Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trade Deadline Winners/Losers

Even though we didn't see any high-profile names moved, we did see a record number of trades (31) and players involved (55). Let's take a look at some of the teams I feel were winners and losers, based on the moves made today:

WASHINGTON - Winner: I felt the Capitals went out and made moves that could precursor a Stanley Cup championship for them. Acquiring the likes of Scott Walker, a gritty veteran with plenty of playoff experience, and Eric Belanger, a solid two-way center man who will add a bit of offense, will pay dividends for them. Washington lacked experience last year during the playoffs, so combine a year's worth of time with the right player moves and you could see the Capitals hoisting a championship come June.

PHOENIX - Winner: Already turning heads with their surprising play this season, GM Don Maloney was extremely active on this day, acquiring 6 players in an effort to stock-pile his team for a deep playoff run. Wojtek Wolski and Lee Stempniak will provide some offensive depth up front and the re-acquisition of Derek Morris will bring a veteran presence on their blue line and in their locker room.

BOSTON - Loser: Despite acquiring D Dennis Seidenberg from Florida, Boston did not do much else to improve its playoff chances or address their primary need: goal scoring. At the moment, they are tied with the Rangers for the 8th spot in a vacuum tight Eastern Conference. Already plagued by injuries the entire season to forwards Milan Lucic and Marc Savard, the Bruins will have to scratch and claw their way to the playoffs.

LOS ANGELES - Winner: The Kings didn't make a splash today; instead they made some savvy moves that could make them dangerous in the playoffs. Los Angeles followed suit of their Eastern Conference counterparts Pittsburgh and Washington by acquiring a veteran presence for their team in Jeff Halpren from Tampa Bay. The Kings also acquired forward Fredrik Modin from Columbus.

PHILADELPHIA - Loser: Hear me out on this one. Most experts will tell you the Flyers are a dangerous team with young studs Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, Peter Laviolette behind the bench and have arguably one of the best all-around defenseman in the NHL in Chris Pronger. Notice how I didn't mention any goalies? That's because Philadelphia, quite honestly, doesn't have a household name. They are confident in their goalie Michael Leighton and opted to not acquire a goalie for the stretch run. This could prove very costly.

PITTSBURGH - Winner: If you include only today, Pittsburgh did relatively nothing compared to other teams. They didn't have to; they made their key acquisition of Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto the previous night. He joins the list of players that include Bill Guerin, Marian Hossa, and Gary Roberts whom the Penguins have acquired at the trade deadline each of the last 3 seasons to bolster their lineup. Ponikarovsky will add offense to an already potent Pittsburgh team.

MONTREAL - Loser: Like Boston, Montreal did nothing to improve their lineup for the remaining games of the regular season. The Canadiens sit in the 7th spot in the East, yet only 3 points separates them from being out of a playoff spot. They don't expect their best forward Mike Cammaleri back from injury until mid-March and already have forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Beniot Pouliot out as well. However, by mid-March, it might be too little too late for Montreal.

EDMONTON & CAROLINA - Future Winners: Both of these teams had the future in mind today, stock-piling future draft picks in exchange for moveable assets and shed salary in the process. In their re-tooling, the Oilers got back USA Olympian Ryan Whitney, a young, puck-moving defenseman, who can help Edmonton in the long term. As for Carolina, they traded away 6 players for draft picks. Both teams will undergo major overhauls to their rosters over the summer and could possibly see them as playoff contenders, depending on the moves they make, as early as next season.

Teams like Dallas, Chicago, Vancouver, NY Rangers, New Jersey, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay didn't do anything of note to help or hurt their chances on this day. As the adage goes, some of the best trades are ones you do not make. Time will only tell for these teams if that cliché' holds true.

Trade Deadline Day is Upon Us

The busiest day in the NHL is here, the Trade Deadline is at 3 PM EST today. Check out the Neutral Zone's brand new Twitter feed to get all of the rumors, trade, and news we can sniff out.

The biggest move so far today is Phoenix trading their young, discouraged forward Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter to Colorado for Wojtek Wolski.

