News and views you(se) can use with your crews:
• Some might argue that unless another NHL GM loses his sanity and overwhelms Anaheim’s Brian Burke with a trade offer nobody in their right mind would reject, there’s not a hope in hell Burke trades the first round pick he received from Edmonton in exchange for Dustin Penner.
After all, those arguers argue, what could be better for the Ducks GM than to see the look on arch-enemy/Oilers counterpart Kevin Lowe’s face as Burke strides to the podium in Ottawa this summer and takes a top-five – or better – prospect out of Edmonton’s hands?
Funny thing is, Burke doesn’t feel that way. At all.
“That (No. 1) pick is in play,” Burke told The Hockey News Wednesday. “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t listen to any team that expressed interest in it.”
Hear that, Leafs GM John Ferguson? Get on your horse already and deliver Mats Sundin to Burke post-haste. Or at least leave a reminder note for your successor.
• Given the usual way NHLers are assigned nicknames – i.e., add “ee” or “er” to their surname, rinse, repeat – I’m worried Blackhawks super-rookie Jonathan Toews (pronounced TAY-s) is going to get stuck with something that sounds a lot like “Tazer”, if he hasn’t been already.
That’s definitely not the most politically correct nickname to be stuck with these days, although saying that an opposing goaltender got “tazed” has an air of cutting-edge freshness to it.
• How horrendous is the Southeast Division? Get this: As of mid-January, not a single team out of the Thrashers, Hurricanes, Panthers, Capitals and Lightning had scored more goals than they’ve allowed this year.
Division-leading Atlanta has allowed 17 more goals than they’ve netted and combined, the five franchises have been outscored by 83 goals so far. As we’ve talked about in THN’s editorial department lately, there’s a possibility the ninth-place team in the Eastern Conference could wind up with more points than the Southeast champion that would qualify for the post-season.
All the more reason to completely do away with divisional play altogether, I say.
• Have to feel for Buffalo fans, whose team has sunk to their lowest post-lockout point with 10 straight losses. The road ahead for the Sabres doesn’t look to get much easier, as seven of their next eight games are away from home.
Is it time to tie the can to Lindy Ruff, the league’s longest-tenured coach, or GM Darcy Regier? After what both men have done for the franchise, probably not.
However, if Buffalo’s slide can’t be corrected in time to salvage a playoff berth – and if key defenseman Brian Campbell and/or Teppo Numminen bolts for another team when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer – you can bet changes are going to come.
• I’ve been a part of The Hockey News and THN.com for nearly a decade now, and I can say with confidence there has rarely been funnier work posted on our website than ex-NHLer Jamie McLennan’s first couple blog entries.
Here’s a sample from the first file, in which McLennan – now playing for the Nippon Paper Cranes in Japan – takes a good-natured poke at former NHLer, good friend and current Paper Cranes teammate Tyson Nash:
On my way through customs I was stopped and made to explain why I was importing an exotic bird with an enormous beak, leather skin, short legs and uncharacteristically long feathers.
I made them aware that, although loud, chirpy and surprisingly loaded with grayish wooden teeth, the animal was friendly and that people in Canada referred to the little guy as Tyson Nash.
The Nash-teasing continues in McLennan’s second entry:
Nasher is fitting in well with the guys. They have adopted him like a stray dog, with his matted hair, multi-colored leathery skin and oversized gums, they have come to realize he is a unique breed and are taking turns walking and feeding him.
Although he has brought the team height average down to 5-foot-6, his ‘never quit’ attitude has inspired the team to build him a play area where he can run, dig and enjoy his days.
The wry sense of humor displayed by the journeyman goalie is precisely what all NHLers should strive to demonstrate in their dealings with the media. And kudos should also go to Nash for his willingness to bear the brunt of McLennan’s jokes.
Click HERE for all of Jamie’s blogs.
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