Around the league - Feb 4, 2010

Jason Gregor
February 04 2010 12:02PM

The Leafs, Flames, Ducks and Rangers got a head start on trade deadline day with some big names and bigger contracts being moved. It’s interesting to note that only the Flames are in a playoff spot, albeit it barely, at the moment.

The Ducks and Rangers are trying to get in, Brian Burke is trying to save face while Darryl Sutter’s job could be lost if his team doesn’t make the playoffs. And their moves will force others to follow suite with so many teams in the hunt.

Eight Eastern teams are battling for the final three spots and only five points separate them. In the west, seven teams are within six points and battling for the 7th and 8th spots. So it would seem there are many more buyers than sellers.

According to Darren Dreger, Don Waddell has supposedly told Ilya Kovalchuk he’ll be moved soon, but to where remains a mystery. The initial list had Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, NYR, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Calgary interested. Calgary has now been ruled out, and you wonder who the leading candidate is at this point.

Claude Julien is on the hot seat in Boston. The fans want him gone because the Bruins are the biggest disappointment in the league right now. The problem with Boston is they are battling Atlanta for the playoffs. I think they’d have to pay more than the Hawks or Kings just to get him. They have a combined nine picks in the first two rounds of the 2010 and 2011 draft so they won’t be scared to move a pick or two. But will Don Waddell trade his franchise player to a team that might beat him for a playoff spot? That’d be a double whammy for Waddell, who has to be on the hot seat in Atlanta.

Waddell was named GM of the Thrashers in June of 1998 and they started play in October of 1999. His team has made the playoffs once in nine years and with Kovalchuk on the way out it looks like it will be once in ten years.

He’s had nine picks in the first round that were 12th or better, and outside of his first pick Patrik Stefan none of have been major busts, although Boris Valabik is a question mark. Some have been studs, Kovalchuk, Dany Heatley while others might become top end players; Byran Little, Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane. But his depth scouting has been awful, and Waddell hasn’t been able to build a team since becoming their first and only GM.

The ownership group, Atlanta Spirit, LCC, is a divided group that is in a battle with estranged part owner, Steve Belkin, and you wonder if they have the capability to realize that Waddell can’t build a winner, or even a consistent competitive team.

I’ll bet on the Kings. If they can get Kovalchuk without having to part with Jack Johnson they’d do it. The Kings have two 2nd round picks and three 3rd rounders this summer, so Lombardi might be willing to part with a few extra prospects or picks because he currently has six in the first three rounds.

You have to think Waddell will want more than what he got for Marian Hossa at the 2008 deadline, and with so many teams still in the playoff hunt he might generate a bidding war.

Ice woman of the week

I’ve never really liked the Canucks jersey’s before, but the blue with green trim compliments Crystal’s eyes nicely.

