Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another Piece Falls Into Place /More on Koharski Call

Kudos to Rick, for steering me to this emerging news that appeared on Puck-Rakers a couple of hours ago:

The CBJ have claimed goalie Wade Dubielewicz off of waivers from the New York Islanders, and have sent Dan LaCosta to Syracuse. Dubielewicz will join the team in Vancouver for tomorrow night's game, and will likely stay with the big club for the foreseeable future, as he will need to clear waivers if we try to send him to the AHL.

Dubielewicz, who will turn 30 in two weeks, was origninally signed by the Islanders in 2003. A British Columbia native, "Dubie" catches left, stands 5'10" and 185. He was instrumental in the Islanders stretch run to the playoffs in 2007 after Rick DiPietro was sidelined with a concussion, and was THN's #1 star that April for guiding the Isles to the last playoff slot. He holds a number of AHL records, and was the 2003-2004 AHL Rookie of the Year. He shared time between the big club and AHL Bridgeport before leaving for the KHL in Russia for this season. Apparently disenchanted with the Russian league, he negotiated a release from his club and was signed to a pro-rated 1 year, $500,000 contract by the Islanders this week. However, as a KHL player, he had to clear waivers to re-enter the league, and Howson pounced.

Dubielewicz has a career 2.55 GAA in the NHL and 2.53 in the AHL. His save percentage in both leagues is .920. Interestingly, his former KHL club is the new home of former Jacket goalie Frederick Norrena.
This is a crafty move by Howson. For little more than the NHL/AHL differential of LaCosta's contract, we have a credible back up goalie. The Jackets are denying that Leclaire is done for the year, but if the fat lady hasn't sung yet, I suspect she is warming up in the wings. Alternatively, Howson could be orchestrating something bigger. I strongly suspect it is the ankle, however.

This plugs our most obvious vulnerability, while simultaneously taking Doug Weight out of the picture, as NYI will be about as grateful for this deal as Tampa Bay was for receiving Mark Denis for Norrena and Modin. Weight, at his age and with his current injury profile, is a bad fit for Howson's strategy anyway, as I do not read Howson as wanting rentals at this point. Greg Wyshynski at Puck-Daddy likes the move:

Rookie Steve Mason, when he isn't getting the shaft from obese referees, is the unquestioned No. 1 goalie in Columbus. The Jackets had been in the market for a veteran backup recently, with discussions about potentially snagging Curtis Sanford from the Vancouver Canucks. They were wise to hold off; Dubie's a better goalie.

You gotta love Scott Howson -- no flashiness or bombastic pronouncements, just quietly paying very close attention and making some really slick moves that fit right in with the long term plan while providing immediate help. I should have Howson do my shopping for me . . .
Koharski Call Update --
Here is the NHL's explanation of the scope of the War Room review of the Koharski call:
"The referee's call on the ice was 'good goal,'" NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy said in an e-mail. "The Toronto Video Room reviewed the play to determine if the net was completely off its pegs before the puck crossed the goal line [under Rule 78.5 (x)]......after reviewing the play we could not conclusively determine that the net was completely off its peg prior to the puck crossing the goal line and ruled the play 'inconclusive', as a result the referee's call on the ice stood"
Again, given the current set of standards governing the War Room in Toronto, and based upon my look at it, the review was inconclusive. My problem is with Koharski, and the NHL -- specifically:
1. They need to revamp the rules governing Toronto review and tighten them up across the board.
2. When you have 1 referee, as with last night, the review needs to be expanded, so that Toronto acts as the second referee.
3. Koharski missed the blatant takedown of Tyutin by Clarkson.
4. Koharski was woefully out of position during the critical sequence of events.
Done on that one.
What is next for Mr. Howson? My gut tells me Vermette, Antropov or Staal. I think Howson is happy with our blue line right now, and that is something that can be done nearer the trade deadline if he wants depth there. Center is the key, and once Klesla is healthy, watch for a move.
Let me know your thoughts. Go Jackets!


Rick said...

Somehow, I think Staal is out of the picture. Vermette would be nice and the price tag isn't outrageous.

I checked out the Isles beat writers blog and saw that Dubie wasn't real excited about this. He was told by GM Snow after practice this morning. I think once he gets through the emotions of the move, he'll see that he's with a team on the upswing. Besides, we can't play Mase indefinately, so Dubie should gete some good playing time. Probably more so than he would get with the Isles. His numbers are good and he comes with some experience at the NHL level. Who knows? If he does good, he might want to stay here and re-sign with the Jackets. That would put us with some really good depth at goal. What do you think?

roadman said...

Goalie was the next domino. The closer we move to the trade deadline the better the deal will be. Of course that assumes we will hang in the race. This western trip really scares me. Not a lack of faith, just this is a formidable trip. 2 of three would be great, 3 points would be good, 2 is minimum.

Doubt Staal, too much money. My gut says Vermette, he has scored 4 points 2-2-4 in the last five. Lots of the boards have said that the move would cost us Klesla and some. Good deal?

JAL said...

I kind of doubt the Staal thing as well, but something about his re-signing with Pittsburgh doesn't ring true with me, especially given the trade talk, his discontent with the coach, etc. Tying him up would make him more marketable early.

Probably the only way Staal heads this way is if some combo of Leclaire, Klesla and prospect go the other direction. Considering salary alone, it would probably take something like that.

The Klesla/Vermette deal remains the hottest rumor, though Toronto can never be ruled out, if only because of Burke's interest in trading contracts for picks.

I would do the Klesla for Vermette deal in a heartbeat. Not that I dislike Rusty, or think he is a bad player. At one level, it would be tough parting with the last tie to the original Bluejackets team. On the other hand, perhaps it is a signal that it is time to move on.

Rusty does many things well, just not star-quality well. He is really a second pair defenseman who got hyped into a higher status by virtue of his being drafted 1st in club history. He would likely benefit from new surroundings, Ottawa could use the blue line help, and Vermette would likely benefit from new surroundings as well.

Maybe too much hype about the deal for Howson's taste right now, and nothing likely to happen until Klesla is healed. Still, as Howson has shown so far, he is the master of misdirection. He could be loading up a blockbuster involving a team on nobody's radar even as we speak.

Hey, it's just fun to have the team playing well as we reach the back half of January, right in the thick of the playoff race, and with lots of reasons for optimism. However things turn out this season, this is fun!

Rick said...

Here's the stat of the day for you.

Over the last 10 games (including last nights games), the Blue Jackets have the 3rd best 10 game stretch in the Western Conference at 7-3-0.