Archive for January, 2011

Blues financial constraints play part in past/future deals … Kotalik could be bought out in summer … AHL Skills Competition goal

  • Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The St. Louis Blues have a payroll of about $46 million, and financial constraints is one of reasons they didn’t go after Jamie Langenbrunner according to sources. Langenbrunner would have been about $1.4 million for the remainder of the season. The Blues did try to bring in the cheap Marek Svatos ($300,000) and Kyle Wellwood ($400,000), only to have them claimed off waivers by other teams. If they are able to secure new investors by the time the NHL trade deadline roles around could impact whether they are buyers or sellers.  Eric Brewer and Ty Conklin are UFA’s and could be either be re-signed or traded. TJ Oshie and Patrik Berglund will be RFAs at season’s end.
  • Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Max Talbot is a UFA at season’s end, and his recent offensive struggles (pointless in 15, goalless in 24) might sway the Penguins to decide to move in a different direction. Dustin Jeffrey, Eric Tangradi, Nick Johnson and Tim Wallace could be ready to take a more prominent role with the Pens next year. Other Penguins UFAs will be: Pascal Dupuis ($1.4 million), Mike Rupp ($825K), Eric Godard ($750K), Aaron Asham ($700K), Craig Adams ($550K), Chris Conner ($550K), Mike Comrie ($500K).
  • Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald: With the Flames sending Ales Kotalik to the AHL, they’ll begin rewarding players with callups. The move also clears up cap space for the remainder of the season. He could be bought out this summer, and would carry a $1 million cap hit in each of the next 2 seasons.
  • From the AHL skills competition, Linus Klasen

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Canadian teams looking to make deals … Eklund spoof video

  • Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: The Canadian teams, the Maple Leafs, Senators, Oilers and Flames are all trying to make some trades, with Sens Bryan Murray and Leafs Brian Burke the most aggressive. For the Leafs; Kris Versteeg, J.S. Giguere, Tomas Kaberle and Mike Komisarek  (Francois Beauchemin not mention in the article is also rumored). The Sens could look to move Chris Phillips, Jarkko Ruutu, Mike Fisher, Sergei Gonchar. The Flames could ask Robyn Regehr to waive his no trade. Jarome Iginla isn’t going anywhere. The Oilers will see if someone comes calling about Sheldon Souray. “I don’t expect it to heat up dramatically just yet,” said Burke. “A month is a long time, especially in this business. If you want to put a deal together — even a big deal — you can put it together in 72 hours. I don’t think anyone is feeling any heat yet.” Zach Parise hopes to return in the next month, and if the Devils put the future RFA on the trade block, there will several teams interested.
  • Damien Cox via twitter: TMZ reporting that Mike Komisarek told the cops that he didn’t hit the woman in the LA bar, witnesses back up his story.
  • Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: There is no closing date, but Dave Checkets is close to finishing a deal with investors in a financial restructure of the St. Louis Blues. There had been a search for a replacement for TowerBrook’s 75% interest.
  • Larry Brooks via twitter: Though it was in their right for the Islanders to claim Evgeni Nabokov, they should let him go after the season. (I don’t see why they don’t put him on waivers now.)
  • From xtranormal: A discussion on Eklund (swearing involved)

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Crosby cleared for light workouts … Healing Rangers … Roundup of names mentioned in trade rumors

  • Pierre LeBrun of ESPN:

    “There hasn’t been much real talk,” Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon told this week. “Teams are saying ‘We’ll talk later, we’ll talk later.’ But that’s fine.”

    “There’s been lots of talk going on, but it’s hard to jar anything loose right now,” Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said this week.

    “Most of us have players that we would make available even right now for a trade, either because they’re underperforming and/or overpaid,” Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier told us this week. “But it’s impossible right now to get an agreement on values. We’re all hoping that we’re going to be able to just charge a cost without taking anything back, and that’s not reality. So I think, yes, we’re all sitting around to the last day or two again [before the trade deadline].”