Some great sites in addition to ours to check out:

The Fourth Period



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Olympic Philibuster: NHL Resumes Season, Rangers Veto Senators 4-1 for 3rd Straight Win

Post-Game Thoughts:
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the Winter Olympics, but I was extremely excited to see the Rangers and the NHL back in action tonight. And this game certainly didn't disappoint any Ranger fans.
  • Michael Del Zotto didn't see the ice tonight as he's still recovering from his 50 stitch laceration. More troubling was Marian Gaborik sitting out with a "lower body" injury suffered during the Olympics.  That is the last thing the Rangers need to hear as their playoff aspirations lie heavily on his shoulders.
  • Newly crowned Olympic Silver Medalist had a game worthy of a gold standard tonight, scoring 2 goals and one of which was worthy of the highlight reels.
  • The Rangers scored 4 unanswered in the 2nd period and 3 came within 3:02
  • Henrik Lundqvist didn't have much work in this game, stopping 24 of 25 shots whith his team around playing solid defense.
  • Nice to see that the Olympic break helped guys like Dubinsky and Avery, who scored in this game. If the Rangers want to go anywhere this season, they're going to need secondary scoring from players like Callahan and Dubinsky.
** Of note, NHL Trade Deadline is tomorrow at 3 PM. We saw Aaron Voros and Envir Lisin put on waivers today, which could be a pre-cursor to a trade. By noon tomorrow we will find out if they have cleared waivers or not.

Next Game: Thursday @ MSG 7:00 PM against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Lisin, Voros Waived, Move Coming?

Via Twitter, Bob McKenzie confirms both forwards Enver Lisin and Aaron Voros were placed on waivers today.

Lisin is an RFA at season's end and Voros has another year at $1 million left. It's not much cap space trying to be cleared, yet its something that should be monitored as it could signal an potential move.

Apologies Aplenty

I realized I started blogging about the Winter Olympics and then stopped right before the actual medal rounds began. Basically, when the good stuff came I was nowhere to be found.

Congratulation to Team Canada on their gold medal and Team USA for their brilliant effort during the entire Olympics. But now, the march starts towards Lord Stanley's coveted challis

The trade deadline in the NHL is tomorrow at 3 pm. Sadly, I'll be in class through most of the day but will try my best to update n the latest trades and rumors throughout the day.

Happy dealing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics - Men's Ice Hockey Pre-Lims

Thursday, February 18th, 2010:
  • U.S.A def. NOR 6-1
  • CAN def. SUI 3-2 in OT (shootout)
  • SLV def. RUS 2-1 in OT (shootout)

Didn't see the USA game, but its nice to see the Rangers' guys contribute with Drury scoring and Callahan assisting in limited ice time. Team USA will go deep if their role-players not only play efficiently but contribute offensively.

What a great game between Canada and Switzerland. Jonas Hiller played the game of his life, stopping 44 SHOTS from some of the best players in the world. Myself, along with many experts, continue to say the Swiss are a dangerous team, and this near upset proves it even more.

Marian Gaborik and the Slovaks were able to pull an upset of their own over team Russia. Slovak goalie Jaroslav Halak (Montreal) played lights out, stoning Ovechkin twice in the shootout en route to their 1st victory in the pre-lims.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics - Men's Ice Hockey Pre-Lims

Wednesday February 17th, 2010:
  • FIN def. BEL 5-1
  • SWE def. GER 2-0
  • CZE def. SLV 3-1

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see much of any of the 3 games played yesterday. Actually, I was prepared tp watch some of the Sweden Germany game, but it was delayed because of a CURLING match that went into extra innings so I was forced to watch. Let me just say this, apparently the U.S. is not clutch when it comes to curling. 2 days in a row the Americans blew a game winning "shot" only to lose.

Finland could be a dark horse in this tournament. They have excellent goaltending, sound 2-way ability, and enough offense to make some noise.

Only 2 goals for Sweden? Impossible. It must have been the Rangers dressed in Sweden's uniforms. I could have sworn I saw Wade Redden out there. In making 21 saves, G Henrik Lundqvist earned his 1st ever Olympic shutout.

The Czech Slovakia game probably had the most juice considering they're "natural rivals." This game also makred the return of Jaromir Jagr to North America, and the surprise of seeing sniper Marian Gaborik in the lineup for Slovakia, thought to be questionable because of a leg injury. Each player scored in the game, with Jagr's being the game-winner.