Random Thoughts

  • It has been reported before I’m sure, but many Oiler fans are wondering if the Oilers will buy out any contracts this summer. Robert Nilsson, because he is under 26, can be bought out at a 1/3 of his contract, instead of 2/3. It would cost the Oilers $833,333 to buy him out and they could spread that over two seasons, so it will only cost them $416,666 against the cap next year. Seems like a no-brainer at that price if they don’t find any takers before the two-week buy-out period this summer.
  • In case you missed it, Dion Phaneuf is excited to be in Toronto. Maybe they can get him a thesaurus in Toronto to think of another word to describe his emotions. On Off The Record he said he was “Excited to be going to Toronto” at least 13 times.
  • Ken Hitchcock got fired again, and once again it seems the players got tired of his message. Hitchcock is a great technical coach, but he is also very demanding of his player’s defensive play. Will he get another job? Will he have to tone down his defensive requirements? I’d say yes on both accounts.
  • The Canucks will play game three of their split 14-game road trip tonight v. the red-hot Ottawa Senators. The Canucks are 1-1 so far, and after Ottawa four of their next five games are against non-playoff teams. After the Olympic break they’ll play the remaining six games with five of them against western teams currently in the playoffs. If the Canucks want to keep pace with the Avs they’ll have to play strong heading into the Olympic break.
  • Could anyone other than Dave Tippett be coach of the year? He was hired mid-way through the pre-season and now his Coyotes have the 4th most points in the NHL. They are a league-best when scoring first with a .867 winning percentage, they are 26-2-2. They don’t play an exciting style, but Tippett’s team doesn’t panic and they now hold to hold a lead.
  • Cory Clouston will get some votes in Ottawa. The Sens have won 10 in a row and they’ve been without Alfredsson and Spezza for stretches this year. Joe Sacco has the Avs in the playoffs when everyone had them pegged for 15th and Terry Murray has the Kings right in the hunt, but for me no one has done a better job than Tippett.
  • I wonder if Peter Chiarelli stays patient and ends up with two picks in the top ten. There is a lot of pressure on the Bruins to make the playoffs, and injuries are a big reason why they are two points out today, but if he has faith in his team, will he roll the dice and stick with what he has? If he makes the playoffs he still gets the Leafs’ pick, and if he doesn’t he’d have two in the top 14 and possibly in the top ten? What would you do?
  • I wonder if Doug Wilson is looking at Raffi Torres? He saw first hand how Torres can affect a playoff game when he is playing well. The Jackets have made it clear Torres is on the block and he’ll be a hot commodity. He is a UFA this summer and his cap hit on March 1st will be $489,637 for the remainder of the season. If someone acquires him before the Olympic freeze then he’ll be between $575,000 and $620,000 depending on which day he gets dealt. Lots of teams could use a 20-goal man who hits like Torres and wouldn’t cost a ridiculous amount to re-sign in the summer.
  • Doug Weight doesn’t have a goal in 26 games this year, while Mattias Ohlund has no goals and only ten assists in 48 games in Tampa while playing 23:29 a game. I wonder if the Bolts regret that seven-year contract?
  • I’ll take the Saints this weekend. The NFC was the better division all season, but it is also a sentimental pick because of what those fans have been through. If Drew Brees can keep his team in it early, I think they’ll start a party for the city of New Orleans that would be legendary.

Leaders through the season

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

Goals:
37: Patrick Marleau and Sidney Crosby
36: Alex Ovechkin
34: Marian Gaborik (five goals this week)
31: Ilya Kovalchuk
30: Dany Heatley
29: Steven Stamkos
26: Mike Cammalleri
25: Alexander Semin, Henrik Sedin, Bobby Ryan and Andrew Burrows.
***Strange week goal wise. Heatley, Semin and Rick Nash didn’t score once.***

Assists:
55: Joe Thornton
53: Henrik Sedin
44: Brad Richards
43: Martin St. Louis
41: Ovechkin, Tomas Plekanec and Nicklas Backstrom
40: Mike Green and Ryan Getzlaf
39: Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane and Vincent Lecavalier

Points:
78: H. Sedin
77: Ovechkin
71: Crosby  
70: Thornton
66: Gaborik
64: Backstrom
61: Marleau, Heatley and Kane
60: St. Louis and B. Richards

Plus/Minus:
+36: Ovechkin
+31: Jeff Schultz
+29: Alex Burrows
+28: Backstrom
+26: H. Sedin and Zach Parise
+25: Christian Ehrhoff and Daniel Sedin
+24: Marleau
+22: Green and Semin
*** Rod Brind’Amour and Shawn Horcoff are tied for the Green Jacket at -25, one ahead of Patrick O’Sullivan***

PP Goals:
Twelve: Gaborik Stamkos and Heatley
Eleven: Mike Richards and Marleau
Ten: Evgeni Malkin, Eric Staal, Backstrom and Kovalchuk
Nine: Ryan Smyth, Anze Kopitar and Crosby

Hits:
227: Cal Clutterbuck
211: Ryan Callahan
203: Dustin Brown
190: Steve Ott
186: Stephane Robidas
182: Brooks Orpik
172: Matt Greene and Scott Nichol
170: Mike Fisher
163: Chris Neil

Shots:
250: Ovechkin
246: Parise
241: Jeff Carter (nineteen shots this week)
211: Crosby
209: Gaborik
203: Malkin
202: Rick Nash
197: Phil Kessel and Marleau
194: Vincent Lecavalier

Quote of the week

Edmonton Oiler Sam Gagner on why he is one of the last guys off the ice after almost every practice:

“Every time you step on the ice it is an opportunity to get better. If you look at some of the drills they are just straight down and shooting. If you can take that time to really work on creating some deception on goalies by moving the puck different ways it will be a great benefit for you going forward.

