer free-agent market, which will present the opportunity of signing players like Brad Richards and Zdeno Chara.Some players who should be shipped out of town include:Curtis Joseph. At 38 years old Joseph doesn't play into the Coyotes future plans. The keeper of the future is David LeNevue and he is currently in the minors. Edmonton, Vancouver and Philadelphia could be interested.Geoff Sanderson. Sanderson has been a solid player who has been hot lately with four goals in the last four games and should draw a lot of interest.Sean O'Donnell would fit in nicely with a veteran laden team looking for a fifth defenseman for the stretch run. O'Donnell is not the physical presence he once was but he still can handle himself, log a lot of minutes and has great leadership skills in the locker room.Mike Ricci, who is clearly a few steps slower than when he had his best years in San Jose. Nonetheless Ricci can help a team in need of veteran experience.Ricci is also a good faceoff man and could be a nice late-season addition for a team that thinks they are a player or two away.Anyone else on the team is open for trade discussions, including Mike Comrie, Paul Mara, Derek Morris, Mike Johnson, and Dennis Gauthier.

News and Notes from the NHL

Primeau gone for season
The Philly captain was injured October 25 in a game against the Montreal Canadiens.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Flyers captain Keith Primeau will sit out the rest of the regular season nearly four months after suffering another concussion, a person in the NHL with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Monday.

How Swede it isSweden strikes Olympic men's hockey gold ...
Hockey HearsayGretzky stepping down; Olli Jokinen a Sen? ...
Macleans: One medal shyMen's hockey medal would have matched projection ...
Vacation or vocation?Garrett: Do NHLers care about gold? ...
Crosby's CornerNo sour grapes from Crosby on Torino ...
Operation Slap ShotFollow the gambling ring investigation here ...

Sens look to add Jokinen to lineupFebruary 27 @ 8:58 AM
Ottawa looks to add to their already impressive offensive power by adding Florida's Olli Jokinen to the lineup, reports the Ottawa Citizen.The Sens are looking to relieve some of the offensive burden off of Jason Spezza's shoulders, and if they are willing to part with left wing Antoine Vermette or defenceman Anton Volchenkov, and a high draft pick, it may just happen.

How Swede it is!!! Sweden wins 2006 Winter Olympic Gold in Turino, Italy

TURIN, Italy (CP) - Sweden is back on top of the hockey world.
A goal on a cannon shot from Nicklas Lidstrom 10 seconds into the third period was the difference as Sweden beat rival Finland 3-2 in an all-Scandinavian Olympic gold medal game on Sunday.
The Swedes, now ranked as the world's No. 1 hockey country, last won gold at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
''It's been a long wait for Swedish hockey,'' said beaming captain Mats Sundin.

The victory over the previously unbeaten Finns erased the bitter memory of an embarrassing 4-3 loss to lowly Belarus in the quarter-finals of the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City and a 2-1 quarter-final loss to the Finns in 1998 in Nagano, Japan.

And it was particularly satisfying for a core of players who have been mainstays on the Swedish team for the past decade, including Lidstrom, Sundin, Peter Forsberg and Daniel Alfredsson, who may all have played their last Olympics.
Another member of the group known in Sweden as the Golden Generation, Markus Naslund of the Vancouver Canucks, missed the Games with an injury.
''This could have been it for us,'' said Lidstrom. ''I don't think you'll see us in the next one (in Vancouver in 2010).
''It was fitting that Sundin and Forsberg assisted on my goal.''
What a goal it was.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Wayne Gretzky - Operation Slap Shot will not be distraction...other notes from the NHL

Wayne Gretzky says Operation Slap Shot won't be a distraction for Team Canada.
Canada's men's hockey team went through an on-ice practice today in Mississauga as a final preparation before heading to Torino, Italy, for the Olympic Games.
Afterwards, Gretzky met with the media and despite saying he would not comment on the matter, still had to fend off more questions regarding the gambling charges against Rick Tocchet, his assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes.
"There's nothing for me to talk about. I'm not involved and it's been a hard week for my family and the only focus I have right now is this hockey team and getting ready for the Olympic Games," said Gretzky. "The focus should be on these athletes who've worked their lives to be in the Olympic Games. And so if you have hockey questions, I'd be happy to stand here ... all day."

