Around the league- Jan 21, 2010

Jason Gregor
January 21 2010 03:29PM

Much of the talk this past week in the hockey world revolved around another ridiculously stupid play in junior hockey. Patrice Cormier elbowed Mikael Tam with a disgustingly cheap elbow in overtime that left Tam convulsing on the ice. It wasn’t pretty, and Cormier will learn his fate this Monday.

There is no way he shouldn’t be suspended for the remainder of the season and the playoffs, but then it becomes a professional issue.

Back in November Erie Otter forward Michael Liambas crushed Ben Fanelli of the Kitchener Rangers, and was subsequently suspended for the remainder of the year by OHL commissioner, David Branch.

Liambas was a 20-year-old overage player, and some wondered if Branch was trying to make a statement rather than a fair decision. Either way, Liambis was done in the OHL. The problem is he signed with the Bloomington Prairie Thunder in the IHL. I know the NHL isn’t directly affiliated with the IHL, but you can’t tell me that a phone call to Bloomington could have stopped this signing.

Cormier, was the 54th pick in the 2008 draft by the New Jersey Devils, and Lou Lamoriello already said he doesn’t think Cormier should be suspended for the year. So if Cormier is suspended what will stop the Devils from letting him play in the AHL?

The NHL has to support whatever decision is made on Monday. If Cormier is suspended for the remainder of the season, that has to include playing in the ECHL, AHL and the NHL.

If Cormier gets the boot for the rest of the season — and he should — and he ends up in Albany what has he learned? It’s okay to cheap shot guys, because I can get a head start on my pro career and make money instead of riding the bus and taking home $50 a week? Not a great message.

Gary Bettman, aka the Count, was in Edmonton last night and he didn’t discuss this issue direcly, but he better support QMJHL commissioner, Gilles Courteau’s decision on Monday.

Last night Bettman was his usual evasive self when discussing head shots.

“When it comes to hit to the head, there's been an evolution. This issue for us is what can we do about what is otherwise a legal check... a shoulder going into a head? We have studied it very carefully and extensively. We want to get it right. We average 40 hits a game. That is somewhere in excess of 50,000. It's an essential element to our game.

“We want to get those hits that make us uncomfortable out of the game. But we want to do this in a very judicious, professional way,” said Bettman.

We all see that it is hard to make sweeping changes, Gary, but if have been watching what all of us have been watching how come you haven’t implemented any changes yet?

He continued on...

“I think the consensus is that when a player is the subject of an unsuspecting hit to the head when he's vulnerable there should be something we can do to create a standard that anybody understands and that everybody is comfortable with that doesn't change the very fundamentals of our game. We need to take the time and create a very precise standard, something that's easily understood and something the players know what to expect. Something that the officials know what to call and if necessary Colin Campbell knows how he's going to discipline.

“We're looking for precision. Not over-legislation. We will have ample time in March and hopefully we can come to some sort of consensus. It is important and it is something we take extremely seriously because it starts with the premise that we want to protect the well being of our players.”

I’m just curious why this is taking so long? Why is there ample time in March, but not in November, December or January? Is it because all your focus was on the outdoor classic Gary? Or now it is on the Olympics? The teams have been chosen, and there is a two-week break in February. Why can’t meetings take place before March?

This might be Gary’s most important decision so maybe it is good they are taking so long to decide which way to go. You can’t take hitting out of the game, or you’ll make it unwatchable, even for Canadians.

But the commissioner needs to move quicker on this subject. If the GMs and players are dragging their feet it is up to the leader to ensure a decision is made. I’m guessing in March the decision will be to re-visit it in the summer when the playoffs are over.

Ice women of the week

   

She isn’t part of any team, but Katie Cassidy is a fan of the NHL and the Los Angeles Kings. She is also dating former Oiler Jarret Stoll.

