Archive for March, 2010

Eastern Conference Playoff Picture: Is Your Team In Or Out?

March 6th, 2010 No Comments

Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter It’s official, for the majority of NHL teams there is less than twenty games left in the season. For some teams, most notably the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers, it’s time to put your playoff hopes on the shelf and take a look at the kids on the farm. For others, it’s crunch time—time to get hot in hopes of making the playoffs. In the NHL’s Eastern Conference, there are six teams that are legitimately in the running for the bottom three playoff spots. The Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins and Atlanta Thrashers currently occupy the sixth, seventh and eighth playoff spots. Hot on their heals, the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are separated by a margin of seven points from the sixth spot.

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Ritter’s Rant: 15 Unrestricted Free Agents & Other NHL Notes

March 4th, 2010 No Comments

What is going on in Calgary? Why the sudden love affair with all the Toronto Leafs Cast-offs? The fact that the Flames decided to cut-bait with Dion Phaneuf was questionable enough, but now, after brining in former Maple Leafs goaltender (and an underachieving one at that) Vesa Toskala at the deadline, I have to question Sutter and Co. Nik Hagman is a decent player, Ian White can play the game and Matt Stajan is a good guy to have in the locker room, but none of these players ever had me thinking “championship” in Toronto and I don’t think for a minute any of them will bring a championship to Calgary either. Two words Calgary fans, “good luck”….. I have already chimed in on whether or not teams should be able to trade for cap space (dollars) at the deadline,

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Philadelphia Flyers: No Trades, Is This Good News?

March 3rd, 2010 No Comments

For a good portion of the NHL season numerous members of the Philadelphia Flyers have been linked to trade rumors, including the likes of Jeff Carter, Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Simon Gagne, Ryan Parent and Daniel Carcillo. Coming the other way were Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle, Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco and a slew of others. As it turned out, none of the rumors had teeth as the Flyers elected to make any significant trades on or before today’s deadline. To say that hearing your name in trade rumors is a distraction is an understatement, but part of the business of hockey nonetheless. To their credit, each one of these players have fought through all the rumors and put together a decent season for themselves. Sure, Gagne, Parent and Briere would like to have had a better season,

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Tomas Kaberle Still A Maple Leaf, But For How Long???

March 3rd, 2010 No Comments

Tomas Kaberle has a no-trade clause, this much we know. What we don’t know is just how close Toronto Maple Leafs GM was to trading Kaberle at today’s deadline. Both Kaberle and Burke know that Kaberle’s no-trade clause will be null and void once the summer roles around—assuming the Leafs miss the playoffs, which they undoubtedly will. In a news conference broadcast on TSN this afternoon, Burke stated that he was approached by Kaberle’s agent, Rick Curran, who “whispered in Burke’s ear” a couple of teams that Kaberle was interested in joining, teams he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause for a chance to play for them. True to his word, Burke has never asked Kaberle to waive his no-trade. That said, when a player of Kaberle’s clout and skill level asks you to explore a couple of

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Tomas Kaberle IS Being Shopped, Washington Buying?

March 3rd, 2010 No Comments

There have been plenty of rumors circulating around the internet and in print media that Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Keberle was going to be shipped out by Leafs GM Brian Burke. Word has it that Burke and Kaberle have agreed on a short list of teams from which Burke can negotiate a trade with, which, in turn, Kaberle would be willing to waive his no-trade clause. Speculation is that the Washington Capitals are putting together a deal that would involve defenseman Karl Alzner coming to Toronto, amongst other things (a deal I have speculated on for over a month). High on Burke’s priority list is a centre to play alongside star forward Phil Kessel and adding a first round draft choice, of which he has none in 2010 or 2011, two draft choices he traded to the Boston Bruins

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NHL Trade Deadline Day: Two Hours To Go, Which Teams Improved?

March 3rd, 2010 No Comments

Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter Heading into Trade Deadline day many prognosticators lamented that they felt the biggest deals had already happened. Of course they were talking about the likes of goaltender J.S. Giguere and defenseman Dion Phaneuf being traded to the  Toronto Maple Leafs and Ilya Kovalchuk moving on to New Jersey to join the Devils. While there may not have been any bog name players traded on this, deadline day, there were a number of deals consummated today that, going forward, will impact the playoff races in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. With that in mind, with a little over tow hours to go before the trade deadline expires, let’s take a look at the deals that will most impact the playoff picture and which teams emerged as improved. Teams That Improved: Anaheim Ducks: Acquired

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