Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Catching up: December 16th – the Maple Leafs fall to Calgary in overtime 6-5 … December 19th – defenseman Nathan Dempsey was dispatched to St. John’s despite some very solid play in 8 games with the team … the move was made in order to maintain optimum roster flexibility as waivers would have been required in order to return Dempsey to the Rock following 10 NHL starts … rookie Petr Svoboda is recalled in order to fill Dempsey’s spot and produces decidedly mixed results in the ensuing games … December 20th – the Leafs are stoned by Mike Dunham and fall to Nashville at home 3-1 … December 21st – Boston shuts out Toronto 4-0 and only Tie Domi seems concerned … December 23rd – the Leafs provide their fans with the only gift of the Christmas season with a convincing 5-2 victory over the Habs in Montreal … December 26th – rookie goaler Milan Hnilicka backstops the Thrashers to a 5-3 win over Toronto in Atlanta … December 27th – the Maple Leafs send a belated Christmas gift to NHL headquarters at Mario Lemieux’s homecoming party by neglecting to defend against the superstar in any meaningful way as the Pens embarrass Toronto 5-0 … December 28th – Captain Sundin calls for a shake-up of his struggling (I would have used a much saltier word) team as many thousands of Maple Leafs Read more»
Henrik and Daniel Sedin started off the season strong for the Canucks, but their play has really tailed off as of late. It has been said that some of the Canucks players are getting mad at the Sedins for missing checks, not picking up their man, etc. Some conditioning time down in the minors couldn’t hurt. Could it?
Harold Druken has been really playing well for the Canucks. He scored a hat trick earlier in the season in a 6-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. I hope the Canucks hold onto Druken as he could develop into a nice 25 goal, 50 point man in the NHL.
It’s about time that Bryan Allen starts turning his play up a notch. He has been nothing but a bust since being the 4th overall pick in the 1998 Entry Draft. Everyone tagged him as the next Chris Pronger/Derian Hatcher type player, but weird injuries have sidelined him a lot since being drafted. He needs to make a statement soon, or he could be headed out the door if Brian Burke decides to pull the trigger on some sort of blockbuster deal, probably moving Todd Bertuzzi.
Rene Vydareny recently signed a contract, and was assigned to Kansas City of the IHL to get some playing time. He is currently playing for his native land for the World Junior Championships, and there has been wispers that when he returns he will get his chance with the Canucks. If he performs well, he might cause Burke to make a deal and move out someone like Jason Strudwick or Bryan Helmer.
Nathan Smith was recently one of the 1st players cut for the World Junior Championship Canadian team. I’m not too impressed with his developme Read more»
Well, it seems as though the Rangers currently find themselves in the midst of yet another 4 game losing streak this season as they head into Dallas for a game on New Year’s Eve. The Rangers should have won their last 3 games, all losses to Nashville, Carolina and Atlanta. The 2nd year Thrashers destroyed the Rangers last night in every category en route to a 4-1 victory. Mike Richter came back from injured reserve, but he didn’t look any better than what he did a week ago. However, as ironic as it may seem, there is some bright spots currently in Ranger Land and it comes from their prized young prospects, who are currently performing well at the World Junior Championships in Moscow, Russia. Here is some news on how they are doing, and some other transactions that have occured in the last few days.
World Junior Championships
- Jamie Lundmark and team Canada have played 2 games since I last updated. Lundmark scored a goal on a 2-on-1 in Canada’s 2-2 tie with Finland yesterday, and today Lundmark went scoreless in a 3-1 loss to highly touted prospect Ilya Kovalchuk and the mighty Russians. Lundmark currenlty has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) and 2 penalty minutes in 3 games so far. Canada is currently 1-1-1.
The only thing falling faster than the Dow Jones Industrial Average is the attendance level at the Fleet Center; home of the Boston Bruins. Owner Jeremy Jacobs is not pleased that attendance has fallen over 10% since last season, and has submitted his approval for management to make necessary changes to put people back in the seats.
A top on the agenda is the search for a superstar to draw attention. While it’s impossible for Mario Lemieux to trade himself, there has been a rekindled rumor of a possible trade involving the Bruins and the Phoenix Coyotes. Allegedly, the Bruins would receive Massachusetts natives Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk, winger Shane Doan and hold out goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. In exchange, the Coyotes receive center Joe Thornton, winger Sergei Samsonov, goalie Byron Dafoe, and a conditional first round draft pick should Roenick and Tkachuk agree on contract extensions.
The Bruins are fighting for a playoff spot, something they have missed twice in the last four years. It’s evident to the organization that fans are not supporting the team in this rebuilding period, and changes are imminent. The primary focus is to bring in a mix of size, skill, and experience; key ingredients the Bruins are lacking.
“We have some areas of concern,” said Bruins GM Mike O’Connell. “It looks like we need to do something, we‘re looking for help. We have to be more consistent. I don’t know if we have that in our organization.”
This is not the first time Khabibulin and Roenick have been mentioned in trade rumors involving the Bruins thi Read more»