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February 28, 2012

11:17 PM: A few notes - in Montreal all concern tonight is for NHL legend Jean Beliveau, 80, who was admitted to hospital Monday night after he apparently suffered a stroke...see what you're doing over there Mr. Gauthier, you're killing a legend...

Wishing Mr. Beliveau and family all the best and a speedy recovery...

The unfortunate news didn't do much to rally the Habs, though - they dropped a 2-1 decision in Tampa Bay...for some reason right now all I hear is Lucy from "A Charlie Brown Christmas"..."you're hopeless, Charlie Brown...completely hopeless..."...I'm pretty sure Randy Cunneyworth feels the same way about his team...only he can't say it, or at least it would be ill advised of him to do so...but I can...

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators went into Boston tonight and Robin Lehner posted his first career NHL shutout, in a 1-0 win...huge win for the Sens...Erik Karlsson does it again with his 15th, the only goal to beat Tim Thomas...Sens are now a point back on the Bruins, but the Bruins have four games at hand...Winnipeg and Ottawa have both played 65 games, more than any other team...

It doesn't get any better for Toronto...after a vote of confidence from Brian Burke yesterday at the deadline, they lost 5-3 to Florida on home ice, making them 1-8 in their last 9...wasn't it just a few short weeks ago they looked like they might make some noise in the Eastern Conference!?  So much for that...

And remember what I said about Carolina?  They beat Nashville 4-3 tonight...Bryan Allen with his 1st of the season to win the game...with Winnipeg losing last night to Edmonton and Washington getting back in the win column tonight, there is quite the log jam...even Tampa won again tonight...look out!!

Speaking of Washington...looks like Ovi might be slowly coming back to life...the Caps were actually down by 2 goals late to the Islanders, when Troy Brouwer got two to tie it, and Ovechkin in OT...Washington stuns the Islanders 3-2...somehow, amid all the criticism and sideshows, Alex still has 26...should be able to finish with 30 to salvage somewhat of a respectable season...by what we've seen before from him, nowhere near his potential, but Washington isn't the run and gun team they used to be anymore, either...people seem to forget that...

So right now Washington leads Winnipeg by a point for the 8th spot...Florida is now 3 clear of both of them...Toronto is now 4 points out of 8th...Tampa Bay 5 back...Carolina and the Islanders 8 back...even Buffalo is in the mix as they are 7 back...surely one of them has to get hot?

Montreal...58 points...11 back...good enough for 15th in the East...if it wasn't for Columbus and Edmonton they'd be last overall...the rest of the teams in the West not in the playoffs right now are better than Montreal...

No wonder poor Mr. Beliveau had a stroke...

 

February 27, 2012

8:34 PM: Now it's time to play hockey!!!  Oilers are in Winnipeg for the first and only time this season...oddly enough, they aren't giving Nikolai Khabibulin the start...back where it all began for him...

Five on the sched tonight...1-0 Nashville after 1 against L.A., and it's 1-0 Rangers over NJ in the 2nd...St. Louis-Calgary and Anaheim-Colorado are 9:00 starts...

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4:10 PM: Canucks with one more small deal...they acquire F Andrew Gordon from the Anaheim Ducks for D Sebastian Erixon...

San Jose may be without Couture, but could be getting Douglas Murray and Martin Havlat back in their lineup very soon...

Washington officially put Nick Backstrom on long term IR...nothing out of them at the deadline, either...

So, unless something else gets announced, which is unlikely, we had 15 trades involving 31 players and 11 picks...last year's deadline had 16 trades involving 35 players and 12 picks...pretty scary similarities...but still nowhere close to the record breaking 32 deals from way back when...

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3:48 PM: In the final analysis of last year's Stanley Cup Final, the biggest criticism of Vancouver was they couldn't stand up to the grit of the Boston Bruins (probably didn't help that they woke them up with the hit on Horton in Game 3 either)...with Kassian and Gragnani, they think they've addressed that...Hodgson's future was often in doubt...still no guarantees, but the Canucks have just given themselves a better shot...we'll find out...still 15 other teams that will have something to say...

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3:42 PM: The deal gets bigger...Canucks also get Marc-Andre Gragnani, and Alexander Sulzer heads to the Sabres...

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3:35 PM: It is indeed Hodgson going to Buffalo for Kassian...there could still be more to come...this arguably is the biggest one of the day...

Ray Ferraro on Kassian "You're getting a rumbling bull"...

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3:33 PM: Zach Kassian heading to Vancouver from Buffalo...speculation is this could be big...Cody Hodgson?  More details to come...

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3:27 PM: Now they're saying it's a 4th round pick instead of a 5th round pick heading to Nashville in the Gaustad deal...guess there were no chicken wings available?

Toronto gets in another minor deal...D Mark Fraser heads to Anaheim for F Dale Mitchell...

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3:24 PM: The complete Boston-Islanders deal...Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau in exchange for prospects Yannick Riendeau and Mark Cantin...

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3:21 PM: Nashville did indeed give up a 1st round pick for Gaustad...Buffalo sends a 5th round pick along with him...like I said, throw in some chicken wings while they're at it...

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3:19 PM: Calgary re-ups Tim Jackman, 2 years, $612,500 per...and evidently Vancouver still has something in queue...

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3:14 PM: Steve Kampfer goes to Minny in the Zanon deal...

The New York Rangers acquire D John Scott from Chicago for a 5th round pick...

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3:11 PM: Another Wild defenseman on the move - Greg Zanon to Boston...still waiting to hear the other halves of the last 3 deals announced...

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3:06 PM: More on the Boston-Islanders deal - Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau both go to Boston...

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3:05 PM: Not surprisingly, no Rick Nash deal...or Steve Ott for that matter...