    The Maple Leafs and Senators have been trying to make trades (not with each other) for some time but haven’t had any luck. It doesn’t look like the Senators will move Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jason Spezza. The Leafs may be ready to take draft picks and prospects as ‘traditional hockey deals’ are harder to do nowadays. There’s the Tomas Kaberle and his no-trade clause question that will be brought up again. Francois Beauchemin and Kris Versteeg will continue get interest. Sheldon Souray is still available. Dustin Penner should draw some interest. Future UFA’s the Sabres have are Tim Connolly, Mike Grier, Rob Niedermayer, Craig Rivet and Steve Montador.

  • Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Sidney Crosby has been cleared by doctors to begin light workouts. He’s been out since Jan. 5th with a mild concussion. Crosby will have to be symptom free from the workout before he’ll be able to practice with the team.
  • Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: Sources are saying that the Ottawa Senators are trying to move Sergei Gonchar. Gonchar has 2 year and $11 million left on his deal. The Sharks, Bruins, and Blue Jackets are teams that have shown interest in adding a defenseman. “You could deal him, but you’re going to have to take somebody back,” said one NHL insider. “It’s going to have to be a dollar-for-dollar, which means they’ll have to take someone’s big contract back. “This is going to be a really tough deal for (the Senators) to make.” Chris Phillips and Jarkko Ruutu have been the most talked about names.
  • Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post Dispatch: A list of players who’s names have come up the most in trade rumors: Mike Fisher (OTT), Tim Connolly (BUF), Daniel Alfredsson (OTT), Sergei Gonchar (OTT), Chris Phillips (OTT), Robyn Regehr (CAL), Bryan McCabe (FLA), Stephen Weiss (FLA), Tomas Vokoun (FLA), Cory Stillman (FLA), Drew Stafford (BUF), Tomas Kaberle (TOR), Francois Beauchemin (TOR), JS Giguere (TOR), Jason Arnott (NJ), Brad Richards (DAL), and Devin Setoguchi (SJ).
  • Jesse Spector of the NY Daily News: The NY Rangers should get Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi back on Tuesday. Vinnie Prospal is close to returning, and before the trade deadline they’ll also get Erik Christensen, Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan Fedotenko back. Spector polled fans to see what they wanted to the Rangers to do, the results: Stand pat: 36% Defenseman: 23% Center: 13% Trade a veteran: 11% Address a weakness only if the market price is good: 7% Any power play help: 5% Jason Strudwick-type defenseman who can also spell a forward: 3% Jarome Iginla: 2%. Specific defenseman named: Anton Babchuk (Flames), Brent Burns (Wild), Brian McCabe (Panthers), Steve Montador (Sabres) and Tomas Kaberle (Maple Leafs).
  • Lisa Wallace of the Globe and Mail: Ray Emery is hoping to get a contract in the next couple of weeks, as he continues he comeback attempt. Last April he had bone grafted from his leg and inserted “into the ball of the hip.” He was on the ice in Ottawa with goaltending coach Eli Wilson. “I’m ready to go and start training in the American Hockey League and know that my body can take that kind of exertion,” Emery said. “The hockey’s not all the way there. I feel like a player at the end of the summer who needs some training and some games to get a feeling for the game again.”
  • Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald: The Blackhawks are looking to add another defenseman and a center. Players they might be offering as trade bait are Victor Stalberg, Jack Skille, and Nick Boynton. Defenseman that Sassone thinks they could look at are Bryan McCabe, Roman Hamrlik, Joni Pitkanen, and Chris Phillips.

