Archive for January, 2010

Audio of Players Reactions in the Aftermath of Huge Trade

Feb. 3rd: Flames Coach, Brent Sutter, and GM, Darryl Sutter on FAN960 with Rob Kerr

Feb. 1: Damien Cox of the Toronto Star talks with Gord Stellick and Don Landry Monday morning about the acquisitions of Dion Phaneuf and JS Giguere.

Peter Maher, the Voice of the Calgary Flames talks about the trade.

Not Audio, but numerous comments made via media conference calls from the JS Giguere/Vesa Toskala/Jason Blake trade. Worth a read. Also, a nice touch by the Ducks thanking Jiggy.

Jan. 31st: Here’s a link to The Fan590 Toronto Sports Radio website where you can listen to audio of the player reactions to the huge deal today between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Calgary Flames. (For those unaware of the trade, the details are listed below.)

You can also listen to Leafs GM Brian Burke discuss both deals made today (another trade took place between the Leafs and the Anaheim Ducks, details of which are also available below), and audio of Maple Leaf coach Ron Wilson discussing the the development from the coaching point of view.

Audio of Sutter’s Press conference at

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Dion Phaneuf Traded to Leafs – J.S. Giguere also traded to Leafs

Details to be released as available.. The posts will be as up-to-date as possible.

Update 1:01 JS Giguere for Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake. No pick involved, confirmed.

Players contracts below;

JS Giguere – $6 million salary, $6.5 million cap number. $7 million next season.

Vesa Toskala – UFA at seasons end. $4 million salary and cap number this year.
Jason Blake – $4.5 million this season. Cap number is $4 million. Under contract for 2 more years.

Update 12:34: JS Giguere and first round pick for Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake. Not confirmed.

Update 12:01: Confirmed moves include Ian White, Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers, and Nic Hagman to Calgary Flames for Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom, and prospect Keith Aulie to the Leafs.

Players contracts below;

Matt Stajan – UFA at the end of the season. His contract is $1.75 million this season, his cap number is the same.
Niklas Hagman – $3 million this season, cap number is the same. 2 more years on his contract.
Ian White – RFA at the end of the season. $950,000 this year, cap number is $850,000
Jamal Mayers – UFA at the end of the season. $1.4 million this year, cap number is $1.333 million.

Phaneuf – $6.5 million this year (cap number the same). $7 million next year, $6.5 million in 11-12 and 12-13, $5.5 in 13-14.
Sjostrom – $750,000 this season, cap number the same. Under contract next season as well.
Aulie – signed an entry level contract this year. Playing the AHL.

Update 11:53: Phaneuf and a Calgary prospect to Toronto for Ian White and Matt Stajan. Prospect not named yet.

Update 11:46: Dion Phaneuf from Calgary Flames to Toronto Maple Leafs for Ian White and Matt Stajan. Details to be released as available..

Update 11:45 am: Vesa Toskala traded to Anaheim for J.S. Giguere and a first round pick.

Update 11:40 am: J.S. Giguere to Leafs..Details not released yet.

Update 11:25 am: Dion Phaneuf has been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Details to follow…

“While details are few, sources say the Toronto Maple Leafs are on the verge of completing at least one trade today that will be viewed as a “major change.”

Specifics as to whether the deal will be for an upgrade in goal, or for offensive help, weren’t provided, however this deal and potentially others are very close to being completed.

When asked if these “major changes” were imminent, the source replied, “they should start happening today.”

Details to follow on”(Source: Darren Dreger of TSN)

Something has to give in the Big Smoke of Toronto, and according to Darren Dreger (who is a very reliable source for inside information) today is going to be very active, in fact “major changes” are imminent.

We’ll be covering this situation closely as the story breaks….

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Kings interested in Lecavalier? Phaneuf to Atlanta or Philly? Messier the Rangers GM next season?

  • Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:
    • Talk that Dion Phaneuf was offered in a package for Ilya Kovalchuk. The Flyers are also said to be interested in Phaneuf but they have cap issues and would have to send money back to the Flames or they would have to find someone else to take on a big salary player.
    • Sean O’Donnell of the LA Kings could become available, and the Blackhawks have interest if they move Cam Barker.
    • Could be the last season for Glen Sather as the GM of the Rangers. It still amazes me that he hasn’t been fired yet after years of making bad decisions. Mark Messier could take over as GM.
    • The Oilers are finding it difficult to find a taker for Sheldon Souray and his $5.4 million cap hit. It won’t help that he hurt his wrist/hand in a fight with Jarome Iginla last night.
    • The Canucks and Panthers could be looking at Hurricanes center Matt Cullen.
  • Ken Campbell of The Hockey News: The LA Kings may be interested in Vinny Lecavalier, and they continue to be interested in Kovalchuk, but won’t bring in both. The Lightning reportedly asked for Jack Johnson, Wayne Simmonds, a prospect, and several draft picks. Atlanta asked for something similar for Kovalchuk.
  • JP Hoornstra of the LA Daily News: The Ducks have locked up Jonas Hiller for 4 years and $18 million. He’ll get $4.5 million a season. The Ducks will continue to shop JS Giguere in hope that they can shed his $7 million price tag for next season.
  • Joe Haggerty of Aaron Ward’s days in Carolina could be coming to end. Boston is one team that could be interested in bringing him in.

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Ryan not going anywhere, Souray puts Devils on his list? Modin on the block? Injury news

  • Pierre LeBrun of ESPN: LeBrun talked to Ducks GM Bob Murray about the rumors that he might be trading restricted free agent Bobby Ryan. “Unequivocally, I’m not trading him,” Murray told on Friday. “My plan is to get him signed.”
  • Mark Everson of the NY Post: Everson was told that Sheldon Souray might have put the New Jersey Devils on his list of teams he’d consider a trade too.
  • Adrian Dater of the Denver Post: Dater thinks the Avalanche should trade Sheldon Souray for John-Michael Liles, straight up. I sure the Oilers could get more Souray than just Liles.
  • David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News: There is a chance that the Sharks will be without Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic for tonight’s game. Both will be a game time decision.
  • Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic: Coyotes winger Scottie Upshall left Thursday’s game with a ‘lower-body’ injury. The extent of the injury is not known yet. If it’s serious, they might have to look elsewhere for help. “Number 1, we’re just waiting to see if this is something significant, long term, then we probably have to dial up our search for another offensive player,” Maloney said.
  • Aaron Portzline and Tom Reed: The Blue Jackets are 9 points out of the last playoff spot, and will most likely be sellers at the trade deadline. Raffi Torres and Milan Jurcina have been mentioned in the past, but you can add Freddie Modin to that list. Modin hasn’t been asked to waive his no-trade clause yet.

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Globe Sports talks some rumors on their Podcast, Lightning getting new owner that might want to move Vinny, Plenty of teams interested in Whitney

  • Globe Sports Podcast: A 1/2 hour podcast talking about the ‘Hockey Summit’ and the NHL’s participation in the Olympics. They also talk about Dion Phaneuf, Ilya Kovalchuk, and other things happening on the trade front. Trade talk starts around the 10 minute mark.
  • Ken Campbell and Adam Proteau of The Hockey News: The Tampa Bay Lightning ownership was been a mess for awhile, and there have been reports that the NHL covered their last payroll. But some better news may be on the way, as the NHL might have found a new owner in Boston based financier, Jeffery Vinik. The team, and 5 acres of land beside the arena are being sold for an estimated $170 million. It is also rumored that if Vinik gets the team he’ll want to trim payroll, and will be asking Vincent Lecavalier to waive his no-trade clause.
  • The Penguins or Senators could be a great fit for Ray Whitney. Other clubs that might be interested are Buffalo, Boston, New Jersey, Vancouver and Los Angeles.
  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Mike Modano was asked on a recent road trip if he’d consider moving to a Stanley Cup contender in what could be his last season,  he said he’d prefer to finish his career with the Stars.
  • Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun: Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is fine with Jamal Mayers and Garnet Exelby asking for trade. They approached him privately and in a professional manner.
  • David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News: Dan Boyle missed his 3rd straight game with an upper-body injury, and is day-to-day. He’ll see how it feels before Saturday’s game, and if it’s a no go, he’ll try again on Tuesday.
  • Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom is day-to-day with a stiff back. He missed last nights game, and will be re-evaluated before their next game.

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Is Ron Wilson Serious?

Ok, Garnet Exelby has joined Jamal Mayers in expressing his desire to be moved out of Toronto. This really doesn’t come as a big surprise considering neither player has really had much playing time this season.

The Maple Leafs are deep in defencemen making more money then Exelby, with $21.925 million tied up in Mike Komisarek ($4.5 mil), Tomas Kaberle ($4.25 mil), Francois Beauchemin ($3.8 mil), Jeff Finger ($3.5 mil), Luke Schenn ($2.975 mil), and Mike Van Ryn ($2.9 mil) all against the salary cap. This pretty much put Exelby in the press box. The consistently good play of Ian White at $850 000 didn’t help Exelby’s chances either.