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3:01 PM: Buffalo sends Paul Gaustad to Nashville...a high draft pick is evidently heading back to Buffalo...maybe some chicken wings were part of the deal...

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2:58 PM: Boston gets Brian Rolston from the Islanders...2nd stint with the Bruins for Rolston, and not the first time he's been involved in a deadline deal - you'll recall he was part of the Ray Bourque deal back in the day...

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2:38 PM: Calm before the deadline storm...all networks reviewing what has happened so far (and paying the bills - TSN has just taken two commercial breaks in like 10 minutes)...22 minutes left...but there will no doubt be last minute deals announced right up until 4 or so...

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2:31 PM: T-minus 29 minutes...

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2:26 PM: "...call now and get the little Schtiky and the big Schtiky for $19.95...cause you know we can't do this all day"...ARRGH!!!

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2:17 PM: Chicago paid both a 2nd and 3rd round pick for Oduya...both picks in 2013...Vancouver sent two 4th round picks for Pahlsson...

The complete Colorado-San Jose deal - Daniel Winnik, T.J. Galiardi and a 7th round pick go to San Jose...heading back to Colorado, Jamie McGinn, Mike Connolly and Michael Sgarbossa...

No word yet on how badly hurt Logan Couture is...but evidently the Sharks wanted a little protection for him...

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2:07 PM: Johnny Oduya to Chicago...unconfirmed...

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2:02 PM: Columbus sends Samuel Pahlsson to Vancouver...evidently for a player and draft pick TBA...

The floodgates have finally opened...and it seems Sportsnet is starting to break the news faster than TSN...

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2:00 PM: T-minus 1 hour...Darren Dreger saying Rick Nash is still in play...

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1:59 PM: Ottawa has sent D Brian Lee to Tampa Bay for D Matt Gilroy...

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1:57 PM: Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi both going to San Jose...unclear yet what is going back to Denver...

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1:53 PM: TSN's Bob MacKenzie is reporting San Jose may be close to acquiring LW Daniel Winnik from Colorado...not a done deal yet...

Grant Clitsome tweeted his excitement at becoming a Winnipeg Jet and thanked Columbus for the opportunity...staying with Winnipeg, there's talk Johnny Oduya could be moved, but nothing happening on that front yet...

Looking more and more like Columbus will be keeping Rick Nash...for now - asking price is way too high...look for that one to go down at the draft...

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1:40 PM: F Carter Ashton heads to Toronto...he was a first round pick of Tampa in 2009...presently playing in Norfolk of the AHL...so, Keith Aulie for Carter Ashton...basically a swap of futures...Toronto gives up defensive depth for depth on forward...the Leafs are going to have some big guys on their team in years to come...

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1:37 PM: Toronto has sent Keith Aulie to Tampa Bay, unknown for what or whom...you'll recall Aulie was part of the Dion Phaneuf deal...TSN is unsure as to if the player coming back from Tampa is even on their roster or a minor leaguer...

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1:36 PM: T-minus 1 hour, 23 minutes...

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1:19 PM: Pierre McGuire reported that Minnesota getting Tom Gilbert could be long term strategy - Nashville's Ryan Suter is a UFA on July 1 - Gilbert and Suter are former team mates at the University Of Wisconsin...hmmmm...

Call this one about even...

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12:58 PM: Edmonton sends D Tom Gilbert to Minnesota for D Nick Schultz...somewhat of an upgrade...Oilers save about 1/2 a million in cap space...Schultz is more of a stay at home defenseman...Gilbert is more offensively oriented...Schultz is Canadian, Gilbert is American, from Minnesota...

Not too sure how I feel about this one...but, if I do know one thing, the Oilers need to keep the puck out of their end...Darren Pang mentioned if they pair him with Ladislav Smid, it should help their cause tremendously...they're fine up front, and fine in net...it's my view they'll be better without Khabibulin, if they can ever trade him or simply not renew his contract...Dubnyk is ready to be the #1 guy, IMO...

I guess a bigger question is how many former Oilers are now with the Wild?!

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12:48 PM: You can tell everybody's hitting TSN's website over their lunch hour...it's unresponsive and/or slow...they seem to be having all sorts of technical difficulties today...only 2 deals so far, folks...boy am I glad I didn't get up at 7 AM...

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12:45 PM: Detroit sends D Mike Commodore to Tampa Bay for a conditional 7th round pick...

As I've traded my Chock Full O' Nuts coffee for Maxwell House...well, actually...today it's a mixture of Maxwell House and this Hawaiian coffee I picked up yesterday...must get to the U.S. sometime soon...just a few more weeks...hopefully...

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12:29 PM: NHL 3 Stars of the week: #1 - Erik Karlsson, Ottawa; #2 Teddy Purcell, Tampa Bay; #3 Kari Lehtonen, Dallas...

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12:23 PM: 2 hrs, 37 minutes until the deadline...still stuck on 1 trade...

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12:05 PM: Montreal claims Brad Staubitz off re-entry waivers from Minnesota...and for half of his salary no less...

...and...Winnipeg claims Grant Clitsome from Columbus...everybody else I mentioned Friday cleared waivers...

Waiver deadline of noon has passed...after today, if a team claims a player on waivers, they aren't eligible to play in the playoffs...

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11:44 AM: Should hear about a 2nd trade soon...Brian Burke was just on Sportsnet saying it doesn't look like he will do much at all...

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11:33 AM: Very similar deadline to last year...first trade last year was just after 10:30...second trade was around 11:45...

TSN's thing right now is they're monitoring team practices to see if any players are missing...

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11:32 AM: Another one..."prof cancelled class today"...and another one "almost got my phone taken away in class while watching TSN TradeCentre"...

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11:15 AM: Seeing a lot of tweets from people about trade deadline - "supposed to be at work", or "supposed to be at school", or "not going to be a very productive day today"...yeah - this is why I took today off...

