Sunday, May 24, 2015
Authors Posts by Ryan Fancey

Ryan Fancey

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"Please don't ask me to go to Edmonton"

Amid all the speculation surrounding Roberto Luongo that’s starting to snowball, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, it seems as though one of the most overlooked parts of it all is the fact that he will have to waive his no-trade clause to where he wants to go.

Luongo stirred up the hockey world quite a bit yesterday by announcing that he would indeed allow the Canucks to trade him if that’s what their plan is. But he’s under no pressure to take a less-than-good situation at this point, and to think he’ll just go anywhere to help the Canucks out is false.

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Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

Photo: John Ulan/Canadian Press

For the early part of the season, when the Leafs were still planted in the playoff picture and the Oilers began to return to their rightful place at the bottom of the standings, there was plenty of debate over which team was truly on the right track to winning (seriously) again. Two popular Canadian clubs, two large fan-bases, and perhaps two of the most meticulous groups of bloggers and internet-y fans in the hockey world.

The answer seemed pretty simple: give me the Leafs and their upswing (or so it seemed) with Burke over that joker Tambellini any day of the week. Tambellini is perhaps the biggest disaster to ever happen to the Oilers, and despite his stable of top picks, he’s done ultimately nothing of his own accord to help that team. Burke, I guess, is helping the Leafs or something.

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Ever hear someone say that in hockey, the best way to really see the separation between good and great is to see the game live, in the flesh? Well it’s true. I can tell who the best players are just from watching at home on television, but when you take in a hockey game at the arena, the most skilled players will stand out more than ever.

I’ve been to a live Leafs game this season – it was the Leafs and Penguins in October, the game where Kessel saved the day in the third and made Brent Johnson look like a drunk as he stumbled to stop a cruising one-timer. No chance. Leafs win 4-3.

Now it had been a while since I watched the Leafs in person, the last time was against the Senators and I was blown away by how much skill Sundin, Spezza and Kaberle had at the time, how much better they were than everyone else. In the game I took in this past October there were also three players who stood out: Evgeni Malkin (obviously), Kris Letang, and Phil Kessel.

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It’s that rock-bottom point in the season when you officially quit, give up. The playoff talk is ramping up and now I’m looking at the rest of the league for big matchups every evening to see how things will play out before April 7th. We’re all stuck staring at the standings and making predictions about who we think will face each other in the first round and which clubs will battle it out for the Cup. As much fun as that is, things were a lot more pleasant a few months ago. And now, for the boys in blue, it’s all over but the crying.

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Image: CBC

Just some quick links to toss along.

The Leafs’ season is over, but playoff prediction talk is starting to gear up. Right now we have a pretty good race in the East for the last playoff spot, but it looks as though the Caps should take it. The West is simply loony – Calgary, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Jose are to the wire for those last two spots.

My prediction for the SC Final at the beginning of the season was Washington and Vancouver, but now I don’t feel the same way. Looks like Pittsburgh and Vancouver could be the way to go. I’d like to see the Blues take it far, personally.

What are your predictions? Any team you’d like to see go on a good run now that the Leafs are in “look ahead to the draft” mode?

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Image: AP

Tonight the Lupul-less Leafs lock up with the Penguins for the fourth time this season. It’s a national broadcast on TSN and will also be streamed on TSN.ca. Toronto will be without Colby Armstrong as well, after he sustained a broken face in a fight with Dennis Seidenberg of the Bruins.

Heading into tonight’s matchup the Leafs have a 2-0-1 record versus Pittsburgh so far this season. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem like an ideal time to run into the Penguins.

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Image: National Post

From TSN.ca:

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul will be sidelined for three to four weeks with a separated shoulder.

Lupul suffered the injury after taking a check from David Krejci in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Boston Bruins.

It’s possible Lupul may not see much more action this season with Toronto’s final regular-season game slated for April 7.

This is a tough shot to the Leafs’ already thin playoff chances. I’m guessing that Lupul’s potential return would depend on how the team plays in the next couple of weeks; it’s doubtful they would push him to come back unless they’re right back in the race again.

Shutting it down until next season may be the best move for Lupul who has also been experiencing a nagging wrist injury.

