Bolts make pair of late-night trades, send Radko Gudas, Brett Connolly packing in separate deals

Radko Gudas (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is known as one of the hardest-working GMs in the NHL, and in the wee hours of Monday morning, he showed why by pulling off two separate trades that address both his team’s present and future: the first sent blueliner Radko Gudas and Tampa’s first-and-third-round draft picks in 2015 to Philadelphia for veteran defenseman Braydon Coburn; the second moved out young right winger Brett Connolly to Boston for the Bruins’ second-round draft picks in both 2015 and 2016.

The Coburn/Gudas deal has the more immediate impact on the Bolts, as the 30-year-old Coburn comes in and adds depth, edge and post-season experience to a defense corps that already was formidable thanks to players such as Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman and Matt Carle. Coburn’s average ice time of 20:14 in 39 games for Philly this year is down more than two minutes from last season (22:27), but he’s a big body (6-foot-5) and he’s got enough snarl left in him to make up for the loss of Gudas, who had been lost for what was presumed to be the rest of the season after knee surgery in January. Coburn also is signed through next season at a manageable $4.5 million salary cap hit, and his 72 games of playoff experience are going to help Tampa once the regular-season ends. Read more

Steve Mason allows goal from center ice seven seconds into game, is saved by offside

Jared Clinton
mason-187889161

Steve Mason’s favorite player in the entire league as of Saturday night is New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider. Why, you ask? Kreider saved Mason from officially allowing a laugher from center ice, that’s why.

Just seven seconds in to Saturday’s game against the Rangers, Derek Stepan collected a loose puck in the neutral zone, spun and rifled it down into Philadelphia’s zone. The puck then skipped, hopped, bounced, dipped, dove and found its way through Mason and into the net.

Judging by Mason’s reaction after allowing the goal, Kreider might be getting a gift from a secret admirer in the next couple of days. Watch the goal below: Read more

Blackhawks acquire Kimmo Timonen from Flyers for draft picks

Jared Clinton
Kimmo-Timonen

Early during the first period of Chicago’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Blackhawks announced that they have acquired defenseman Kimmo Timonen from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick and conditional fourth-round pick in 2016.

The trade comes just days after the Blackhawks lost blueliner Johnny Oduya to an upper-body injury and winger Patrick Kane to a broken clavicle. Timonen, 39, hasn’t suited up all season due to blood clots in his legs, but recently took the ice again with the Flyers for practice leading some to believe he could be back on the ice as soon as this week. Read more

THN Trade Deadline preview: Metropolitan Division

(Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

With the Eastern Conference about as wide open as it gets in the parity-laden NHL, the trade deadline could be huge in the Metropolitan Division. Who knows if, come deadline day, a GM from one of the three main contenders swings a deal that changes their team’s fate.

The New York Islanders made their biggest splash in the off-season, trading for blueliners Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, the latter of whom was signed to a seven-year extension on Tuesday. The New York Rangers are right at the top of the standings thanks to a red hot Rich Nash. And the Pittsburgh Penguins… well, the Penguins have two guys by the name of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin who can be game breakers at any time. But don’t count out the Capitals.

Even the lowly Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets are making some noise heading into the deadline, which could make the Metropolitan extremely active come deadline day. Read more

Eric Lindros files lawsuit against Huffington Post, former referee

Jared Clinton
lindros-136301606

Eric Lindros has filed a $250,000 lawsuit against former NHL referee Paul Stewart and the Huffington Post following a column written by Stewart that ran on the news website.

The column Lindros has taken umbrage with was posted on July 16, 2014 and outlined run-ins Stewart allegedly had with Lindros. One of the incidents that Stewart wrote about saw Lindros tear up autographed posters that the former referee had gotten signed for donation to a charity auction. Read more

Flyers’ rebound puts them in tempting spot as trade deadline nears – but they need to stay patient

Adam Proteau
Claude Giroux (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

With just one regulation time loss in their past 13 games, the Philadelphia Flyers have played themselves back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. And this is where it gets tricky, because of who the Flyers are as an organization: under the ownership of Ed Snider, a hunger for winning permeates the franchise, but that can be to its benefit as well as its detriment. Despite being an above-average identifier and developer of young talent, Philadelphia has been quick to turn over its roster as fans often are when changing their fantasy hockey team. But as Snider told THN in October, the process that led to the team’s only two Stanley Cup wins in the 1970s was one of patience with its youth, and he vowed GM Ron Hextall would have full backing on a slow build back to being a powerhouse and legitimate championship contender.

That would have been so much easier if Philly had began the calendar year 2015 as poorly as they played in the 2014 part of the ’14-15 campaign. But in starting the season 14-18-7, the Flyers dug themselves a massive crater to climb out of in the second half. Captain Claude Giroux & Co. get full credit for the resolve it takes to scratch and claw their way back to where they are at the moment – four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild card berth in the East – but it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if, instead of making a trade or two for a veteran to help them in the here and now, management and ownership simply stayed the course with their youngsters. And that goes regardless of whether they wind up making the playoffs this year. Read more

How the Flyers’ post-break play has them in the playoff picture

Jared Clinton
Rob Zepp and the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate their victory over the Nashville Predators (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

On Jan. 22, as players went their separate ways for the all-star break, the Philadelphia Flyers sat 12 points out of a playoff spot, had gone on a five-game losing streak less than a month earlier and their hopes for postseason hockey looked bleak.

Now, one month later, the Flyers sit just four points back of a wild-card spot. Once trailing each of Toronto, Ottawa, Florida, Boston and Washington in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia now only sits one point behind Florida and are hot on the tail of the Boston Bruins. They’ve leapt past Ottawa and Toronto and have taken a point out of 11 of their last 12 games.

Could Philadelphia complete one of the more improbably post-all-star break turnarounds in recent memory and make the playoffs? Flyers GM Ron Hextall has made it clear he’s not willing to mortgage the team’s future at the trade deadline and that he’s not going to be a buyer. But even without the help from the trade market, the Flyers have a serious shot at making it. So, what has been the reason the huge turnaround? Read more