No. 1 Star: John Tavares, New York Islanders

Scored a goal and added an assist for the Isles in a 4-3 downing of the Central Division leading Nashville Predators. Tavares now has points in four of his last five games and nine of his last 11. New York took control of first place in the Metropolitan Division with the victory. He played 20:32 and won 60 percent of his face offs. New York had lost two in a row before the contest. 

No. 2 Star: Mike Smith, Arizona Coyotes

Channeled his inner mid-20s Nikolai Khabibulin (or Darcy Wakaluk) stopping 32 of 34 Vancouver shots on goal including all three Canucks shootout shooters in the Coyotes’ 3-2 retro night win. The victory ended a 10-game losing streak for Arizona. Check out that sweet old school 'Yotes jersey in action. 

No. 3. Star: Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild

Improved to 17-3-1 with Minnesota, stopping 24 of 25 Washington shots on goal in a 2-1 win over the Caps. Seriously, this guy is on fire. He has started 22 straight games for Minnesota. In that stretch he has a 1.62 goals against average and .938 save percentage.

Honorable Mention: Defenseman Nick Leddy scored a goal and added an assist for the Islanders in their win over Nashville … Forwards Craig Smith and Mike Ribeiro each scored for Nashville in the loss … Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov scored a goal and added an assist in a 4-3 shootout win over Dallas … Florida’s Dan Ellis stopped 29 of 32 Dallas shots on goal … Forward Shawn Horcoff scored a goal and added an assist for Dallas … Tampa center Steven Stamkos notched two assists in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs … Tampa defenseman Jason Garrison notched an assist and was a plus-2 and goaltender Ben Bishop picked up his 32nd win of the season … Forwards Richard Panik and David Booth each scored for Toronto …  Forward Jason Pominville scored two goals for Minnesota in its win over Washington … Forward Zach Parise notched two assists for the Wild … Philadelphia defenseman Michael Del Zotto scored a goal and was a plus-3 in a 3-1 win over St. Louis … Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn notched two assists as did teammate Matt Read … Flames goaltender Karri Ramo stopped 34 of 27 Boston shots on goal in a win 4-3 shootout win over the Bruins … Flames defensemen Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman each notched two assists in the win … Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler each scored …  Boston forwards Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand both scored goals for the Bruins … Vancouver forward Radim Vrbata scored a goal in his return to Arizona with the Canucks … Vancouver forward Chris Higgins also scored … Forward Tye McGinn notched a goal for the Coyotes … Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty scored a goal against the Kings in a 4-3 shootout loss … Defenseman Tom Gilbert also scored … Forward Marian Gaborik scored two goals for LA and teammate Jeff Carter scored one. Each scored in the shootout. Gaborik's second goal in regulation tied the game at 3-3 with 45.0 seconds left. 

Did You Know?: Anze Kopitar was 0-for-7 in shootouts in 2014-15 before this winner against the Canadiens?

Dishonorable Mention: The Predators have now lost five straight games … It was goaltender Pekka Rinne’s fourth straight loss … Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen was yanked after allowing three goals on 14 Florida shots on goal … Blues forwards Alex Steen, T.J. Oshie and David Backes were each a minus-3 as was defenseman Alex Pietrangelo ... Washington's Alex Ovechkin missed his first game of the season with a lower body injury. The Caps say he is day-to-day. 

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 6, 2015, 6:44 am

When we thought of players in the NHL with the skill, speed and bravado to attempt the famous Peter Forsberg ‘Stamp’ goal, David Schlemko rated very low on the list … before Thursday night.

Check out this beauty by the Flames defenseman in the eighth round of Calgary’s 4-3 shootout victory over Boston.

Schlemko has just nine goals in 213 games played in his NHL career. The Flames are his third NHL team this season. But if Calgary makes the playoffs by say, one point, the Flames will have to thank Schlemko for this brilliant maneuver. 

Said Schlemko to NHL.com“Maybe it was a little risky if we had to score to tie it, but I thought I might as well go for it.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 6, 2015, 6:10 am

Mike Smith’s sick retro Coyotes goal mask got to meet its maker … well sort of. While the front and sides of Smith’s mask for the Coyotes throwback night had all sorts of cool designs harkening back to the team’s original logo in the desert.

But the best part was the back, which had an painting of Coyotes megafan Alice Cooper. In the above photo, Cooper got to see the mask live and in person.

I don’t know what’s the best part of this? The mask? Cooper? Or the fact that Cooper’s jersey is made by Starter (click it to see a larger image).

This is just horrifying, and incredible at the same time:

 

With the @ArizonaCoyotes to help #MikeSmith scare the puck out of the @VanCanucks with his new mask by @darrigoart! pic.twitter.com/AgGWHwbSQa

— Alice Cooper (@RealAliceCooper) March 6, 2015

Here is a Vine by the Coyotes coming out onto the ice in these unis, which the team wore from 1996-2003. The first 5,000 fans in attendance received Jeremy Roenick bobblehead dolls. 

 For us old timers out there, it’s kind of surreal that these uniforms are considered ‘retro’ or ‘vintage’ in this day and age. But it’s always nice when a team can celebrate its heritage. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 6, 2015, 4:13 am

Tim Peel on the phone with the Toronto situation room on a reviewed goal? Yesssss.

This happened in the Islanders 4-3 win over Nashville on a Predators score Thursday. Check out the goal by Predators forward Mike Ribeiro:

Conclusive? Not quite via video! Here is the explanation from the NHL:

At 10:16 of the third period in the Islanders/Predators game, video review was inconclusive in determining whether the puck was deflected by a high stick before it entered the New York net. Therefore the referee's call on the ice stands - good goal Nashville.

Video review inconclusive so they go with the call on the ice? Sounds like a Peel game. But in all sincerity when you look at it on review, it was very close and hard to tell.

The goal could have meant something. It made the game 3-2 in favor of the Islanders in the third period. Nashville then tied it up before Brock Nelson notched the game-winner at the 13:52 mark of the third. It’s now five straight losses for the Central Division leading Predators, a season-high. And it won’t get any easier for Nashville with a West Coast trip coming up after a Saturday game against Winnipeg.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 6, 2015, 3:44 am

Congratulations Florida Panthers, you have created maybe the best reactionary promotion ever. Well, maybe not that great but it’s still a funny response to that whole backup goalie situation you had going on Tuesday.

From the team’s official website:

 The Florida Panthers announced today the club’s plans for their “Goal of a Lifetime” contest that will give one lucky Panthers' fan the opportunity to sign a one-day amateur try-out and serve as Florida’s back-up practice goalie for a day.

“We are very excited to launch this contest and expect a great turnout for this ultimate fan experience,” said Florida Panthers Executive Chairman Peter Luukko. “This contest provides our hockey community with the opportunity to earn a chance to skate with the Panthers and serve as the team’s back-up practice goalie for a day.”

And goaltending coach Robb Tallas will oversee the tryouts, which hence makes this even better. Tallas was the emergency goaltender who almost had to play Tuesday when Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya were both injured against Toronto. Luongo returned and finished the game. 

Montoya will miss two weeks and Luongo will miss two games and Dan Ellis and Sam Brittain is your current tandem for the Panthers. 

Whoever wins the tryout will then sign a one-day amateur tryout deal with the Panthers. Potential men and women goaltenders (18 years and older) have to submit playing resumes to the Panthers before the tryout.

Well, that’s one way to solve the NHL’s third goaltending problem. Or try to add some goaltending depth in a time of strife for the Panthers. Or just get fans interested in something fun. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 6, 2015, 12:13 am

Remember Nik Antropov? 

Preposterously tall forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets? He’s in the KHL now with Barys Astana, which is in the playoffs vying for the Gagarin Cup, a.k.a. the only trophy in sports named after a Cosmonaut.

In a game on Wednesday against Avangard Omsk, Antropov got into it with Chad Kolarik, whom who may remember from cups of coffee with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Rangers. After a stoppage in play, Antropov stuck his stick in the midsection of Kolarik, who had scored Omsk’s second goal, in a dastardly little move.

Now, it’s entirely possible that he caught Kolarik in the how-do-you-do or exerted more force than it appears he did. But from the angles we see here … it appears Kolarik may have embellished this a little. In the sense that we haven’t seen overacting like that since the last episode of GIRLS.

Then the real fun began, as Omsk’s coach Raimo Summanen, which we believe is Russian for “John Tortorella,” became quite animated with the officials after it became apparent that Antropov would not be penalized but Omsk would receive an interference penalty – taking a player’s stick and waving it at them, indicating they missed the spear.  

But then Summanen has always been, ahem, a fan of the refs:

And …

Oh yeah: Omsk won the game, 4-3. Kolarik was able to recover from that Spear From Hell and played 18:47. 

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 5, 2015, 9:44 pm

The Las Vegas NHL season ticket drive has slowed considerably. But does that mean hockey in Sin City is doomed? Not according to a story by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

The drive started at a brisk pace with 5,000 ticket deposits in two days after it started Feb. 10. Then 13 days later it had reached just under 7,000. It’s now at 7,700 as of last week per the piece and doesn’t involve casino ticket requests.

Said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in the story:

"The numbers that are coming out are ... within very strict parameters," Daly told me Wednesday in Toronto. "When they designed their ticket drive, they did it with our input and basically we told them what we'd like to see is how many local, non-corporate fans they can get to put up real money without a promise of having a NHL team.

"If you look at it through that lens, I think the response has been good. Because if you add to that what they probably have already in corporate and casino commitments, they basically have a full building."

We always knew this wouldn’t be like Winnipeg, which had its deposits in like … two seconds. Las Vegas has a largely transient population, which isn’t completely made up of Canadians.

But this is the first major pro sports league that seems to be seriously considering the market. After the first two days, it appeared getting to 10,000 by March 1 wasn’t impossible.

Per NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the piece, it’s more of a long game with Las Vegas.

"If we're still having this discussion in September and they haven't achieved their objectives, then I think that will speak for itself," said Bettman. "If, in fact, the interest isn't there then he's going to stop pursuing it and that'll be the end of it."

In that case, Vegas has some time. There hasn’t been a true, real, legit deadline that has been announced to reach the 10,000 mark.

And the group, led by Billy Foley, trying to bring the NHL to the city has been aggressive, its marketing campaign including a local television ad that aired during the Super Bowl. Foley is also already making local moves contingent on the NHL coming to Las Vegas.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Even though the NHL Board of Governors has not yet approved a team for Las Vegas, the Foley-led Hockey Vision Las Vegas has agreed to pay $1 per ticket sold in its first year to Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas not-for-profit that helps people with intellectual disabilities.Of course, the deal is contingent on the NHL awarding a franchise to Foley, chairman of Fidelity National Financial, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based mortgage company, and his hockey team partners, the Maloof family of Las Vegas.

Again, clearly Foley wants hockey in Vegas. But does Vegas want hockey? Seems like it’s moving that way regardless of who wants what. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 5, 2015, 9:40 pm

The Battle of Cole Harbour was fought in Denver on Wednesday night, as Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby (a.k.a. the Hockey Prince of Nova Scotia) faced off against Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon (a.k.a. the other guy). 

MacKinnon got the best of him, as the Avs won the game, 3-1, and he scored a goal while Crosby went scoreless.

"Sid was my favorite player growing up and we're buddies, and it's always fun to play against him," MacKinnon told the Denver Post.

(Please wrap your brain around the fact that a star player in the NHL “grew up” watching Sidney Crosby play. Then grab your AARP card and head to Denny’s for the senior citizen discount.)

But when MacKinnon attempted to exchange pleasantries with Sid on the ice, he discovered that Sid wasn’t … pleasant.

From Terry Frei:

"He's a little bit more serious than moist [sic] of the buddies I play against. You usually can talk to your friends, but he's all business on the ice."

(The story read “moist” instead of most, and it’s pretty much the best typo ever. Not that we don’t make them here too. Probably right in this post!)

"I just said, 'Hey,' and he looked at me and ignored me," MacKinnon said. "He's pretty serious, but that's OK. I don't know if he's mad at me or what. I'll have to see."

Sid’s pretty much the most intense guy on the ice at all times, so this is expected. Hopefully MacKinnon doesn’t take it personally. Like when he sees the Cole Harbour town sign with Crosby’s name on it, and then presumably a small Post-It next to it that reads "AND ALSO NATHAN MACKINNON."

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 5, 2015, 8:51 pm

Tuesday’s game for the Florida Panthers brought up a horrifying (or exhilarating) scenario for goaltending coaches in the NHL.

What if both your netminders got hurt, and you have to strap on the pads and play? All of a sudden nostalgia and adrenaline set in. You’re about to go in and re-live your glory years. And the first save you make … you pull a groin, because you’re in your 40s and haven’t tended pro net in years.

Florida’s Robb Tallas almost went through this, before being saved by the injured Roberto Luongo after Al Montoya pulled a groin in relief of Luongo.

The NHL is going to address this ‘third goalie’ problem in its upcoming general manager’s meeting according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston:

Bill Daly figured it was bound to happen eventually.

As unlikely as it seemed when the Florida Panthers lost both of their goalies to injury during Tuesday’s game against Toronto, the NHL’s deputy commissioner revealed Wednesday that the league recently held talks about altering the protocol governing such situations.

Those discussions took place when the general managers met in November. Daly said there’s “no doubt” the topic will be revisited when the GMs gather again in Boca Raton, Fla., later this month.

But this got us thinking. Which goaltending coaches could step in and at least provide some relief for a period or two? 

There actually are a few distinguished former NHL netminders turned goaltending coaches (and a couple of great ones who are with orgs, though not as goaltending coaches) who aren’t too far out of the game.

We listed several below who have NHL experience and may be able to make a few saves to keep their teams in the game, along with honorable mention of goaltending coaches we would like to see play in relief. Apologies for any snubs, but don't look at it as a referendum on your skill. We just haven't seen you play in 20-30 years. 

Patrick Roy, Colorado Avalanche

He’s not a goaltending coach, but if you’re Colorado and both your goalies go down, how do you not put in the arguable GOAT. For him we make an exception. 

Sean Burke, Arizona Coyotes

The 48-year-old Burke has won a total of 324 games and played in 820. He’s somewhat current, his career ending in 2006-07 when he played 23 games with the Kings.

Bill Ranford, Los Angeles Kings

You’re the Kings. You’re in the playoffs. Jonathan Quick goes down. Then Martin Jones gets hurt. Fortunately you have Ranford, a former Conn Smythe Trophy winner. He looked spry playing ‘Action Jim Craig’ in the 2004 film “Miracle.”

Dwayne Roloson, Anaheim Ducks

Roloson was the ageless wonder, seemingly forever. His career ended in 2012, and was an All-Star as recently as 2004 with the Minnesota Wild and led both the Oilers and Lightning deep in the postseason way late in his career. 

Arturs Irbe, Buffalo Sabres

The 48-year-old Irbe last played in the NHL for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2003-04 and played in Europe in 2005-06 and 2006-07. He actually suited up as an emergency replacement earlier this year for Buffalo.

Jimmy Waite, Chicago Blackhawks

Waite, a former first round draft pick, played in Europe as recently as last decade, so you know he can still move. And at 45 he’s not super old.

Roland Melanson, Vancouver Canucks

At 54 years of age, can he still stop a puck? But he's a Stanley Cup champion with the Islanders -- so that's a winner's pedigree. 

Wade Flaherty, Winnipeg Jets

Maybe the 47-year-old Flaherty can rediscover the form that saw him post a 2.35 goals against average and .928 save percentage in 45 games with the Utah Grizzlies in 2001-02. 

Robb Tallas, Florida Panthers

The 42-year-old Tallas was primed and ready Tuesday night when both Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya went down. Maybe the horror of this experience will be enough to shock Tallas, who last played in the NHL in 2000-01, into shape.

Chris Terreri, New Jersey Devils

He basically ranks second in all of New Jersey’s major goaltending categories – behind Martin Brodeur. But if he came back, would he rock the old school Cooper helmet?

Mike Dunham, New York Islanders

He and GM Garth Snow are good friends … and both former NHL goaltenders. Could you imagine if the GM got called in to play goal? Nah, Dunham would probably have to take one for the team.

Mike Bales, Pittsburgh Penguins

A former Ottawa Senators goaltender who played pro for 18 years, Bales could totally pull a Jean-Claude Van Damme a la “Sudden Death.”

Clip contains some strong language 

Corey Schwab, San Jose Sharks

Another former Brodeur backup, but not quite Terreri levels. He once played 40 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Jeff Reese, Philadelphia Flyers

He’s 48 years old and has playoff experience. But his career numbers? A 3.66 goals against average and .879 save percentage. And if that doesn't work there's always GM Ron Hextall. 

HONORABLE MENTION

Jim Corsi, St. Louis Blues

Experience (hasn’t played in the NHL since 1979-80) and age (60) regardless, he would at least think the game from an analytical perspective. Lest we forget Martin Brodeur is sort of part of this organization now.