“You look at a guy like MC (Mike Comrie) he’s great around the net because he works on it at practice. He’s always around the net and wanting to score in practice and he creates good habits and those are guys you can look up to. Obviously the best players in the league have great habits around the net. Look at a guy like Parise (Zach), a lot of his goals are scored from ten feet around the net and you hear about how hard he works and how good his habits are. You can learn something from all the skilled guys in the league and that’s why I stay after practice; to try to get to better and hopefully that pays dividends down the road.”

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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
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#1 Matty31
February 04 2010, 12:05PM
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Stellar ice girl!!! I give her 2 thumbs up!!!

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#2 Ender
February 04 2010, 12:11PM
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Matty31 wrote:

Stellar ice girl!!! I give her 2 thumbs up!!!

I agree. Jason, you may have to start doing the Ice Girls thing in a separate post; all that in-depth content, and by the time I hit the middle of the piece it all goes out the window.

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#3 Burke's Gay Son
February 04 2010, 12:12PM
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Ethics?

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#4 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
February 04 2010, 12:13PM
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Wow that quote of the week tells me that Comrie should stick around, minus the hair do.

Love the ice girl, her clothing not so much.

Nilsson seems like a no-brainer buyout at that price.

I'm pulling for the Saints as well.

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#5 common sense
February 04 2010, 12:14PM
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Nice info on Nilsson. I figure if Tambo can't get a 7th round draft pick for this guy that they'll buy him out and that cap hit because he's under 26 is sweet. Nilsson, you better get your bags packing. Sounds like you'll be back in good ole Sweden soon.

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#6 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
February 04 2010, 12:14PM
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Burke's Gay Son wrote:

Ethics?

I'm pretty sure has something to do with him posting pics of Brownlee posing like a body builder.

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#7 VK63
February 04 2010, 12:19PM
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wow! shes purty

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#8 Moop
February 04 2010, 12:24PM
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@VK63

I could swear I've seen that same picture, only with a Habs jersey. Hrm...

Oh well. She's hot, so who cares? :P

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#9 SirFozz
February 04 2010, 12:25PM
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Haven't even read the article yet but just had to say wow! Nice ice girl pic. Needs to lose the jersey though...no replacement necessary.

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#10 HE Pennypacker
February 04 2010, 12:28PM
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Even though there's a gorgeous woman in the middle of that post, I'm still most impressed with the quote from Sam Gagner. Fantastic.

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#11 Tracie
February 04 2010, 12:30PM
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Thanks for the updates, Jason! Do you think Gags would make a good captain if we do trade Moreau and Souray? All the good young teams are giving the "C" to their young superstars and they seem to be runing with it! Do you think he has the leadership qualities in him to be a leader on the team in the short term?

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#12 Harlie
February 04 2010, 12:31PM
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Is that a picture of Rigger?

;)

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#13 SirFozz
February 04 2010, 12:36PM
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Now, after reading the article: looks like Gagner has been reading these threads lately and wanted to give his 2 cents on practice habits. Agree 119.6% Sam.

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#14 Dan the Man
February 04 2010, 12:38PM
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If Crystal told me that she'd make out with me if I became a Canucks fan I probably would.

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#15 Gunner
February 04 2010, 12:42PM
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See, Gagner is setting the example for Hemsky. Not the other way around.

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#17 Matty31
February 04 2010, 12:44PM
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I knew she looked familiar, Misa Campo, car model extraordinaire.

She is in the Habs jersey here http://misacampo.com/

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_rYsbaPefOns/SgSrGIXGHVI/AAAAAAAAFOY/8rPjENDprq0/s1600-h/misa8.jpg

Someone should photoshop her with an Oilers jersey.

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#18 Harlie
February 04 2010, 12:46PM
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@Jason Gregor

I also think that maybe Penner may end up with a letter next year as well. He's buddy buddies with the core group of young guys, he's the scoring leader, he's taken the worst abuse of any of them from the past Coaching staff and he turned those lemons into lemonade. Oh yeah...he also has a Stanley Cup ring. That can't hurt.