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Edler out 8-10 weeks … Trade decision coming for Panthers … ‘Hawks GM talk trade deadline … LA Kings notes

  • Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province: Canucks defenseman Alex Edler will have microdiscectomy procedure on his back Monday to repair a tear in a disc, he’ll be out 8 to 10 weeks. This should allow Sami Salo to return to the lineup (if he’s able to) before the playoffs with the team having to make a roster move to accommodate his salary. It may also allow the Canucks to add a penalty killer if they put him on LTIR. Keith Ballard’s role should increase. Andrew Alberts and Aaron Rome should return a week to 10 days after the break.
  • George Richards of the Miami Herald: The Florida Panthers are getting close to the time they’ll need to decide if they are buyers or sellers. The Panthers don’t have many unmovable contracts, and could look to acquire draft picks and prospects. They have said they would like to re-sign Tomas Vokoun but that could have been done in an attempt to drive up the trade price. Players who might draw some trade interest are Bryan McCabe, Cory Stillman, Chris Higgins and Radek Dvorak. Guys like Stephen Weiss and David Booth might be there for the pickings if the offer is right.
  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Heika doesn’t think the Stars will trade anyone off their roster in an attempt to improve it. Heika was asked if he thinks that Brad Richards would stay even without new ownership, “It’s difficult to get into his head. If they win the Cup and don’t have a new owner, he might stay. If they lose in the first round and don’t have a new owner, he might go.”
  • Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald: Comments from Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman on the upcoming trade deadlines,

    “We’re not saying we’re going to wait a month, if there’s a deal to be made over the next two weeks. Things star to pick up around now, and between now and the next four or five weeks is when it all happens.

    “You’re always going to look for depth because we’ve been fortunate and had a good run here with health on the back end. You look around and there are teams that are missing four defensemen. If that happens, we’ve got young kids, but when you’re making a stretch run you can never be too deep on the back end.

    “Up front it’s the same thing. You always want to be a little heavier at center if you can. I wouldn’t say that we’re only going to look for that, but if you’re asking me, in a perfect world, you’re looking at depth on defense and up the middle.

  • Dennis Bernstein via twitter: Bernstein doesn’t see the LA Kings going after Jason Spezza if he were to become available, Mike Fisher would be a better option.
  • Dennis Bernstein via twitter: Justin Williams is likely the only UFA that the Kings would re-sign, and if they fall out of the playoffs, they may deal him.

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Players with the worst plus/minus so far this season

So the all-star break is upon us (yawn), and in honor this 4 day break, I decided to put together a list of the worst plus/minuses so far this season. I’m still amazed (and annoyed, on my fantasy team) that Kovalchuk leads this category. I know he doesn’t always focus on the defensive side of the things but…..  Finding 4 San Jose Sharks is also a bit of a surprise. Maple Leafs defenseman/forward Brett Lebda is a funny case as he’s a -19 in 22 games, that’s terrible.

Player Team GP +/- G A P ESP SHP PPP
Ilya Kovalchuk NJD 48 -29 14 15 29 16 0 13
Chris Phillips OTT 50 -23 0 3 3 2 0 1
John Tavares NYI 46 -21 18 18 36 21 0 15
Henrik Tallinder NJD 49 -20 2 6 8 5 1 2
Brett Lebda TOR 22 -19 0 1 1 0 0 1
Patrick Marleau SJS 50 -19 18 18 36 17 1 18
David Clarkson NJD 49 -19 8 4 12 10 0 2
Phil Kessel TOR 49 -19 19 15 34 21 1 12
Simon Gagne TBL 33 -19 9 4 13 8 0 5
Andy Greene NJD 49 -19 3 15 18 12 0 6
James Wisniewski NYI, MTL 45 -19 5 28 33 12 0 21
Filip Kuba OTT 32 -18 0 4 4 2 0 2
Sergei Gonchar OTT 50 -17 6 15 21 5 0 16
Dennis Wideman FLA 49 -17 6 19 25 12 0 13
Erik Karlsson OTT 48 -17 8 20 28 14 0 14
Nick Foligno OTT 50 -16 8 11 19 13 0 6
Dominic Moore TBL 46 -15 8 9 17 14 0 3
Kris Versteeg TOR 46 -15 12 19 31 18 0 13
Blake Comeau NYI 48 -15 13 17 30 21 0 9
Rich Peverley ATL 52 -14 13 15 28 17 2 9
Adam Mair NJD 43 -14 1 1 2 2 0 0
Kristian Huselius CBJ 27 -14 9 6 15 10 0 5
Olli Jokinen CGY 48 -14 9 21 30 19 0 11
Devin Setoguchi SJS 41 -14 10 5 15 12 0 3
Joe Thornton SJS 48 -14 13 31 44 18 1 25
Joe Pavelski SJS 42 -14 9 22 31 15 0 16
Tyler Bozak TOR 49 -14 8 12 20 13 0 7
BJ Crombeen STL 49 -14 5 5 10 9 1 0

