Sharks Acquire Dominic Moore From Lightning In Pre-Game Trade

Written by Mike Salerno on .

One of the more awkward exchanges for a player is the rare occurance where he is traded, says good bye to his former mates, then walks down the hall and meets his new team in the other locker room.

With most general managers still hibernating through a moderately temperate winter in the weeks leading up to this year's trade deadline, the Sharks and Lightning struck a deal just minutes before the opening faceoff at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Lightning sent pesky defensive forward Dominic Moore roughly 35 feet away to San Jose in exchange for a second round pick in this year's draft that originally belonged to Minnesota.

The Sharks also sent a 2012 seventh-round selection to Tampa Bay as well.

As for the game, Moore's old buddies bested the Sharks in a wild 6-5 overtime affair that saw five lead changes on Martin St. Louis' second goal of the evening.

St. Louis gave Tampa Bay the lead with just under 12 minutes remaining on a bit of a fluky goal. The Lightning held the lead until Logan Couture set up Tommy Wingels with a beautiful 2-on-1 head fake and pass. Wingels buried it for his second goal of the season to force overtime before St. Louis struck again:

Obviously, Dominic Moore may not be the household name that's going to shake up the rest of the league and create a domino effect in the trade market. But with the addition of Moore, the Sharks addressed a glaring need that has become their annual Achillies heel in the postseason, grittiness.

Moore's offensive stats have never impressed anyone, but he's shown over the course of his career that he can be a valuable asset to a team looking to make a playoff run. He scored 11 points (3 G, 8 A) in 18 postseason games with the Lightning, as they came within a game of the Stanley Cup Finals.

This year, he averaged over two minutes of penalty kill time per game in Tampa Bay and won 55 percent of faceoffs. With the depth the Sharks already have at center, between Joe Thornton, Couture and Michal Handzus, Moore will certainly take a back seat for offensive zone draws.

San Jose wasted no time getting their man, as more and more players, such as P.A. Parenteau, Frans Nielsen and Tuomo Ruutu, seem to be destined to stay put.

Don't expect Moore to be the remedy for San Jose's all-but annual playoff letdowns, but in a few months time he could turn out to be an underrated piece to a championship puzzle.

For the Panthers, The Time is Now

Written by Brian McCormack on .

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The Southeast Division has been a textbook demonstration of inconsistency all season long. The goaltending woes in Tampa Bay had buried the Lightning near the basement of the Eastern Conference, where Carolina had renovated that basement into a near-permanent residence.

But a pleasantly surprising Florida Panthers team, who held a six point lead in the division on Christmas, seemed to be the squad that would take charge of the league's weakest grouping, with an uncharacteristically soft Capitals team lagging behind.

The Panthers lost that division lead and only recently, with a three-game winning streak and back-to-back Washington losses, have been able to regain a four point lead in the division.

For both the Panthers, the time to take charge of this mediocre division, gain momentum heading into April, and claim the East's third seed is right now.

Red Wings Set NHL Record For Consecutive Home Wins

Written by Mike Salerno on .

The 20,066 on hand inside Joe Louis Arena indulged in their favorite Journey song after seeing their Red Wings win for the 21st time in a row on Tuesday night, as Detroit set the NHL record for consecutive home wins with a 3-1 victory over the Stars.

They surpassed the 1929-'30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Flyers, who had each won 20 straight on home ice, a level of dominance that was once thought extinct in today's NHL, what with the parity of having a 30-team league with a salary cap.

But they did it. They got hot, and they stayed hot.

Jimmy Howard, their all-star goaltender, broke his finger 10 days ago. It didn't phase them. In fact, Joey MacDonald has excelled in his short stint with the Wings since being recalled from Grand Rapids of the AHL.

It was MacDonald manning the pipes tonight in the record-breaking victory at JLA. He posted 20 saves, and nearly had a shutout if not for Adam Burish's goal with 32.8 remaining in regulation.

But by then it didn't matter. The party had already started for the Red Wings and their fans, who were counting down until they could scream "BORN AND RAISED IN SOUTH DETROOOOIT" for the 21st straight game.

Henrik Zetterberg and Brad Stuart, who ended up with the game-winning goal for all you trivia buffs, got the scoring started early, giving Detroit a 2-0 cushion in the first period. Jiri Hudler added a third goal five minutes into the third and the countdown to Journey was on.

Watch the final seconds tick away and the players salute the home fans after their 55th consecutive sellout:

For those of you that couldn't watch the game live, Kevin Allen of USA Today was running a live-blog, recording the action on the ice as well as the atmosphere in the stands as the night went on.

As time ran down, a playoff-like atmosphere inside Joe Louis Arena celebrated being in attendance for this landmark event. Chants of "Twenty-one" and "Joey! Joey!" filled the arena. Detroit kept pace with the LUNDsane Rangers, who blanked the Bruins in Boston, 3-0, to take a one-point lead in the Presidents Trophy race.