Mitch Korn, Washington Capitals

Too much talk about being emerg BU. 1st, have to find 12 yr old to borrow gear. 2nd need contacts. 3rd emerg BU means emergency surgery

— Mitch Korn (@mitchkorncaps) March 4, 2015

This would be like seeing Yoda fight the Emperor in "Revenge of the Sith." 

Bob Essensa, Boston Bruins

The 50-year-old Essensa is a true link to the real Winnipeg Jets, where he started 67 games in 1992-93.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 5, 2015, 8:39 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

Enjoying my time in Switzerland with the lads 👊 #IceHockey pic.twitter.com/GhtOakc0zB

— Nathaniel Clyne (@Nathaniel_Clyne) March 5, 2015

• What kind of an effect has Ralph Krueger had on Southampton FC since he became chairman? They’re playing hockey now. Well, OK, just as a team-bonding event in Switzerland. [ProSoccerTalk]

• Led by a Hilary Knight hat trick, the Boston Blades clinched a spot in the CWHL's Clarkson Cup with a 7-3 win over the Toronto Furies. They'll face either the Montreal Stars or Calgary Inferno in the Final. Montreal took Game 1 of the other semifinal series. [CWHL]

• Happy third birthday, You Can Play! [YCP]

• Richard Panik of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been fined $2,000 for diving. [NHL

• Newest Boston Bruins acquisition Brett Connolly will miss up to six weeks after breaking a finger while blocking a shot in practice. [Days of Y’Orr]

• Charles Barkley is rooting for Canada: “I’m pulling for a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup. We need a Canadian team to win the Cup. It would be great for hockey. I know it’s been a long time.” [Sportsnet]

• There’s still lots to discuss before the NHL and NHLPA decide on whether they’re going to the 2018 Olympics. [ESPN.com]

• Good behind-the-scenes read on the personal side of being traded, featuring Jack Hillen and his move to Carolina. [Washington Post

• You know who’s been pretty good the last little while for the Washington Capitals? Brooks Orpik, that’s who. [Japers’ Rink]

• Bryan Bickell makes a lot of money for the Chicago Blackhawks and has won two Stanley Cups. But his biggest honor will come this weekend when he has a hot dog named after him. [DNA Info]

• Examining the teams on the NHL's playoff bubble. [Grantland]

• Diving deeper in Jack Eichel’s numbers with Boston University this season. [College Hockey News

• When post-game celebrations go wrong: A Missouri high school player took a skate blade to the face after his team won the state championship. [Prep Rally

• How have Eastern Conference teams fared on their "California Trip" this season? [The Royal Half]

• “NHL player agents call on CHL to be more generous with players' education packages” [Buzzing the Net

• Three goalies in one hockey game? It's happened before in the NHL. [Greatest Hockey Legends]

• Saint John Sea Dogs equipment manager David Kelly has been with the team for 679 consecutive games. He intends to be there for game 680 despite having surgery Tuesday to remove tumors from his neck. [CTV News]

• Referees are disappearing in Western Pennsylvania. Why? Angry fans, of course. [Tribune-Review]

• Finally, here’s Jordan Leopold’s daughter, Jordyn, talking about her letter that went viral this week:

Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 5, 2015, 7:37 pm

LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn't work, try here.]

It's a Thursday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:

Special Guest Star: NO ONE! Just your boys. 

• The Norris Trophy debate. 

• Life without Luongo. 

• NHL playoff talk. 

Question of the Day: GOING POSTAL! Ask us anything! Email puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarekClick here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!

Click here to download podcasts from the show each day. Subscribe to the podcast viaiTunes or Feedburner.

***

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 5, 2015, 6:58 pm

The Florida Panthers summoned Sam Brittain from ECHL Cincinnati and Dan Ellis from AHL San Antonio on Wednesday in preparation for the news head coach Gerard Gallant delivered after Thursday’s morning skate. 

After getting injured Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Al Montoya will be out at least two weeks with a groin injury, while Roberto Luongo will miss the next two games and then be considered “day-to-day,” according to Gallant, who added he doesn't believe it’s a long-term injury.

“Whew!” said Panthers fans. Luongo has been a game-changer since he arrived back in South Florida a year ago and big part of why they're in contention for a playoff spot this season.

For all the silliness that went down at BB&T Center the other night, it was a big two points lost by the Panthers. With 18 games to go, they trail the Boston Bruins by two points. In Florida’s favor is the fact that the two teams play three times over the final month of the regular season, a great opportunity to gain ground. Not in the Panthers’ favor is that Boston has two games in-hand.

If they can get Luongo back soon rather than later, those games with the Bruins could really swing the race for the Eastern Conference's final wild card spot.

If the goalie injury jinx continues to hit the Panthers, well, then there's always Robb Tallas, right?

“Robbie looks good today," Gallant joked.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

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Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 5, 2015, 5:56 pm

So imagine you’re Henrik Sedin. You’re behind the net Thursday night against the Coyotes on goaltender Mike Smith. You want to make a play … but gaaaaaah. This is staring you in the face:

Photo via http://www.davidarrigo.com

Yup, that’s Coyotes super fan Alice Cooper, who is part of Smith’s Coyotes retro night garb. The game will be played in Glendale, not Milwaukee (for those Wayne’s World fans). 

That’s probably the best part of the mask, which is old school Phoenix Coyote to incredible detail. Here are some other photos that harken back to the Coyotes’ first several years in the desert. Here are some more photos:

Photo via http://www.davidarrigo.com

And

Photo via http://www.davidarrigo.com

Here is Smith talking about the mask. We can also see it in action during a practice:

It’s honestly a very cool looking mask, probably one of the best we’ve seen this year just from a creativity and detail perspective. Good job all around from Smith, and mask designer David Arrigo. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 5, 2015, 5:26 pm

Michal Neuvirth didn’t see the constant parade of star players leaving the Buffalo Sabres as a major problem. He didn’t believe that hearing the names “Jack Eichel” or “Connor McDavid” at every turn was an issue.

Yes, he hated losing with the NHL-worst Sabres, but Neuvirth, the recently traded at the NHL's Monday trade deadline (or escaped, however you look at it) Buffalo goaltender saw the positive in defeat and the overall long-term gain in his career by playing with the Sabres.

“I was facing a lot of shots and a lot of good scoring chances every game,” the newly acquired Islanders goaltender said. “I think it’s going to help me in the long run.”

That’s actually kind of funny. But it’s really no different than some of the comments former Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers made after his first game with Winnipeg. After that contest, Myers said it was relieving to not be hemmed in his own zone for most of the game.

“For myself I was always trying to be positive no matter what and not get too high or too low and just work hard and I always was preparing for the next game,” Neuvrith said. “I wasn’t looking too forward.”

There’s a strange freeing feeling you get from more veteran former Buffalo players after they’re traded away. They understand what the organization was doing – basically tanking to increase the chance of getting the No.1 or No. 2 pick in the draft – but get that they’re not totally part of those plans. And they’re perfectly OK with that.

It’s like general manager Tim Murray gave them a get out of jail free card. Neuvirth is the third former Sabres player who was recently traded I’ve talked with this year.

And he seemed to have the best outlook of them all. He took the bad and turned it into a positive. He didn’t like the losing, but he enjoyed the experience of playing. This is probably because it was the first time in his career where he knew he was the undisputed No. 1, at least for a few weeks. 

“Probably the lowest (moment) was when I didn’t win for a while and had that losing streak for a while. That was really tough,” he said in regards to a 10-game losing streak. 

And after Jhonas Enroth was traded to Dallas, even though Neuvirth went a so-so  3-3-2, he said he enjoyed the opportunity to play every day.

“I played every game and a lot of games in a short time. I was happy I could prove I could play a lot of games in a short time,” he said.

As for all the tanking talk, did that bother Neuvirth? After all winning seemed to be going against organizational orders, even if none of Buffalo’s higher ups admit the tank job. Players aren’t simply wired to lose.

“I didn’t really care about that,” Neuvirth said. “I always want to try to win and give my best effort every time I play and try to win a hockey game.”

And in some ways, the goaltender was rewarded with the trade to the Islanders. He’s not going to be New York’s No. 1 goaltender. But he’s on a contender, and a team that’s built to last. The Islanders have already been where the Sabres are, and they’re not in a position to return any time soon.

“You’re playing at this level and you know the standings. The way the season has gone, he knows what we’re trying to achieve here, and come in and have a general feel for that,” New York captain John Tavares said. “We’re competing for the division and home ice in the playoffs. I think you feel that right away and for him, he’s looking forward to it.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 5, 2015, 5:03 pm

As you know, sportsmanship is the universal language. And there’s no better symbol of sportsmanship than the postgame handshake line in hockey. Ice warriors, putting aside their differences and congratulating each other on a game well-played. So inspiring! 

That is until one player bumps into another, and then another bumps another, and then the wrong thing’s said and all of a sudden the handshake line has descended into a chaotic postgame brawl.

This apparently also applies to … eight year olds?!

A Valentine’s Day game (of course) in Kazan, Russia, ended with players born in 2006 turning going from handshakes to helmet shots, as the game officials tried to restore order.

The coaches finally get involved, some literally tossing eight-year-olds aside, and the brawl dissipates.

All it takes is one Milanov Lucicovich to turn a handshake line into murder alley …

Via Tatpressa

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 5, 2015, 4:34 pm

Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey 'expert' since 2009.

Every fantasy owner's ears perk up when a player that he or she owns is traded. So naturally the NHL's trade deadline day brings a lot of excitement to the fantasy world, more so than the real hockey world. Where else are you going to find people who get worked up over a Brett Connolly deal?

More than any year that I can remember, the trade action wasn't limited to just the one day. There was plenty of action in the days leading up to March 2. Before I get to the traded players who underwent the biggest fantasy value change, here are five players who see little or no change despite the new address.

Jaromir Jagr, Florida Panthers - Jagr was on pace to finish with 41 points with the Devils and he's still going to finish with 41 points despite the trade. His ice time is the same - and so is his age. He's still 42 years old, his production is slowing, and after the initial post-trade adrenalin rush wears off he'll slow again.

Devante Smith-Pelly, Montreal Canadiens - DSP's value rests in his hit count. He is credited with nearly three hits per game and that won't change now that he's a Hab.

Jiri Sekac, Anaheim Ducks - Although he has three points in five games with his new team, Sekac isn't playing on the big line. Nor is he playing on the Ryan Kesler line. His ice time is up by about 30 seconds per game with the Ducks, but in his case that doesn't matter as much. In the 10 games that he's seen 16 minutes of ice time or more, he has three points. While there will be better things ahead for the 22-year-old in future years, as far as 2014-15 goes he's a 25-point player.

Jiri Tlusty, Winnipeg Jets - Tlusty was having a terrible season with Carolina and it was hoped that a change of scenery would help. But not if that change of scenery is going to Winnipeg, where they already have a bunch of 40-point forwards with upside, after the first line. Tlusty will just be another one of the gang, with little opportunity to compliment a start player on the top line.

Drew Stafford, Winnipeg Jets - See Tlusty, Jiri. Same issue here - just another one of the umpteen 40-point players where lines two and three are given the same priority. But at least it's not Buffalo, and that alone will help the ol' plus/minus.

These moves hurt

If you own these players, you may as well drop them…

Erik Cole, Detroit Red Wings - Cole was having a pretty good rebound campaign with Dallas, which is ironic because he played a lot with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn last year …but this season he's not playing with them at all. He just clicks better with Jason Spezza, go figure. In Detroit he's filling in for Johan Franzen, so he'll get the same quality opportunities that he got with Dallas - but it may not work out.

Cody Franson, Nashville Predators - I can't think of a worst team for Franson to go to. What's he going to do, topple Shea Weber or Roman Josi from the power play? If you have him in a keeper league, be thankful that he can get the hell out of there come July 1st.

Andrej Sekera, Los Angeles Kings - Sekera has shown in the past that when given the offensive reins he can produce. The problem is, he's so good defensively that he's generally not given an offense-oriented role unless the team has no other options. Well, the Kings have plenty of other options. There are a dozen other teams out there that could have put Sekera to work as a puck mover.

Antoine Vermette, Chicago Blackhawks - This was probably a foregone conclusion anyway, since Vermette was highly coveted for his defense and for his ability to chip in points from the third line. So we knew that whatever team picked him up would stick him in that role. He left one of the few situations where he could be a first-liner - Arizona.

Yes!

Fantasy owners of these players can celebrate…

Tomas Fleischmann, Anaheim Ducks - Fleischmann hit a wall two years ago with the Panthers. For whatever reason. And we knew he was going to be traded somewhere. But there weren't many teams out there with this kind of need for a scoring line winger and the fit in Anaheim works best. Having a coach already know and respect him is a nice bonus, too. If Flash were to flame out as a Duck, it certainly wouldn't be for lack of an ideal situation.

Brett Connolly, Boston Bruins - Well…fantasy owners aren't celebrating this now, given that Connolly is out until the postseason. But on Deadline Day I felt that this was the most underrated trade of the day. Connolly is a talented offensive forward who sat fourth on the Lightning in goals per 60 minutes. His lack of overall production there wasn't his fault. I mean, what as Coach Jon Cooper to do? Demote Nikita Kucherov? Ondrej Palat? The fact is, other young offensive studs were already filling the key roles perfectly so Connolly didn't have a chance.

James Wisniewski, Anaheim Ducks - Just 14 power-play points this season despite being on the league's eighth-ranked power play in Columbus, he joins the 22nd ranked PP in Anaheim. But there is a better opportunity for him now. The Ducks really need what he brings and they will lean on him heavily, especially while Sami Vatanen is sidelined.

Marek Zidlicky, Detroit Red Wings - Zidlicky leaves a shared PP situation in which the likes of Damon Severson and Eric Gelinas saw a lot of the five-on-four action, to join the No.1 power play in the NHL where just one other defenseman sees PP time (Kronwall). Sure enough, Zidlicky's first goal in his first game was on the power play.

Chris Stewart, Minnesota Wild - The enigmatic Stewart (See? I used that word about a non-Russian player so there) has his good days seasons and bad days seasons, but the best stint of his career was immediately after he was traded to St. Louis. Maybe lightning will strike twice? Can't be worse than staying in Buffalo. So yes, just being traded at all is a good thing for Stewart.

Keith Yandle, New York Rangers - Yandle was a reliable plus/minus guy for four years. But then in his last two seasons he took a beating, posting a minus-55. That's what McHappens when  your McTeam starts McLosing for some reason. He'll always be one of the best options for points for defensemen, but his new team will seriously help his other stats.

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you’re at it, follow Dobber’s fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.

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Author: Dobber Hockey
Posted: March 5, 2015, 3:40 pm

No. 1 Star: Marek Zidlicky, Detroit Red Wings 

The trade deadline acquisition popped the puck over Cam Talbot for a power-play goal just 1:09 into overtime, as the Wings defeated the New York Rangers on RIVALRY NIGHT(!), 3-2.

No. 2 Star: Andrew Hammond, Ottawa Senators

Hammond did it again, making 35 saves in leading the Ottawa Senators to a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. He made 12 saves in the third, when the Sens were outshot 13-3.

No. 3 Star: Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche

The Avs captain scored a goal, his 17th, and had two assists in their 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Honorable Mention: John Gibson made 37 saves in the Anaheim Ducks’ 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Jiri Sekac had an assist on Rickard Rakell’s sixth of the season. … Alex Galchenyuk scored his 19th. … Bobby Ryan scored his 17th and Kyle Turris scored his 16th. … Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal and Sidney Crosby went scoreless in their Cole Harbour showdown. … Evgeni Malkin scored goal No. 27.

Did You Know? Iginla reached the 20-goal mark for the 16th time in his NHL career and tied Bobby Clarke for 43rd place on the all-time list with 1,210 points. (AP)

Dishonorable Mention: Derek Stepan’s holding penalty led to Detroit’s overtime power play. … New Habs Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn were a minus-2. … Dustin Byfuglien left the Jets’ loss with an upper body injury. Paul Maurice gave no update on his health.

 

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 5, 2015, 7:11 am

According to the NHL, the kneeing penalty that got Matt Martin kicked out of the New York Islanders’ game and put Dallas Stars defenseman Trevor Daley out on Tuesday was a bumbling, awkward collision by a player unfortunately trying to complete his check. 

And it’ll cost Martin another game.

From the NHL:

New York Islanders forward Matt Martin has been suspended for one game, without pay, for kneeing Dallas Stars defenseman Trevor Daley during NHL Game No. 948 in Dallas on Tuesday, March 3, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 1:48 of the first period. Martin was assessed a major penalty for kneeing and a game misconduct.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Martin will forfeit $5,376.34. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

After the game, a 3-2 OT win for Dallas, coach Lindy Ruff estimated Daley would be done for “weeks” and called for a ban on Martin.

“That’s a suspension.  It’s another stupid hit that makes you just shake your head.  We’ve already lost our best forward [Seguin] and now we’ve lost probably our best defenseman for a period of time on a play that just wasn’t necessary,” he said. 