Random thoughts

  • Flames fans have lost it. They were calling for Jarome Iginla to be traded on the airwaves this week. Iginla’s numbers have gone down the past four seasons, but he isn’t the problem. Darryl Sutter’s insistence on stocking his team and farm system with defencemen, while completely ignoring getting some offensive stars is killing that team. The Flames will struggle to make the playoffs, or have another first round exit unless he moves Robyn Regehr or Dion Phaneuf for a proven scorer.
  • I wonder if people still think Brian Burke is a great GM. Not only did he give up a first rounder in 2010 for Phil Kessel. He also gave up a second rounder this year and another first rounder in 2011. That might become the worst trade in NHL history. His arrogance in believing he knows more than everyone else will bite him hard this time.
  • The Canadiens have told George Laraque to go home for the remainder of the season, and then they will by out the final season of his contract this summer. It is rare that a team tells a guy to go home for the final 30 games of the season, but is sends a pretty clear message. Laraque doesn’t want to play the role of tough guy anymore. I can’t blame him because it is the toughest job in sports, but he isn’t a good enough player to stay in the game if he doesn’t intimidate. This should make him realize that if he wants to play again he’ll have to find the fire necessary to be an enforcer/intimidator.
  • If Ilya Kovalchuk thinks he is worth eight million per season he is dreaming. He has never led his team to a playoff victory, and his overall game isn’t close to Ovechkin or Crosby. At the MOST he should be a seven million cap hit. If Don Waddell truly believes he can’t re-sign him then he will be the most sought after commodity leading up to March 3rd.
  • Last night Taylor Hall stood out more than Tyler Seguin and some think he cemented himself as the #1 pick this summer. But when you look at their numbers in head-to-head games this season Seguin has dominated. Seguin’s Plymouth Whalers have faced Hall and his Windsor Spitfires five times this season.
    >> Windsor won 4-0 on October 17th and Hall had one assist.
    >> On Nov 12th, Windsor won 4-2 and Hall had a goal. Seguin was injured.
    >> Nov 25th, Windsor won 2-1 while Seguin had an assist and Hall was shutout.
    >> Jan 2nd, Plymouth won 4-3 with Seguin scoring a goal and adding two assists. Hall was in Regina for the WJC.
  • This Monday they faced each other for the first time since the WJC and the Whalers won 7-4. Hall had an assist while Seguin potted two goals and a helper.
  • They face each other two more times before the playoffs, Feb 25th and March 11th. Hall has a much better supporting cast than Seguin, but talking with three scouts who watched the game last night, they still don’t think it is a slam dunk that Hall is the first pick. Two of the three I spoke with like Seguin more. It should be an interesting six months leading up to the draft on June 25th.
  • In case you are wondering the Oiler record for lowest +/- is -29 held by Joffrey Lupul. Dave Manson was -28 in 92/93 when the Oilers set the franchise record for fewest points, 60. But maybe the worst all-time was Vladimir Ruzicka who was an astonishing -21 in only 26 games in 1989/1990, the last time the Oilers won the Cup. No surprise he didn’t play in the playoffs. Shawn Horcoff is currently -22 and Patrick O’Sullivan is -21.

Leader through the season

Here are the top ten in pts, goals, assists and other stats.

Goals:
34: Patrick Marleau
32: Sidney Crosby
30: Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk
29: Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik
25: Steven Stamkos
23: Rick Nash and Mike Cammalleri
22: Alex Burrows and Bobby Ryan
***There is only 20 players with 20+ goals in the NHL right now and each conference has ten guys with 20 or more goals.***

Assists:
51: Joe Thornton
49: Henrik Sedin
43: Brad Richards
42: Martin St. Louis
38: Mike Green and Tomas Plekanec
37: Tomas Kaberle
36: Patrick Kane
35: Nicklas Backstrom, Paul Stastny, Ryan Getzlaf, Duncan Keith and Ovechkin
***Ovechkin is the only player in the top ten in both goals and assists. He had six assists this past week.****

Points:
70: H. Sedin
65: Ovechkin
64: Thornton
63: Crosby
61: Gaborik
57: B. Richards
56: Kovalchuk and Kane
55: Heatley and Backstrom
***Gaborik had seven points this week.***

Plus/Minus:
+27: Ovechkin
+26: Jeff Schultz.
+22: Brent Seabrook
+21: Christian Ehrhoff, Burrows and H.Sedin
+20: Zach Parise
+19: Marleau, Green and Backstrom
*** Rod Brind’Amour has recaptured the Green Jacket and lost his captaincy this week. He is -23, followed closely by Shawn Horcoff at -22 and Patrick O’Sullivan at -21.