Lupul has 67 points in 66 games.

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Photo: Hockey Night in Canada/CBC

Photo: Hockey Night in Canada/CBC

The Legion of Blog posts a weekly piece attempting to decipher what Don Cherry says on Saturday night’s Coach’s Corner segment. We’re all aware that Grapes can say some pretty outlandish things from time to time, and whether you agree or disagree with him, the way it’s all presented will often leave you saying “Don lost it on (fill in name, city, something)” immediately afterward.

I don’t believe everything Cherry says is garbage. I’ve always thought his stance on getting rid of the military armor that players wear as hockey gear these days is right on. But there’s usually a dose (or full onslaught) of foolishness we get to sit through every weekend on Hockey Night in Canada.

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(Image: CBC)

The Leafs are truly a hilarious team to follow right now. A couple weeks ago it was frustrating to watch them drop some games, but now things have gone to such an extreme that I’m not upset in the least.

The next four games are against Montreal, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – a possible eight points. I’d be absolutely floored if the Leafs can come away with three. Managing to push one to overtime would be a minor miracle in itself it seems. The Leafs playoff chances have now plummeted to 11.1%. I think everyone should enjoy a good chuckle at the Leafs’ expense this season, considering the Lightning and Sabres (both one point back of Toronto, with a game in hand) have been ridiculed so often. It’s our turn to field some insults.

I’m still expecting things to turn around for this club at some point in March. To what extent remains unseen. It’s likely that the Leafs let themselves go to ten points out then rip off a few at the end of the season to land in 9th, giving everyone one last laugh before the playoffs start. Perfect.

Links after the jump.

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Photo: The Globe and Mail

We’re rolling over into our second thread for Trade Deadline updates. Here are some of the rumblings from earlier, and all new developments will show up here.

Last minute deal; Canucks send Hodgson to the Sabres for Zack Kassian. Biggest trade of the day.

3:00 – John Scott to the Rangers. Bruins get Greg Zanon. Leafs trade Dale Mitchell to the Ducks for D Mark Fraser.

2:55 – Brian Rolston and Mike Motteau traded to the Bruins from the Islanders. Paul Gaustad sent to the Predators. Rick Nash door appears to be closed.

2:40 – Kypreos reports that the Leafs are out of Nash talks, will not make last minute push. Rangers and Sharks still in.

2:30 – Brian Lee traded from the Senators to the Lightning for Matt Gilroy (from TSN)

2:20 – Oduya sent to the Hawks for a 2nd and 3rd. Dreger on Nash: “So much speculation on Nash. Player has not been asked to waive as of yet. 45 mins to deadline. Time crunch!”

2:10 – Some trades coming in rapidly now. San Jose has acquired Daniel Winnick + from Colorado for Mike Connolly and more, while the Canucks acquire Samuel Pahlsson for their Cup run.

1:38 – Keith Aulie traded to Tampa! Carter Ashton coming back (Source: @GMillerTSN). Looks like a great move by the Leafs

1:35 – Sportsnet reports that Bryan Allen has been told by the Hurricanes that he will not be dealt today.

1:22 – Nabokov mulling over a contract. Not expected to be moved regardless. Lebrun says Montoya is being shopped by the Islanders.


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Trade Deadline Day is finally upon us, and here at Hot Stove we’ve got things covered. Today we’ll run a live blog that I’ll be updating with any new trades that happen to go down. All across the country there will be eyes glued to networks and websites like TSN, Sportsnet, and the Score for a full 7 hours of coverage — it isn’t easy sitting around slamming coffee and eating like a pig all day, but I’ll have to make the necessary sacrifices.

Just a quick tip before things get rolling:  Today may be a good day for you to get a Twitter account if you haven’t already. Oh, and have your bingo cards ready.

Once the first trades start to happen, they will show up here, so hit refresh once in a while.

1:22 – Nabokov mulling over a contract. Not expected to be moved regardless. Lebrun says Montoya is being shopped by the Islanders.

12:55 – Nick Schultz dealt from the Wild to the Oilers for Tom Gilbert. Trade count: three.

