It’s as good a time as any to write about it, what with the three California teams losing on home ice in one evening last night. (I never thought that could happen this season.)
Throw in the fact Vancouver lost in Detroit and it’s becoming crystal clear. Mike Cammalleri is going to the coast. The West Coast.
The Calgary Flames sniper will be one of the most sought-after acquisitions as the calendar moves closer to the March 5 NHL trade deadline. And boy, oh boy, will there be a battle between the four teams on the left coast for his scoring services.
The New York Rangers’ contract negotiations with captain Ryan Callahan took an interesting turn over the weekend. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports GM Glen Sather allowed “multiple clubs” the opportunity to contact Steve Bartlett, Callahan’s agent, to discuss a contract extension if they acquired him via trade.
The New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard reports that was news to Callahan, who insists his priority is to remain a Ranger. Brooks, meanwhile, claims Sather wants Callahan’s situation resolved before the NHL Olympic roster freeze kicks in at 3 p.m. EST Feb. 7. The Blueshirts’ captain reportedly seeks a seven-year, $42-million contract while Sather prefers a five-year, $30-million deal.
It’s believed the St. Louis Blues are interested in Callahan and Brooks cites sources claiming the Rangers have interest in Blues right winger Chris Stewart. Read more
The idea of accountability is nebulous. For some, it means the buck stops with them – and if they don’t get the job done, they’ll fall on their sword, move along and give another individual a shot at succeeding where they failed. For others, it only means explaining themselves to a superior and/or business owner and/or Toronto civic taxpayers and carrying on with their duties regardless of their inability to fulfill their mandate.
There’s no better example of this in the NHL than the Metropolitan Division, a.k.a. the place where upper management accountability goes to die. This is a division that has seen just two GM changes since 2006, and both of them occurred with a team (Columbus) that hasn’t been part of the division until this season began. If there’s anywhere running a hockey team is akin to being an emperor or tenured university professor, it’s the Metro.
To be fair, there are understandable reasons why the GM turnover in the Metropolitan is notably lesser than the NHL’s other three groups of teams. Read more
Though the San Jose Sharks are still playing as one of the top five teams in the NHL, there is a transition slowly taking place on the roster. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, 26, was taken by Team Canada instead of Dan Boyle, 37. Patrick Marleau was a bigger surprise inclusion on that Olympic team than Logan Couture was a surprise omission, though the latter’s hand injury may have played a role.
For a team with a supposedly closing Cup window, the Sharks get a boatload of contributions from younger players. Six of their top eight scorers are under the age of 30 and four of those are younger than 26. For a long time this team has been led by Joe Thornton, Marleau and Boyle, but a new core is slowly emerging. Couture, Tomas Hertl, Brent Burns, Vlasic – these are the “next ones” in San Jose.
But to keep trying to push through the glass ceiling that has snared the great potential the Sharks have had for a decade or more, they still need the Old Guard. They still need Thornton’s massive presence and playmaking down the middle. They still need Marleau’s goal scoring and two-way play. They still need Boyle’s puck-moving.
And Friday they locked down two of those assets for the next three years. Read more
How many different ways can I write an introductory paragraph to THN’s online mailbag? The answer may surprise you, but probably not. Here are this week’s best submissions. Thanks to all who took the time to send in a question. (And remember, if you want to ask something for a future mailbag, direct your questions via our handy form.)
Was the two amnesty buyouts per team a one-time provision in the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, or can teams continue to buy out players annually?
Paul Gridelli, Chicago, Ill.
This must be a trick question, because the answer is neither. The NHL’s amnesty buyouts were implemented in the wake of the 2013 CBA, but allowed the two buyouts per team to be used either last summer or in the summer of 2014.
The grand majority of franchises still have both buyouts to use if they so desire; only four teams (Chicago, Montreal, Philadelphia and Toronto) have used both, and only eight teams (the Islanders, Rangers, Detroit, Minnesota, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Washington,) have used one. So it’s fair to expect that we’ll see more buyouts – and teams potentially making trades with organizations like the Flyers or Leafs to use their buyout on an acquired player in exchanged for a dumped contract or unwanted asset. Read more
The New York Rangers shipping defenseman Michael Del Zotto to the Nashville Predators for blueliner Kevin Klein raises speculation over potential moves for both teams in the near future.
Josh Cooper of The Tennessean reports the Del Zotto-Klein swap makes 28-year-old Shea Weber the Predators’ oldest defenseman. With Nashville’s defense corps getting younger and seemingly in rebuild mode, Cooper wonders if Weber could become expendable via trade. He notes Predators management “has staunchly said it won’t trade its captain,” but given Weber’s strong play this season his trade value will never be higher.
Despite the Predators’ matching the Philadelphia Flyers’ 14-year, $110-million offer sheet to Weber in July 2012, questions remain over how long their budget-minded ownership is willing to carry his contract. That’s kept Weber’s name floating around the rumor mill for nearly two years.
I once ate an amazing cheeseburger that had grilled cheese sandwiches for buns. Combining two great things often makes for one really, really awesome thing.
While recently pondering my two favorite pastimes, hockey and movies, I realized my pre-season Stanley Cup pick had not changed at the season’s midway point. It was still the St. Louis Blues. I also decided my pick to win the 2013 Oscar for Best Picture was 12 Years a Slave.
That gave me an idea. Why not compare the remaining eight Best Picture noms to my remaining top eight Cup contenders? With that, I present to you a literary grilled cheese sandwich burger, a.k.a. a breakdown of Stanley Cup frontrunners as Oscar-nominated films. It’s go time, in alphabetical order.
ANAHEIM DUCKS: Philomena
What does hockey in Orange County have in common with an elderly woman searching for her long-lost son? Both are targeted to niche markets, neither is a box-office smash and both are excellent entertainment for their few loyal supporters. The Ducks are the NHL’s best team, led by powerhouse seasons from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Philomena is a charming tale led by powerhouse performances from Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Does any one really expect Anaheim and Philomena to take home the hardware? Probably not, but underestimate them at your own risk.