All that said, the really amazing part was how Ron Wilson was doing his thing with the media again. He more or less blames all of the problems in Leaf-land on the media, in one way or another, and chalked all the hype to “negative reporting” on our part… What? Should we not cover this situation? Do Leaf fans not want to hear about potential movement of players on a team that desperately needs change? Like it or not Ron, you coach in Toronto and people care about what’s going on with the Leafs. It’s not the media’s fault that there really isn’t anything “positive” to talk about. Instead of worrying about what the media is saying you should be worried about how long until it’s all been said, and no one is saying anything anymore.

 The opposite of love isn’t hate, Mr. Wilson, it’s apathy.

Exelby was speaking candidly about his time in Toronto, and was really pretty politically correct in stating his wishes, as was Mayers…

“”It’s funny how things change and never quite work out the way you hope they might,” said Exelby on Wednesday. “I understand we have a team that’s deep in defencemen and it’s tough for me to get in the lineup and stay in the lineup. It’s been that way all year.”

A seldom-used defenceman who was acquired in an off-season deal that saw Pavel Kubina sent to the Atlanta Thrashers, Exelby added that he just wants a chance to play somewhere and doesn’t feel that will happen in Toronto.

“If there’s not much use for me here then I’ll be happy to go somewhere if it helps the team and do something that’s right for the organization,” he said.

Much like Exelby, Mayers says he is not pleased with his lack of playing time and thinks his rambunctious style could be put to better use on another team. But he vows his unhappiness will not manifest itself in a lack of effort on the ice with the blue and white.

“The reality is that I am a Leaf and I’m going to continue to work hard. That won’t change and hopefully people notice that,” said Mayers, who was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in 2008 for a third round pick.”" (Source: TSN)

As far as Exelby and Mayers are concerned, Wilson said that their numbers speak for themselves. It’s true, their numbers were weak. I was of the impression they were acquired to add toughness but I’ll entertain Wilson’s spin of the situation.

If it is fair to measure the players performance’s based on their numbers then the same rule should apply to evaluate Mr. Wilson himself. His numbers in Toronto are less then impressive to say the least. In 136 games coached in the last season and a half in Toronto, Wilsons record is 51 wins against 85 losses (including OT losses). This season their penelty kill is ranked 30th at 69.4% under Wison’s direction, a team system widely viewed as a coachable skill. The powerplay is clicking along at 16.5%, good for 25th overall.

How can that be spun to blame the media? Then again, maybe I’m just being negative.

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Niedermayer staying with Ducks? Two Leafs wanting a trade, Red Wings injury situation, Lehtonen on the Block?

  • Eric Stephens of the OC Register: If the Ducks continue to gain ground on the last playoff spot, the decision for Scott Niedermayer staying in Anaheim becomes easier, he won’t be going anywhere.
  • Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: A good article from Simmons about the situation Brian Burke finds himself in. Burke has been trying to make some changes, but has had no luck so far. Don’t expect much to happen (other than rumors) before March 3rd. According to Burke, “Unfortunately, (talking trade) is like being a farmer. You plant your crop and then you do nothing but wait.”
  • Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star: Both Garnet Exelby and Jamal Mayers have spoken with Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, and they wouldn’t mind being traded at the deadline. The fact that Mayers was looking to move on, was leaked yesterday. “I’m willing to do whatever I can to help the team. If that means moving on, then that’s the way it has to be,” said Mayers. “I haven’t had a chance to win yet, so I’d certainly like that opportunity but I can’t control that. I certainly like to think I come to the rink every day to play hard.”
  • Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen is due to return from his AHL conditioning stint next week. That will give the Thrashers 3 goalies (Lehtonen, Johan Hedberg and Ondrej Pavelec), and most likely a new home for one of them. Lehtonen is the most likely to go, but his back issues may scare some teams off.
  • TheFourthPeriod: The Capitals and Nicklas Backstrom are taking their time with regards to a contract extension. The Caps are reportedly in the market for a 2nd line center, and a top four physical defenseman. The Blues might be a team they are talking with.
  • Kevin Allen of the USA Today: If the trade deadline was tomorrow, Capitals GM George McPhee wouldn’t do anything. I’m not sure if this was said before Jose Theodore left Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury. If healthy, Varlamov is their playoff goalie, but he’s been out for awhile, and his return is not known at the moment. I think they should consider another goalie option, as health could become a problem down the stretch and in the playoffs.
  • AP in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Unable to find a trade partner for Petr Sykora, the Minnesota Wild have sent him to their AHL affiliate, where he’s not expected to show up.
  • Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: With Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom, and Jason Williams returning to the Red Wings lineup soon, management may be forced to make some roster/salary adjustments. When Holmstrom and Williams return (and if there are no other injuries – below post might help a little) they will be over the roster limit of 23. Justin Abdelkader doesn’t need to clear waivers, so he will most likely be sent to the AHL. When Franzen returns, the Wings will have to shed $1.5 million in salary, as they’ll be over the cap limit.
  • Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press: With all the good news on the Detroit injury front, you knew something had to give. Brad Stuart left last night’s game in the first period with a sprained left shoulder.