Basically, the NHL agreed, although it’s clear that this is one of those “hockey plays gone bad” with the onus on Martin to not have delivered the hit.

There wasn’t necessarily malice there – although that probably won’t mean anything to Stars fans wondering why the loss of Daley only garnered a one-game ban. 

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 5, 2015, 1:46 am

Math is not our strong suit, but the amount of man-games lost for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season has to be in the thousands, right? 

Or so it would seem with this snake-bitten team, which has now seen this season from hell take an new and exciting absurd turn: David Clarkson, the player they acquired in exchange for an injured player, is now himself injured.

(Although we bet his contract is insured.)

From the Jackets:

Columbus Blue Jackets right wing David Clarkson will be sidelined four to six weeks due to a torn oblique muscle suffered in Tuesday night’s game against the Washington Capitals, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.  

Clarkson, 30, collected 14 penalty minutes in three games with the Blue Jackets after being acquired by the club on February 26 from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for right wing Nathan Horton.  He has registered 112 goals and 84 assists for 196 points with 969 penalty minutes in 547 career NHL games, including 10-5-15 and 106 penalty minutes in 61 games this season.

The Blue Jackets return to action on Friday when they visit the New Jersey Devils. 

Well, it could be worse. Clarkson could still be with the Leafs. 

Team president John Davidson said today on the radio that coach Todd Richards and his staff will be back next year. Which seems like the fair thing to do, in the sense that it’ll hopefully be “hockey season” rather than a reality series on the surgery channel. 

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 4, 2015, 9:53 pm

These GoPro camera videos the NHL is producing are quite cool. From Sidney Crosby showing his skills to this new one with P.K. Subban trying all sorts of tricks.

It’s kind of like you’re on the ice with them – though really we're all watching them via internet. Anyway, behold Subban, one of the league’s foremost entertainers, putting on a show for us:

This is all part of GoPro's deal with the NHL, which was announced over All-Star weekend. And at the moment the videos have yet to disappoint ... at all. 

How does this rate against Crosby, the other NHL star who has a GoPro video at the moment? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But to see Subban’s moves, and his rifle of a shot up close is indeed something. The preview shows that there will be many more players doing ridiculous stuff on the ice.   

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 4, 2015, 9:46 pm

Marc Crawford is no stranger to going off on an opposing coach while on his team’s bench. Remember the 1997 Western Conference Final against the Red Wings?

Nearly 20 years later, Crawford still has that edge and the ZSC Lions head coach took out some frustrations on EHC Biel head coach Kevin Schläpfer during a Swiss League playoff game on Saturday.

With Biel holding a 5-0 lead in the third period, things started to bubble over, and a dust-up ensued between Henrik Tallinder and Spylo Ahren. Via Bardown, when Schlapfer said something to Tallinder, Crawford had enough.  

WARNING: VERY NSFW language (unless you have a really cool boss):

"If Schläpfer wants to mess with me, let him. But with a player? That will not do," Crawford said.

"I did not know what Crawford wanted. I've seen that he's jumped up [on] the plexi, and [was] a little frightened," Schläpfer joked afterward, referencing the 1997 incident.

"Those who know me know so that he had a point with Hollywood," he told 20 Minuten.

Just an all-around quality outburst by Crawford. And now Schläpfer will forever will dubbed "Hollywood" wherever he goes. Win-win for the former NHL bench boss.

And speaking of wins, ZSC, who have won two of the last three National League A titles, came back to even the series in Game 2 with a 3-1 victory. 

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

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Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:53 pm

The last time I spoke with Hilary Knight, she was super pissed off.

It was in the media mix zone in Sochi, a year ago. The U.S. women’s team had lost the gold medal in overtime to their arch rivals from Canada.

Knight had been whistled for a controversial penalty on Canadian forward Halyey Wickenheiser that led to Marie-Phillip Poulin’s game-winning power play goal.

I still remember her voice as a mixture of bitterness, disappointment and exhaustion.

“I didn’t touch her. She fell. It was a bogus call. But it doesn’t rely on one call. We had plenty of opportunity,” she said.

She was devastated. But with time comes understanding, and that gold medal game went down as one of the most memorable moments of the Sochi Games.

How many young women playing hockey around the world saw a player or a play and wondered, even for a moment, if that could be them one day?

Knight felt that way watching the U.S. women’s national team, with players like Cammi Granato. They were her role models, and now she’s like to be one to emerging generations of women athletes.

Knight’s joined the #LikeAGirl campaign started by Always at the Super Bowl, starring in a new video that continues to strip away the negative connotation from playing or acting “like a girl” and empower women to confidently overcome those insults.

“Being a female athlete, I’ve always been sensitive to the phrase ‘Like a Girl,’ especially when I was growing up and was told I couldn’t play with the boys,” she said.

Here’s our discussion about the growth of women’s hockey locally and globally:

Knight plays for the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which began its postseason on Wednesday. Knight was named the MVP of the CWHL last season. The playoff games are streaming on the CWHL website.  

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 4, 2015, 8:40 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 9: Teppo Numminen #27 of the Phoenix Coyotes looks on during warm-ups of a hockey game against the Washington Capitals on January 9, 1997 at the USAir Arena in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

• Prepare for this awesomeness to return to the desert Thursday! Coyotes throwback night! [Arizona Coyotes]

• In spite of all the odd stuff that happened with Toronto yesterday the Maple Leafs picked up a victory against the Florida Panthers, and it was a rare road win. [Toronto Sun]

• A lesson in media relations for Toronto’s Phil Kessel. [Globe and Mail]

• Doug Wilson says he will never ask Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau to waive their no-trade clauses. It’s up to them to come to him. [Pro Hockey Talk]

• A tribute for hockey in the great state of Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center. [Duluth News Tribune]

• Believe it or not, the Los Angeles Kings won the NHL’s trading deadline, mostly because they now have a reliable defenseman in Andrej Sekera. [The Pink Puck]

• Ducks forward Tim Jackman is out 4-6 weeks with a leg injury. [LA Times]

• Check out the Clarkson Cup CWHL preview. Who will win? 'The Boston Blade, the Calgary Inferno, the Montreal Stars, and the defending champion Toronto Furies'. [NHL Numbers]

• A detailed look into all stats. Why we delve into them, and their general importance in comparison to say, the eyeball test. [JetsNation]

• The USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program provides a place for soldiers who were wounded in the line of duty to continue to play hockey that provides recreational, therapeutic experience and education. [Pro Hockey News]

•  The Maple Leafs are not raising ticket prices. Team President Brendan Shanahan says rebuild will require patience. [News Talk 610]

• Leon Draisaitl hopes to end his WHL career on a winning note. [Buzzing the Net]

• Mike Green is playing with a stick that was discontinued almost a decade ago. Talk about being superstitious. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

• Dennis Wideman against James Wisniewski in a fantasy cage match. Who wins? [Dobber Hockey]

• What is the Islanders’ most expensive ticket in March? A game against the Rangers, of course. [Islanders Insight]

• The Coyotes do not have a great goal differential per the rest of the NHL since the 2012-13 lockout. [Five for Howling]

•  Shane Doan did not seem super thrilled about the Coyotes’ fire sale. Rebuilding is hard for players like him and a coach like Dave Tippett.  [AZ Central]

• Kings prospect Patrik Bartosak offers advice on how to be a better driver. [Mayors Manor]

• The Penguins need some greater degree of toughness from their trade deadline acquisitions in order to succeed in the postseason. [Tribune-Review]

• Finally, watch Melker Karlsson with this goal from his belly in a win over the Vancouver Canucks:

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 4, 2015, 7:43 pm

LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn't work, try here.]

It's a Wednesday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:

Special Guest Star: George Richards of the Miami Herald gives us the scoop on Rob Tallas, Roberto Luongo and the Panthers. 

• The apology to Lupul and the Phaneufs.

• The Calder race. 

• NHL Playoff races. 

Question of the Day: GOING POSTAL! Ask us anything! Email puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarekClick here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!

Click here to download podcasts from the show each day. Subscribe to the podcast viaiTunes or Feedburner.

***

BUY THE MvsW T-SHIRTS! SUPPORT HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER!

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 4, 2015, 6:55 pm

Hockey is a dangerous game.

We doubt you all need a reminder of that, but sometimes there’s an injury that just leaves you completely stunned and disgusted and stunningly disgusted. 

A Redditor named “Yobay” published a few photos on Wednesday of his hockey injury. It was a knee injury. A pretty bad one.

From Yobay on Reddit:

“[I] was cutting to the net from the boards, defenseman took me out into the goalie, the goalie skate (which has corners) grabbed the side of my knee and the pressure of me falling into him with speed pushed my shin pad up and the skate sliced through.

“Ended with all 3 of us in the net and the net off into the boards. 

“I didn't know it was bad until I was helped off the ice and felt something weird, pulled my sock down and revealed this horror show.” 

We’re not going to publish them here, outside of the edited version up top, because we don’t want you scrolling to something just repulsive by accident. (It’s bad enough we publish Oilers box scores.)

So here is one VERY VERY NOT SAFE FOR WORK AND TOTALLY GROSS image that you CLICK AT YOUR OWN RISK. 

So here is another VERY VERY NOT SAFE FOR WORK AND TOTALLY GROSS image that you CLICK AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Seriously ... the knee cap is under the mess, right? It didn't, like, fall out?

That out of the way, who’s down for a game of shinny? Anyone? Why are you all running away covering your mouths like that?

s/t HockeyWebCast

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 4, 2015, 6:52 pm

The Dallas Stars’ playoff hopes are already slim — nine points out of a wild card spot — and losing one of their top defensemen Tuesday night won’t help matters.

Early in the first period of their 2-1 3-2 overtime win over the New York Islanders Tuesday, Matt Martin collided knee-on-knee with Trevor Daley, sending the Stars blueliner to the ice in pain. 

It was nothing malicious from Martin, as you can see from his immediate response, just clumsy, and unfortunately Daley was on the receiving end. Still, just like players have to be in control of their sticks, Martin needs to be in control of his body if he's going to lay a lick on an opponent.

Daley was done for the game and Martin was given a five-minute major for kneeing and an automatic game misconduct. The NHL announced Wednesday morning that the Islanders forward will have a phone hearing with the Department of Player Safety.

"From my view he was planted, there wasn't intent," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told Arthur Staple of Newsday afterward. "[Martin's] an honest guy, I think people know that." 

Stars coach Lindy Ruff, however, had a different opinion.

From Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:

“That’s a suspension. It’s another stupid hit that makes you just shake your head. We’ve already lost our best forward [Tyler Seguin] and now we’ve lost probably our best defenseman for a period of time on a play that just wasn’t necessary.”

Ruff added that Daley, who is having a career season with 16 goals and 33 points, could be out “weeks,” joining the already-injured Tyler Seguin on IR.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

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Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 4, 2015, 5:34 pm

The earth shook with jaws hitting the ground when it was leaked last month that the NHL was partnering with ESPN for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The same ESPN it spurned twice for media rights deals with Comcast/NBC? The same ESPN that reduced hockey to a footnote in its on-air coverage, especially on SportsCenter and its sports screaming talk shows (FIRST TAKE, AROUND THE HORN)?

Yes, that ESPN.

The same NHL that was so loyal to NBC that it entered into an exclusive 10-year deal rather than placing hockey on multiple networks?

Yes, that NHL.

“We’re thrilled to be back with the NHL in the United States,” said ESPN President John Skipper. ”The place is electric with excitement about getting back into hockey. We have a lot of hockey fans here.”

ESPN and Sportsnet were awarded the exclusive rights to the World Cup of Hockey, scheduled for Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto in 2016. The eight-team tournament – representing six nations, with a European all-star team and a North American Young Stars team – will conclude with a best of three final round for the Cup.

The partnership with Sportsnet was expected. The NHL had just ended a contentious bidding war between Rogers (Sportsnet) and Bell (TSN) in Canada, with Sportsnet winning the national rights package for the next 12 years.

According to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, both networks had a chance to present their bids for the tournament. “I would describe the negotations as competitive,” said Bettman.

Contrary to reports, Sportsnet did not have a “right to match,” according to Bettman.

“I was gratified and pleased that we had the level of interest from both networks there,” said NHLPA chief Donald Fehr. “But you can only have one.”

As expected as the Sportsnet rights win was – and there was zero chance the NHL would going to turn its back on its new dance partner for their arch rival, TSN – the ESPN decision was just as unexpected.

So why go back to the World Wide Leader?

Bettman said the primary motivator was ESPN’s ability to schedule the event. He said NBC had scheduling conflicts during the tournament, while ESPN had the network space available.

“NBC was involved in process but it became clear that, among other things, they had scheduling issues. It made the most sense to be partnering in this regard with ESPN. We couldn’t be more delighted about having them involved,” said Bettman.

NBC released the following statement: 

“As the home of hockey in the U.S., which includes rights to the NHL through 2021, the World Championships through 2017 and the Winter Olympics through 2030, we were interested in working with our partners again, but this event proved challenging due to programming commitments.”

Among NBC's scheduling commitments at that time are the Ryder Cup, NASCAR, F1, Notre Dame Football and the Paralympics. 

That said, the NHL going from NBC, which has given hockey the most airtime it’s ever received on cable, to ESPN, which has given hockey about as much attention as televised badminton since they lost the rights, must have stung Comcast a little, right?

“We have a terrific relationship with NBC Sports. We love the way they cover our game and they way they treated us,” said Bettman. “We have continued to maintain an excellent relationship with NBC. There are no points of friction or hard feelings. This is going to be an opportunity to promote into our season on NBC.”

Skipper said ESPN’s job is to “hand over a tremendous amount of interest” into the NHL season.

But what about ESPN’s interest after the World Cup? It’s been documented how little time is devoted to the NHL on SportsCenter. It’s also been rumored that the NHL’s deal with ESPN came with some coverage contingencies, i.e. better placement of highlights on SportsCenter.

“I’m not so sure – with my tongue in my cheek – that I’ve noticed much of a difference in their SportsCenter coverage when we were with them and after,” quipped Bettman.

“We kind of view this as an opportunity to rekindle the SportsCenter interest,” he said. “To the extent that the people on SportsCenter are more focused on hockey in September, maybe that carries over to the regular season.”

Yeah, maybe.

As we said previously: The NHL is in great shape in the U.S. thanks to various factors, one of them being NBC. It doesn’t need ESPN as it once did, but the World Cup of Hockey does need ESPN, in order to feel like a global event and feel like something different than the near-monthly “special events” on NBC.

Contrary to what many in the NHL’s Board of Governors and some agents believe, leaving ESPN wasn’t a mistake for the NHL. Failing to maximize the NHL’s potential on U.S. cable television – with a multi-network, multi-rights holder deal – when it re-upped with NBC might have been.

If it was a mistake, Bettman’s deal with ESPN takes a stride to correct it.

“If you look around the US broadcasting landscape, the three majors are on multiple platforms to begin with,” he said. “This isn’t revolutionary.”

Well, outside of the idea that the NHL and ESPN are partners again. 

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 4, 2015, 5:16 pm

Mike Ribeiro has gone to great lengths this year to change his image. He asked Nashville to sign him and bought a home in the city in order to escape the fishbowl atmosphere of other markets. Has openly discussed his past, likely as a therapeutic measure. But sometimes the past catches up in some way shape or form. 

According to a TMZ report, Ribeiro’s former nanny is suing the Nashville center and his wife for more than $1 million for an incident that happened in 2012.

This is from the report:

Ribeiro's accuser doesn't go into detail about the alleged incident ... only claiming she suffered unspecified injuries at the hands of the 35-year-old All-Star. 

The woman also claims ... after the alleged incident, Mike's wife verbally attacked her.

That does not sound all too great for Ribeiro, who is having a renaissance year with Nashville at age 35 with 52 points in 64 games. He has, at least publicly, walked the straight and narrow off the ice, after Coyotes general manager Don Maloney trashed the center for behavioral issues after a buyout last summer from Arizona.

Per Ribeiro’s lawyer to TMZ:

"My clients strongly deny these allegations."

"We will defend the lawsuit fully. We anticipate the true facts will come out in due course." 

The report does not indicate whether Ribeiro was then a member of the Dallas Stars or Washington Capitals. 

Regardless of the claims, and countermeasures and who is telling the truth and who isn’t, this is not exactly the type of healthy distraction that helps a team or a player. When Nashville signed Ribeiro, it knew he had a bit of a history, one that hasn't been fully told in detail often, but one he said he had come to grips with.

From USA Today the day he signed a one-year $1.05 million deal over the summer:

"My wife and I still go to therapy, and couples therapy. What couples do to get healthy, I'm doing it," Ribeiro said. "The main thing is to keep my children happy. For years I've been talking the talk, but children learn by seeing action and doing what you do. And that's what I do every day, to be a better dad and a better person, a better husband."

And now we wait for the facts to play out. 