When it finally did get to hockey, Gretzky said Team Canada was ready for the Olympics.
On the ice, Canada showed some interesting line combinations. For the most part, the lines were as follows: Joe Thornton with Simon Gagne and Rick Nash; Joe Sakic with Kris Draper and Jarome Iginla; Vincent Lecavalier with Dany Heatley and Martin St. Louis; Brad Richards with Ryan Smyth and Todd Bertuzzi. Shane Doan was the extra forward.
The defence pairings were: Chris Pronger with Rob Blake; Wade Redden with Adam Foote; Jay Bouwmeester with Robyn Regehr; and Bryan McCabe skated as an extra defender.
Pronger's agent, Pat Morris, told TSN it was encouraging to see his client on the ice. The original plan was for Pronger, who has a cracked bone is his right foot, to skip the today's skate. However, he felt so good this morning that Pronger decided to give it a go and did not exhibit any problems.

Status Report

Where will the Wild land? Will Gretzky be a distraction in Torino? Will Peter Forsberg even play in the Olympics? Scott Burnside answers this questions and more. Around The Rink
Chat Wrap: Burnside Tonight's games Olympic coverage

Forsberg gets green light; Handzus out
Peter Forsberg is going to the Olympics. After meeting today with Flyers' general manager Bob Clarke, Forsberg got the green light to go to Torino.

NHL Mail: Hey, Big Shooter!
Looking at shootout impact, lopsided trades, the Canadian Olympic Team and a movie about an NHL legend in this week's edition of TSN.ca's NHL Mail.

Good for Gretzky
It may not be fashionable or even prudent right now to say that, but after watching Wayne Gretzky's post-game news conference on Thursday night, when he stated in no uncertain terms that he would be going to Torino with the Canadian Olympic hockey team, I said it out loud: Way to go, Wayne.

Panthers claim Allison from Predators
Marleau, Legace named Players of the Week
Hagman replaces Miettinen for Finland
More details support Gretzky's contention
Sedin nets OT winner; Canucks beat Wild
Surprising Blues beat Oilers in shootout
Wings sweep season series from Avs
Staal gives 'Canes shootout win
Preissing nets Sharks OT win over Coyotes
Visnovsky leads Kings' rally over Stars
Bruins' Sturm not joining Team Germany
More Headlines >>

Gretzky: Gambling scandal won't distract Team CanadaSources: Gretzky on wiretap day officials came for wifeBruins' Sturm out of Olympics due to injuryA keeper: Caps give Kolzig 2-year, $10.9M extensionLeafs sign Tomas Kaberle to five-year extensionCanadiens captain Koivu inks three-year extensionTheodore blames positive test result on PropeciaAutopsy: UHL coach Potvin committed suicideCanadian defenseman Niedermayer to miss Olympics

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Jagr Is Back...And Back as the game's most dominant player