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10:52 AM: First trade of the day...

F Andrei Kostitsyn is reunited with his brother Sergei in Nashville...Montreal gets back the conditional 2013 5th round pick they sent to Nashville in the Hal Gill trade, as well as a 2nd round pick...

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9:01 AM: Nothing happening yet...TSN and Sportsnet have already been on air for an hour...

Unlike Jay Onrait, who's at home again in front of the computer with his coffee mug, I'm here with the Satellite Radio checking out NHL Home Ice until the first trade is announced...

The calm before the storm...perhaps...

I always wonder what the reaction would be if all of a sudden there were no trades on deadline day...I always envison Gary Bettman (or whoever is commissioner) getting in front of a podium at 3 PM and saying "um, well, yeah - there were no deals - everybody can go home"...executives over at TSN and Sportsnet would be pissed!!

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1:38 AM: So, everybody's on the air at 8 AM...even HNIC Radio goes for 6 hours instead of 3...they start up at noon...

A couple of small ones that nobody seemed to notice...on Friday, Florida got Jarred Smithson from Nashville for a 6th round pick...all eyes on Nashville...both at the deadline and at the draft...

And last week, right around when the Steve Downie-Kyle Quincey deal went down, Tampa Bay got Brendon Segal from Chicago for what is still being reported as "future considerations"...

If you're not near a T.V., and if the various trade reporting websites are slowing you down...keep it right here in this blog...I'll be tuning in probably around 9-ish...who knows, maybe I'll even be up with Sportsnet and TSN...

 

February 26, 2012

4:10 PM: Ottawa traded a 2013 2nd round pick to St. Louis for seldom used goaltender Ben Bishop...a little bit of insurance, I guess...reports are Bishop is excited about the opportunity...

Hey, well, at least it's not Pavol Demitra (may he R.I.P.) for Christer Olsson...

 

February 25, 2012

9:46 PM: So this evening while all the talk is about a potential Rick Nash trade, L.A.'s Dustin Brown gave his team management four reasons, perhaps, to not trade him...3G 1A...and there's still a period left in that game between the Kings and Chicago Blackhawks...4-0 is the score...my oh my how the mighty Hawks have fallen...

The New York Rangers made a trade with Florida - last year's pre-deadline acquisition (I believe it was sometime in January 2011), Wojtek Wolski goes to the Cats for a third round pick in 2013 and minor league defenseman Mike Vernace...

And I wonder if anybody noticed the NY Islanders put Brian Rolston on waivers...

More from the waiver wire - Columbus claimed Darryl Boyce from Toronto, and placed two players, Ryan Russell and Grant Clitsome on waivers...New Jersey's Eric Boulton, Minnesota's Brad Staubitz (re-entry), and Calgary's Krys Kolanos, are all available to any team willing to take them on...

Out of the 11 games on today's schedule, everybody's buzzing about the 1st one...an 8-1 blowout by Pittsburgh over Tampa Bay...Evgeni Malkin keeps it going, with a hat trick, another player today with 3G 1A...one of the goals they're comparing to Mario Lemieux' infamous deke against Minnesota in 1991 in the Stanley Cup Final...ESPN's Pierre Lebrun described it as Malkin "beating 19 guys and scoring"...put simply - the Penguins are going to be scary...with or without Crosby...

 

February 24, 2012

9:56 PM: The "Potvin Sucks" chants will be out in full force tonight in Manhattan...Islanders win the shootout...win the game 4-3...they've still got a slim shot...then again, we've seen this movie before...

Canucks win back to back games...2-1 was the final...Canucks are in Dallas Sunday afternoon, Devils host the Bolts, also Sunday afternoon...

Bruins and Sabres are in OT now, tied 1-1...

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9:48 PM: You've gotta love The Ottawa Sun for getting everybody all up in arms over something other than the weather...HNIC Radio this afternoon reported that the Craig Anderson self-inflicted accidental injury is not as bad as originally reported...indications are he could miss 7-10 days...so what happens, now, if Lehner comes up and plays lights out?

Edmonton has come to terms on a 2 year deal with Ales Hemsky - 2 years, $10 million - now, stop moping and earn it...as they to shout at le Centre Bell "Shoot da puck, Tabernac!!"...

Up until I learned of the signing I was going to start a rumor that Hemsky may go to L.A. for Dustin Brown...but evidently that's not going to happen...Brown is still apparently on the block, though...maybe send Eric Belanger and all 3 of his goals back there for him...Oilers won't need to do much with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins expected back tomorrow night...

Los Angeles also re-signed Willie Mitchell to a 2 year, $7 million extension...

The New Jersey Devils honored legendary announcer Doc Emrick before their game against Vancouver tonight, and served notice during the game they are looking to make a long playoff run...they acquired veteran D Marek Zidlicky from Minnesota, in exchange for three players - D Kurtis Foster, F Nick Palmieri and F Stephane Veilleux...the Devils will also give up a 2nd rounder in 2012, and possibly a 3rd rounder in 2013 - conditional if the Devils make it to the Conference Finals...Foster and Veilleux go back to where their NHL careers began...

The game itself sees Vancouver holding on to a 2-1 lead late in the 3rd period...

I dunno - Marek Zidlicky is good, but is he worth 3 players and 2 prospects?  You have to wonder what getting rid of Foster's bomb on the point is going to do...then again...Zidlicky is good in shootouts?...I guess time will tell...

Washington seems to have gotten off the schneid, posting a 4-1 win against Montreal...the Colorado Avalanche continue to help their playoff hopes as they blanked Columbus 5-0...Dallas, fresh off a win last night in Chicago, is up 3-0 on Minnesota in the 2nd...Boston-Buffalo are tied 1-1 in the 3rd, and the Rangers and Islanders are in OT...tied 3-3, actually heading to a shootout...