- - - - - - -

Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 4, 2015, 4:26 pm

(Ed. Note: This is an edition of GRANDSTANDING, the Yahoo Sports podcast featuring columnists Jay Busbee and Kevin Kaduk. Subscribe to Grandstanding via iTunes right here, or via other podcast feeds right here. Thanks for checking it out!)

We've got a fine podcast for you today, folks. Well, it's not so much us as it is Jeremy Roenick. He's good.

In a conversation with Yahoo Sports' Jay Busbee and Kevin Kaduk, Roenick took time to discuss matters both on and off the ice. Primarily, he's pretty ticked off at the negative impact that social media has had on the game of hockey, specifically the rumors surrounding his former teammate and current Blackhawk Patrick Sharp.

"Social media would have ruined my social life," Roenick says. "It gives a platform for gutless meager individuals to be mean people and say things to hurt people without repercussions or accountability ... If you know Patrick like I do, he's a very upstanding man, he's one of the more respectful people I've ever been around or played with or been friends with. To have rumors going around about him is just ridiculous." 

Roenick also discussed more sports-angled matters with us, including:

• Why he now hates to skate (2:00 mark)

• How he knew it was time to retire (4:01 mark)

• His thoughts on trade deadline winners and whether any team in the East can challenge the stalwarts of the Western Conference (7:25 mark)

• The social media business starts up at the 9:51 mark, and you don't want to miss it.

Roenick's also repping Kraft's "Hockeyville USA" program, which is helping bring some extra coin to rinks across the United States. Check 'em out for how you can enter your own hometown rink in the contest.

This podcast is part of Yahoo Sports' new ongoing Grandstanding series, in which Jay Busbee and Kevin Kaduk kick around every topic in sports. Find us on Twitter (@kevinkaduk and @jaybusbee) Facebook (Kaduk here, Busbee here) or via the hashtag #grandstanding.

Subscribe to Grandstanding via iTunes right here, or via other podcast feeds right here. Thanks for checking it out!

____
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter.

Follow @jaybusbee

And keep up with Jay over on Facebook, too.

Author: Jay Busbee
Posted: March 4, 2015, 4:07 pm

42. Michael Sgarbossa to Anaheim for Mat Clark

Literally who cares about this trade at all? The Sgarbossa and Clark families, and that's got to be about it.

41. Jordan Leopold to Minnesota for Justin Falk and a 5th

Just the fact that this is what facilitated that cloying letter from Leopold's daughter getting out to the public makes me furious that it happened. Yuck.

40. Sven Baertschi to Vancouver for a 2nd

This is classic Flames asset management. Baertschi was a first-round pick, and highly regarded prospect out of junior, with stats that suggested he might have been a value pick even a few spots higher. So the Flames of course rushed him up to the NHL too early and put a lot of pressure on him. He struggled a little bit, so Brian Burke ripped him in the media, and they've spent the last two seasons sending him and up down regardless of his actual performance, and then trade him to a division rival for a second-round pick.

Wouldn't be surprised at all to see him become a very useful second-line wing in Vancouver.

39. Adam Cracknell to St. Louis for future considerations

You never know, that future consideration could end up being Ryan Johansen!!!

38. Jared Knight to Minnesota for Zack Phillips

Phillips kind of flamed out for Minnesota after being a first-round pick, so this is one of those “hopefully a change of scenery does him good” deals. Low risk for the Bruins.

37. Tim Gleason to Washington for Jack Hillen and a 4th

Why would either team want either of these players? At least Carolina got a fourth-round pick out of the deal.

36. Ben Smith and a conditional 7th to San Jose for Andrew Desjardins

I don't know why anyone would want Ben Smith, but then again I don't know why the Sharks would want John Scott and Scott Hannan and all these other bums they've acquired in the last year. But yeah Joe Thornton isn't leader-y enough.

35. Freddie Hamilton to Colorado for Karl Stollery

Another who-cares move. Karl Stollery was a good college hockey defenseman and thus ends up knowledge of this trade.

34. TJ Brennan to Toronto for Spencer Abbott

Another minor-league deal, and hey, there's another college hockey guy. Spencer Abbott is, of course, better known as “That guy who played with Brian Flynn at Maine.”

33. Marek Zidlicky to Detroit for a 3rd

Detroit's fascination with acquiring a right-shooting defenseman apparently led them to this decision and I guess I get it but Marek Zidlicky isn't good enough to be useful to the Devils without getting a lot of sheltered minutes. Red flags all over the place, but low-risk for the Wings.

32. Cory Conacher to Vancouver for Dustin Jeffrey

Man, remember when everyone thought Cory Conacher was good? Tampa to Ottawa to Buffalo to the Island to Vancouver since 2012-13. In the two seasons since, he still hasn't scored as many goals as he did in 47 his rookie year.

31. Ben Lovejoy to Pittsburgh for Simon Despres

I understand that the Penguins are familiar with Ben Lovejoy and they wanted to shore up the bottom of their defense, but isn't Simon Despres — who's 23 and projects pretty well even now — a better option? Lovejoy starts in his own zone more, sure, but the Ducks went out and got defense but considered him expendable. Have you seen the Ducks' defense? Good gamble here for Anaheim.

30. David Leggio to Arizona for Mark Louis

Leggio is 30 already, and he's having an abysmal season in the AHL. I don't know why you trade for him, because you can get an .866 AHL goalie literally anywhere there's ice, but it's not like he's going to get a shot in the bigs so who cares? Hell, the way Arizona's going, an .866 AHL goalie might be just what they want in Glendale.

29. Devante Smith-Pelly to Montreal for Jiri Sekac

It's another one of those “change of scenery” moves, and it's a good one from Marc Bergevin. Smith-Pelly has a lot of upside (in theory), and Sekac was an asset he got for nothing this summer. Even if Sekac has been semi-useful, this is a bet you make when you have the kind of playoff assurances Montreal does.

28. Erik Cole and a 3rd to Detroit for Mattias Backman, Mattas Janmark, and a 2nd

What was Cole, like the ninth-best forward on a Stars team that isn't going to make the playoffs? Getting two prospects and a second for Cole and a third makes a lot of sense for Jim Nill, who probably has a lot of familiarity with the quality of the players he acquired from Ken Holland.

27. Chris Stewart to Minnesota for a 2nd

Well, getting Chris Stewart off your team is a nice move for anyone. Chris Stewart isn't good. That Buffalo ransomed him for a second-round pick is nice and helpful. But here's the thing: Tim Murray dramatically overestimated Stewart's market value and as a result settled for less at the deadline than he was reportedly offered in the run-up to it. It happens, bud.

26. James Sheppard to New York for a 4th

Getting a half-decent NHL forward for basically nothing was a good move on a day full of them by Glen Sather.

25. Korbinian Holzer to Anaheim for Eric Brewer and a 5th

Dave Nonis continued to work his magic, somehow, and got someone to take Korbinian Holzer off his hands. Brewer has played 26 games this year and only nine with Anaheim. Wanna bet he even gets that many with the Leafs?

24. Brian Flynn to Montreal for a 5th

Another strong tank move from Murray. Flynn is okay, with a positive relative corsi, dismal zone starts, and work against Buffalo's top competition. Having him off the roster helps the team be worse.

23. Torrey Mitchell to Montreal for Jack Nevins and a 7th

See No. 24. Buffalo's top four scorers at 5-on-5 this season are no longer with the club.

22. Max Talbot and Paul Carey to Boston for Jordan Caron and a 6th

Well this is a move I don't get for the Bruins. Sure, Caron didn't figure into their plans, and Max Talbot had 50 percent of his salary retained. But is Max Talbot what the Bruins need? He sure isn't, because he's not a Dennis Seidenberg trade.

21. James Wisniewski and a 3rd to Anaheim for Rene Bourque, William Karlsson, and a 2nd

Of all the people to scapegoat on the Blue Jackets defense, I can't see where James Wisniewski is one of them. And then taking on that Rene Bourque contract, which has another season left on it? At least they got a second-round pick out of it, I suppose.

20. Ian Cole to Pittsburgh for Rob Bortuzzo and a 7th

This was actually a good move for the Penguins as they tried to shore up that defense. Cole plays bottom-pairing minutes but gets decently tough zone starts and does well. Bortuzzo plays middle-pair minutes — when he plays at all — and needs favorable zone starts, and still gets buried. On the balance, the Pens getting Cole and Lovejoy gives them some pretty good options at the end of the bench and costs them a guy they've given up on and a guy who's not good. (Not that it was what they needed or anything, but they upgraded the blue line.)

19. Michal Neuvirth to Long Island for Chad Johnson and a 3rd

This is the mega-tank mode move for all to fear. Tim Murray's goaltenders for the foreseeable future are Anders Lindback and Chad Johnson. Meanwhile Garth Snow gets a very serious backup in Michal Neuvirth for basically nothing. Great move for both teams, given what they're going for.

18. Tomas Fleischmann to Anaheim for Dany Heatley and a 3rd

Fleischmann is okay but not-having Heatley is great. Solid swap for Bob Murray. Meanwhile, the Panthers are that much closer to winning the 2006-07 Stanley Cup.

17. Olli Jokinen to St. Louis for Joakim Lindstrom and a conditional 6th

Toronto got someone to take Olli Jokinen. What a world. Huge win for Nonis.

Mar 2, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Antoine Vermette (80) during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center. (Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)

16. Antoine Vermette to Chicago for a 1st and Klas Dahlbeck

I said it on Monday morning but even if Vermette doesn't work out, this basically doesn't cost the Blackhawks anything they had an actual need of. And Vermette will probably work out okay if they use him properly.

15. Jiri Tlusty to Winnipeg for a 3rd and conditional 6th

I'm always going to be in favor of getting a useful NHLer, which is what Tlusty is, for middle-round picks. Real nice little move by Kevin Cheveldayoff, but it wasn't his best of the day.

14. Jaromir Jagr to Florida for a 2nd and conditional 3rd

There's no reason at all for Florida to acquire Jagr because they're not going to make the playoffs, but Jagr is awesome and having him around must be awesome. Hope he plays for all 30 teams before he's done. He'll only need to play 11 more seasons in which he plays for two teams apiece. I can see it happening.

13. Sean Bergenheim and a 7th to Minnesota for a 3rd

Speaking of useful NHLers for mid-round picks, Bergenheim is probably a little better — if unluckier — than Tlusty, so the fact that the Wild got him for very little indeed strikes me as a win. Minnesota really upgraded their forward depth this week.

12. Braydon Coburn to Tampa for Radko Gudas, and 1st and a 3rd

Coburn, despite the protestations of Flyers fans, is actually good. They'll tell you he's not but they also generally think Nick Schultz is, so there ya go. Tampa gives up a first here, but who cares because they have a dozen future stars under the age of 25, and also offload Radko Gudas, who is not good. Coburn helps them a lot.

11. Daniel Winnik to Pittsburgh for a 2nd, a 4th, and Zach Sill

The Pens probably needed to make another trade or two like this, and they did give up three assets for a rental, but they're going to miss maybe one of those assets at most. I think Rutherford did very well here, and had a good couple of days ahead of the deadline overall.

10. Kimmo Timonen to Chicago for a 2nd and a conditional 4th

This could be a game-changer for Chicago. We have no idea what Timonen is at this point, given how much time he's missed, but the gamble isn't a bad one at all. Timonen, when he's at 100 percent, is an excellent defenseman, and they'd be using him in a mop-up role. That's luxury right there. Costs them nothing, really.

9. Brett Connolly to Boston for two 2nds

Boston should have been a little more worried about offloading bad contracts than getting players they don't need, but as “players they don't need” go, Connolly's a reasonable gamble as well. He's a very young winger and a high first-round pick who — say it with me — might just need a change of scenery. The Bruins' wing depth isn't what Tampa's is, and he might flourish with more minutes. Or not. Definitely worth the risk, even if he's not, say, a middle-pairing defenseman.

8. Tyler Kennedy to Long Island for a conditional 3rd

Kennedy is an extremely sneaky-good pickup for the Islanders. Among Sharks forwards with at least 200 minutes at 5-on-5 — he has just 25 games played this year — his goals per 60 minutes is tied for third on the team with Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture. Not bad company. His assists per 60 is also third. And his CF% is 54.5. Sure he plays soft minutes, but if you have a player doing that in your bottom six, that is extremely useful. Garth Snow speed-bagged San Jose here.

7. Curtis Glencross to Washington for a 2nd and a 3rd

A 32-year-old wing who doesn't fit into your plans for a rebuild, and who's only marginally effective, and is almost certainly going to be leaving this summer for two assets of any kind is a good one. Not sure why Washington cared so much.

6. Zbynek Michalek and a conditional 3rd to St. Louis for Maxim Letunov

Michalek as a third-pairing defenseman (once Kevin Shattenkirk comes back) doesn't seem fair, but here we are.

5. Jeff Petry to Montreal for a 2nd and a conditional 5th

How is this all Edmonton got for him? It's an expiring contract, yeah, but the seeds for this trade were sown months and months ago. He's been mishandled for years, and isn't it weird how he's been mishandled for years, and isn't it weird how that made him not want to re-sign with the Oilers?

4. Keith Yandle, Chris Summers, and a 4th to New York for Anthony Duclair, John Moore, a 1st and a 2nd

It's a hefty price to pay, no doubt about that, but having Keith Yandle as a defenseman for $2.625 million — retained salary is fun — sure is nice. Meanwhile, the Coyotes get better at some point around 2018 and make a serious run at Auston Matthews next season. Buffalo probably has them outgunned for that one too, but you never know with the lottery.

3. Lee Stempniak to Winnipeg for Carl Klingberg

Klingberg recently passed through waivers without being claimed. Stempniak is decent. The Jets did a real good job adding to their bottom-six forwards this week.

2. Andrej Sekera to Los Angeles for a 1st and Roland McKeown

Another thing I wrote about on Monday, but here it is again: The Kings got a guy who was a solid No. 1 defenseman, albeit on a bad team, for next to nothing by their reckoning. Hate to be anyone going up against that defense in the playoffs.

1. Nathan Horton to Toronto for David Clarkson

I get it from both sides but this trade is an absolute shock and I still cannot believe it happened. The salary structure for the Blue Jackets has to be the weirdest in the league; a list of players making more than $4 million for them includes Sergei Bobrovsky, Scott Hartnell, Fedor Tyutin, Jack Johnson, Brandon Dubinsky, and now Clarkson. But they made Ryan Johansen beg for $4 million a season. Doesn't make any damn sense given the fact that they're never going to spend close to the cap. This is how you allocate your money? Toronto has its own payroll problems but good lord, at least they're mis-spending to the cap, rather than mis-spending to some arbitrary, low number.

(Not ranked this week: Llamas.

It's a good thing no one goes back and re-watches trade deadline coverage years from now, because that joke didn't age well from last week.)

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Author: Ryan Lambert
Posted: March 4, 2015, 2:58 pm

No. 1 Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

The rookie netminder made 28 saves and recorded his first NHL shutout as the Lightning blanked the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. Steven Stamkos scored his 36th of the year as Tampa won for the 13th time in their last 15 games at Amalie Arena. 

No. 2 Stars: Trevor Lewis / Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

The Kings forwards each had a goal and two assists as LA beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 to snap a three-game losing streak. LA has won seven of their last eight meetings against Edmonton and since 2008 are undefeated on the road in regulation against them. Lewis and Kopitar ended up connecting on two goals, like this one to give LA a 2-0 lead:

No. 3 Star: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals 

Ovechkin continued his march toward another Rocket Richard Trophy with a pair of goals as the Washington Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3. Nick Backstrom and Jason Chimera each recorded a pair of assists. Joel Ward reached the 500-game plateau.