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Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumors – Jan. 27th

Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star: 11 scouts were on hand to witness the Leafs-Kings game last night, with Canadiens GM Bob Gainey as one of them. Niklas Hagman scored 2 goals and might have increased his stock. Leafs GM Brian Burke said that he gets the most calls for Hagman, who’s at a reasonable price of $3 million for each of the next 2 seasons. Both Alexei Ponikarovsky and Matt Stajan won’t bring in the return that Hagman would.

Michael Traikos of the National Post: It’s no secret that the Leafs will be both selling (Stajan, Ponikarovsky, Stempniak, etc.) and buying (larger contracts that come with prospects/draft picks) at the deadline. Burke has said once again that he’ll take on salary, and isn’t afraid to bury some of it in the minors. Traikos brings up once again that the Blackhawks could be interested in this salary dump option, and provides a list of 5 players that might convince Burke to be a buyer: Jack Skille (22 years old, $850,000), Kris Versteeg (23 years old, $3 million), Dustin Byfuglien (24 years old, $3 million), Andrew Ladd (23 years old, $1.55 million), and Brian Campbell (30 years old, $7.14 million). With Campbell, they’d have to throw in a 1st round pick.

Darren Dreger of TSN via Twitter: Toronto Maple Leafs Jamal Mayers may also be on the move. His agent, Pat Brisson has been given permission to talk to teams to see if they would be interested in trading for him. He’d be a good addition for a playoff bound team, he’s tough, a good leader, and can probably be had for a mid round pick.

Another Maple Leaf that has been in the news lately is Jonas Gustavsson. My NHL Trade Rumors writer Derek posted a Gustavsson piece titled “It’s Time to Find out About The ‘Monster‘” yesterday, that might have gotten buried a bit with today’s posts.

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Dreger’s Top 10 players to be moved, Sheldon Souray Suitors, Boston not likely to trade Rask or Leafs 1st round pick

  • Darren Dreger of TSN: Dreger has put together a top 10 list of players likely to be traded. In order: Ilya Kovalchuk, Ray Whitney, Peter Mueller, Matt Stajan, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Cullen, Lubomir Visnovsky, Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau, and Marty Turco.
  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: Potential teams who could be on his ‘trade list’ for Sheldon Souray: Anaheim, Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New Jersey, Washington, New York Rangers. Better possibilities for Souray and the Oilers: Washington, New Jersey, Anaheim, Dallas, and Boston.
  • Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger: New Jersey Devils GM, Lou Lamoriello might be considering making a trade before the March 3rd deadline. There are rumors that they are interested in Sheldon Souray.
  • James Murphy of The Boston Bruins have put out there that both Tuukka Rask and their 1st round pick from the Maple Leafs are not available for trade. That probably crosses them off the Ilya Kovalchuk list, as I’d think those would be part of what the Thrashers would want. Murphy thinks Bruins fans shouldn’t hold their breath for Kovalchuk or Phaneuf. The Bruins could bring in Ray Whitney for a 2nd round pick.
  • Dana Wakiji of the Detroit News: Red Wings defenceman Andres Lilja has gone 14 days without a headache, a milestone for day him. Lilja has been out since last Feb 28th with a concussion. He took to the ice yesterday, and had some contact with Johan Franzen. No timetable for his return has been set, and of course, there are the cap implications.
  • Adrian Dater of the Denver Post: Dater doesn’t expect the Avalanche to make any significant trades by the deadline, they probably won’t deal away any of their young players for a rental. They will look like to trade Marek Svatos or maybe Ruslan Salei.
  • Mike Chambers of the Denver Post: There is a chance that the Avalanche will get two defenceman back for Thursday. Both Adam Foote and rookie Ryan Wilson are close to returning.