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9:29 AM: Ottawa Senators fans, hold your breath...you could be without goalie Craig Anderson anywhere from 6-8 weeks, after he cut his hand badly while preparing food after Thursday night's win against Washington...I double checked the calendar - it is not April 1st...

Reminds me of the time I almost chopped the top of my index finger off in 2006, while trying to make a sandwich just prior to Team Canada's loss to Team Russia in the Men's Hockey medal round of the Olympics...talk about a bad omen...that took at least a month to heal...if not longer...and because it's one of the most commonly used fingers, I could feel it every time (in fact, even these days, on rare occasions if I hit it the wrong way on something I can feel it)...I've stayed away from crusty kaiser rolls ever since...at least ones that aren't already cut in half...

Robin Lehner is expected up from Binghamton...and Alex Auld has barely played...so does Bryan Murray look for a goalie before Monday's deadline?

 

February 23, 2012

11:40 PM: Olli Jokinen tied it 3-3, late...OT solved nothing...the Coyotes come out on top in the shootout...1 less shootout win, but 2 more shootout losses than Dallas...call it even...Calgary has a total of 10 OT losses...Dallas only 4...so the Stars stay in 8th...Phoenix is only 6 clear of 5th...and only 2 behind Chicago...

It's going to be a dogfight, as always...

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11:10 PM: Well, Claude Noel will be happy with the win, but will not be happy with the ending...the Bolts actually got it to 4-3, and had 2 late second attempts to try and tie it...didn't happen...Jets win 4-3 and move into 3rd...Florida moves into 8th...and Toronto into 9th...if the playoffs started tomorrow - the Jets would play their Hockey Day In Canada opponents...Pittsburgh...

Dallas finishes the night 8th in the West...for now...Phoenix leads Calgary 3-2 in the 3rd...if the Coyotes hang on, the Stars stay in 8th...if Calgary comes back to win, they will be in 8th...OT would still give Dallas the tie breaker advantage...

Repeat after me..."how tight is it?!"...

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10:57 PM: Michael Ryder gives Dallas some insurance...3-1...about 3 minutes left in the Windy City...

2 minute warning in Winnipeg...

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10:48 PM: Identical finish to the Minnesota-Florida game in Nashville...St. Louis' shooters score, Nashville's, do not...3-2, in a shootout...big win for St. Louis as they look to solidify 4th...or even make a run at Detroit...

Jordan Eberle has his 27th...2-0 Oil...

Dallas has tied Chicago 1-1, as OT looms at the Madhouse...and Martin St. Louis busted the Winnipeg shutout...4-1 now...5 minutes left before the Jets shift the standings...

It's actually 2-1 for Dallas now...Loui Eriksson with his 19th...Stars need a win to knock L.A. out of 8th...they'll be tied in points and games played...the shootout wins won't be a factor here, as both have 4 wins in the shootout...that's going to be an interesting tie breaker if it ever comes into play...

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10:38 PM: Taylor Hall with the ice breaker - 22nd of the season...as they do indeed go to a shootout in Nashville...you know, if it wasn't for shootouts, maybe 14 points wouldn't seem so insurmountable...just saying...

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10:26 PM: Minnesota wins 3-2 in a shootout...Erik Christensen and Matt Cullen both scored, Kris Versteeg and Sean Bergenheim, did not...Winnipeg still leads Tampa Bay 4-0, 3rd is just underway...

In Detroit - the home streak is over...the Wings led 3-2, but with the goalie pulled, the Canucks sent it to OT, then won it in the shootout...Roberto Luongo stopped Jiri Hudler, Henrik Zetterberg, and Todd Bertuzzi (on Bertuzzi bobble head night, no less)...the only player to score in the shootout was Alex Burrows...Canucks win 4-3 and end the streak...I wonder if that bobblehead comes with a removable head...you know...oh never mind...

Scoreless after 1 in Edmonton against Philadelphia...shots 14-9, Flyers...

And congratulations to Ryan Smyth for getting himself within one of the 800 point milestone with 1G 1A against Calgary last game, on his 36th birthday...his next goal or assist will give him 800...Oilers cruised to a rare 6-1 win against their bitter provincial rivals...they're only 14 points back with 2 games at hand on L.A. and 6 teams to leap frog...I know...they're not going to make it...but perhaps a .500 season isn't totally out of the question...

St. Louis and Nashville are in OT too...will they go to a shootout?

Two more tonight...Phoenix just tied up Calgary 2-2, in the 2nd...and Chicago is up 1-0 on Dallas in the 3rd...

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9:53 PM: As long as he passes a physical with team doctors, Jeff Carter to Los Angeles is a done deal...Columbus will get D Jack Johnson in return...word is he too, will need to pass a physical...a conditional 1st round pick in either 2012 or 2013 is also headed Columbus' way (most likely depends on how far the Kings get in the playoffs, assuming they get in)...

Southeast update - Florida is tied 2-2 late against Minnesota...so they will have at least 66 points, assuming they go to OT...Winnipeg is up 4-0 on Tampa...if they win, and if Minnesota wins in OT, the Jets will go to 67 points and will be 1st overall in the Southeast, which will move them from 9th into 3rd...

Anaheim just beat Carolina 3-2, in a shootout...so the Canes go to 58 points...baby steps...but I still have a feeling...

Oh yeah...and Toronto lost again...in regulation this time...2-1 against San Jose...depending on what else happens tonight, the Leafs could take Winnipeg's place on the outside looking in...

Now, time to see who has the Philly Flu in Edmonton...

 

February 22, 2012

4:21 PM: You can scratch Tuomo Ruutu's name off the trade rumours list - he's been inked to a 4 year contract extension...or at least at this point it's unlikely he will be traded...but you never know...$19 million is the reported figure...not bad for a somewhat reliable forward...