Honorable Mention: The New Jersey Devils scored twice in the game’s opening four minutes en route to a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators. Cory Schneider made 33 stops as the Devils won for the sixth time in eight games. Mike Cammalleri scored an empty-netter to give him 9 points in his last seven games … Predators forward Matt Cullen played in his 1,200th NHL game … Jiri Hudler scored 1:21 into overtime to help give the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers:

Scott Hartnell of the Blue Jackets scored twice and added an assist in the loss … Nazem Kadri and Peter Holland scored five minutes apart early in the third period to help give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. The game featured a wacky third period that saw Al Montoya, who replaced an injured Roberto Luongo after the first period, get injured himself and force the Panthers to scramble for a solution. After a delay, and Florida contemplating the possibility of suiting up Derek McKenzie or Scottie Upshall, Montoya returned briefly before Luongo regained the crease. It was so wild that goaltending coach Robb Tallas suited up, just in case … Matt Dumba scored twice in the second period and Charlie Coyle put home the winner in the shootout as Minnesota Wild edged the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Devan Dubnyk made 31 saves in regulation and overtime and two big ones in the shootout … Cody Eakin’s goal 2:18 into overtime gave the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. Anders Lee forced the extra period after his shot deflected off Jordie Benn’s skate with 1.1 seconds left in the third period. Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves and won for the first time in four starts … Jakob Silfverberg scored a goal and assisted on two others as the Anaheim Ducks downed the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. Andrew Cogliano added a pair of goals and Frederik Andersen made 29 saves in his first start since Feb. 8. Ryan Kesler opened the scoring with a beautiful individual effort while shorthanded:

Matt Nieto scored twice and helped the San Jose Sharks to a 6-2 rout of the Vancouver Canucks. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau each added two assists and Antti Niemi made 26 saves for his first win in four starts ... In a losing effort, Henrik Sedin scored twice for the Canucks and became the fourth Swedish-born NHL player to reach 900 career points:

Did You Know? “Darryl Sutter coached his 1,102th game, tying Billy Reay for 16th overall in NHL history.” (AP)

Dishonorable Mention: Nashville dropped their fourth straight, a season high … The Flyers thought they had tied the game on a Nick Schultz goal but the officials huddled and ruled the defenseman made incidental contact with Karri Ramo before the puck crossed the line:

The Blue Jackets have now lost seven in a row … Matt Martin was give a five-minute major and automatic game misconduct for kneeing Trevor Daley in the first period:

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Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 4, 2015, 5:49 am

If you didn’t watch the Florida Panthers-Toronto Maple Leafs game Tuesday night, you missed one of the oddest third periods in recent memory. 

Roberto Luongo started for the Panthers but didn’t return after the first intermission after taking a shot to the shoulder/neck area. Al Montoya came on in relief, but then injured himself during a Toronto goal early in the third period. With Luongo still in the dressing room, Florida faced an interesting predicament: who would play goal?

Officials halted the game as the Panthers attempted to figure out what to do. Scottie Upshall and Derek McKenzie ran back to the dressing room with everyone believing one of them would suit up. It turned out, they weren’t needed, as Montoya would re-enter the game, but it was obvious he was hurting.

With Montoya back, the Panthers still wanted to have some insurance in case another change was needed, so they called upon 41-year old goaltending coach Robb Tallas, who last played in the NHL in 2001 and retired from the game in 2005 after spending some time in Europe. 

The Panthers actually needed NHL approval to dress Tallas, as per Rule 5.3

"In regular League and Playoff games, if both listed goalkeepers are incapacitated, that team shall be entitled to dress and play any available goalkeeper who is eligible. This goalkeeper is eligible to sit on the player’s bench, in uniform. In the event that the two regular goalkeepers are injured or incapacitated in quick succession, the third goalkeeper shall be provided with a reasonable amount of time to get dressed, in addition to a two-minute warm-up."

 In this situation, the League approved Florida's request to dress goaltending coach Robb Tallas.

"We were really concerned, playing a good game and lose both goalies boom, boom,'' said Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant, via the Miami Herald. "There was a lot of confusion going on."

But the fun didn't stop there. After Montoya's allowed Toronto's go-ahead goal, Luongo appeared from the dressing room in his gear and took over for the final 9:08 of the 3-2 defeat. (Luongo, by the way, stopped all 19 shots he faced during the game.)

This wasn’t the first time the Panthers needed Tallas’ help. In March 2013, with starter Jose Theodore injured, the team called up Jacob Markstrom from their AHL affiliate in San Antonio. Thanks to United Airlines the netminder’s gear was lost, so he arrived to the rink empty-handed. Scott Clemmenson would play the entire game — a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes — and Tallas would participate in warmups and watch from the bench. Oddly enough, that also occurred on a March 3rd.

Next March 3rd I will be nowhere near a hockey rink #coincidence

— Robb Tallas (@robbtallas) March 4, 2015

After Tuesday's game, Montoya and Luongo weren't available to the media as they were receiving medical treatment. Panthers GM Dale Tallon said that Montoya's injury was serious enough that the team will be recalling a netminder from the AHL.

The Panthers missed out on a big two points with the loss. They remain two points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, with the Bruins owning two games in-hand.

- - - - - - -

Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

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Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 4, 2015, 4:17 am

Joffrey Lupul and Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Phaneuf's wife actress Elisha Cuthbert, have threatened legal action against TSN after the network published a tweet on-air during its Monday NHL trade deadline coverage that joked about an affair between Lupul and Cuthbert. 

The network issued an on-air apology to them on Tuesday night during SportsCentre and the Leafs' game at the Florida Panthers. Delivered by lead anchor James Duthie, who hosted the TradeCentre broadcast, it read: 

"Yesterday when TSN was reporting on the NHL trade deadline it displayed a scrolling ticker of tweets from the public.
"In spite of TSN's protocols to prevent unfounded and inappropriate tweets from making it to air, a false, and inappropriate tweet was allowed to run.
"There was no basis for the false allegation made in this tweet.
"TSN unreservedly apologizes to Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert and regrets any embarrassment this unfortunate incident has caused to them."
A law firm representing the players and Cuthbert demanded from TSN "a formal apology and pay a significant amount of damages to each of our clients for broadcasting a false and defamatory tweet during their trade deadline show." It sent a similar demand to Anthony Adragna, the Toronto Maple Leafs fan who wrote the offending tweet. 
On Monday, he responded to talk about a lawsuit thusly: 

Whats all this crap about a lawsuit. If anyone is getting sued its TSN for being negligent not me

— Anthony Adragna (@AdragnaA21) March 2, 2015

Yeah, about that...

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 4, 2015, 2:10 am

One thing we've heard all year long is that the NCHC is the best and deepest conference in the country. In a lot of ways, this is certainly true.

Perhaps the biggest, and the one that's best buoyed the conference's astonishing five teams in the top eight Pairwise spots right now, is the fact that everyone has a really great strength of schedule. North Dakota's schedule is the eighth-hardest, Minnesota Duluth's is first, Omaha's is third, Miami's is fifth, Denver's is fourth. And St. Cloud, which as of now is now out of contention for the NCAA tournament because it's below .500, is second. For an eight-team conference, this is pretty incredible. Only Western Michigan (27th in the PWR but seventh in strength of schedule) and Colorado College (49th, sixth) sit outside even remote contention.

Those SOS ratings are buoyed appreciably by the fact that no one lost more than five games out of conference all year, and the NCHC's combined record against non-conference opponents was 53-25-4 (.671), though it must be said that North Dakota, Omaha, and Denver only played a combined 11 conference games away from home. So when non-conference opponents are spotting teams that much leeway, the overall strength of schedule is going to benefit a lot.

So that got me wondering just how good these teams actually are. Winning a lot is one thing, but in such small samples you can get a pretty inaccurate picture of overall team quality. Consider that Merrimack went 9-2-1 out of conference for the third-best record in the country in such games, but once it got into Hockey East play, it lost 14 of 22. Looks can be deceiving.

Which is why you have to look beyond wins and losses. People in college hockey circles are generally loath to do this kind of thing, but it's important in terms of predicting future success. Let's take North Dakota, just for example. They're first in the country in the polls, in winning percentage, and in the Pairwise. But how good are they, really? Their numbers come in at 51.7 percent corsi for, which is good for 24th in the country. That's also only fourth in the NCHC. Now, you can say that's a consequence of them leading so much, and that's probably not inaccurate (though Miami and Duluth having four and five fewer wins but CF% of at least 55 should have a smaller but not dissimilar impact on their possession numbers). 

Where North Dakota differs, and which comes as no surprise, is that they have both the highest shooting percentage and save percentage in the league. Looking at the roster, you'd have to say that maybe shooting 8.8 percent at evens is a little bit high even for a team that talented — and with Mark MacMillan potentially done for the year, even more so — but Zane McIntyre was always going to be stopping about .940 at evens. He's just that good, and given the fact that his team concedes an inordinate number of shot attempts (42.3 per game, third-most in the conference) he's utterly crucial to their ongoing success. If he was even a little worse, let's say he allowed an extra five goals in 32 games this season, we're not having a discussion about North Dakota being the top team in the country; their shot generation is decidedly middle of the pack on a national level, so the fact that they have 73 even-strength goals goes a long way. 

Of course, only about 25 or 30 percent of most games is played at 5-on-5, so you have to consider special teams quality as well. Here too, North Dakota doesn't exactly impress in comparison with its conference rivals; its 20.9 percent conversion rate on power plays is fourth in the conference behind St. Cloud, Denver, and Colorado College (somehow). Its PK is, not surprisingly, the best by a decent margin, because McIntyre has an .872 save percentage when down a man. The NCHC average is .863. But North Dakota takes a lot of penalties (second-most in the conference) and draws the the third-most. Their power play opportunity differential for the season is plus-1. 

This is a team that's gone out of its way to not-test itself (only three road or neutral-site games out of conference? Grow up.) and are only going to play their toughest road dates of the season this coming weekend. And the average winning percentage of their OOC opponents is currently .377, so it's not like they're playing anyone good; in fact, only Providence (21-11-2) and Bemidji (15-4-5) are over .500 from that group. North Dakota went a scintillating 2-1-1 against those teams. And Bemidji isn't actually good. And that was when Providence was playing like absolute garbage. And three of those games were in Grand Forks.

The point is that if I'm North Dakota I'm scared to death of the possibility of playing either Miami or Duluth in the conference tournament, and Denver wouldn't be a picnic either. All these teams are better fundamentally than North Dakota, which has to rely on getting world-beating goaltending every night to win a lot of games. In all, 15 of their games this season have been decided by one goal plus an empty-netter or fewer. I think this weekend's series at Miami will go a long way toward showing whether this team is actually capable of upholding the level of play people expect — rightly or wrongly — from the No. 1 team in the country.

It's all well and good to be an okay or even pretty good team with elite goaltending. You can definitely win that way, and North Dakota has. You can't knock them for logging wins no matter how they do it. But can they win a national title? Depends what happens when McIntyre, as all goalies do, has an inevitable bad game. 

The playoffs begin

Meanwhile, out East, the three conferences largely based there are starting their conference tournaments this coming weekend, and boy if none of them are even a little bit interesting.

In the ECAC, Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence, Yale, and Colgate earned the actual byes, while Dartmouth earned a de facto one in a two-game series with Princeton. Harvard's probably going to club Brown, Cornell will likely smoke Union, and the only one that might be close is RPI and Clarkson (which I guess is why they're the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds). As with the regular season — and as detailed in this space last week — Quinnipiac is the best team in this conference, with third-place Yale not all that far behind them. 

In Atlantic Hockey, it's Robert Morris, Canisius, RIT, Bentley, and Mercyhurst earning the byes. In the first round, Holy Cross will massacre Niagara, Air Force will casually do away with AIC, and Sacred Heart will probably beat up on Army pretty easily. If Robert Morris doesn't win this conference in a walk it would be a big surprise. 

And in Hockey East, it's BU, Providence, BC, and Lowell as the top four getting byes. Notre Dame will humiliate UMass, Northeastern will steamroll Merrimack, Vermont will handle Maine, and UNH might get a series from UConn but I doubt it. Even if there wasn't much separating the byes from the non-byes in (four points separated second place from seventh), the winners here are fairly clear.

I'd be shocked if there are more than two upsets in all three of these conferences combined. This is a very stratified year for all three of the conferences.

A somewhat arbitrary ranking of teams which are pretty good in my opinion only (and just for right now but maybe for a little longer too?)

1. North Dakota (swept St. Cloud)

2. Miami (split with Denver)

3. Minnesota State (took three points from Michigan Tech)

4. BU (won two of three against Northeastern)

5. Minnesota Duluth (tied Omaha twice)

6. Denver (split with Miami)

7. Boston College (beat Harvard, split with Notre Dame)

8. Minnesota (idle)

9. Quinnipiac (beat Harvard, lost to Dartmouth)

10. Providence (swept Maine) 

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist and also covers the NCAA for College Hockey News. His email is here and his Twitter is here

Author: Ryan Lambert
Posted: March 4, 2015, 1:17 am

On Saturday, footage of a fight between Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche fans at a game in Denver surfaced, showing a nasty brawl.

New video of the brawl surfaced on Tuesday, and it’s rather intense.

From City Pages: 

City Pages reader Keenan Price sent along a much better video of the fight in the stands during Saturday night's Wild game in Colorado. Just as we suspected, the whole thing started because an angry drunken Avs fan got way too fired up.

Price, a Wild fan, said his section was full of people cheering on the Wild, and as the game progressed what started as good-natured trash-talk ramped up into something more serious.

"I started filming because I thought the guy getting all worked up was funny; I didn't think it was going to escalate into a throw down," says Price. "It was definitely people just getting worked up over no real reason, then more and more people got involved and there you go."

Here’s the video:

WARNING: STRONG ADULT LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE IN VIDEO

Fans Fight in Stands at Wild-Avalanche Game from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

As you can see, an Avalanche fan in a Ray Bourque jersey appeared drunk out of his gourd, threatening to stab other people and physically being held back by his seat mates.

Then as he’s being held back, a woman wearing Wild gear slaps him, sparking an all-out melee. (She’s the one on the ground in the brown jacket being consoled by another fan … as she continues to taunt the Avs fans.) 

Nevertheless, that Avs fan was completely out of control and arena security should have been on him about a minute before all this happened. When’s the last time you saw something like this allowed to happen in the lower bowl?!

 

 

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 3, 2015, 11:32 pm

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Actress Elisha Cuthbert and athlete Dion Phaneuf attend the 40th American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)TSN’s embarrassing publication of a Twitter joke alleging an adulterous relationship between Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul and actress Elisha Cuthbert, the wife of teammate Dion Phaneuf, may end up costing the network and the fan that tweeted it.

During TSN’s TradeCentre deadline coverage on Monday, a running scroll at the bottom of the screen published tweets sent to the #TradeCentre hashtag. One of the tweets from Anthony Adragna, a Leafs fan, made the allegation. 

The players and Cuthbert have retained Gall Legge Grant & Munroe LLP, which released the following statement on Tuesday: 

"On behalf of our clients Dion Phaneuf, his wife Elisha Cuthbert and Joffrey Lupul, we have sent a letter to TSN demanding that TSN issue a formal apology and pay a significant amount of damages to each of our clients for broadcasting a false and defamatory tweet during their trade deadline show yesterday. We are sending a similar letter to the author of the tweet, Mr. Anthony Adragna.

"It is bad enough that there are people who spend their time using social media to publish such false and malicious stories, but it is made much worse when a reputable media outlet like TSN gives broad circulation and credibility to these false stories by republishing them as TSN did.

"If TSN and Mr. Adragna do not immediately comply with the demands set out in our letters, we have instructions from our clients to immediately commence a lawsuit against them.

"Our clients will not be discussing this matter with the media.”

After a screen grab of the tweet went viral, Lupul called TSN “a poor man’s TMZ” and called the situation “embarrassing.” Adragna tweeted that the line was a “joke” and later said “my words and actions are my fault I've admitted that many times. Those words actually getting on air is out of my control."

TSN apologized during the show via social media:

"Earlier today, an inappropriate and disrespectful tweet was erroneously aired. As soon as it was flagged, we immediately removed it. We’ve reached out to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization and all those impacted to extend our sincerest apologies for our error. It should have never, ever gone to air."

TSN said it's going to read this other apology on the air on SportsCentre and during TSN’s broadcast of the Toronto Maple Leafs @ Florida Panthers game:

"Yesterday when TSN was reporting on the NHL trade deadline it displayed a scrolling ticker of tweets from the public. In spite of TSN's protocols to prevent unfounded and inappropriate tweets from making it to air, a false, and inappropriate tweet was allowed to run. There was no basis for the false allegation made in this tweet. TSN unreservedly apologizes to Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert and regrets any embarrassment this unfortunate incident has caused to them." 

1. Canada has fairly rigid libel laws. TSN was completely irresponsible in allowing that on the air. This will not end well.

2. That said, Lupul and Phaneuf are essentially threatening to sue the co-owners of their team. Awkwarrrd.

3. Please recall the landmark case ‘Burke v. Poonerman,’ which was filed in a B.C. court.

4. I really hope this means the end of automated tweets appearing in hockey coverage and a return to curated tweets read by cheeky Americans wearing diarrhea pants.

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 3, 2015, 10:51 pm

One common theory about the NHL Awards this year was that we could see a goalie win the Vezina and the Hart. But unlike those seasons of Hasek-ian domination, the theory states that we could see different goalies win each award this June: Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators for the Vezina, and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens for the Hart. 

The latest Bovada NHL odds have been released, and right now, Price is the odd-on favorite to win the Hart with Patrick Kane out of the mix:

Who will win the 2014 Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player?      

Carey Price                               2/1

Alex Ovechkin                           3/1

John Tavares                            7/2

Sidney Crosby                          15/4

Ryan Getzlaf                             15/2

Jakub Voracek                          19/2

Nicklas Backstrom                    12/1

Pekka Rinne                              25/1

Rick Nash                                 30/1

Vladimir Tarasenko                    30/1

But he’s also the odds-on favorite to win the Vezina as well:

Who will win the Vezina Trophy for being the NHL’s top Goaltender? 