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It’s Time To Find Out About The “Monster”

I’m not the first to say this but I would like to add my voice to the gathering masses that just want the Toronto Maple Leafs to let Jonas Gustavsson play for the remainder of the season.

It’s time to find out exactly what they have in “The Monster”, and decide if the flashes of greatness (or the flashes of mediocrity) are the real stick with which to measure the 25 year old NHL rookie. There have been moments when Gustavsson looked like he was on the brink of breaking out as a true #1 NHL goaltender, only to watch him allow a weak goal or over-read a play and end up committed to a shot while the opposing player passes for an easy tap in goal.

Personally, I prefer an aggressive goaltender like Gustavsson, who comes out to challenge a shooter. In my opinion this was the biggest problem for Vesa Toskala, sitting on the goal line and giving away the upper half of the net. It’s easier to make an aggressive player dial it back a bit then it is to make a passive one more aggressive, as we’ve seen with Toskala. Let’s face it, if we know what Toskala needed to do to be successful, so did Vesa but he was unable to change his game.

Gustavsson has had decent numbers on an under-achieving team but it really is time to see what he can do with a stretch of consecutive games to get comfortable. If it turns out he isn’t capable it would be far better to figure that out now, he will be a RFA after this season and will be looking for more then the $910 Thousand he signed for this year as an introductory contract.

His 2.94 GAA and .902 Save% is passable considering the supporting cast but it’s important to remember that a young goaltender can improve vastly playing on a bottom-feeder team like the Leafs, where he will see a lot of rubber every night. If you consider Roberto Luongo’s time in Florida he faced almost 2500 shot’s in 2003/04 and again in 2005/06 (consecutive season considering the lockout). This is when Luongo emerged as a premier NHL goaltender. I’m not saying that “The Monster” is the next Luongo, but it’s imperative for Brian Burke to know what he needs to do in net going into next season.

It’s time to throw Jonas in the pool and see if he’ll swim.

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Wayne Gretzky Posing for You

I bet Wayne is thrilled with this picture. I love the Jofa and Titan gear. I’m not sure what is more funny; the classy couch, the head of hair on Wayne, or his casual pose.

This picture is from SportsIllustrated


Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumors – Jan. 26th

  • Damien Cox, Don Landry and Gord Stellick on the FAN 590: Audio from yesterday mornings radio talk show. Talking about the Leaf game on Saturday night, and if Kaberle will waive his no-trade clause.
  • Brian Burke on Hockey Central – Video: Brian Burke was on Hockey Central, discussed Kovalchuk, who won’t be coming to the Maple Leafs.
  • David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail: Jonas Gustavsson has less than 30 games to convince boss Brian Burke that he should be the goalie of the future for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Vesa Toskala won’t be back, possibly gone by the trade deadline. Shoalts presents 3 options for the Leafs goaltending situation.
  • Hand the No. 1 job to Gustavsson next season and sign a good backup from the list of free agents.
  • Look for a veteran free agent who can act as a mentor to the 25-year-old Gustavsson and be capable of playing as many as 50 games if the youngster’s development still lags.
  • Sign or trade for the best possible goaltender money and cap space can buy. Gustavsson can either back up and wait his turn or be traded for another asset.
  • One option that might present itself is that if the Florida Panthers are out of playoff contention, they might put Tomas Vokoun on the trade block. Vokoun has 1 year left at $5.7 million. There’s JS Giguere at $7 million ($6 million cap hit) for next year. Jonas Hiller is also a UFA at seasons end. Nashville has 2 UFA goalies in Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne, and they won’t be re-signing both. Other free agent goalies are Martin Biron (Isles), Chris Mason (Blues) and Marty Turco (Stars)

  • Mark Spector of Now that Sheldon Souray has agreed to waive his no-trade clause, will Tomas Kaberle follow suit? Spector thinks Kaberle’s trade value is diminishing.
  • David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail: Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek is hoping to return on Saturday. Komisarek has been out since Jan. 2nd with a shoulder injury, the injury may not be fully healed. Doctors looked at the shoulder, and Komisarek may have been given the option of surgery now or playing through it and having surgery after the season.
  • Terry Koshan from Canoe Sports: One team that might consider trading for Vesa Toskala might be the Calgary Flames. Other UFA’s that could be moved Lee Stempniak, Matt Stajan and Alexei Ponikarovsky.
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