PP Goals:
Twelve: Gaborik and Heatley
Ten: Kovalchuk and Marleau
Nine: Ryan Smyth, Steven Stamkos, Mike Richards and Evgeni Malkin.Eight: John Tavares, Niclas Bergfors, Andrew Brunette, Mason Raymond, Bill Guerin, Bobby Ryan and Crosby.

Hits:
192: Cal Clutterbuck
179: Dustin Brown
177: Ryan Callahan
174: Stephane Robidas
166: Steve Ott
153: Brooks Orpik
149: Doug Murray and Mike Fisher
147: Justin Abdelkader and Scott Neil
***Brown and Callahan each had 18 hits this week***

Shots:
217: Parise
209: Ovechkin
206: Jeff Carter
188: Rick Nash and Crosby
186: Marleau
181: Malkin
180: Phil Kessel
178: Gaborik
176: Michael Cammalleri

Final points

I referenced ethics last week in this spot and I haven’t forgot about it, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer before we can discuss it. I think I know what most of you would want, but I could be wrong. We will see.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
Avatar
#51 roughneck
January 22 2010, 08:17AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
madjam wrote:

Why not bring up Plante or Petry for some schooling ? Two defencemen whom might actually pan out down the line . Anyone know how top prospect Riley Nash is doing this season . He was probably the best at camp this pre season of all the prospects .

I think at this point, they will bring up guys who have shown an ability to handle the losing culture and not be adversely affected by the utter hopelessness that any given game might represent. Its a special place to play right now, and not just any kid should be exposed to it.

Avatar
#52 Chad
January 22 2010, 08:34AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Caroline wins and only 1 point up on the oilers now. Calgary loses and sit in 9th hehe

Avatar
#53 Ender
January 22 2010, 08:55AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Chad wrote:

Caroline wins and only 1 point up on the oilers now. Calgary loses and sit in 9th hehe

It's a beautiful morning . . .

Avatar
#54 Oil Kings
January 22 2010, 08:56AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@madjam

Petry & Nash are in College. No chance of them playing this year.

Avatar
#55 Moop
January 22 2010, 09:00AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
madjam wrote:

Are Oilers being quite and going after Kovalchuk ? What would we have to give up to get him , if he would come and sign here ?

My guess is that there wouldn't be much of a point to trading for him. It's not like the Oilers are making a playoff push right now, and he'd probably just pull a Hossa and bolt in the summer instead of re-signing here. The asking price to get him in a trade would probably be ridiculous, too.

If by "give up to get him" you simply mean clearing cap space so they could sign him as a free agent in the summer, then again there wouldn't be much point. As Mr. Willis put it over in his Hockey or Die blog, Kovalchuk really hates losing and that may be a key reason for him not wanting to stay in Atlanta. If that's the case, then there's very, very little chance that he'd even remotely consider signing with the Oilers.

Given that, though, there's probably a good chance that Tambo spends 3 months begging Kovalchuk to come here and ignoring all the other problems on the team that need fixing, only to have Ilya respond with a polite "SORRY LOLZ" before signing with New Jersey.

And here's the link to the Hockey or Die article, if you're interested: http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2009/12/22/trading-for-ilya-kovalchuk/

Avatar
#56 Ender
January 22 2010, 09:03AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
madjam wrote:

Are Oilers being quite and going after Kovalchuk ? What would we have to give up to get him , if he would come and sign here ?

Yeah . . . I wouldn't hold your breath on that one. Even if the Oilers had the budget to back a money truck up to Kovy's house, it wouldn't be enough. Firmly in the realm of 'Not Going to Happen.'

Avatar
#57 roughneck
January 22 2010, 09:04AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Moop

~I guess that rules out thecaptainethanmoreau straight across~

Avatar
#58 GSP
January 22 2010, 09:05AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Jason..with respect to the ethical issue that you alluded to..I think it has to do with some information that you have that you would think the public should have..but the "journalism" code is keeping you from doing so.