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Blues need to make some changes … Liberal’s may support new arena in Quebec City … Thrashers willing to trade … Semin wanted short deal

  • Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Gordon thinks the Blues need to change something, and to do it quickly. Injuries have taken their toll, and have even hit their draft picks. The team needs to trade some of their defensive surplus for offensive help, and this should include everyone including Erik Johnson. A Johnson deal would have to be for a “young, cornerstone-caliber forward.” The Blues also need to spend some money this off-season and bring in some offensive help via free agency.
  • Montreal Gazette: Canadian Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff would support idea of using federal funds to help build the proposed 18,000 seat arena in Quebec City. Quebec City’s mayor has been trying to get the federal government to match the provincial government’s $175 million. Quebec City would put in $50 million. Estimated cost of the arena is $400 million.
  • Craig Custance of the Sporting News: So Alexander Semin signed a 1 year, $6.7 million deal yesterday. The Capitals were willing to do a longer deal, but Semin wanted to do a shorter one. “He was basically comfortable with another one-year deal,” McPhee said. “That was fine with us.” One reason he may have been interested in a shorter deal is the uncertainty surrounding the CBA that expires after the 2011-12 season. Semin agent, Mark Gandler added, “Last time, they cut existing contracts 24 percent. … I’m worried about the sanctity of the contract.”
  • Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald: It’s unlikely that anyone will claim Ales Kotalik off waivers as he’s in the 2nd year of a 3 year deal and is making $3 million. If he goes unclaimed, it doesn’t mean he’ll be sent to the AHL. He has 3 points, is a -8 in 20 games for the Flames.

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Moulson re-signs … Flyers waive Walker, might have Cole in their sights … Edler to have back surgery … Getzlaf targeting Feb. 9th

  • Bob McKenzie via twitter: The Philadelphia Flyers have put Matt Walker on waivers. The Calgary Flames have put Ales Kotalik on waivers.
  • Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News: Matt Walker will likely not get claimed on waivers  as he carries a $1.7 million salary. The move clears more cap room for future acquisitions, and a little extra room to sign Ville Leino to an extension.
  • Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer: With Walker being waived, it gives the Flyers $3.6 million in acquisition space. Eric Cole ($2.9 million cap hit) is familiar to coach Peter Laviolette and could be a player the Flyers target.
  • Craig Custance via twitter: Ryan Getzlaf has been cleared to skate on Monday and is targeting February 9th versus the Canucks as his return date.
  • Andy Strickland of True Hockey: Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador, out with a concussion, may not play a game this season, but is hoping to return next season.
  • Thomas Reed via twitter: Mike Commodore will make his AHL debut tonight, and is partnered with prospect John Moore.

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Alexander Semin re-signs with Capitals for 1 year

Corey Masisak via twitter: The Washington Capitals have re-signed Alexander Semin to a 1 year, $6.7 million deal.

Semin signed a 1 year, $6 million before this season.

Pierre LeBrun via twitter: The contract does not include a no-trade or no-movement clause.