The Red Wings will go for number 22 on Friday night, when they host the Nashville Predators. Though they've obviously been fairly strong on home ice lately, they sit just four points ahead of Vancouver for the Western Conference lead and have played two more games.

So while they'll cherish the notion of breaking an NHL record that's stood for over 80 years, they won't be able to enjoy it for long before getting back to work

Roenick, Sundin Both Honored Saturday Night

Written by Frank Castaldi on .

Both Mats Sundin (Toronto) and Jeremy Roenick (Phoenix) were honored by their former teams last night, as each had their number retired by their respective teams.

Sundin, who played 13 season with the Maple Leafs, had his No. 13 raised high to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre, prior to the Leafs contest with the Montreal Canadiens.

Over his 13 seasons in Toronto, the former Leafs' captain notched his name in their storied history, as he is their current all-time goals leader (420) and leads the franchise in points with 987.

Sundin's number, which joins fellow Swede Borje Salming's No. 21 in the rafters, is only the 18th number to be retired by the organization.

BREAKING: Scott Gomez Has Scored A Goal

Written by Frank Castaldi on .

No, this isn't an early April Fool's Day joke. Scott Gomez actually scored a goal.

In a real game.

Against a real team (well, kind of).

With a living, breathing goaltender in the net. And get this, it was the game-winning goal.

In a move that kind of comes full-circle--Gomez's last goal came against the New York Rangers on Feb. 5, 2011--Gomez finally buried one into the back of the net midway through the third period, giving the Canadiens a 3-0 lead over the Islanders.

Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself:

EDITOR'S NOTE: The French version is so much better than the English.

SECOND EDITOR'S NOTE: That was the first and last time that the aforementioned statement will ever be uttered again on this blog.

The only thing that would have made this momentous occasion even more grand, would have been if Gomez had scored in front of his hometown fans, rather than the Nassau Coliseum, where there may have been less fans in the stands than Gomez has goals in the past calendar year. I know, I know, that was both a stretch and a low-blow. But really, somebody check the turnstiles.

As we alluded to, the $7 million goal turned out to be the game-winner, as the Islanders battled back to get within a goal in the final minute, but ultimately lost 4-2.

Oh, and I don't care if Max Pacioretty scored the other three goals and had 10 shots on goal; how does the three-star selector guy not give Gomez the No. 1 star?! IT'S BEEN A FREAKING YEAR MAN! MAKE AN EXCEPTION!

Now, it's obviously been an awfully long time since Scotty had scored. In fact, the world was a much different place the last time he found pay dirt. Let's take a look, shall we?

The Winnipeg Jets played hockey in Atlanta.

Michael Scott was the Regional Manager of the Scranton branch of Dundler Mifflin.

Kim Kardashian was married.

Gas was $3.26 a gallon.

Tonight's Healthy Scratches was just a twinkle in Bloguin's eye.

Osama bin Laden was still alive.

The New York Mets were good... until Opening Day.

Evgeni Nabokov played in the KHL.

Vincent Chase was in rehab.

Oprah Winfrey was on TV.

Sidney Crosby was injured... oh, wait...

Charlie Sheen was relevant.

Brendan Shanahan didn't know what a video upload was.

"Bromancing," "Tweet," and "Cougar" were all added to Webster's.

Matthew Barnaby had a job.

Bradying was Tebowing, which was Planking.

Jeremy Lin was just that Asian guy on the Warriors.

And last but not least: Ryan McDonagh was a rookie!

Feel free to add to the list in the comments section, or Tweet us @The_Scratches!

Finally, Gomez has found his way back into the goal column, much to this guy's disbelief:

gomez

Well, I guess it's time to start up the office pool: When will Scott Gomez score his second goal of the season? And perhaps an even more inticing bet, will he get a second?

Sabres Finally Stand Up To Those Big, Bad Bruins

Written by Mike Salerno on .

With the ship rapidly sinking on a once-promising season, the Sabres, picked by many to contend for the Northeast Division title, were in need of a lift emotionally as much as they needed two points in the standings.

Sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference and a country mile out of a playoff spot, Buffalo welcomed the hated Boston Bruins in to town. It was in a game against these same Bruins, mind you, that the Sabres downfall began.

On November 12, Milan Lucic introduced Ryan Miller to his elbow after Miller had wandered well out of his crease, concussing the Buffalo netminder in the process. Not one Sabres player, including resident mouth-runner Patrick Kaleta offered even the slightest of challenges to Lucic after he had KO'd their franchise player.

The Bruins went on to win the game, 6-2, as they continued to climb out of their early season Stanley Cup hangover.

The Sabres though, who were 10-5-0 at the time, were never the same. They have become the laughing stock of the league for not only falling far below expectations, but hardly even standing up for their embattled, albeit rather whiny, goaltender when hit.

Things have gotten so bad for Buffalo recently that even head coach Lindy Ruff couldn't stay out of harm's way. Ruff was forced to watch Wednesday's game from the comfort of a luxury box while assistant coach James Patrick took over as interim bench boss.