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#19 freeze
February 04 2010, 12:46PM
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Great quote by Gags. I hope that attitude pays off. Hard work should be the intangible that puts Hall or Seguin over the top this summer. If they are neck in neck for skill then take the guy that works the hardest and hates losing the most. They need that attitude around here.

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#20 SirFozz
February 04 2010, 12:46PM
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@Matty31

Nice research.

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#21 JorgeR
February 04 2010, 12:46PM
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@Matty31

wow those are some sexual pictures don't get caught looking at them at work or school!

Damn though, in the privacy of your own home you may want to take a few minutes to take it in

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#22 cpr
February 04 2010, 12:54PM
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Love the quote from Gagner. I really see a future captain in him once he takes his game to the next level (which I think he will, cuz he actually puts in the time). You listening Hemsky? Gagner actually consistently gives a #%*t about the game which we've seen with him carrying the offense the last dozen games.

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#23 Dominoiler
February 04 2010, 01:08PM
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Haha Gregor,.. just a little self promotion (or rather, backing up your own thoughts with the words of sam-wise) with a quote.. haha.. whatev's, doesnt change the fact that you could be on to something...

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#24 Bob Cob
February 04 2010, 01:10PM
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Two words: Go Canucks!!!

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#25 The Towel Boy
February 04 2010, 01:10PM
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Wow, that Canuck girl is SMOKIN'!

Hubbah hubbah

MRrreeeeooowwww

Ah-OOOOOOOO-GAH! Ah-OOOOOOO-GAH!

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#26 Jmask5
February 04 2010, 01:18PM
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Yeah that photo is shopped. Misa Campo is from Montreal and is a habs fan. She did a photoshoot with just a habs Jersey on. Looks like somebody is trying to convert her.

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#27 Rigger
February 04 2010, 01:21PM
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Harlie wrote:

Is that a picture of Rigger?

;)

*gasp!* How did you know?!

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#28 Chris.
February 04 2010, 01:28PM
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@ Crystal:

Lift it... Lift it up...

*Eyes locked*

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#29 Milli
February 04 2010, 01:31PM
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I become more of a Gagner fan everytime I watch him play or hear what he is saying. Anyone see him challenge the entire Flames bench in the blow out? I didn't always think he had what it took, but, I'd give him the C. Ice gurl...GOOD!!!!

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#30 Jaybird'77
February 04 2010, 01:31PM
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Hey did you guys here Kovalchuk turned down 12yr 101 mil deal.....If this guy thinks he's worth Horcoff money he should get his head examined.

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#31 Mike
February 04 2010, 01:32PM
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Your buyout on Nilsson is wrong, Gregor.

You buyout the actual salary, not the cap hit. So it's 1/3 of $2,500,000.

Actual buyout would be a cap savings (!) of $80,000 next year, with a cap hit of $416,000 in the year after.

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#32 The Towel Boy
February 04 2010, 01:33PM
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I've just spent the last 23 minutes google image searching "Misa Campo". Good effing lord.

Why have I not known about this level of hotness before today!?!

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#33 The Towel Boy
February 04 2010, 01:34PM
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Jaybird'77 wrote:

Hey did you guys here Kovalchuk turned down 12yr 101 mil deal.....If this guy thinks he's worth Horcoff money he should get his head examined.

Well played.

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#34 LBH
February 04 2010, 01:38PM
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Gregor

Still no word on your ethics that we were supposed to wait a week to hear about. Its been about 3-4 weeks now. Any updates? Or are we going to continue to ignore this completely?

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#35 Aleslav Smidsky
February 04 2010, 01:40PM
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The ice girl is alright, too skinny for me. Plus, she looks like she might be scared of a ................. On that note, i need your guys advice: Chennin Le Blanc, Gianna Michaels or Flower Tucci?

Like a Jamacian druglord said one time "Gagners Good. Gagner is Really Good."

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#36 Rigger
February 04 2010, 01:44PM
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Milli wrote:

I become more of a Gagner fan everytime I watch him play or hear what he is saying. Anyone see him challenge the entire Flames bench in the blow out? I didn't always think he had what it took, but, I'd give him the C. Ice gurl...GOOD!!!!