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Iginla rumors persist … Trouble with Coyotes sale? Gustavsson would OK trip to Marlies … What if’s regarding Forsberg

  • Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun: Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster has come out and said that he not interested in trade captain Jarome Iginla, but the rumors keep appearing, with the Flyers as a potential team interested now. “Certainly, nothing stops a team from saying, ‘Hey, if you ever …,’ Feaster said. “All I say to those is, ‘Thanks. I’ll note your interest.’ ”
  • Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun: (article written under protest by Friesen) Bob McCown on the Fan 590 reported that the $100 million bond that the Phoenix Coyotes were going to give Matthew Hulsizer to help pay for the team has failed. NHL deputy commish Bill Daly said the report was inaccurate and added “It continues to move toward closing,” Daly said. “I don’t anticipate time will become an issue, but if it does, we’ll address it then.” The Phoenix Business Journal also added that the True North Sports (could be the leading candidates to get the team if relocation becomes the option) are working behind the scenes trying to get the Goldwater Institute to files a lawsuit against the agreement. A TNS spokesperson answer this accusation with “That is 100%, unequivocally, patently false,” … “True North Sports and Entertainment has NEVER had any contact whatsoever with the Goldwater Institute in any way, shape or form.” Friesen’s advise “don’t take it too seriously, Jets fans.”
  • Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun: Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson would agree to a conditioning stint with the AHL Marlies. It has been rumored that the Leafs could ask him (they haven’t yet) in hope that he could regain some of his confidence, while they go with James Reimer and JS Giguere. Gustavsson has only played twice since the last week of December.
  • Adrian Dater of the Denver Post: Dater brings up the possibility that if Peter Forsberg signs with the Avalanche, but they drop out of the playoff race, they could trade him to a contender. Dater thinks you could get a 1st round pick or more for him (don’t agree with that but…), and the Penguins and Bruins could be 2 teams that might interested, especially the Bruins after Savard went down. Savard could be put in LTIR, freeing up some cap space for the Bruins. Dater also wonders what if another team jumps the gun on the Avs and offers Forsberg a contract. Dater uses the LA Kings as an example, and a 2 year deal worth $13 million. It could be hard for Forsberg to say no to, though he seems loyal to the Avalanche.
  • Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun: Jason Spezza is eying a February 5th return to the Ottawa Senators lineup against the Islanders. The Senators have gone 1-8-4 while Spezza recovers from his shoulder injury.
  • Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun:  Senators prospect Jason Bailey is suing the Anaheim Ducks and it’s ECHL team (Bailey was with the organization before being traded to Ottawa) for alleged anti-Semitic remarks made by their coaches and for wrongful dismissal. It’s alleged that the coach said “only care about money and who’s who,” and that he “never wanted his son to be raised Jewish or to wear a yarmulke” and that Bailey couldn’t be trusted because “he’s Jewish.”

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Blues-Brewer haven’t talked, could be moved but … Conroy clears waivers, weighing options … Oilers would put Souray on re-entry

  • Andy Strickland of True Hockey: The St. Louis Blues and Eric Brewer haven’t talked contract extension. Brewer and backup goalie Ty Conklin will be UFA’s at seasons end, and could find themselves as on the trade block for the Feb.28th trade deadline day. Brewer does have no-trade clause, and is expecting a baby in the next couple weeks.
  • Katie Carrera via twitter: Semyon Varlamov will likely be in net for the Capitals tonight. It also looks like Matt Bradley will return.
  • Mark Spector via twitter: The Oilers would put Sheldon Souray on re-entry waivers if a team would indicate they were interested in him. Souray said, “It’s on me to make something out of this. To stay healthy and make a team say, ‘We need this guy.’”