TORONTO (AP) -- Jaromir Jagr is on a tear heading into the Olympic break.
Jagr scored twice to reach 40 goals for the sixth time in his career, and the New York Rangers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 Saturday night for their sixth straight victory.
Jagr scored two power-play goals Friday night in a 4-2 victory at New York in the opener of the home-and-home series, and beat goalie Ed Belfour for two more one night later. Jagr leads the NHL in goals and points (88).
"I've been on some hot streak lately," Jagr said. "Hopefully, I can play the same way in the Olympics, but hopefully I can play even better when I come back after the Olympics. I go to represent my country, but my job is to play good for the New York Rangers."
With 1,397 career points, Jagr -- who will play for the Czech Republic at the Turin Games -- is one behind Jari Kurri for second place among European players.
It was the teams' final game before the league shuts down for the Olympics.
Jagr scored his 39th by knocking a rebound in off Belfour's skate at 12:15 of the first.
He scored his 40th at 7:45 of the third, beating Belfour with a shot between the legs after Toronto failed to clear the puck.
Jagr reached 40 goals for the first time since 2000-01. His career high is 62 for Pittsburgh in 1995-96.
If he wins the scoring title this year he'll tie match former teammate Mario Lemieux with six scoring titles.
"He was my idol since I was 15-years old," Jagr said. "I had a chance to see him every day and learn a lot from him. Like my first goal today, I learned that from Mario. He scored a lot of them like that."
Petr Sykora and Martin Ruchinsky also scored for the Rangers, who have won 10 of 12 and head into the Olympic break in first place in the Atlantic Division.
Bryan McCabe and Jason Allison scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won just three of their last 15 games. Fans booed the Maple Leafs off the ice.
Toronto captain Mats Sundin played one of his better games of his subpar season, almost scoring on breakaway in the first. He assisted on Allison's goal.
Sundin, who will play for Sweden in Turin, was looking forward to the Olympics.
"Who knows, it might be good for me," Sundin said. "It's fun to get a chance to represent your country."
Sykora beat Belfour glove side with a shot at 5:51 of the second. Ruchinsky gave New York a 4-0 lead by beating Belfour up high on the power play at 12:35 of the second.
McCabe's shot from the point on the power play cut it to 4-1 with 33 seconds left in the period. It was McCabe's career high-tying 17th goal, matching his total set in 2001-02.
Allison cut it to 4-2 at 2:44 of the third with a weak wrist that beat goalie Kevin Weekes.
Game notesMcCabe needs one point to tie a career-high 53 points set 2003-04. ... Weekes, who is from Toronto, made 28 saves. ... Jagr turns 34 next week.
-thanks to www.espn.com

News and Reports from TSN.ca

Senators hang on to sink Flyers
Thrashers down Canadiens in shootout
Canadiens re-sign Koivu to extension
Gretzky: "It's a dead issue for me now"
Crosby leads Pens past Ovechkin's Caps
Capitals extend Kolzig's contract
Lightning end 12-year drought in Boston
Zidlicky scores two in Predators victory
Ozolinsh may be released for Olympics
Blake, Pronger expected in Torino
Backchecking: Last line of defence
More Headlines >>
The Vancouver Canucks hope to end their four-game homestand on a winning note Sunday when they host the Minnesota Wild. FULL STORY...

Rangers double-up Leafs again
Jaromir Jagr scored two goals, including his league-leading 40th of the season, to pace the visiting New York Rangers past the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in NHL action on Saturday night.

Bruins' Sturm not joining Team Germany
Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm will skip the Torino Olympics due to injury, the team said Sunday.

NHL Rumors - February 12th, 2006

- According to the Vancouver Province, the Canucks can be expected to be one of the teams interested in goaltenders Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Curtis Joseph and Vesa Toskala. The paper also says the defence-hungry Canucks might have some interest in Blues veteran Eric Weinrich.

- According to the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, Blackhawks veterans D Jassen Cullimore, D Todd Simpson, C Jim Dowd and C Curtis Brown have been offered around the league and the paper notes that C Tyler Arnason has also been mentioned in talks with the Maple Leafs, with the Leafs apparently offering Nik Antropov in return.

- The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Wild, facing the prospect of both Manny Fernandez and Dwayne Roloson leaving as unrestricted free agents, might be interested in acquiring a goaltending insurance policy. At the same time the St. Paul Pioneer Press suggests that some of the Wild's pending free agent defencemen, like Willie Mitchell, Filip Kuba, Andrei Zyuzin and Daniel Tjarnqvist might be on the move.

- The Star-Tribune goes on to say that the Wild have been actively scouting the Islanders and Lightning, mentioning Isles winger Mark Parrish, a Minnesota native who will be a free agent, as being of interest. The paper indicates that the Lightning might also be willing to move Fredrik Modin, Ruslan Fedotenko or even Martin St. Louis.

