Goaltender Ryan Miller’s future with the Buffalo Sabres remains a hot topic in the NHL rumor mill.
Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News reported Miller’s performance has made him an asset for the Sabres, as well as a valuable trade chip. Interim coach Ted Nolan called the 33-year-old netminder the type of player around which to rebuild.
Late last week Miller had a brief “exploratory” meeting with Pat LaFontaine, the Sabres new president of hockey operations. Though Miller’s heard the Sabres could accelerate their rebuild, he said he won’t be swayed by talk, preferring to see actual results.
Re-signing Miller would be costly for the Sabres. He believes the new seven-year, $59.5-million contract Henrik Lundqvist recently signed with the New York Rangers “sets the standard” for NHL goaltenders. Given Miller’s age, the Sabres could balk if he seeks a comparable deal.
If the Sabres trade Miller, the move could happen close to the March 5 trade deadline. Thanks to the high number of teams (23) with limited cap space, there’s not much of a market right now. Read more
In fantasy hockey, 30 games mean little. A team that’s last can still win the league, while the team leading could fall to the basement. All it takes is several players getting hot and others getting cold over the second half.
Often these players are on the same NHL team and their hot streak is the result of the team picking it up. Or did the team pick things up as a result of the players getting hot?
Regardless of the chicken vs. the egg stance, these things do happen and pools are sometimes won and lost as a result.
I’ll put on my psychic’s hat, or headdress, or whatever it is that psychics wear, and bring you my six teams that will either turn it around or dial it down.
On The Rise
This is my favorite team to stock up on in the second half, particularly because Eric Staal is money in the bank for a second-half surge. I once traded a red-hot young player with upside (I won’t get into names, but it rhymes with Brerrick Dassard) as the key part of the package for a stumbling Staal in early December and pretty much won the league thanks to that move. Twice I’ve acquired Staal in December and both times it paid off.
Staal’s surge in 2011-12 was 45 in the second half after just 25 in the first. The domino effect saw Jiri Tlusty also come on strong. Interestingly enough, Jordan Staal also had a hot second half while with the Penguins that year, tallying 29 points in the last 29 games. The Hurricanes are doing OK in terms of wins and losses this season, but they’re not scoring goals. My theory is that though the wins may not improve any, the offense should.
Defenseman Andrej Sekera, who has eight points in his past seven games, is another player to target.
Sometimes men have a little trouble remembering things. Anniversaries and birthdays, for example, have a history of being bumped in the male brain for things such as which weekend the Super Bowl is being played on and how many paychecks have to be sacrificed in order to obtain that new set of golf clubs.
Mike Sillinger, who suited up for an NHL-record 12 teams, could be forgiven if some of the finer details of his family life have been lost in a haze of boxes and moving vans. But if Sillinger ever is asked to recall where each of his three sons was born, he’s got a visual reminder to rely on: the NHL jersey he was wearing at the time.
“One was born in Vancouver, so we have the Vancouver jersey in his room,” Sillinger said. “My other boy was born in Regina, but I played in Florida at the time, so he picked the Panthers along with my Team Canada (1991 world junior) jersey because he wears 16 (one of his dad’s old numbers) when he plays.
“And my other boy was born in Columbus, so he’s got the Columbus one in his room.”
A Leafs-Senators game on Saturday night is reason enough for hockey fans to get fired up, but The Hockey News is adding some fuel to the fire by giving away a signed Curtis Joseph jersey on Twitter tonight. Join Ken Campbell at 7p.m. EST when he takes over The Hockey News’ Twitter account for our latest #THNLive event, sponsored by the ScotiaHockey NHL debit card and the Scotiabank Hockey Adventure of a Lifetime contest. Ken will provide running commentary during the game, interact with @TheHockeyNews followers and give them the opportunity to enter to win the beauty of a jersey you see at the top of this post.
Coming off a 3-2 overtime victory on Thursday that ended a five-game losing streak, the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to carry that momentum when they visit the Ottawa Senators Saturday night. The “Battle of Ontario” rivalry has been one-sided recently as the Leafs have won seven of the past eight matchups — most recently a 5-4 shootout victory in October.
Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is the hot topic in the NHL rumor mill. The news he was a healthy scratch from Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators prompted speculation a trade was close, though the Panthers claimed it was a product of recent poor play.
Despite a recent report from the sun-sentinel.com denying the Panthers were trying to move Kulikov, TSN’s Bob McKenzie and the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported the 23-year-old is being aggressively shopped.
McKenzie claimed GM Dale Tallon hopes to stoke a bidding war for Kulikov, though the blueliner’s slow development and the possibility of him heading to the Kontinental League as a restricted free agent could hurt his trade value.
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported the Toronto Maple Leafs could reignite trade talks with the Panthers about Kulikov. Friedman claimed the two clubs came close to a deal last season, but one of them backed out. The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox claimed the Leafs have had interest in Kulikov for some time, but are wary of his RFA status and the threat of the KHL.
The Nashville Predators are awaiting an update this week on the status of goaltender Pekka Rinne, who’s been sidelined for several weeks with a bacterial infection in his surgically repaired hip. His condition has fuelled speculation the Predators are shopping for help between the pipes.
Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch recently reported Predators GM David Poile could be interested in Anaheim Ducks starter Jonas Hiller and Florida Panthers netminder Tim Thomas. Both are unrestricted free agents at season’s end, making them good short-term option for the Predators. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson listed the Predators as a possible destination for Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.
A lower-body injury to Ducks backup Viktor Fasth means Hiller is unavailable until January, while the Panthers hope Thomas can revive their flagging playoff chances. Poile is unlikely to pursue an expensive rental player like Miller. Read more
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.
Daniel Alfredsson turns 41 next week and though he gained some detractors the past six months, most hockey fans and players will wish him a very happy birthday.
Alfredsson is one of the most well-liked and respected players in the game today. Now in his 18th season, he’s enjoying a career rebirth of sorts with the Detroit Red Wings. He’s producing at near a point-per-game pace despite his time on ice (17:22 average) being at a career low. He received a video tribute and cheers of ‘Alfie’ when he returned this past Sunday to Ottawa where he spent his first 17 NHL seasons, the final 14 of them as Senators captain.
He’s playing as though he could make it through a few more seasons before Father Time catches up with him. Statistically, Alfredsson would have to remain productive for a couple more seasons to be considered a sure bet for the Hockey Hall of Fame.