12:45 – Commodore traded to Tampa for a conditional 7th round pick (who cares). Total trade count so far; two. McKenzie had this to say: “Popular theory: DAL is holding up a lot of teams. Many in on Steve Ott and not looking elsewhere until that’s resolved.”

12:40 – Burke tells TSN and Sportsnet that deadline could very well pass without a move from the Leafs. Ferraro and McGuire on TSN point to Burke’s ability to manipulate the market a little with these types of comments – both believe the Leafs get something done before the deadline.

12:08 – Aaron Portzline in Columbus reports that the Jackets have had up to 15 offers on a number of players. Kypreos confirms Clitsome claimed by the Jets.

11:50 – Ryan Rishaug of TSN had this to say: “Sense out of one NHL war room is the Nash situation is causing a massive holdup in other deals. If that drops, dam breaks?”

11:20 – Burke tells Sportsnet that he doesn’t expect to address the goaltending situation today.

11:15 – Tony Ambrogio at Sportsnet reports that Burke turned down an offer for Reimer

11:09 – Dreger reports that another NHL GM has said that Grabovski is in play. Bruins are in on Oduya in Winnipeg, and Jones in Colorado.

11:05 – Looks like the Red Wings are trying to add Paul Gaustad

10:55 – Kypreos reports that Nash will not waive his NTC to go to the Predators. The Habs get a 2nd round pick for Kostitsyn, and cancel the 5th round conditional pick from the Gill trade.

10:23 – Kostitsyn to Nashville is done – RDS reporting. The Predators are rumored to have an offer in for Nash as well.

10:15 – Sportsnet reports that the Leafs have made an offer for Nash that includes Joffrey Lupul. McKenzie from TSN says there’s a strong rumor about Andrei Kostitsyn going to Nashville.

10:00 – This was pointed out by Dreger earlier on air; the Sharks apparently offered up Niemi to the Flyers for Van Riemsdyk. Turned down.

9:30 – Dreger and company at TSN mention Jason Garrison and P.A. Parenteau as players that could be on the move – not sure either would garner any interest from the Leafs. Ryan White’s name out there too. I like him.

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It appears as though the price for Rick Nash has climbed to an unattainable level for some clubs, including even the most aggressive of all; the New York Rangers.

Darren Dreger had this to say only a few minutes ago:

Hard to blame NYR for not blowing up team to make Nash trade. For sake of deadline, let’s hope CBJ softens to keep possibility of trade open.

NYR wasn’t willing to pay price established for Nash prior to today + today CBJ asked for more than they were originally after

Now, I’m not sure if this indicates that the Rangers’ most current offer was matched and Howson went back to Sather to see if he wanted to go even higher. But that could be the case as it appears there are still others out there who remain interested in Nash.

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Photo: thestar.com

A few quick updates today; the Leafs have recalled Matt Frattin from the Marlies, Rosehill has been assigned to the AHL club, and Darryl Boyce did not clear waivers and was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets – this news coming from Darren Dreger over Twitter.

On the Nash front, the Rangers have sent Wojtek Wolski to the Florida Panthers in a salary dump move, so it looks like they’re getting close to landing the big winger. The rumored price out there now looks like Del Zotto or McDonagh, along with a 1st round pick and prospect Tim Erixon. It’s unclear as to whether the Leafs are in on this bidding, but that price seems too high anyway so let’s hope not.

We’ll pass along more updates throughout the day if anything else goes down.

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It’s no surprise that after news broke of Dustin Brown’s availability in the trade market, he’s been the new topic of conversation heading into the last weekend before the deadline. As the captain of the Kings and a member of the American Olympic squad, Brown has a pretty big profile and manageable cap hit, making him an obvious target for most teams.

Bob McKenzie had this to say about who looks interested right now:

BOS, BUF, EDM, NJD, NYR, PHI, TOR, VAN are amongst teams with high levels of interest in Brown.

So we know there is plenty of interest, and many of the clubs involved are also rumored to be in on Nash. It’s no surprise that the Leafs are involved with Burke stating that he wants to add some physicality to the top six. Brown hits everything he sees.