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Leino and Flyers working on a deal … Moving Senators … Callahan, Prospal activated … Cox’s plan for Leafs … Weber options

  • Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer: The Philadelphia Flyers and Ville Leino continue talks and agent, Bill Zito texted, “I am optimistic we’ll get a deal done.” The Flyers have about $4.1 million in ‘tagging’ space for next season. Leino is making $825,000 this season and could be looking for a deal in the $2.3 million range. Other Flyers UFA’s are Brian Boucher, Sean O’Donnell, and Nik Zherdev. RFA’s are Dan Carcillo, Andreas Nodl, and Darroll Powe. James van Riemsdyk is nursing a groin injury but should be ready to go after the break.
  • Ottawa Sun: Garrioch was originally surprised the Senators didn’t put a waiver claim on Evgeni Nabokov. They contacted his agent and found out he wouldn’t go to Ottawa. Brennan thinks they can find someone who’d be interested in Sergei Gonchar, and points out that if they find a team to take Filip Kube, that GM should be fired.  Garrioch thinks Jarrko Ruutu will be traded, and that the Bruins should take a run at Chris Phillips. They’ll listen to offers for Mike Fisher.
  • Darren Dreger via twtter: Dreger talked to Fisher’s agent who said he hasn’t submitted a list of teams that he’d okay/not okay a trade to, and won’t until he’s asked.
  • Jesse Spector of the NY Daily News: The NY Rangers activated Ryan Callahan and Vinny Prospal from the IR and sent Michael Del Zotto, Brodie Dupont, Evgeny Grachev, Chad Kolarik and Kris Newbury back to the AHL.
  • Damien Cox of the Toronto Star: Heading into the all-star break Cox makes 2 points (1) That James Reimer is the teams best goalie at the moment and should continue to play for the big club. (2) “this notion that the Leafs will be looking to add talent by next month’s trade deadline for some kind of late-season playoff run is at best fanciful and at worst incomprehensible.” They should sell off and acquire futures. The team should look to improve for next fall, acquiring prospects or draft picks.
  • Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun: Kevin Bieksa is putting together a solid season, and may force the Canucks into deciding to either re-sign him or Christian Ehrhoff, both will be UFA’s after the season. “I’ve got more,” Bieksa said. “I’d love to be here. Love to finish my career here. Maybe the feeling is mutual.”
  • Ed Willis of the Vancouver Province: Shea Weber will be a RFA at the end of the season, and may start thinking at a change of scenery may be good after not getting past the 1st round of the playoffs in 5 years (4 times in the playoffs). Many pieces have been traded off, and the team has trouble getting to the next level.  He could  tell the team (could, not has), “Look, I’ve given you six good seasons. I’m going to be unrestricted in another season and I’d like to win. Why don’t you move me while you can still get something for me?” The Predators would likely want to lock him up long-term at a reasonable number.

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Enstrom out 2-3 weeks … Seabrook-Hawks continue talks … Johnson not being shopped by Blues … Muller may look for head coaching gig … Bruins team needs Video

  • Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune: Brent Seabrook and Chicago Blackhawks continue to talk contract extension. The 25-year old is currently making $3.5 million and will be looking for a bit of a raise.
  • Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports: Ales Hemsky (out with a concussion) and Dustin Penner could be made available by the Oilers, but they are looking for what a lot of teams are, centers and defensemen. A team did ask the Penguins about Alex Goligoski and were told he’s not available.
  • Andy Strickland of True Hockey: The St. Louis Blues aren’t shopping defenseman Erik Johnson. Carlo Colaiacovo is beginning to get some vision back to his eye, he took a puck in the face again last week. David Perron may try some light exercises in hope that it could lessen some of his concussion symptoms.
  • Mark Everson of the NY Post: NJ Devils recent resurgence may lessen trade talk on Jason Arnott. The Canadiens are rumored to be interested if he were to be made available.
  • Francois Gagnon of Cyberpresse: Kirk Muller (assistant coach) may leave the Canadiens and pursue a head coaching position. Ottawa, Toronto, New Jersey, and Calgary could be looking for new coaches after the season. He doesn’t have much head coaching experience, but he’s been an assistant since 2006.
  • Rob Longley via twitter: Maple Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin is expected today play tonight after getting punched in the face by Tim Gleason.
  • Bob McKenzie via twitter: Put on waivers today were Juraj Simek (BOS), Mike Silenka (ATL) and Craig Conroy (CGY) on waivers today.

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