The Montreal Canadiens have won many a game thanks in large part to the efforts of star goalie Carey Price. Yet in a come-from-behind, 4-3 shootout win over New Jersey Tuesday, the Habs showed they don’t need Price on the ice at all if the rest of the team is contributing.
The Canadiens won for the eighth time in their past 10 games – only San Jose is better at 9-1-0 – not simply because Price’s understudy Peter Budaj stopped 31 of 34 shots and turned aside the Devils in overtime and the shootout. This team is far too talented to be defined merely by its netminding.
No, the Habs got the win on the road because the oft-maligned David Desharnais answered back for Montreal when it seemed like the Devils had their number: New Jersey took a 3-2 lead with 1:06 remaining in the third period, but Desharnais responded 29 seconds later to send it to overtime, then scored the shootout winner.
By Garrett Perry, Nicholas Carafa and Curtis Ng
O captain! My captain!
The Coyotes march into Cowtown tonight for a visit with the Flames as part of their three-game Western Canadian road trip. Coming off a 6-2 win in Edmonton last night, Shane Doan and Co. will look to add to the Flames’ miseries in the second of back-to-back games.
Through 26 games, Doan has 12 goals, just one off his mark from last season. The Desert Dogs’ 37-year-old captain is also tied with Martin Hanzal for second in points on the team with 22, behind only Radim Vrbata.
Doan had a goal and an assist against the Oilers and with the state of Calgary’s goaltending, all signs point to Doan continuing the Yotes’ scoring brigade.
Boxing is my favorite sport. Yeah, I said it. That makes hockey No. 2. So what? If you think that doesn’t make me a hockey fan, re-think again. All it shows is how much I love boxing, because I’m as hardcore as it gets about hockey.
I admit, though, I cringe every time I see the sweet science turned into a high school biology class. After all, hockey fighters throw nothing but haymakers, technique be damned, with all the grace of a deer in a yogurt shop.
But hey, I gots to get me my boxing fix somehow, and I’m paid to cover hockey, so as long as the NHL allows fighting, I may as well have a little fun with it.
With that in mind, then, I’ve put together my top 10 pound-for-pound ranking of the best fighters in the NHL, regardless of size.
The NHL’s Christmas trade freeze period (Dec. 19 to 27) is fast approaching and the GMs of several struggling clubs hope the trade market improves before then. With 22 clubs possessing less than $5 million in cap space, it’s difficult to find willing trade partners.
New York Islanders GM Garth Snow is among those trying to find help for his floundering team. Entering this week, the Isles are 11 points out of a post-season berth, winning only two of their past 10 games. Snow must address their dire need of an experienced starting goalie and blueline depth soon to prevent his club sliding further out of playoff contention.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported two league sources claim Snow was shopping for a goalie. Garrioch suggested Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller as the best target, though he admitted convincing Miller to waive his no-trade clause to join the Isles was a long shot. Garrrioch also considers the Islanders a potential trade destination for Washington Capitals right winger Martin Erat and his $4.5 million annual cap hit.
Snow has the cap space ($16.6 million) to take on a big salary. Having already acquired Thomas Vanek, Snow’s probably not keen to pursue Miller, especially as the Sabres will squeeze him for young assets. As for Erat, he won’t resolve the Isles’ defensive problems. Read more
A decline in the Montreal Canadiens offense prompted speculation GM Marc Bergevin will soon make a significant move.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie recently reported Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty was mentioned in trade talks. McKenzie’s colleague Pierre LeBrun said teams were enquiring about Pacioretty, but a Habs source “forcibly” denied he was being shopped.
Unless Bergevin’s in the market for a healthier power forward, moving Pacioretty makes no sense. And don’t expect him to trade youngsters like Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk or Brendan Gallagher. The trio are the Canadiens most productive forwards, combining for 46 points.
Winger Rene Bourque could be available, but his declining production and $3.3 million per season salary are a tough sell. Ditto center David Desharnais and his $3.5 million per. Captain Brian Gionta is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, but injuries and age have affected his performance and trade value. Read more
The moneymaking machine that is the Toronto Maple Leafs is Forbes’ MVF (most valuable franchise) in 2013.
No surprise that the Buds, valued at $1.15 billion, top the list. But there are a couple firsts to take note of, which show the strength of the NHL’s Canadian markets.
Three of the top five teams are from Canada (Toronto and Montreal are Nos. 1 and 2 in profitability, too) and every Canadian club ranks among the top 16 – both firsts since Forbes started its rankings in 1998. Read more
The Philadelphia Flyers’ recent improvement (5-3-2 in their last 10 games) hasn’t brought an end to the trade rumors dogging the club.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Tuesday the Flyers aren’t trying to push out center Brayden Schenn, but they quietly told teams they would consider moving him for the right deal, though Dreger didn’t elaborate what that would be.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos noted Schenn was linked to the Edmonton Oilers earlier in the month in a supposed swap for Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky. He doubts the Flyers are shopping the 22-year-old, but claims the Toronto Maple Leafs have had interest in Schenn for some time, though Kypreos believes any Leafs offer must include defenseman Jake Gardiner.
Brayden isn’t the only Schenn whose name surfaced in the rumor mill this month, as older brother Luke was subject to speculation after being scratched from three early-November games.
Of the pair, Brayden has the most trade value. He currently leads the Flyers in scoring (13 points in 20 games) and is on pace for a career best in points. One would think the “right deal” would have to include a slightly older (late-20s) established scoring forward. Read more
When the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired right winger Marian Gaborik last season from the New York Rangers, they hoped he would replace Rick Nash, whom the previous management had dealt to the Rangers.
Currently sidelined four-to-six weeks with a sprained knee, Gaborik has managed only eight goals in 29 games with the Blue Jackets. He’s also in the final year of his contract, earning $7.5 million. Earlier in the season he was reportedly willing to re-sign, but his knee sprain should make Jackets management leery about a long-term investment in a scorer with a history of injury problems.
Gaborik’s performance prior to his injury prompted questions about his future with the club. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline took to Twitter to express his doubts about the Blue Jackets re-signing him, speculating they could move him by the March trade deadline “or sooner.” Read more