- Many reports have Capitals D Brendan Witt ready to move, with teams like Tampa Bay and Toronto mentioned as potential destinations.

- The Palm Beach Post says Panthers veterans C Chris Gratton and D Sean Hill could be trade bait.

- According to the Columbus Post-Dispatch, D Luke Richardson, D Cale Hulse and C Jan Hrdina could be the most available Blue Jackets.

- Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean tells the Columbus Post-Dispatch that, despite rumours, G Marc Denis isn't going anywhere.

- The New York Daily News notes that both the Rangers and Devils have interest in Blues LW Keith Tkachuk.

- The Los Angeles Times speculates that the Ducks may be looking to move veteran defencemen Keith Carney and Ruslan Salei, but if the team remains in the playoff hunt, the paper also indicates that the Ducks covet a second-line scoring centre.

- Sergei Samsonov and Andrew Raycroft are the most likely Bruins to be traded, according to the Boston Globe.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Operation Slap Shot - www.ESPN.com

The gambling scandal that has rocked the NHL with the arrest of Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet has damaged the game. Scott Burnside says the time for players to stand up is now. Story

Report: Gretzky knew about gambling NHL grants Tocchet leave
Burnside: Desert Storm Operation Slap Shot

New Jersey police accuse Rick Tocchet, Phoenix Coyotes assistant and Wayne Gretzky's friend, of financing a multimillion dollar gambling ring that took bets from NHL players and others.

Report: Gretzky knew about ring
Burnside: Hockey's black eye
Hradek: Bad day for hockey
Tocchet granted leave of absence
Arraignment in 7-10 days
Tocchet implicated in ring
Burnside: Desert Storm
Merron: Gambling scandals
Operation Slap Shot

News and Rumors from the NHL - Sportsnet.ca

Hawks' owner admits mistakeFebruary 9 @ 9:00 AM It looks like the Maple Leafs may try to take advantage of the pending fire sale about to take place in Chicago.According to reports out of the Chicago Daily Herald Times, the Buds are willing to trade centre Nik Antropov for Chicago's Tyler Arnason.Also available to the highest bidder are defensemen Jassen Cullimore and Todd Simpson and centers Jim Dowd and Curtis Brown.

Canucks looking at WeinrichFebruary 8 @ 9:10 AM St. Louis Blues defenceman Eric Weinrich has a long history with Canucks GM Dave Nonis and that history may get longer, reports the Calgary Herald.With Ed Jovanovski out for possibly two months, Weinrich would be a viable trade option for Vancouver. With a relatively small contract, $1.33 million, and at age 39, Weinrich may be available for a low draft pick."I've been approached before in my free-agent years and I would be honoured to play for him (Nonis) in Vancouver and it's a great place to play," Weinrich told the TEAM 1040. "He's definitely somebody I've kept in touch with and a chance to play in a Canadian city is something I'd look at."

Coloiacovo done for season?February 8 @ 9:05 AM Sixteen days after Maple Leafs defenceman Carlo Coloiacovo collided with Vaclav Varada of the Ottawa Senators and flew face-first into the boards, he is still having constant headaches and mood swings and hasn't been cleared to do any form of working out, reports the Toronto Star. There is a very good chance that the oft-injured blueliner may be shelved for the rest of the season as he recovers from the concussion.

Wild looking at Modin, ParrishFebruary 8 @ 9:00 AM The Minnesota Wild are struggling on the powerplay and a main reason is they don't have a forward willing to park himself in front of the net and absorb the inevitable abuse. But help is available in terms of a trade, with Islanders forward Mark Parrish as well as Tampa Bay's Fredrik Modin, Ruslan Fedotenko, and even 2004 Hart Trophy winner Martin St. Louis available for the right price, reports the Minnesota Tribune.