I don't recall hearing Todd Bertuzzi's name in the rumour mill, but Detroit is expected to extend him for 2 more years...

Columbus made a trade today - not involving Rick Nash or Jeff Carter...Antoine Vermette goes to Phoenix for a 2nd round pick in 2012, a 5th rounder in 2013, and journeyman G Curtis McElhinney...and there are sure to be more deals coming out of Ohio before Monday at 3 PM...

Talk today is San Jose are the frontrunners in the Rick Nash sweepstakes...L.A. still appears they would be the team most likely to pull off a deal for Jeff Carter...

Speaking of L.A. - Mike Richards is expected to be the next player profiled in the NHL 36 series...

 

February 21, 2012

4:33 PM: ...and...then Tampa sends Quincey back to where he started...Detroit...for a 1st round draft pick and minor league D Sebastien Piche...who says you can't go home?...

Looks like I'd better keep my hand on the trade pulse...it's on!!

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4:15 PM: TSN is reporting that Steve Downie is on the move again...Tampa sends him to Colorado for D Kyle Quincey...as the Bolts' house cleaning continues...somewhere between my Saturday blog and now, they actually did trade Pavel Kubina to Philadelphia...for a 2nd and 4th rounder, along with LW Jon Kalinski...Quincey, who now hasn't been able to stick on two teams, gives Tampa about the same kind of defenseman, for a lot cheaper...Yzerman knows him briefly from his playing days, so no surprise that he'd go for him...

Anybody else notice Ty Conklin clearing waivers yesterday?

Apparently somebody was trying to impose as TSN's Gord Miller on Twitter, and was sending out fake trade news...to which Miller quickly pointed out that his Twitter account is verified...further to that, he pointed out that Pierre McGuire is not on the service - so @VSPierreMcGuire and @espn_mcguire are both fake (doesn't McGuire work for NBC these days?)...so now we have to verify that Tweets and Twitter accounts are verified?!  Who knew?

 

February 20, 2012

9:50 PM: OK, so happy Family Day, Louis Riel Day, Heritage Day, Islander Day, or President's Day, depending on what province or state you live...some of you may have actually had a normal day back to work...even though in Ontario it's the provincial holiday "Family Day", I actually opted to work so that I could use the time another time (like next Monday, for instance...;-)...)...

Only 2 games on the schedule today...one of them was played this afternoon on Long Island...where evidently the New York Islanders were celebrating President's Day...the Ottawa Senators went in and blanked them, 6-0...the fishsticks will have an opportunity at fast redemption, however - they invade the Bank on Sunday afternoon at 5 PM...

The Washington Capitals?  Clearly they are on holiday too...the Carolina Hurricanes?  Up 5-0 in the 3rd...Eric Staal has 2...

Is it just me, or are the Canes not out of this race yet?  A win tonight, and it's certainly looking that way, and they still end up in last in the Southeast with 57 points, one behind Tampa, who have more or less thrown in the towel...that would put them 6 points behind Washington, 7 points behind Winnipeg, 8 points behind Florida...they still have one game left against Washington, 2 against Tampa...and four games each against Winnipeg and Florida...the only problem is except for Winnipeg, everybody else has at least a game at hand...that race keeps getting tighter and tighter...give the home ice advantage to Winnipeg...gear up for a Southeast showdown...

As for Ottawa, they may now sit 2 points behind Boston again, but the Bruins have four games at hand...the Senators, however, are heating up at the right time...and as we saw last week, the team chasing them, Toronto, has fallen backwards a little bit...

11 games tomorrow night...6 out of 7 Canadian teams in action...including yet another Battle of Alberta...

 

February 18, 2012

1:25 PM: Heading into action for the weekend, big story is the huge 4-2 win by Winnipeg over the defending champions...they may have lost sniper Nik Antropov in the process, but have served notice they are in the race...if any team has a more favorable schedule down the stretch, it's the Jets...14 of their final 22 games will be at home...last night started an 8 game home stand...because they still play in the Southeast Division, they finally get Edmonton on their schedule on Trade Deadline day, Feb 27...last night's win put them 2 points out of 8th in the conference, and if they can't knock Ottawa or Toronto out, they might be able to make some ground in the division - they're only 3 points out of 1st in the Southeast Division...Washington and Florida are separated by 2 points...

With a division so tight, Tampa Bay, seven points behind Washington, has more or less announced they're out of it, and are sellers at the deadline...they already shipped Dominic Moore to San Jose for a draft pick, and they'll be shopping Pavel Kubina to the highest bidder...again...and who knows who else...you telling me the Bolts don't miss Sean Bergenheim?

The other team making ground last night was Colorado...after Wednesday's heartbreaking (and I do mean heartbreaking) OT loss to Toronto, the Edmonton Oilers came out flat against an Avalanche team that they've had a lot of home success against of late...the Avs won 3-1 on the strength of another multi point night from Ryan O'Reilly...Ryan Jones, the only tally for the Oil...Avalanche are now 3 points out of a playoff spot...

As for the game against Toronto - you haven't seen as back and forth a game all season long...the Leafs took a 3-2 lead into the 3rd period, but Jordan Eberle, like he's done many times, found a way to tie it (sooner or later he's going to find a way to win those games)...Dion Phaneuf should probably get Norris trophy consideration on the defensive play he made on Ryan Whitney alone...the Oilers were 3 on 1 in OT...got his stick across at the last second and stole the puck and sent the Leafs on a 3 on 1 of their own...sooner or later, when you're 4 on 4, those advantages are going to work...Joffrey Lupul fed Tim Connolly for a beauty...never EVER thought I'd say that about a Leaf goal...up next Vancouver on Sunday...thank you Mr. Schedule Maker...