Gagner's maturity never ceases to amaze me. You gotta give the guy credit for the way he commits to work ethic at age 20. Much older people could take a lesson from that kid.

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#37 David S
February 04 2010, 01:45PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

I'm pretty sure has something to do with him posting pics of Brownlee posing like a body builder.

"Its a guuuuunnnn show!"

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#38 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 04 2010, 01:45PM
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Milli wrote:

I become more of a Gagner fan everytime I watch him play or hear what he is saying. Anyone see him challenge the entire Flames bench in the blow out? I didn't always think he had what it took, but, I'd give him the C. Ice gurl...GOOD!!!!

Ha-ha, that was hilarious. Good on Gagner, but he better be careful what he asks for... I'm sure a few Flamers had a good laugh at his expense.

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#39 Rigger
February 04 2010, 01:47PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Wow that quote of the week tells me that Comrie should stick around, minus the hair do.

Love the ice girl, her clothing not so much.

Nilsson seems like a no-brainer buyout at that price.

I'm pulling for the Saints as well.

I agree, if MC will sign for faily cheap, then I'd say he's a good guy to keep around. It seems like he's ready to be a role model for our younger guys. Him giving Cogs a tap to tell him to go to the net is just good communication. I think he's a good one to have to be an advocate for young guys.

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#40 The Towel Boy
February 04 2010, 01:50PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

The ice girl is alright, too skinny for me. Plus, she looks like she might be scared of a ................. On that note, i need your guys advice: Chennin Le Blanc, Gianna Michaels or Flower Tucci?

Like a Jamacian druglord said one time "Gagners Good. Gagner is Really Good."

Flower Tucci...hands down. Bring an umbrella.

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#41 Clarkenstein
February 04 2010, 01:54PM
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For Game #1 of the 2010-11 season:

Gagner - "C" Penner - "A" Smid - "A"

End of story.

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#42 Aleslav Smidsky
February 04 2010, 01:59PM
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@The Towel Boy

I went with Gianna. I love her attitude(filthy mouth) and commitment(effort).

~time for a quick shower~

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#43 Oilman
February 04 2010, 02:07PM
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just what Vancouver needs - another p***y hiding under a canucks jersey:o)

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#44 Shannon
February 04 2010, 02:08PM
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You know what would be fair to counter all this testosterone? A mostly naked Souray in conjunction with your ice woman of the week.

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#45 Racki
February 04 2010, 02:12PM
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According to Cap Geek, the buyout on Nilsson is:

ROBERT NILSSON BUYOUT FROM CAPGEEK.COM 2010-2011: $-83,333 2011-2012: $416,667

They've mentioned on NHLScap that you can have a negative number one year on the buyout (not sure why that is). I do know the formula is a bit more complicated than just simply 1/3 of the contract spread out evenly though. But anyways, if the above is true, wowza... buy him out! I actually like how he's been playing lately though.

I don't know how accurate capgeek is, so it could be wrong.. but they seem to know their stuff.

Edit: Sorry, I see Mike beat me to this... didn't read all the posts first.

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#46 Mike
February 04 2010, 02:17PM
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@Racki

The formula is the difference between the actual cash savings and the cap hit.

So on a buyout, we pay him:

2010/2011: $416,000 instead of $2,500,000. This is a savings of $2,083,000.

His cap hit is $2,000,000. So the buyout cap hit is $2,000,000 - $2,083,000 = -$83,000.

2011/2012: $416,000 instead of $0. This is not a savings, this is an extra expense of $416,000.

His cap hit is also zero. So the buyout cap hit is $0 - (-$416,000) = $416,000.

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#47 Aleslav Smidsky
February 04 2010, 02:17PM
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@Racki

He'll be packaged with Moreau or Statios. They dont need to buy him out, some teams will probably give him a try for a low pick or something.

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#49 Skidplate
February 04 2010, 02:38PM
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Gregor "I’ve never really liked the Canucks jersey’s before, but the blue with green trim compliments Crystal’s eyes nicely"

Yes indeed, very nice trim!

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