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Motor mouths

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

CBC hockey analyst Scott Morrison recently wondered if the performance of Detroit Red Wings goaltenders Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard was good enough for the club to make the playoffs, suggesting GM Ken Holland might have to consider making a move in goal.

Morrison notes Holland will remain patient with his duo and give them time to improve, but there’s a growing chorus of speculation over the state of the Wings goaltending.

If Holland does opt to make a move it’s believed he’ll turn his focus toward Islanders goalie Martin Biron, who’s carrying an affordable $1.4 million salary this season. The Wings could demote Howard to free up space for Biron’s salary.

Other clubs, however, might also have interest in Biron. The Edmonton Journal suggested Sunday the Buffalo Sabres – one of Biron’s former teams – might be interested in bringing him back as coach Lindy Ruff lacks confidence in current backup Patrick Lalime.

Holland – or any other GM interested in Biron – will have to wait a while. The Islanders are still awaiting the return of starter Rick DiPietro from off-season surgery and until he’s back in action on a regular basis Biron won’t be going anywhere.

• Internet rumors suggest Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala is an option for the Red Wings, but given his poor performance thus far the notion of him going to the Wings or any other NHL team is laughable.

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun summed up Toskala’s situation nicely in his recent Sunday column, writing the only hope the Leafs have of moving the struggling Finn before the trade deadline would be to demote him and then place him on recall waivers - and even then it’s a long shot a rival club would pick him up.

• Philadelphia Flyers oft-injured forward Simon Gagne has been shelved again – this time by two small hernias – and there’s rumor-mill chatter GM Paul Holmgren could look at bringing in some short-term scoring depth.

It remains to be seen what moves – if any – Holmgren has in mind, but he has no interest in signing unrestricted free agent winger Brendan Shanahan.

That brings the number of teams reportedly not interested in Shanahan to three – Boston and Toronto being the others – which would significantly narrow the field of potential destinations for the seven-time 40-goal scorer, who apparently would prefer to play close to his family in New York City.

• The Washington Post reported Capitals center Michael Nylander played his final game with the American League’s Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday, noting his two-week conditioning period ends Tuesday.

Now Nylander and Capitals management will wait to see if his six-point performance in five farm league games will attract interest from any NHL or Kontinental League teams.

Given his salary cap hit ($4.9 million per season through next year) and no-movement clause, Nylander is more likely to be playing in the KHL than to be playing for another NHL club this season.

Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for and Eishockey Magazine.



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