And Detroit...they once again continue to roll...they broke, and then extended the home wins record...another highlight reel goal for Pavel Datsyuk against the NY Rangers (Stanley Cup Final preview, anyone?)...the Red Wings will try and extend the streak to 23 Sunday against San Jose...

Getting back to trade deadline for a minute...there were a few minor trades this week, which would indicate the floodgates could start opening...starting in Winnipeg, they got F Maxime Macenauer from Anaheim for F Riley Holzapel...Anaheim got little used F Ryan O'Marra from Edmonton for D Bryan Rodney...Oilers shore up on defensive depth...

Philadelphia, who everybody knows is looking for D, got Niklas Grossman out of Dallas for a 2nd rounder in 2012 and a 3rd rounder in 2013...keep an eye on who Dallas drafts with those...Grossman is no Chris Pronger, but he will help...

I mentioned Dominic Moore to San Jose...a 2012 7th rounder goes along with him...speaking of keeping an eye on who becomes that pick...something tells me the Sharks will pick somebody from the Ottawa 67s...just saying...heading back to Tampa, a 2nd round pick, also in 2012...

The biggest move, so far, however (aside from last month's Cammalleri-Bourque deal that is), has to be yesterday's deal between Nashville and Montreal (and how did Montreal figure out a way to get involved in both?)...D Hal Gill and a 5th round draft pick in 2013, go to the Predators in exchange for F Robert Slaney...a 2nd round draft pick in 2012...and...wait for it...none other than F Blake Geoffrion...now how did I know this kid would end up with the Habs at some point in his career?  It was inevitable...grandfather Boom Boom, wherever he is, is a happy man today...I'll tell you who will be a happier man - Pierre Gauthier, if and when he can ever dump the Scott Gomez contract...Habs are 5 points back...how, I don't know...still way too many teams in front of them, though...

 

February 14, 2012

11:05 AM: Well, first and foremost, a happy Valentine's Day to you and yours...

If you're one of these people (like me) who procrastinates with getting your significant other a little something...if that significant other happens to be a hockey fan - the NHL online store is offering a 14% discount all day today...(shop.canada.nhl.com)...

I don't know why I thought he had already retired, but I guess not officially - Mike Comrie officially signed retirement papers yesterday and his NHL career is over...no doubt his recent hip problems factored heavily into his decision...definitely had a rocky road at times throughout his career, which I'm sure in hindsight the highlight will be the run to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final with the Ottawa Senators...I still remember him driving out of the Ottawa Airport in his Land Rover...high fives all around...I hope anyone that lives in or close to an NHL City gets the opportunity at least once to savour in a conference victory...was the most surreal thing I've ever experienced in all my years in Ottawa...that, and the All Star weekend...

Looks like Andy Sutton will not be a trade deadline acquisition for anybody again this year - the Oilers inked him to a 1 year contract extension yesterday...often in the news for the wrong reasons - watching the games on TV don't do this guy justice...the broadcast follows the puck, but getting a chance to see him play live on Saturday, the man is a rock...definitely a different perspective for sure (although, he was out of postion on the Karlsson goal)...I figure Sutton must really like what he sees in the up and coming youngsters and wants to be around to see where it goes...can't blame him really...

Zac Rinaldo, fined $5000 just last week, got a 2 game suspension for an incident in the Philly-Detroit game...

Speaking of Detroit - they can break the home wins record tonight...an asterisk, possibly, given they did it in the shootout era, but quite frankly, a win is a win...

 

February 11, 2012

10:12 PM: So we started the day celebrating Chris Phillips' 1,000 game milestone...then in Toronto, Mats Sundin's banner went up...and now in Calgary they celebrate a 300 win milestone for goalie Miikka Kiprusoff...both visiting teams won so far...4-3 overtime win for Edmonton...and a 5-0 shutout rout of the Leafs from Carey Price and the Habs...

Must mean the Canucks-Flames will go to a shootout...we'll see...

Still can't figure out why they couldn't have scheduled Winnipeg up against either Phoenix or Colorado...they got to play Pittsburgh...and it was the Evgeni Malkin show again, plus Jordan Staal returned to the lineup...Pens won that one 8-5...now if they could ever get Sid back...yowsa!!

Noticed a trailer for another Don Cherry Movie..."The Wrath Of Grapes - The Don Cherry Story II" (play on movie titles?  "Star Trek, The Wrath of Khan", anyone?)...premieres on CBC March 4...and just like "Keep Your Head Up, Kid", it's a 2 part miniseries...Jared Keeso reprises his role as Don Cherry...even though it took me until last year to actually watch it, I thought the first movie was very well done...

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8:14 PM: Word is just coming down the news wire that another 80s icon is gone...Whitney Houston has apparently left us...they're saying drug overdose, but details are sketchy...she had been in and out of rehab over the last several years...tragic...ironic, actually - I've been converting a bunch of my Uncle's 45s to MP3, and just last week, one of them was "One Moment In Time"...Whitney was only 48...and was supposedly scheduled to attend a Clive Davis celebration tonight...

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8:04 PM: Gotta love Hockey Day In Canada...it's been a long time since I've been to such a lively atmosphere at Scotiabank Place...could have heard a pin drop there the last Sens game I went to last year, I think it was against Pittsburgh or something...amazing what a rebuild and an All Star game will do...

Today a contigent of about 2,000 fans or so from Quebec City made the trip to Ottawa and invaded the 300 level of Scotiabank Place, to hopefully send a message to Gary Bettman that they want their team back...dubbed "Nordique Nation", the group organized by Eric Grenier has already seen games in Long Island and Newark, but arguably their biggest stage yet was this afternoon on national TV, Hockey Day In Canada...the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported 22 busloads were expected, as well as countless others making the five hour drive by car (I thought there were a few more Quebec plates on the 417)...every 16 minutes, the group would count down from 16 to 1 and then stand and cheer - the significance?  This year marks 16 years since the Nordiques moved from Quebec to Colorado to become the Avalanche...gee, has it REALLY been that long?!?  It created quite a bit of a buzz...don't know what there were more of, Oilers fans, or Nordiques fans...oddly enough, somewhere in the crowd I saw a Sharks sweater (probably for Milan Michalek)...