Will be interesting to hear what it is and what people's opinions are. I guess if that is the issue..you have to be careful as you dont want to burn your sources and not be privy to similar type of info in the future..Just my thoughts based on the limited info we have.

I think the Oilers should try and stockpile as many picks as they can when trading away players. I remember the Kings having a stupid number of picks a couple of years ago and look at them now..a good model to follow for sure.

Avatar
#59 Mike
January 22 2010, 09:42AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Nash is about a point a game at Cornell. Playing in all situations.

Avatar
#60 madjam
January 22 2010, 09:52AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Moop wrote:

My guess is that there wouldn't be much of a point to trading for him. It's not like the Oilers are making a playoff push right now, and he'd probably just pull a Hossa and bolt in the summer instead of re-signing here. The asking price to get him in a trade would probably be ridiculous, too.

If by "give up to get him" you simply mean clearing cap space so they could sign him as a free agent in the summer, then again there wouldn't be much point. As Mr. Willis put it over in his Hockey or Die blog, Kovalchuk really hates losing and that may be a key reason for him not wanting to stay in Atlanta. If that's the case, then there's very, very little chance that he'd even remotely consider signing with the Oilers.

Given that, though, there's probably a good chance that Tambo spends 3 months begging Kovalchuk to come here and ignoring all the other problems on the team that need fixing, only to have Ilya respond with a polite "SORRY LOLZ" before signing with New Jersey.

And here's the link to the Hockey or Die article, if you're interested: http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2009/12/22/trading-for-ilya-kovalchuk/

Well i guess that probably explains why Oilers have done nothing to alleviate old fan grievances - going after someone they can't get to begin with again ?

Avatar
#61 Lofty
January 22 2010, 09:56AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
madjam wrote:

Are Oilers being quite and going after Kovalchuk ? What would we have to give up to get him , if he would come and sign here ?

If they were able to get him they would be setting the franchise back another 5 years.

Avatar
#62 danjo1
January 22 2010, 09:58AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@GSP

This ethics thing has me curious too. It's purely a guess but I have a feeling that something will be "leaked" to the media regarding a certain ex-player who resembles a gardening tool (and it's not a hoe).

Avatar
#63 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 22 2010, 10:11AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Lofty

Not sure if that is a fair assesment. I mean what happens if you can sign him to decent contract and it costs you Penner, Nilsson and a future 1st?

If you have to give up this years 1st, Eberle and Penner, and it cost you 11mil a year to sign then yes it is setting us back, but even then Kovalchuk is a sure fire goal scorer Eberle that 1st and Penner aren't.

Avatar
#64 HottScarrison
January 22 2010, 10:15AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

If anything Kovi will cost us minimum this years 1st and hemsky. And thats just to get Waddell on the phone. They shouldn't do anything of the sort. I hope. But we do have a history of going for the homerun. We shall see

Avatar
#65 VMR
January 22 2010, 10:36AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Not sure if that is a fair assesment. I mean what happens if you can sign him to decent contract and it costs you Penner, Nilsson and a future 1st?

If you have to give up this years 1st, Eberle and Penner, and it cost you 11mil a year to sign then yes it is setting us back, but even then Kovalchuk is a sure fire goal scorer Eberle that 1st and Penner aren't.

How does getting Kovalchuk really help this team? Sure a few hilight real goals will be nice every now and then but how does that fix our piss poor defence and minor league goaltending?

Avatar
#66 Librarian Mike
January 22 2010, 10:46AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Tambellini: "Hey Kovi, do I have a deal for you. You can come play for a team that's even farther away from success than the one you're on now. The best part though is:......you get to do it in -30 degree weather!"

Kovalchuk: "Where do I sign?"

~

Avatar
#67 David S
January 22 2010, 10:47AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
VMR wrote:

How does getting Kovalchuk really help this team? Sure a few hilight real goals will be nice every now and then but how does that fix our piss poor defence and minor league goaltending?