Carey Price  (MON)                    5/14

Pekka Rinne (NAS)                    8/5

Marc Andre Fleury (PIT)             18/1

Braden Holtby (WAS)                26/1 

(Marc-Andre Fleury, Vezina finalist, is well-deserved but no less mind blowing.)

Here are the rest of the awards odds:

Who will win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year?

Filip Forsberg                           5/8

Johnny Gaudreau                      5/2

Aaron Ekblad                            10/3

Michael Hutchinson                   19/2

Mark Stone                               14/1

Mike Hoffman                           15/1

Anders Lee                               18/1

Who will win the James Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman?          

Shea Weber                              7/4

Kris Letang                               4/1

Drew Doughty                           4/1

Duncan Keith                            5/1

Kevin Shattenkirk                      6/1

P K Subban                              13/2

Ryan Suter                                7/1

Erik Karlsson                            12/1

Who will win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy Trophy as the NHL’s Top Goal Scorer?    

Alex Ovechkin                           2/7

Rick Nash                                 2/1

Steven Stamkos                        15/2

Joe Pavelski                             20/1

Vladimir Tarasenko                    30/1

The Chicago Blackhawks (15/2) remain the favorites for the Stanley Cup, behind the Anaheim Ducks (9/1) and the Nashville Predators (9/1). The Montreal Canadiens (10/1) are the Eastern Conference team with the best odds. 

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 3, 2015, 9:29 pm

Chad Johnson was traded by the New York Islanders to the Buffalo Sabres for Michal Neuvirth on Monday, a deal many felt was an upgrade for the Isles’ backup goalie spot. Which, conversely, meant that the Sabres downgraded their own goaltending. 

Why? In theory, because the Sabres want to be as terrible as possible and Neuvirth was playing too well. So, for the second time this season, they traded their starting goalie.

Johnson went on TSN after the trade, and naturally they wanted to ask him about going from a team striving for first place to a team trying to finish last. Host James Duthie twice asked him about playing for a team that’s trying to lose. Johnson remained steadfast that the Sabres are doing everything they can to win games. Like, this season.

"You play to win. I don't think an organization wants to lose,” said Johnson on TSN, in either denial or blissful ignorance.

On Tuesday, with his new team, Johnson told the Buffalo News that the tank talk upset him:

"That whole TSN thing bothered me a little bit," said Johnson, 28. "I was asked to do an interview with them, they called me and I'm sitting on hold while they're saying what they have the right to say. But it was obviously a little disrespectful for them to have me on hold listening to what they have to say and then bring me on line to ask me these questions while they sort of bash me or whatever it is.

"You can do that, but not while you're on the line. It's just disrespectful. Everyone has their own opinion. I'm coming in here to compete and play hard and win hockey games. I guess you don't know what other people's intentions are. Everybody is going to try to write an article, make news I guess."

See, I had no problem with what TSN said or asked. (Alas, their video is geo-locked, so I’m pulling this from the gray matter.)

While Johnson was on hold, they said exactly what the rest of us thought: The Sabres are trying to lose games, so they swapped out a goalie playing well for one who hasn’t (.889 save percentage). 

Their questions were more or less about joining a franchise that’s more interested in losing than winning, which is an indisputable fact, and how a professional athlete with a modicum of pride, which we assume Johnson has, feels about joining that effort.

“If you don't play to win, then you shouldn't be playing,” Johnson told the Buffalo News, and he’s right. But if the grand tanks of the Sabres and Coyotes have taught us anything, it’s that none of this is about the players’ efforts. In fact, some of their efforts are so good that they need to be shipped out of town to prevent the team from stumbling into success.

Which is to say that management, through its best efforts, is the one trying to tank by building a roster that’s sub-mediocre. And while that’s a hard thing for Chad Johnson to hear, filling Neuvirth for his services is very much in that spirit.

It’s not about professional courtesy, it’s about the reality of your surroundings. And honestly, Chad, based on TSN’s track record yesterday, it could have been worse.

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 3, 2015, 9:05 pm

Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

• Even the rats from New York go to retire in South Florida.

• Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky will make his first start since Jan. 21 tonight against the Washington Capitals. [Blue Jackets]

• Were the Anaheim Ducks the biggest winners of the trade deadline? [The Hockey Writers]

• The Boston Bruins have to be considered a trade deadline losers for failing to address their biggest needs. [Bruins Daily]

• If you want to win the Stanley Cup, you may have to pay a price at the deadline. [Raw Charge]

• The Ben Smith trade was a look to the future for GM Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks. [Bleacher Report]

• Now that the NHL trade deadline is over, how are AHL teams affected? [FOHS Farm Report]

• Have the Pittsburgh Penguins transformed themselves into a elite defensive squad? [The Pens Blog]

• Mike Richards could be back up soon with the LA Kings, thanks to the NHL's post-deadline day roster rules. [Mayor’s Manor]

• Examing some Eastern Conference acqusitions with a fantasy hockey spin. [Dobber Hockey]

• During the trade deadline madness, the Philadelphia Flyers extended French forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare with a two-year deal worth $1.425 million. [Daily News]

• Mats Zuccarello on his extension with the New York Rangers: “I told [my agents] enough is enough, I’m happy with the offer and it’s important for me to stay here for a long time.” [NY Post]

• The trial for Slava Voynov on his felony domestic violence charge has been postponed until March 10. [LA Times]

• “After dad and husband killed in double murder, Canadian family lives out his Islanders dream in New York” [NY Daily News]

• Great read by Tal Pinchevsky on how a former minor league enforcer became a drug dealing cop. [Vice Sports]

• What top prospects could potentially be joining Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid in Buffalo next season? [What’s Going On in Buffalo

• “Failure to recognize birthday of Canadian hockey a national disgrace” [Montreal Gazette]

• Get on your white coats and check out this medical look at Patrick Kane’s injury. [Undisclosed Injury]

• A youth hockey team in Massachusetts avoided tragedy after the ceiling of the facility they were practicing in collapsed. [Prep Rally

• Underwater hockey looks pretty damn fun. [io9]

• This is one thundering check by Cole Cassels on Matt Spencer. [Buzzing the Net]

• Finally, in a career filled with ups and downs, Robb Scott has gone from selling tourist art on the Halifax waterfront to being the exclusive artist to Sidney Crosby all in the past decade: 

MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 3, 2015, 7:12 pm

Phil Kessel put on his ‘good teammate’ hat Tuesday and simply blasted the Toronto media for the way it treats captain Dion Phaneuf. The comments came from a Toronto morning skate in Florida in the above video.

Below are some of the highlights:

“I think the way the media treats Dion Phaneuf in this city is embarrassing.”

“I think you guys (unfairly) criticize Dion. He’s our best defenseman and you guys act like he’s not trying out there.”

“Is it is fault we’re losing? No. Did he build this team? No.”

“He’s owed some apologies by some people”

Buried in there is this nugget:

“This city is a great hockey city and I love playing here.”

So at least Phil Kessel loves Toronto!

Preach on Dr. Phil! 

Could this stem from the trade rumors involving Phaneuf leading up to Monday’s deadline? The statements about blame for Toronto’s losing, perhaps. The comment about the treatment of Phaneuf and attacks from the media may have to do with the tweet that ended up on TSN’s TradeCentre broadcast about inappropriate relations between Phaneuf’s wife, actress Elisha Cuthbert and Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul.  

First off, honestly, if he thinks reporters there blame just Phaneuf for the team’s losing, there’s a list of guys higher up on the rung than Phaneuf.

If he’s ticked off about the TSN thing, he has been joined by Lupul, who tweeted out that he is giving the Toronto media the full Marshawn Lynch 'no comment' treatment 

Get familiar with #nocomment

— Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) March 3, 2015

And Toronto's management (assistant GM Kyle Dubas specifically below) isn't exactly thrilled with the portrayal of its players either per the Toronto Sun:

Sources tell us Leafs management was incensed at TSN - whose parent company Bell is also an owner of the NHL team - and let management know about it. And Dubas confirmed it in an interview that had to be awkward for TSN brass.

And it’s clear that Leafs players are not amused, either.

“I think players have a right to be pissed off,” Dubas told the TSN Radio trio of Gareth Wheeler, Jeff O’Neill and Craig Button.

And

“Phil’s very passionate about that,” Dubas said. “He wants to show that the team and the guys care.”

To be honest, all three players are simply relics from the Brian Burke tenure as this team tries to make changes and rebuild. Props to Kessel for defending his teammate. But if this squad wasn’t a total zoo already, it certainly is now. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 3, 2015, 6:26 pm

LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn't work, try here.]

It's a Tuesday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:

Special Guest Star: Joe Micheletti of NBC joins us to talk about trade deadline and Rangers. 

• Trade deadline breakdown.

• Phil Kessel goes nutty.

• NHL Playoff races. 

• The least desirable places in the NHL.

Question of the Day: Who won the trade deadline? Ask us anything! Email puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarekClick here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!

Click here to download podcasts from the show each day. Subscribe to the podcast viaiTunes or Feedburner.

***

BUY THE MvsW T-SHIRTS! SUPPORT HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER!

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 3, 2015, 6:11 pm

For the San Jose Sharks, Monday’s trade deadline ended in a proverbial no man’s land.

Did San Jose continue its rebuild or refresh? Didn’t look like it, especially with Antti Niemi’s expiring contract still on the roster.

Did it muscle up for trying to make the playoffs? Negative. 

So what did San Jose do?

The Sharks added Ben Smith, lost James Sheppard, Tyler Kennedy, Andrew Desjardins and Tye McGinn. And that was about it. All minor pieces

And then, post deadline, the Sharks went out and crushed Montreal 4-0.

So is this team a legit contender? Is it trying to build for the future? Does it really have a plan? Because it doesn’t look like a contender. Its young pieces aren’t panning out this year really. And it didn’t do anything bold at the deadline either.

Said Sharks GM Doug Wilson to the San Francisco Chronicle:

One is our goal to continue to compete this year and be prepared for the future — the assets, the picks, the ample cap space — but I think our hockey team can look at it and line up and play.

And on some nights, this team looks tremendous, like in its crushing of Montreal. And on other it plays inconsistent hockey, like the Stadium Series loss to LA when San Jose won two periods and then lost in regulation because of a hot Kings third period.

Currently the Sharks have 70 points – tied with the Kings for the last spot out of the postseason, though San Jose has played two more games. Calgary, which is the last Pacific Division team in the postseason, could fall out with Mark Giordano’s injury. So it’ll likely be San Jose against Los Angeles for the final playoff spot?

According to Sports Club Stats, San Jose has a 24.9 percent chance of making the playoffs. The Kings are at 56.0 percent – though these numbers seem to change weekly.

Between those two squads, who do you put your money on? Plus, if the Sharks make the postseason, they don’t seem like a group that could make a run, at least with how they’ve limped along recently at 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.

Not that we know the inner-workings of San Jose's trade war room, but why didn’t the Sharks just say adios to their veterans and go full rebuild on trade deadline day? 

Per Wilson again

“The marketplace dictates what happens.”

This is very true. Also the veterans he could have sold, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, have no-trade clauses. Maybe he felt he could get better value for them in the summer?

But the current incarnation of this rebuild or refresh doesn’t seem to be working with Tomas Hertl, Matt Nieto and Mirco Mueller underperforming, at least for this year.

At age 35, it’s a lot to ask Thornton and Marleau to try to lead San Jose deep into the playoffs … again. Even in their primes, the Sharks couldn’t seal the deal with a Stanley Cip. And San Jose has both players under contract for two more years of likely decline time.

Said coach Todd McLellan to CSN Bay Area

“For so many years, we’ve sat and anxiously awaited what was maybe coming and who was coming in to try and put us over the top and help us,” Todd McLellan said. “Obviously we’re in a different situation now, so emotions are a little bit different.

“Our record over the past month indicated that we weren’t prepared to step forward and go after some older players. We can’t blame anybody for that except for our performance.”

But maybe there’s a different plan afoot here. There’s a chance Wilson is hoping, praying, that this core can stay competitive for the rest of the season, squeak into the playoffs and go on a surprise run. There’s still a good amount of talent on the Sharks even if it is aging. Then make a move in the offseason to continue the refresh or whatever it’s called.

From Comcast’s Kevin Kurz:

Wilson has indicated more than once that his next major transaction will come over the summer, as the team continues with its plan this season of integrating younger players. Only bottom six forward Ben Smith was added on Monday, while four players on the active roster departed.

If that’s the case, then it’s patience for the Sharks. But it could be a long rest of the season. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 3, 2015, 5:38 pm

Colorado’s Patrick Roy can be a tough coach to deal with at times with his love of ‘old time’ type hockey. This was on display Saturday evening when the Avs pummeled the Minnesota Wild (literally) after Minnesota beat down Colorado in a 3-1 victory.

And Tuesday, the players who were involved in the fracas for Colorado were fined. Avs enforcer Cody McLeod, who Roy put on the ice for really no good reason at the end of the game, and captain Gabriel Landeskog, who was given a 10-minute misconduct, were both fined.

The NHL’s reasoning on McLeod:

McLeod has been fined $3,091.40 for entering the game on a legal line change for the purpose of starting an altercation with 8.1 seconds remaining in regulation. Directly off a face-off at center ice, McLeod launched into a bodycheck against Minnesota center Mikael Granlund and then engaged in a fight with Wild forward Charlie Coyle. McLeod was assessed a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, a major penalty for fighting and a misconduct penalty.

The League on Landeskog:

Landeskog has been fined $5,000 for throwing a punch at Minnesota forward Mikko Koivu while both players were on their respective benches with 3.3 seconds remaining in regulation. Landeskog was assessed a misconduct penalty. 

Here is the video of what happened:

Said Minnesota coach Mike Yeo following the game:

“That’s garbage is what it is,” Yeo said of McLeod’s antics. “You feel it was going that way all game long. They were obviously very emotional all game long. In an emotional type of game, we did a good job of keeping our focus and I really think that was the difference in the end.” 

Wrote Denver post scribe Terry Frei:

The game was over, no point was made, and it just added to rather than mitigated the Avalanche embarrassment.

Agreed. What was the point? And now the NHL has stepped in, at least with some level of discipline ... for the players.  

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 3, 2015, 4:03 pm

It was quantity over quality on 2015 NHL trade deadline day. There were 24 trades made with 42 players moved, along with 21 picks. That’s ahead of last year’s total, but most of the big moves were made leading up to the March 2 deadline day. 

Which teams made the biggest strides to the Stanley Cup? Which teams made the smartest moves towards rebuilding? Which teams stood pat but shouldn’t have? Which teams smartly stood pat?

Here is the Puck Daddy 2015 NHL trade deadline report card. Keep in mind we factor in the days leading up to the deadline day as well. 

Anaheim Ducks: A-

If Bruce Boudreau fails to get out of the second round again, it won’t be because GM Bob Murray didn’t fill his tool chest. The James Wisniewski deal brings a longer term than one might want, but it also brings a known quantity who can help the power play. Simon Despres for Ben Lovejoy? Larceny. Korbinian Holzer, when healthy, can help. And Tomas Fleischmann is a depth offensive player that Boudreau knows well. Full speed ahead. Don’t blow it, Brucey.

Arizona Coyotes: A

What a difference actual ownership makes. The Coyotes move out Keith Yandle, Zybnek Michalek and Antoine Vermette and actually retain salary in each deal to make them work with their trade partners’ caps. The haul was impressive, too: Klas Dahlbeck, Anthony Duclair, Maxim Letunov, two firsts and a second. Tanking and “resetting.” It’s the Don Maloney way.

Boston Bruins: C

Brett Connolly is an RFA at the end of the season, and is a far better use of two second-round picks than on an older player. There’s reason to believe he could be a top sixer, but he was a bottom-sixer who played with some edge this season for Tampa. Max Talbot is not a good player at this point in his career, although shipping out Jordan Caron for him isn’t a huge loss (and Colorado retains salary).

At the very least, Peter Chiarelli chose the right path: Attempting to pivot to younger, cheaper talent rather than overpaying for a rental. But perhaps there was some middle ground left uncovered, a move that could help now and later. Connolly doesn’t quite get there for us, which means the Bruins failed to make a move that ensures them a playoff seed.

Buffalo Sabres: A-

Dumped more bodies, collected more picks. The second-rounder for Chris Stewart is about right. And they shipped out Michal Neuvirth, who was really playing much too well for a team built to lose every game.

Calgary Flames: B+

Nice haul of picks for players that no longer fit into the plans. A second and a third for Curtis Glencross. A second for Sven Baertschi, who wanted out and who wasn’t working. A nice deadline for Brad Treliving, overshadowed by the depressing, devastating loss of Mark Giordano for the season. (The Flames kept that under wraps as long as they could to try and find help on ‘D’ to no avail.)