But Oilers fans, myself included, got the last cheer of the day, as Taylor Hall scored on a backhand rebound 17 seconds into overtime to win the game 4-3...Senators came out the gate flying but looked gassed by the end of the game...

 

February 10, 2012

2:06 PM: So yesterday, once again the worst kept secret in hockey was revealed - Detroit is going to host the next Winter Classic...the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will hook up in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the infamous Michigan Stadium - but forget the game and festivities surrounding it - I'm already looking more forward to the next HBO 24-7 series...imagine Brian Burke giving his editorial comments?  Gold...

It seems obvious to me the NHL is looking to once again break the outdoor game attendance record...barring a global weather catastrophe, no question they will...

Wonder how much longer we'll have to wait to see Winnipeg play the next Heritage Classic in the Blue Bombers' stadium...get either Vancouver or Ottawa in there, give another team a chance to play outdoors...of course, Edmonton wouldn't be a bad opponent either...

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11:01 AM: Getting to that time of year where if you blink, you could miss something...

Last night the Ottawa Senators, who seemed like their All Star Hangover might cost them a playoff spot, finally got their first win in about 7 tries, with a 4-3 squeaker against Nashville...Jason Spezza and Chris Phillips both ended point droughts...question now is can they keep it going Saturday afternoon...

But down the highway in Montreal...a hat trick for one Max Pacioretty, and, he shoots, he scores - first time in just over a year for Scott Gomez...how much does he make a year?  That's an EXPENSIVE goal...

Also a big streak for Phoenix of late...4 straight now after last nights OT win...and Winnipeg has served notice they're not going out without a fight...

It's been a great week for the New York-New Jersey rivalry...staged fights or not, it's a vicious rivalry, always has been...

So tomorrow - Hockey Day In Canada...I'll be at Scotiabank Place for the Oilers-Sens game...and I may check in here a couple of times...gonna be a great weekend - the weather is nice (much to the chagrin of Winterlude organizers)...I've almost lost all the snow/ice in my driveway...

 

February 4, 2012

11:14 PM: So after Ty Conklin allowed 3 goals in the 1st period, Joey MacDonald gets the Detroit call for the second period...it's 3-1...only blemish for the Oil was a shorthanded goal against, helped along by a Ryan Whitney skate deflection...this after they killed off a full 2 minute 5 on 3, and a 4 minute double minor...I have a feeling Niklas Kronwall may be getting a phone call from Sheriff Shanahan, though...

Just looked at it...Kovalchuk threw down with Brayden Schenn...

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11:11 PM: Sam Gagner is at it again...3 more points in the first period against Detroit (2G 1A)...that's 11 straight...even HNIC is scrambling to find out if this has happened before...

Meanwhile, back here in Ottawa, the Senators skid continues...tonight a 5-0 loss against their provincial rivals from Toronto...last night a 2-1 overtime loss to the Islanders...6 straight losses...7 if you count the Team Alfredsson loss in the All Star Game...as for the Leafs - 6th career shutout for Jason Reimer, and 2nd in as many games...

And am I reading and hearing this right?  Ilya Kovalchuk got a Gordie Howe hat trick today?  Really?  Kovalchuk got in a fight?!  Devils win 6-4 against Philadelphia, avenging a 4-1 loss against the Flyers last weekend...

 

February 3, 2012

2:26 PM: I knew from the very second it was announced that the All Star Weekend here in Ottawa would be special - but I don't think anybody ever expected the kind of numbers that were released today - the Fan Fair, over three days, attracted 29,289 visitors...there were 5 in my group alone...I'm pretty sure at least 10,000 of these people were at the event on Saturday...

Ratings-wise - it was reported 17.7 million viewers tuned in across North America, while the CBC reported its highest viewer rating ever for an All Star weekend...TSN reported 1.64 million viewers for the Fantasy Draft alone...RDS another 254,000...

Online - NHL.com reported an increase of 600,000 to well over 1 million views of either event (as compared to last year's event in Carolina)...on the mobile platform - not surprisingly, a 48% increase in page views...with more and more people going wireless, they could have probably held the game in Alaska and still enjoyed a mobile increase of that much...

Maybe Ottawa won't have to wait 30 years to host another one...I can only hope because even though I didn't actually get to the rink for the event live, just the buzz it created here was outstanding...like I said last week, it was like Canada Day in the middle of winter...I dare say even Winterlude won't be able to top those numbers...and that's a 17 day long festival (starting today, by the way)!!

As I said - get ready Columbus, but good luck with those numbers...I've never been even to Ohio, but I can't imagine the fans there embracing the event like they did here...especially if the Jackets don't improve in the standings...

A few more tidbits from today...

A small trade today involving the NY Rangers and Minnesota Wild - Rangers send Erik Christensen and a conditional 7th round pick in 2013 to the Wild in exchange for minor league forward Casey Wellman...Christensen, who hasn't played an NHL game since Dec 17 (and if you watched the HBO 24-7 series, you know why!!), may not do much short term to help Minny, but the Rangers shed some cap space, and who knows, may end up giving up a real gem of a player with the 7th rounder...Wellman, for now, will report to the Connecticut Whale...

Ty Conklin will see some action for Detroit for the next couple of weeks or so, as it was announced All Star goalie Jimmy Howard broke a pinkie finger during last night's game in Vancouver...