It doesn't. Guys throw out ridiculous dream trades all the time here thinking that its easy as NHL 10. Its a veritable Hockey's Future 2.0. i.e. "Crosby and Malkin for Cogliano, Staios and Moreau. Discuss"

Avatar
#68 Librarian Mike
January 22 2010, 10:50AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
David S wrote:

It doesn't. Guys throw out ridiculous dream trades all the time here thinking that its easy as NHL 10. Its a veritable Hockey's Future 2.0. i.e. "Crosby and Malkin for Cogliano, Staios and Moreau. Discuss"

~That's a pretty good deal, but I'd rather go with Moreau and JDD for Ovechkin.~

Avatar
#69 Jamie B.
January 22 2010, 10:57AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Someone probably brought this up already, but I thought Cormier couldn't go to the AHL until his junior team's season was finished.

Avatar
#70 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 22 2010, 11:09AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
David S wrote:

It doesn't. Guys throw out ridiculous dream trades all the time here thinking that its easy as NHL 10. Its a veritable Hockey's Future 2.0. i.e. "Crosby and Malkin for Cogliano, Staios and Moreau. Discuss"

Are you kidding me? The Oil would have to dump more salary than that to make that trade reasonable. Give your head a shake.

Edit: ~.

Avatar
#71 Ender
January 22 2010, 11:12AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Librarian Mike wrote:

Tambellini: "Hey Kovi, do I have a deal for you. You can come play for a team that's even farther away from success than the one you're on now. The best part though is:......you get to do it in -30 degree weather!"

Kovalchuk: "Where do I sign?"

~

Are you kidding? Kovy wouldn't be that eager; not until you told him about all the fun plane rides, anyway. ~

Avatar
#72 DK0
January 22 2010, 11:14AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Did you forget your ~'s? or is my head rightfully buried into my palm?

Avatar
#73 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 22 2010, 11:15AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
DK0 wrote:

Did you forget your ~'s? or is my head rightfully buried into my palm?

My bad. Edited.

Avatar
#74 DK0
January 22 2010, 11:19AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

hahah, ok cool. I was actually enjoying the light hearted conversation here and was sure that was the post that was going bring this pleasure zepplin crashing into the power lines of despair :)

Avatar
#75 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 22 2010, 11:25AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@VMR

If you move him for Penner+ how doesn't it help the team?

Avatar
#76 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 22 2010, 11:39AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
DK0 wrote:

hahah, ok cool. I was actually enjoying the light hearted conversation here and was sure that was the post that was going bring this pleasure zepplin crashing into the power lines of despair :)

Boy, is my face red.

Avatar
#77 Bucknuck
January 22 2010, 11:52AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

If you move him for Penner+ how doesn't it help the team?

Kovalchuk is the same age as Hemsky, and very talented. This isn't a guy on the decline like Hossa or Jagr. I don't know if Penner is the guy I pick to go the other way, but you have to give up something to get something.

The problem I have is that he just doesn't strike me as someone to build a team around. If you are paying a guy 8 million a season (and it seems like he wants more) then he better be "the" guy.

His point totals are a little exaggerated because of the teams they are playing against. I just don't know. Once you pay a guy that much he gets pretty hard to move if his play declines.

I figure he will probably go somewhere with more caproom that is able to give up a first rounder without it being a 1-3 pick. I figure LA, NYI or Columbus might be a fit.

Avatar
#78 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 22 2010, 12:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Bucknuck

I'm not really saying we should go after him, but to say he won't help isn't true. If we were somehow able to get rid of a bad contract and a top prospect I don't see why it hurts us in the future.

Avatar
#79 Bucknuck
January 22 2010, 01:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I'm not really saying we should go after him, but to say he won't help isn't true. If we were somehow able to get rid of a bad contract and a top prospect I don't see why it hurts us in the future.

I follow you. I agree. I just can't seem to get excited thinking about it. I don't know why. Maybe Kovalchuk just isn't sexy or something ;-)

Avatar
#80 VMR
January 22 2010, 03:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

How long has he been in Atlanta and how many times have they made the playoffs?

Comments are closed for this article.