Carolina Hurricanes: B

Nice seller’s deadline for Ron Francis. Getting a first-rounder and Roland McKeown for Andrej Sekera. Getting a third for Jiri Tlusty. Getting speedy little Jack Hillen for the U.S.S. Tim Gleason. Now, when’s the Staal trade?

Chicago Blackhawks: A-

Undaunted by Patrick Kane’s injury, Stan Bowman goes all-in for a Cup run. Antoine Vermette helps this team in several areas. Kimmo Timonen could be the steal of the deadline if he remains healthy – those old wheels had a lot of rest this season. There’s also a lot to like about Andrew Desjardins in their bottom six. The Hawks gave up plenty at the deadline, but they added plenty, too.

Colorado Avalanche: C+

Two little moves – adding Freddie Hamilton and Mat Clark – and one slightly bigger one in flipping Max Talbot for Jordan Caron. They probably should have moved Danny Briere and Jan Hejda, but didn’t. But they also didn’t move Ryan O’Reilly, which is a good thing.

Columbus Blue Jackets: C-

The Nathan Horton/David Clarkson swap was ingenious and creative, but at the end of the day it’s still a bad contract on their books -- no retention of salary from the Leafs. The Jordan Leopold trade was heartwarming, but could actually help in adding Justin Falk. A second-rounder and William Karlsson were the additions for sending James Wisniewski back to the Ducks. They were probably better off trading Cam Atkinson than re-signing him.

Dallas Stars: B

You have to like the return Jim Nill got for Erik Cole: Mattias Backman was a top 10 prospect for the Wings, Mattas Janmark has potential and a second-rounder. Would have liked to have seen Shawn Horcoff flipped for something, but it sounds like Dallas wants him around. 

Detroit Red Wings: B

Erik Cole doesn’t have a goal in his last 34 playoff games, which is … wow. Not a fan of his game, but as an insurance policy at forward he’s decent, despite a hefty price from the Stars. Marek Zidlicky, on the other hand, is a puck-mover with lots of experience and a nice add for Ken Holland. But the biggest win: Staying off Phaneuf.

Edmonton Oilers: D-

As Robert Tychkowski wrote in the Edmonton Sun:

So the Oilers spend a second round draft pick on Jeff Petry in 2006, develop him for five years until he is finally good enough to be a key ingredient on their blueline, and then trade him away for a second round draft pick.

The Oilers did nothing, Craig MacTavish gave another “ALL IS WELL REMAIN CALM” press conference and Edmonton fans watch nearly every player they’ve given up on star for another team this season. Say, that Minnesota goalie’s pretty good…

Florida Panthers: B

The Cats did pretty well for themselves. Third rounder for Sean Bergenheim. Second rounder and the empty husk of Dany Heatley for Tomas Fleischmann. Giving up a second and a third for Jaromir Jagr was a bit much, but having him for the playoff push (and to rub off on the team’s younger stars) is a good thing. Deductions for not moving Tomas Kopecky and Scottie Upshall.

Los Angeles Kings: B

They gave up a conditional first for a rental in Andrej Sekera, which is an overpayment. But they also didn’t do something stupid like cutting bait with Justin Williams due to his contract status.

Minnesota Wild: B+

The Jordan Leopold thing goes beyond heartwarming tale – it gives them a much-needed veteran hand on that blueline. Sean Bergenheim needed a change in scenery and the Wild are a good landing spot. Chris Stewart gives that lineup some much needed size and snarl in the West. (The fact that Chuck Fletcher waited it out and only gave up a second-rounder is solid.) The Wild had needs, filled them, and are better now than they were last week.

Montreal Canadiens: A-

The Petry trade is a steal, even if he doesn’t re-sign. Just a smart move for a possession-driving defensively responsible blueliner. Devante Smith-Pelley for Jiri Sekac could be boom or bust. But adding Torrey Mitchell and Bryan Flynn for peanuts gives them some added depth up front.

Nashville Predators: B-

We can’t in good faith include the Cody Franson deal as a “deadline deal,” but knowing that they already made their big move means this deadline was a wash. It would have been nice to see them add a piece in the middle, but the market for centers – especially UFA centers – was atrocious.

 

New Jersey Devils: C

The Devils pulled “conditional draft picks” from the Red Wings for Zidlicky and got a second ad a conditional third for Jagr. That’s good. That they were unable to unload anything else from this overage, overpaid and underwhelming roster? That’s bad. But someone was under the de-LOU-sion they were contenders, so the sell-off started late.

New York Islanders: B+

The Islanders added Dustin Jeffrey for Cory Conacher, who has officially reached journeyman status. They added Tyler Kennedy, a nice veteran for the bottom six. And they upgraded their backup goalie slot with Neuvirth. Smart, little moves from GM Garth Snow, who has made all the right ones this season.

New York Rangers: A

Screw the future and reach for the Cup. The Keith Yandle trade might be known as the Anthony Duclair trade in five years, but you have to give to get and the Rangers now have the deepest defense in the NHL. James Sheppard in and Lee Stempniak out were good little moves too. This team has a window to win for the next 2-3 years. You can’t kill them for trying to jump through it.

Ottawa Senators: C

The Senators are living in that no man’s land of contention and looking at next year. But they ended the deadline with a logjam on defense and with the contracts of David Legwand, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening still on the books.

Philadelphia Flyers: A-

It may not top the idiocy of the Thrashers sending Braydon Coburn for Alexei Zhitnik, but the Flyers pulling a first, a third and Radko Gudas for Coburn was a coup, even if Coburn plays well for the Lightning. The Flyers also snagged a second rounder for the waning days of Kimmo Timonen. The first time in a long time one feels the Flyers have a steady hand, and a plan, in the GM’s office.

Pittsburgh Penguins: C+

Giving up on Simon Despres was more indicative of the organization’s depth on the blue line than his development … which is why one hoped they’d had flipped him for help up front. But they love them some Ben Lovejoy, who really found his game playing for Bruce Boudreau. Then they add another defenseman in Ian Cole, who could never find a steady gig with the Blues. This felt like a deadline where the Penguins had something major in the works that just never materialized.

San Jose Sharks: C-

A few bodies dumped, Ben Smith acquired for Desjardins … a tough deadline for the Sharks being in contention, which meant they might have hung onto some players (Niemi) that might have otherwise been traded. But they needed a kick in the pants and Doug Wilson couldn't deliver one. 

St. Louis Blues: B+

Zybnek Michalek was a smart move by Doug Armstrong, provided he’s healthy. He and Robert Bortuzzo bolster an already stout defense. The Olli Jokinen deal … who knows how much he can actually give you. But it’s another veteran who can score goals, and goals have been the Blues’ undoing in the postseason in our opinion.

Tampa Bay Lightning: C+

Steve Yzerman preaches about not overpaying at the deadline and conserving first-round picks … and then overpays at the deadline and trades a first-round pick. This isn’t to say Coburn won’t work out in Tampa, because he’s a good fit for what they do. This is just to say that a first-rounder and a third-rounder AND Radko Gudas is the best argument we’ve seen for not making trades at 2 a.m. But getting two seconds for spare part Brett Connolly was nice.

Toronto Maple Leafs: A

The Leafs’ selloff saw them turn Daniel Winnik into Zach Sill, a second and a fourth; Korbinian Holzer into Eric Brewer’s expiring contract; Olli Jokinen into anything; and David Clarkson into cap space. A nice first whack of the wrecking ball before the big names (Phaneuf, Lupul, Bozak) are shown the door.

Vancouver Canucks: B

They didn’t move Zack Kassian, which was commendable. They took a chance on Sven Baertschi, who wanted out of Calgary, costing them a second rounder. Cory Conacher get another tour stop. They’re a playoff team, which meant nothing dramatic with their higher-priced players.

Washington Capitals: A-

A few years removed from Filip Forsberg-for-Martin Erat, it’s good to see sanity reign at the deadline. Renting Curtis Glencross for a second and a third is great; there was plenty of interest in him and the Caps won the derby. The addition of Tim Gleason to that blue line ... it’s an expiring contract on their last pairing that gives them more size and experience.

Winnipeg Jets: B

Kevin Cheveldayoff made his first player-for-player deal this season and now he can’t stop! Lee Stempniak adds a little offense in exchange for Carl Klingberg. Jiri Tlusty, acquired with draft picks, might have been a product of playing with Eric Staal but brings some goal scoring to the lineup. We’re just excited to see this team adding at the deadline … although subtracting Frolik would have been fine, too. 

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 3, 2015, 3:03 pm

No. 1 Star: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks 

The Hawks captain scored the game’s first two goals, including a shorthanded one, in their 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. He also assisted on Marian Hossa’s third-period goal.

No. 2 Star: Ben Smith, San Jose Sharks

Acquired at the trade deadline, Smith stepped into the Sharks’ lineup and scored a goal and an assist in their 4-0 whitewash of the Montreal Canadiens. Smith scored in the first period and assisted on Matt Irwin’s goal in the second.

No. 3 Star: Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers

The winger, fresh off a contract extension, assisted on goals by Marc Staal and Chris Kreider in the Rangers’ 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators.

Honorable Mention: Rick Nash scored his 38th. … Brandon Saad scored his 20th. …  Alex Stalock made 20 saves for the shutout.

Did You Know? The Blackhawks are 21-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes.

Dishonorable Mention: Cam Ward was pulled after two periods after giving up four goals on 18 shots. … Chicago and Montreal weren’t given a power-play on Monday night. … Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen went scoreless without a shot in their Blackhawks debut. … Shea Weber was a minus-4, while Mike Fisher was a minus-3.

 

Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 3, 2015, 5:58 am

 

The 2015 NHL trade deadline is in the books. Some teams did quite well. Some teams … didn’t.

Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski and Sean Leahy break down some of the trade deadline’s biggest trades and most aggressive teams, as well as their favorite trades and the deadline’s winner and losers.

Spoiler: They both rather like the New York Rangers’ Keith Yandle trade. 

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: March 3, 2015, 5:23 am

Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray didn’t like the way his team played against particular squads. He felt Anaheim needed to get more mobile. A little more skilled and add a different element. He didn’t opt for wholesale changes, but instead added components to his blueline on trade deadline day that he thought would do this.

Say hey to Simon Despres and ciao to Ben ‘The Reverend’ Lovejoy. Say adios to Eric Brewer and ‘oh hi’ to Korbinian Holzer. And of course, he made a deal for James Wisniewksi.

“As the season unfolded there were certain patterns of us having struggled against certain teams, and we started a while back to say, ‘OK, we have to address different styles of teams’ there’s different styles within our conference,” Murray said. “Hopefully we’re capable now of competing against most of the teams in our conference.”

The timing of Murray’s comments is quite interesting. The Ducks came from behind to beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 Friday. Anaheim is 14-4-5 in the Pacific Division and 13-3-0 versus the Central Division. Granted, the Ducks’ plus-12 goal differential is pretty mediocre for a team vying for the top record in the NHL. The Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames are actually better in this department.

The Ducks have scored 2.83 goals per-game and allowed 2.69 goal per-contest, which is not exactly a major differential at 0.14 per-contest. Does adding three new blueliners – plus forwards Jiri Sekac and Tomas Fleischmann earlier in the trading deadline period help? Maybe? According to NHL.com’s shot attempts percentage, close, the Ducks are at 50.04 percent, which is actually on the lower rung of the NHL. As for shot attempts differential, the Ducks are at plus-56, which ranks 17th in the league, per the NHL’s enhanced stats site. 

“You go along and you build to compete and beat certain teams. LA is a prime candidate and things change and it’s cyclical and there’s different teams that evolve, and so I just didn’t feel we had enough skill and speed to compete against them all,” Murray said. “Now hopefully we have enough of each in different parts of our game that we can play different games that require different styles of games.”

Interestingly enough, Murray could mean more Eastern Conference squads, when he discusses such matters. Anaheim has a 13-10-2 record against the East. Meanwhile, for example, the Predators and Blues are at 16-7-2 and 18-6-2 respectively. The Canucks are 19-9-1 against the East.

Is this a reaction, in some ways, to how the Rangers came westward in January and obliterated the Ducks and the Kings? That would be odd considering how Anaheim won’t have to worry about the East teams until it potentially vanquishes the West. Maybe it’s because the Ducks have been outscored 8-3 overall by Chicago?

But the Ducks are 2-0-0 against the quick-footed Nashville Predators – the top team in the Western Conference. You can’t beat ‘em all.

Regardless of Murray’s spin, this was one true fact: “Bottom line is the Anaheim Ducks are better than we were five, six, seven days ago” 

You could look at all the moves they made Monday as upgrades. For example, Lovejoy had fallen out of favor with Anaheim. Despres is a 23-year-old 2009 first round pick who could be in the mix with Anaheim for quite a few years. Why wouldn’t you make that trade?

“He has a chance to be a very solid top-four defenseman in the future,” Murray said of Despres.

Every move the Ducks make is looked at in relation to the Kings. It’s probably a distance/rivalry related thing.

Can Anaheim go toe-to-toe with the defending Stanley Cup champs in another playoff series? When you add all these moves to acquiring Ryan Kesler over the summer. The answer is yes. The empire is ready to be destroyed by the duckies. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 3, 2015, 1:35 am

Mats Zuccarello is staying in the land of the Shire ... err, New York City for four more years. Just a mere couple of days after it was reported that the 'Norwegian Hobbit Wizard' was put on the trading block, the Rangers opted to keep the small and shifty forward.

According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, that's a four-year $18 million contract with  full no-trade clause in his first year. 

The full, done Zuccarello deal: 4 years, $18 million, full no-trade in 1st season, nothing in final 3yrs. Salary $4.5 per yr, as is cap hit

— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) March 2, 2015

How does a player go from being on the trade block to all of a sudden being re-signed? Bargaining and leverage of course. The 27-year-old Zuccarello was going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. And if the salary cap was going to be at $69 million, New York wouldn't have afforded him. And as a player with 59 points a year ago and 35 this season in 59 games, he probably would have been lavished with greater riches than a $4.5 million contract? Perhaps. 

Only issue is his size, which at 5-foot-7 is really small. But he is a hobbit, and they are incredible creatures. 

RIP Leonard Nimoy:

Regardless, it's a good deal for Zuccarello to stay in New York to get the long-term security all athletes want, and probably a discount for the Rangers to keep a strong piece of their top-six forwards. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 2, 2015, 10:22 pm

Mark Giordano attempted to play through an arm injury suffered last week, but after he took warmups against the New York Islanders on Friday night, he felt he just couldn’t go. The diagnosis? A torn biceps, a complete tendon tear. According to Flames GM Brad Treliving, that’s a four-to-five month recovery time.

Calgary has dropped six of their last 10 games and are clinging to a playoff spot with the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks right behind them.

It’s a huge blow for both the Flames. They lose their best player and leading scorer as they slowly drop out of the Western Conference playoff picture. It’s also tough news for Giordano, who many had pegged as a Norris Trophy favorite and some had on a long list for the Hart Trophy. He missed a little over a month last season due to a broken ankle, an injury that likely cost him a spot on Team Canada’s entry at the Sochi Olympics.

Despite the free-fall, Treliving stuck to his guns and didn’t mortgage the future to help claw out a playoff spot. 

“Nothing changes in terms of our mindset, in the sense that you’re always looking to help yourself,” Treliving said last week ahead of the trade deadline, via the Calgary Sun. “But it’s got to make sense to you — the price has got to fit, and the fit has to be there. You have to be able to go out and find somebody it makes sense to come in. You can’t be reactive in any situation. You get to be reactive then all of a sudden, you wake up and think, ‘What the heck did we do here?’” 

The only moves Treliving made were sending Curtis Glencross to Washington, a player who the team couldn’t work out an extension with, and moving Sven Baertschi, an RFA who asked out and expressed a lack of interest in re-signing, to Vancouver. He brought in a pair of 2015 second-round picks and a 2015 third-rounder, nice assets that he could always flip at the Draft to improve for next season.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

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Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 2, 2015, 10:10 pm

James Wisniewski had been a healthy scratch for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He had been asked for a list of teams to whom he’d be willing to be traded.

He can, in fact, take a hint.

"I kind of saw it coming,” he told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, after being traded to the Anaheim Ducks. "Having my family here for four years, having my kids here, having a home here … we have roots here. That’s going to be tough."

The Ducks acquired Wisniewski and a third-round pick from Columbus for a second-round pick, William Karlsson and Rene Bourque, who was passed through waivers recently.

The trade was a bit of a surprise as Wisniewski injured his left foot against the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday night. Portzline reports it was a bone bruise in his left foot, but not a break.

Karlsson, 22, was a 2011 second-round pick for the Ducks who had 2 goals in 18 games this season, spending most of it in the AHL. Bourque has been traded twice and waived twice this season, which is a heck of an achievement.

In Wisniewski, the Ducks bring back a former Anaheim player (2008-10) who had 8 goals and 21 assists in 56 games this season. He’s a great puck-mover and can be a bit of an agitator. They're going to hope he's a solution for their struggling power play. 