And he wasn't suspended, but New Jersey Devils' forward Patrik Elias was fined $2500 for an illegal boarding play on Montreal's Mike Blunden in last night's 5-3 Devils' win...the Habs blew a 3-1 lead in that one, as the Devils scored 3 in the 3rd to take the game...Montreal is running out of games...

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10:42 AM: We wake up this morning to see Detroit atop the Western Conference with now a 4 point spread between them and Vancouver...that could have been a 1 point spread had the Canucks been able to win in Regulation...it was probably a miracle they escaped with a point...Mason Raymond tied the game 3-3 late, overtime solved nothing...Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler scored in the shootout, and the Canucks...they did not...Red Wings win 4-3 and are a perfect 6-0 in the shootout this season...

So, as of right now - can we please stop predicting a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final?  Boston, by all accounts, could very well be there (but 7 other teams will have something to say about that) - I can't imagine Vancouver getting there if they put up many more efforts like last night...the Twins, at times, appeared as though they were still in Ottawa looking to set up Daniel Alfredsson...Detroit, on the other hand...they just keep getting it done...

And what is it with Boston and Carolina?  Hurricanes are a perfect 4-0 against the Bruins this season...too bad for them, it seems to be the only team whose number they have...

 

February 2, 2012

12:12 AM: 4 goals...4 assists...Gagner is named 1st, 2nd and 3rd star and ties a franchise points record - only Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey before him had accomplished the feat - Oilers win 8-4...Corey Crawford started the game...Ray Emery finished it...Hawks outshot the Oilers 47-41...Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle both had 1 goal, 3 assists each...that would have been enough to tie the game 4-4...Eberle has 20, Hall has 18...

Daryl Sittler's 10 point record is still safe...for now...

The last time a player had 8 points in a game you may ask?  That was back in, get this...1989 - the year Sam Gagner was born...Mario Lemieux did it...motivation for Sid whenever he gets back...

I think we can safely say who the NHL 1st star of the week is going to be...if he has any more nights like this, you can take his name off the trade block...if he's not already off...

Oilers love playing Chicago...

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11:57 PM: Sam Gagner is having himself a night...hadn't scored in 11 games, had only 2 in 21 games, scored his 6th tonight...and then has scored 3 more and assisted on 3 more...4 goals, 3 assists...what'd this guy hang out with Gretzky over the All-Star Break?!?

Gagner has points on every Oiler goal...it's 7-4...what is it about Chicago?!  Either they get blown out or they blow them out...been that way forever it seems...

If this game was on Sportsnet, somebody would be crossing their fingers right now that Gagner gets a 5th...they have that Million Dollar giveaway if any Oilers player scores 5 goals...unfortunately, this one is on TSN...

Now I know they're 12 points out, and have to leapfrog 6 teams, including their nemesis Minnesota...but the Oilers are getting healthy again...Cam Barker and Ryan Whitney are back...Tom Gilbert and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should be back soon...look out...

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11:17 PM: Been going thru somewhat of an All Star hangover this week, as I'm sure a lot of people in Ottawa have...

So much so, that I didn't even notice that the Calgary Flames had traded Brendan Morrison to Chicago...last Friday, while I was making arrangements for Saturday's Fan Fair, Morrison was sent to Chicago for prospect defenseman Brian Connelly...a little depth, or, perhaps the Hawks didn't expect Jonathan Toews back so soon?

Was a really nice touch by Calgary the other night to honor Brad McCrimmon before taking to the ice against Detroit...McCrimmon, of course, wasn't just a defenseman, but also an assistant coach on both teams...

Even the Ottawa Senators couldn't avenge a Team Chara win in Boston on Tuesday night, they had a 3-1 lead but watched it evaporate...and as if ordered by the Hockey Gods, Dennis Seidenberg shot a puck from centre ice, and scored...the Sens never recovered...Bruins won 4-3...Chara trumped Alfie...again, but this time for 2 points...Sens could have been within 2 points of the Bruins, but now are 6 points behind them...they'll be happy to learn, however, that the Bruins laid an egg tonight against Carolina...3-0, Canes win...

Toronto and Pittsburgh split a home and home with both teams winning at home...

The big story on the ice this week, though, has to be Winnipeg...they appeared out of it about a week before the All Star break, but all of a sudden now after putting together two straight wins in OT against Philadelphia and tonight against Tampa Bay, all of a sudden they're only 4 points back of Toronto for 8th...still plenty of time...wouldn't that add insult to injury?

And controversy in Los Angeles last night, in a game between the Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets...a back and forth affair, tied 2-2 late, Drew Doughty got one by Curtis Sanford, with about 0.4 seconds left...or did he!?  Replays clearly showed the clock delayed for about a half second or longer, meaning the clock would have actually expired as the puck crossed the line...they reviewed it, and the goal stood...but Gary Bettman announced on his NHL Hour show today that the NHL is investigating...hard to predict what might happen there...the Kings play Columbus again on Mar 8...some are suggesting the right thing for the NHL to do would be to allow the two teams to play overtime to decide if L.A. keeps two points, or 1...would be interesting to see...

Speaking of Satellite Radio...Sirius in Canada has quietly turned NHL Home Ice back on - CH 207...don't know how long it will last this time, but my Stiletto now shows a background picture of some arena seats with the NHL Logo...if it wasn't staying put, can't imagine why they'd go thru all the trouble...I dozed off last night to the Anaheim-Dallas game...call me crazy, but even in the HD and 3D age, I still enjoy listening to games on radio...I always have...

Couple of good late games tonight...Detroit is in Vancouver in a battle for tops in the West, and leading 2-1...and Chicago is in Edmonton, and tied 3-3 after 40 minutes...Hawks were up 2-0 in this one...

I'll tell you what - after last weekend, this weekend coming up seems like it will be boring by comparison...looking ahead, we have Hockey Day In Canada on Feb 11...Sens host the Oilers at 2 PM...I'm there...

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