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It’s a game day for the Leafs, as they welcome the San Jose Sharks to the ACC. Of course Leafs fans everywhere will be looking for an important win tonight as the team tries to collect as many points as possible during this home stand, but perhaps the biggest focus will be on goaltending. Jonas Gustavsson’s gaffe in overtime on Tuesday night has sent the entire fanbase into a bit of a panic, not so much about the current standings, but because the Leafs are getting some rotten goaltending heading into the final stretch here. It’s basically the exact opposite of last season with the way things are playing out.

Burke made it known on TSN Radio yesterday evening that the Leafs have decided to at least explore the goaltender market and see what’s out there. Probably a good idea.

The Leafs got a little help from the Senators last night, as their win kept the Capitals in scramble mode and away from the final playoff spot. It seems like Toronto, despite this horrendous skid, are one of the luckiest teams in the league right now while still clinging (and I mean, really, clinging) to that number eight slot.

Links after the jump.

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(Getty Images)

Another quick hit in the world of trade talks as we wind down towards the deadline; Sportsnet reports that Burke is meeting with the Blue Jackets’ Scott Howson in New York City.

From Daren Millard over Twitter:

Sportsnet can confirm Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke meet with Columbus GM Scott Howson this morning at a NYC hotel. Full story on snet.ca soon

The first thing that will cross anyone’s mind is a potential Rick Nash deal, but with Grabovski’s future up in the air, I wouldn’t be surprised if this meeting is focused on Jeff Carter. We have no way of knowing, of course, unless Sportsnet can leak more information later.

Keep an eye on this.

Update from Sportsnet.ca (Glove tap to Declan):

Sportsnet can confirm that Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke met with Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson this morning at a New York City hotel.

Burke was in New York for an HBO taping when he ran into Howson and the two managers decided to talk over breakfast.

As reported earlier, Damien Cox confirmed the Leafs were on a short list provided by Rick Nash to the Blue Jackets of teams that he would consider waiving his no-trade clause for

It is believed any deal between Toronto and Columbus would have to include a combination of players that could include Nazem Kadri, Luke Schenn, Nikolai Kulemin and possibly James Reimer.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

Just a quick hit here; Darren Dreger reports from Insider Trading that the Leafs have received an offer for Mikhail Grabovski.

From @DarrenDreger:

For those unable to see Insider Trading. Offer for Grabovski is for a 2nd rnd pick and prospect. Could get more. Still hope to re-sign him

Not much in terms of a return, but we obviously have no idea who the prospect is. Dreger also hinted that the deal could grow and the 2nd be upgraded to a first, for example.

Grabovski is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. A negotiating tactic to release the news of the offer? Perhaps.

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(Getty Images)

The Rick Nash situation continues to snowball this morning, as both he and Jeff Carter have been reported missing from Blue Jackets practice. The sense is that it’s a maintenance day, considering Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch followed up with news that Nash’s agent was unsure as to why his client was MIA.

Whatever the case, this has sent the social media world into a frenzy, as expected.

Via TSN.ca, Portzline also reports that the five teams on Nash’s “go-to list” are likely the Bruins, Kings, Rangers, Sharks and the Leafs.

Pavel Kubina is also missing practice for the Lightning, and they were pretty frank about addressing the situation.

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Photo: CBC.ca

As hockey fans we often try to sort out trade rumors from various sources to see if they’re legit. For me it’s pretty simple, if one of the major insiders report it, I’ll buy it. Until today I’ve yet to see a real reporter blatantly say that Rick Nash is on the trade market, but now that’s a reality.

Renaud Lavoie from RDS was the first to toss out the Nash rumor last night, suggesting two teams are interested (I’m assuming now there may be 29). Since then many others have weighed in.

From Darren Dreger;

Further to RDS story on Nash last night, sources say the Blue Jackets are open to anything that will help their team longterm.

Harder we dig, the more info that is beginning to surface re: Nash availability.

Then Pierre Lebrun chipped in with this;

Absolutely fascinating to see how things have shifted in Columbus re: Rick Nash’s potential availability..

I’m not sure what to think as a Leafs fan. I’m assuming that Burke will at least step in and test the waters, why wouldn’t he?