He has a $5.5 million cap hit through 2018, which is a healthy addition to the Ducks’ cap (the Jackets didn’t retain any salary). But they’re going for it this season, clearly.

On The Milbury Scale:

THREE MILBURYS. The Ducks won this deal, basically flipping a second rounder and Karlsson, who can’t seem to break through this season (his first in North America), for a good defenseman that will bolster their group. A big piece of the puzzle, as they say. Provided Boudreau doesn’t go out before Round 3. Again. 

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 2, 2015, 9:23 pm

The Anaheim Ducks spent Monday's trade deadline looking to add defensemen. Clearly. And after dealing Ben Lovejoy to Pittsburgh for fellow defensemen Simon Despres the Ducks also acquired the injured Korbinian Holzer from Toronto for Eric Brewer and a fifth-round pick. 

As for the Lovejoy/Despres move, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lovejoy, 31, had played just 40 games this season, and had fallen off a bit from a season last year where he had 18 points and a plus-21 rating. He's also playing about a minute less per-contest. For the Pens, it brings back a guy who used to play in Pittsburgh and knows its system and is a little more veteran.

Despres, 23, is a good, young blueliner with some more size. We give this trade:

THREE MILBURYS! I like this better for Anaheim's present and future. Despres has more potential than an aging Lovejoy. 

The Milbury Scale 2014 - 3 Milbury

As for Holzer, this gives the Ducks someone it can use further down on the blueline, which is important in the playoffs, especially if you're muscling up to go against the likes of Los Angeles, St. Louis and Chicago in the playoffs. 

The 27-year-old Holzer is definitely an upgrade over the older Brewer, who was added by the Ducks in a time when injuries, and the mumps ravaged its blueline. As for Toronto, it seems like Brewer was a thow-in just to get a draft pick. It appears that the Ducks are clearly looking to prepare for the rough n' tumble Western Conference playoffs, which could be brutal this year. 

On the Milbury scale we give this ... ONE MILBURY! Both teams got what they wanted. 

The Milbury Scale 2014 - 1 Milbury

Also, this is cool:

Holzer tells TSN his girlfriend called and told him he'd been traded to a team with a "gold D" logo. He didn't know what it was.

— James Mirtle (@mirtle) March 2, 2015

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 2, 2015, 9:09 pm

The Buffalo Sabres saw the Arizona Coyotes making moves Sunday. They wanted to make some trades to ‘rebuild’ or tank – and finished that off Monday at the NHL’s trade deadline by dealing forward Chris Stewart right at the deadline for a 2017 second round pick from Minnesota.

OK, so what will the world even look like in 2017? Who cares?!? Earlier in the day they rid themselves of Michal Neuvirth who was clearly playing too well to work with Buffalo’s grand scheme. Also, to get a second rounder for Stewart, who is quite inconsistent is pretty decent. 

Good move for the Sabres, who are probably praying they get the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick. Can you imagine what would happen if the Sabres didn’t get Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel? 

As for the Wild, Stewart is a nice rent-a-player for a $4.150 million salary cap hit that adds power forward playoff depth who isn’t that old at age 27. The Wild has its eyes on the postseason, is one of the hotter teams in the NHL and how has more size and depth between Stewart and Jordan Leopold – who was acquired earlier in the day. The Wild is clearly going for it. 

On a funnier note, Stewart said he didn’t know where he was traded when TSN called him to interview him.

On the Mlbury scale we give this …  ONE MILBURY! Both teams got what they wanted.

The Milbury Scale 2014 - 1 Milbury

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 2, 2015, 8:26 pm

The NHL Trade Deadline can sometimes feel mechanical and cold. These are names on the transaction wire, additions to rosters. What gets lost is that these are moves that interrupt lives and affect families. 

Thanks to Jordyn Leopold, we’ve all been reminded about the human side of the trade deadline.

Jordyn Leopold is the 11-year-old daughter of Jordan Leopold, a defenseman who played for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. In January, she wrote a letter to the Minnesota Wild front office asking the team to trade for her father, a University of Minnesota product who was born in Golden Valley, Minnesota. 

"My dad is very lonely without his family," the letter reads. "We are living in Minnesota right now and I am lost without my dad and so is my mom, my 2 sisters and my brother. My dad is on a team with young guys and is very lonely and is not playing because the Jackets got him because they needed a D-man. I has been since November and we can not take it anymore.

“Please, please, please ask the Jackets if you guys can get him.”

On Monday, they did: The Minnesota Wild traded defenseman Justin Falk and a fifth-round pick for Jordyn Leopold’s dad.

Here’s the letter, which KFAN.com acquired:

Wild letter, via KFAN.com

Sorry. Got a little dusty in here all of a sudden …

Did it have a major impact on the trade? Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said it was a sweet coincidence:

“The deal was done already when we saw it, almost simultaneously I guess, but that’s a touching letter,” Kekalainen said. “He’s a great pro. We wanted to do the right thing with Jordan Leopold. That’s what we had talked about the whole time, we knew that his family was in Minnesota. There is a human side, believe it or not, to our business.“I think that it’s great that he can go home, join his family. I see that letter and it’s really touching.”

Amazing moment for Leopold and his family, and the highlight of the NHL trade deadline. And, perhaps, the start of Jordyn Leopold’s path to becoming an NHL general manager…

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 2, 2015, 8:20 pm

3:35 p.m. ET: The Bruins have traded defenseman Jordan Caron to the Avalanche for Max Talbot. Sort of a minor move in general for both teams. Boston was done with Caron, and the Avalanche needed some defense depth. Meanwhile, the Bruins seemed to feel the desire to get a playoff-tested gritty forward like Talbot, who has won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009. 

3:20 p.m. ET: Sven Baertschi goes from the Calgary Flames to the Vancouver Canucks for a second-round pick, according to TSN. The 22-year old Swiss forward has spent most of this season in the AHL where he's scored eight goals and recorded 21 points in 34 games. He'll reunited with Travis Green, who coached him in Portland. The move won't make Flames Nation happy, as Baertschi showed tremendous scoring ability in junior and is still young. It feels like Calgary is giving up on the forward, feeling he's moved in the wrong direction on their organizational depth chart.

UPDATE: Trevling told reporters that Baertschi was unhappy with his role and had asked to be traded, citing his unwillingness to re-sign with the organization.

3:10 p.m. ET: The deals keep trickling through: Torrey Mitchell and Joey MacDonald head to the Montreal Canadiens in separate deals. The Pittsburgh Penguins re-acquire Ben Lovejoy from the Anaheim Ducks for Simon Despres. Both players are signed through next season. You might remember Lovejoy from his grossly-swollen face on 24/7:

3:05 p.m. ET: Willie Mitchell, your thoughts on Glenn Healy:

Hey #GlenHealy shove it up your ass! @SNHockeyCentral @FlaPanthers are a tad bit "mightier" then your career save percentage. #Catsarecoming

— Willie Mitchell (@Willie_Mitch33) March 2, 2015

3 p.m. ET: The deadline has arrived! Deals can still trickle in past 3 p.m. ET as teams wait their turn in the trade call line, so we may not be done yet. Several teams like the Red Wings and Rangers made their moves early and closed up shop for the day, but there are always stragglers waiting for the last minute hoping to either shake down an opposing GM or squeeze and extra pick from a deal. 

One player who was in the rumor was Cam Atkinson. He can stop checking his phone now as the Blue Jackets announced just before 3 p.m. ET that he's signed a three-year extension worth $10.5 million.

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Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 2, 2015, 7:57 pm

Former NHL coach Ron Wilson was a panelist on TSN’s NHL Trade Deadline coverage, and dropped a bomb during a discussion of teams throwing their seasons for high draft picks: While coaching in the NHL, he was asked by a former general manager to tank. 

Which team and general manager? Wilson left a trail of breadcrumbs that would make Hansel and Gretel blush. The clues:

- It was a team that was a former Stanley Cup finalist. The only time Wilson made the Cup Final was with the Washington Capitals. 

- It was a season that had several high-profile injuries that caused the team to struggle, to the point where a tank was considered.

- The player the team drafted “didn’t play in the NHL.”

Our guess: The 1998-99 Washington Capitals.

The Caps made the 1998 Stanley Cup Final, losing four straight to the Detroit Red Wings. The following season, the Capitals saw significant man-games lost from Peter Bondra (limited to 66 games), Sergei Gonchar (a holdout plus an injury cost him 29 games), Adam Oates (59 games) and others. In total, the Capitals had 511 man-games lost to injury that season.

By March 20, 1999, the Capitals were seven points out of the No. 8 seed and 10 behind the Southeast Division leader.

From that point on, they went 2-11-0.

Wilson said he was approached by his general manager – at that time, George McPhee – to tank the season. As he said on TSN, it was “harder to try to lose” than attempt to win, because the coach would have to do what he could to facilitate the tank without his players catching wind of it. Then there was the fact that no tank is safe from a hot goalie, which is why the Buffalo Sabres have traded two of them this season.

In hindsight, the 1999 draft was full of landmines. The Vancouver Canucks secured the Sedin Twins, but No. 1 pick Patrik Stefan, No. 4 pick Pavel Brendl and No. 5 pick Tim Connolly didn’t pan out. The Capitals' pick, Kris Beech, did in fact play in the NHL, here and there for 198 games. But he’d become most well-known for being a part of the Capitals’ acquisition of Jaromir Jagr in 2001.

Was Wilson proud of being asked to tank? 

“I said I would never do that again,” he said. 

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 2, 2015, 7:51 pm

Olli Jokinen has played 1,223 games in his NHL career, but has only been involved in six playoff games. That number will increase this spring after the Toronto Maple Leafs dealt him to the St. Louis Blues for forward Joakim Lindstrom, a conditional 2016 sixth-round pick 15 days after acquiring him from the Nashville Predators.

The condition, according to Pierre LeBrun, is that the pick becomes a fourth-rounder if the Blues reach the Stanley Cup Final and Jokinen plays.

Jokinen was not a happy camper to be traded to Toronto from the Cup-contending Predators last month. 

“Years go by fast. Any year you go in, you always think any team’s got a chance. Maybe I will get lucky one of these days," he said last week.

Jokinen told Armstrong that he feels like he hit the lottery being traded to the #stlblues

— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) March 2, 2015

Jokinen played six games with the Maple Leafs, recording one assist in 14:17 of ice time.

He's set to become a free agent this summer, so it's an okay deal for both teams. Toronto doesn't retain any salary in the deal and picks up a conditional pick for a player they weren't going to bring back. The Blues get some forward depth and a player who's been champing at the bit to play in the postseason for the first time since 2009.

The Milbury Scale 2014 - 1 Milbury

 

 

So, ONE MILBURY!

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

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Author: Sean Leahy
Posted: March 2, 2015, 7:48 pm

2:57 p.m. ET: The Canadiens got forward Torrey Mitchell just under the deadline from Buffalo, who seems to have gotten rid of all tradeable NHL-ready parts -- except Chris Stewart. The Sabres have tanking down to a science, and they took the Coyotes' deals from a day before and raised the bar. TSN's Darren Dreger indicates it's a prospect and a pick going to Buffalo for Mitchell. 

2:56 p.m. ET: The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed Cam Atkinson for a three-year $3.5 million per-year contract according to the Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline. So four minutes before the deadline, he gets re-signed and goes off the market. To be honest, the Blue Jackets are set up quite nicely for next season, even if this year has been destroyed by injuries for them. 

2:50 p.m. ET: This photo of a letter by Jordan Leopold's daughter Jordyn asking for her dad to be traded to Minnesota has been making the rounds online. S/t to KFan in Minnesota: Leopold is from Golden Valley, Minnesota.

Photo via https://twitter.com/KFAN1003/status/572479020257828864

2:32 p.m. ET: Olli Jokinen got his wish ... and has been traded AGAIN! Jokinen is off to St. Louis for a fourth-round draft pick. It's his third team this year. Why St. Louis wanted him? Who knows. He didn't exactly light the world on fire in Nashville. But kudos to Toronto for getting an asset for the aging former star. Behold this photo I took of Olli when he signed with the Predators last summer: Love the outfit.

Olli Jokinen

2:27 p.m. ET: Justin Falk reportedly wanted out of Minnesota. And his request was granted by going to a non-playoff team. According to Mike Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Falk is on his way to Columbus with a fifth-round pick for Jordan Leopold, who is certainly not the player he once was, but adds bottom-six help to Minnesota's defense. As for Falk, he gets to go to a non-playoff team, and may get to play more minutes. Per Russo:

Leopold, 34, is most importantly a left-shot that could bring depth in case of injury. Good vision, moves the puck well, suspect at times defensively, good locker-room guy and again would be a depth player to have around for a playoff run.

2:19 p.m. ET: The Arizona Coyotes made the biggest trade of the deadline, as in they got one of North America's most entertaining goaltenders ... David Leggio, who is just amazing. Look at how he prevented a 2-on-0 this year, and then made a save on the ensuing penalty shot. #percentages. This is not a big deal at all, but we love Leggio, so it's big to us. 

2:16 p.m. ET: Cory Conacher has been dealt to the Vancouver Canucks from the Islanders for Dustin Jeffrey. This would appear to be a deal of players in the forward depth department that need a change of location. Similar ages. Similar numbers in both the pros and the minors for both guys. 

2:07 p.m. ET: For those wondering, the Sharks big guns appear to not be in play. From Pierre LeBrun, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has not gone to Patrick Marleau to ask him to waive his no movement clause to be dealt. All year, the Sharks have walked a fine line of trying to stay competitive and rebuild. Though players like Marleau or Joe Thornton would likely command a mighty haul in a trade deadline return. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 2, 2015, 7:11 pm

The last time Michal Neuvirth had a game in which his save percentage was under .900 was Jan. 17, which is a heck of a feat for someone that had the Buffalo Sabres in front of him. 

The Sabres clearly had to nip this in the bud if they were going to ensure themselves of either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, so they traded Neuvirth to the New York Islanders for goalie Chad Johnson and a 2016 conditional third-round pick.

But please, do NOT accuse a team that just traded its second starting goalie this season of attempting to tank.

Neuvirth will play backup to the goalie for whom he was traded in March of last year, when he was dealt from the Washington Capitals to the Buffalo Sabres.

It’s good insurance for the Islanders should something happen to Halak. OK, it’s better insurance than what Chad Johnson was giving them.

Johnson will get a chance to play for the Sabres. "You know there's a possiblity to be traded anywhere," he told TSN. "There's opportunity there. For a guy like myself, that's what you want. You want to be a starter. It's a good situation."

And on the Tank?

"I don't know, you play to win. I don't think an organization wants to lose."

Um. Yeah. Uh. Sure.

On the Milbury Scale:

THREE MILBURYS. The Islanders get a capable backup for a guy who wasn’t getting it done and a third. It’s not exactly revenge for the Vanek trade, but a nice move for Garth Snow.

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 2, 2015, 7:06 pm

Ian Cole is on his way to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Robert Bortuzzo and a seventh round pick in 2016.

The Blues are already quite deep on the blueline, while the Penguins are top heavy, but lack a more veteran presence further down on the defense depth chart. Cole could add that. In dealing Bortuzzo, Pittsburgh isn’t giving up a ton. He’s definitely more of the physical variety, who has played just 113 NHL games.

Cole has played 167 contests. So maybe the Blues are trying to get tougher while the Pens want to get more skilled? Seems this way.

On the Milbury scale we give this trade … ONE MILBURY. Seems like both squads got what they wanted.

The Milbury Scale 2014 - 1 Milbury

 

 

 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

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Author: Josh Cooper
Posted: March 2, 2015, 6:48 pm

The Detroit Red Wings had designs on Toronto Maple Leafs star defenseman Dion Phaneuf at the NHL trade deadline, but only if the Leafs were to assume at least $2 million annually for the next six years on his $49-million contract.

Thankfully for the Red Wings, because they seriously don’t need $5 million of Dion Phaneuf on their cap for six years, the teams couldn’t make the numbers work.

So the Red Wings turned to the New Jersey Devils and traded a conditional 2016 third-round pick for defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who had to waive his no-move for the trade. The Devils retain $1 million of his salary. 

Zidlicky is a pending UFA with a $4 million cap hit. He’s a right-handed shot, which coach Mike Babcock coveted. He’s a veteran puck-mover who could find himself on the second pairing, supplanting either Kyle Quincey or Brendan Smith. His best asset might be as a power-play quarterback; his worst asset would be that he can make head-on-desk turnovers at times.

The third rounder becomes a second rounder for the Devils if Detroit makes the Stanley Cup Final.

So, checking the Milbury Scale:

TWO MILBURYS. It could have been a clear win for the Devils had this been a second rounder that became a first, but this was a nice fallback for the Red Wings after Phaneuf fell through. We Zid-like it. OK that was terrible.

Our Puck Daddy mini-pod on the Marek Zidlicky trade!

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Author: Greg Wyshynski
Posted: March 2, 2015, 6:32 pm

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