Rick Tocchet's lawyer issues a statement

NEWARK, N.J. (CP) - Text of a statement by Kevin Marino, lawyer for Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet:
The allegation that Rick Tocchet financed an illegal gambling operation involving organized crime figures is categorically false and irresponsible. The suggestion that Rick Tocchet has any connection to organized crime is simply without basis in fact, is clearly defamatory and is highly damaging. Mr. Tocchet is one of the most well-respected men ever to play in the National Hockey League. He is respected not just for his playing prowess, but for his integrity, his determination and his strength. Mr. Tocchet is devoted to his family, his team and his fans, and he has always worked hard to earn their admiration on and off the ice. We deeply regret the (New Jersey) Attorney General's precipitous charges, which threaten to irreparably tarnish his reputation, and we are appalled that these unproven allegations have spawned a media frenzy. Mr. Tocchet intends to fight these charges with the same grit and resolve he displayed throughout his long and illustrious NHL career.
-thanks to www.sportsnet.ca

Rick Tocchet to take leave, indefinetely.

Sportsnet has learned Wayne Gretzky's wife, Janet Jones, is expected to release a public statement on Thursday.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Rick Tocchet was granted an indefinite leave of absence Wednesday night by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, a day after the Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach was accused of financing a nationwide gambling ring that took bets from about a half-dozen current players.
Tocchet met with Bettman and requested the leave, which the commissioner agreed to as long as several conditions were met by the former all-star player.Tocchet, who works under Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky, must immediately cease all contact and communication with all NHL and team personnel and stay away for the duration of his leave. He will not be allowed to return without Bettman's consent.The commissioner also reserves the right to change the terms of Tocchet's absence at any time."We view the charges against Mr. Tocchet in the most serious terms," Bettman said in a statement. "We have pledged our full cooperation to the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Attorney General's Office."While we are conducting our own investigation, we have made clear to the law enforcement authorities in New Jersey that we will do nothing to interfere with their ongoing investigation."The NHL hired former federal prosecutor Robert J. Cleary, who headed the Unabomber case to investigate Tocchet.Tocchet, a Toronto native, came to the meeting with his new lawyer, who officially informed Bettman and Cleary of the pending charges that Tocchet is facing.

Wayne Gretzky, Janet Jones Gretzky implicated in Operation Slapshot

It is expected Gretzky's starlet wife Janet Jones will make an announcement on Thursday regarding her involvement in the gambling ring.
Sportsnet.ca -- As Wayne Gretzky prepares to deal with the pressure of defending Olympic gold in Torino, the legal pressure in Phoenix continues to mount after new wire-tap revelations involving The Great One surfaced on Thursday.
According to law enforcement sources, state wiretaps have Gretzky discussing the multimillion-dollar gambling operation run by his friend Rick Tocchet prior to Monday's disclosure and dismantling. The Newark Star-Ledger reported confirmation of the wiretaps on its web site Thursday.The fact remains there is no evidence of Gretzky placing bets, but the secret phone recordings reveal the Coyotes' coach knew of the multimillion-dollar gambling ring prior to the scandal hitting the headlines. Investigators are looking into whether or not Gretzky's wife, Janet Jones, was the one who placed bets. Reports surrounding Jones surfaced on Wednesday, citing Jones made over $500,000 in wagers over a short-period of time; including $75,000 on last weekend's Super Bowl.Hockey players are prohibited from making NHL wagers, legal or otherwise. There are no rules that forbid them from betting on other sports.The next step by investigators might be to issue a subpoena ordering Gretzky to testify before a state grand jury.Richard Nairn, vice president of communications for the Coyotes, declined to comment Wednesday on Gretzky's knowledge of the case."Wayne spoke (Tuesday) night and we are done speaking at this time," Nairn said.During a news conference Tuesday night, Gretzky said he had no knowledge of any gambling allegations until Tocchet called him Monday night. He also said his wife would speak to reporters at some point about allegations against her.Tocchet has been granted an indefinite leave of absence by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who also ordered a gag-order prohibiting all GMs to comment publicly on the current investigation. Tocchet must immediately cease all contact and communication with all NHL and team personnel and stay away for the duration of his leave.
-thanks to www.sportsnet.ca