A rare off day for the Jackets lately, with no skating today. A well deserved rest. I think I need a day of rest as well -- it will be some late nights next week with the Western Canada swing. I'll take a stab at a live blog during one of those games. Tonight, sitting here watching the NHL Network, surrounded by our two sleeping dogs, so thought I would share some curious facts/events that have come across my radar over the past few days:
Ottawa A Buyer ?? -- This one is a puzzler. Ottawa trades C Dean McAmmond and a first round draft pick (acquired from San Jose), for C Mike Comrie and D Chris Campoli from the Islanders. Now, admittedly, in a very tiny universe consisting only of the Islanders and the Senators, Ottawa would be the buyer and the Isles the seller, but the real world is much larger. Despite a recent 5-1-1 stretch, the Sens are still 13 points out of the eighth spot in the East, and 9 points shy of 10th place Pittsburgh. Considering that Comrie is a UFA this summer, this makes no sense. That is, unless we look at this as just the first deal. Now, what if Ottawa turns around and trades Vermette to the CBJ for a 1st Round pick? Ottawa gets a better pick than they had from SJ, they move the $2.55 million cap hit over the next two years, and can fill in with more youth. Vermette has been hot lately, despite an overall sub-par season, meaning that this may be the time to move him. The CBJ would get a young (26 y.o.) center with lots of up-side, a year left on his contract, and who would fit in well here. Worth considering . . .
All My Habs -- Could you possibly have scripted the saga of the Canadiens this year? Kovalev told to stay home by the General Manager, the young stud goalie going through a string where he couldn't stop a beach ball, rumors of drinking and carousing by said goalie and a few others, and finally, the coup de grace, published reports linking several Habs with a known member of the criminal establishment. My French language source, originally from Quebec (but an avowed Habs-hater) says that things are even worse than are being reported here. Too bad the Expos aren't still around -- A-Rod could swing a trade there and not even be the biggest crook in town!
The Osgood, The Bad & The Ugly -- Detroit Red Wings management is apparently reading the same chapter in Hockey Management for Dummies as Bob Gainey in Montreal. Goalie Chris Osgood has been struggling a bit, so he too has been told to stay home, while Ty Conklin takes over full time. Not exactly what you want to have happening with 23 games left before the playoffs.
Expensive Goal -- Adam Foote scored his first goal of the season tonight. $3.5 million per goal -- nice deal . . .
Sign of the Times -- Last season, the CBJ had 9 players with 20+ points. This season, we already have 11 with 20+ : Nash, Huselius, Umberger, Tyutin, Voracek, Williams, Brassard, Malhotra, Modin, Commodore, Chimera. Another 4 -- Peca, Russell, Hejda, Methot -- stand a fighting chance to get there by year end.
Nash Generousity -- Nash already has 55 points this year. The really impressive thing, IMHO, is that he already has 30 assists (31 is his career high). This is another transformation that has come from his maturation as a player, and Howson providing other skill players to help.
No D for the Big Z -- The New York Rangers coaching staff, team members, the NY media and their fans are all starting to discover what we have known for awhile -- Mr. Zherdev is not really a fan of playing a full court game. As his offensive production has fallen with the Rangers' record, his defensive production (oxymoron) has dropped as well, and everyone is grumbling. Although he is a +1 for the season, most of that was accumulated early. The Big Love in the Big Apple could be wearing off.
Late Glory -- In the old days, 3rd periods were never kind to the CBJ. This year, the Jackets rank 8th in the NHL with 63 3rd period goals!
That's it for tonight. Let's get everybody out to Nationwide tomorrow night to stand up and give the love to Hitch for 500 NHL victories, and send the boys off to Western Canada for the last road trip of 3 games or longer of the year. Detroit did us a favor tonight by beating Anaheim 5 - 2 in Detroit, the first game in a 6 game road trip for the Ducks.