Though they're at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference, the Sabres offered some much-needed retribution to the current Northeast Division leaders in their latest meeting.

Buffalo dismantled the big, mean Bruins on the scoreboard, 6-0. Starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was chased from the net less than two minutes into the second period, and the recently outspoken Tim Thomas didn't fare much better.

Meanwhile, Miller stopped all 36 shots in what was easily his best effort of the season, getting some help from the referees in the latest goal waved off due to "goaltender interference." But that was yesterday's story. It's safe to say this game may have meant a bit more to him than most.

Jason Pominville had two goals courtesy of a pair of Ville Leino assists, who has come under fire for his own play this season, which has left plenty to be desired after signing a six-year, $27 million contract in July.

"We're not going to back down," Pominville told NHL.com. "Guys stepped in. Some of them played out of character. Everybody did different things to help us win. And that's what a team is all about."

Well, he's right that the Sabres didn't back down from any physical challenge either. However, like the final score, there is little doubt who got the best of the fisticuffs. Here's Milan Lucic's bout with Kaleta:

Shawn Thornton's second bout of the night (we'll nicely describe it as a decisive victory) came under some scrutiny because it was originally thought Thornton left the bench, the same reason Lucic was wrongfully ejected from last month's Stanley Cup rematch with Vancouver.

Officially, there were six fighting majors and 90 penalty minutes given out over the course of the contest, though there could have been a few more resulting from a late-game fracas. Lucic and Thornton, a cult hero in Boston these days, accounted for 39 of those minutes. Thornton has now amassed 101 career fighting majors in the NHL.

The highlights to this game, which might as well be played while Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" blares in the background, were reminiscent of the blood bath on Long Island from a year ago between the then-lowly (okay, still pretty lowly) Islanders and the Penguins, except with a semblance of civility.

If only for a night, Sabres fans were allowed to enjoy themselves inside First Niagara Center, perhaps for the first time since before Halloween. While it likely won't amount to much in the standings (though they did jump three teams with the win), it was a message to the league that Buffalo is tired of being taken lightly.

Don't worry, you're not the only one wondering how well that message will be received.

Prospal Signs One-Year Extension With Columbus

Written by Brian McCormack on .

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The trade market looks a bit different this morning.

Vinny Prospal, Columbus' second-leading scorer and one of the Jackets' few bright spots this season, is no longer an enticing option for a number of teams looking to make a postseason push after signing a one year, $2.5 million extension to stay in Columbus.

Prospal, considered a perfect third-line (if not second) scoring fit for the spring push, was rumored to be targeted by numerous general managers around the league. The Rangers were considered potential suitors given Prospal's history on Broadway and with John Tortorella, although that speculation died down a bit in favor of Ryan Smyth rumors.

Still, Prospal was certainly on the radar of teams like the Kings, Blues and perhaps even the Florida Panthers. His $2.5 million cap hit was relatively manageable for most rosters that lacked depth scoring on the wing.

Prospal's removal from the market is rather curious, given Columbus' place in the standings. Though he is of obvious use to the Blue Jackets, he was likely their most attractive and moveable asset.

Blue Jackets' general manager Scott Howson will assumably push harder now to move the contract of Jeff Carter, though it won't be an easy job with Carter's cap hit at about $5.3 million through 2021, combined with Carter's injury history.

Rick Nash's name may be entered into more trade negotiations, though his contract is more imposing, at $7.8 million through 2017. In addition, parting with Nash would be a sizable hit on an already tortured fan base, and it would be very difficult to gauge whether the Jackets could get full value in any return package at the deadline.

With Prospal gone, we could see the asking price for Tuomo Ruutu in Carolina increase as well, with a shrinking list of scoring options available. Yet to be realistic, the request of a first round pick for Ruutu was already rather high. If anything, we may see the Hurricanes hang onto Ruutu a bit longer and let the market shape up.

So our first surprise in this year's trade season isn't a trade at all. Instead, one of the more sought-out players will stay at the bottom of the Western Conference, and the rest of the league will have to get a little more creative, and a little more desperate.

Stay with The Scratches for all developments in the NHL trade market, counting down to the NHL Trade Deadline on February 27th.

The Canadians Are Coming! OHL Teams To Play Outdoors at Comerica Park

Written by Mike Salerno on .

chl_NCAA

The NCAA/CHL turf war for North America's best young talent just took another interesting turn.

According to Jim Parker of The Windsor Star, the Ontario Hockey League will announce Thursday that four of its' most marketable teams in recent years will be crossing the border to play games at Detroit's Comerica Park in conjunction with next year's NHL Winter Classic events taking place in Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Parker reports that the Windsor Spitfires, Saginaw Spirit, London Knights and Plymouth Whalers will play a pair of games at the home of the Detroit Tigers next season. More details are expected to come with a formal announcement of the games on Thursday.

As was announced last month, to appease Red Wings (and Tigers) owner Mike Ilitch, a second rink will be constructed and maintained at Comerica Park in Detroit, which will house a number of events surrounding the league's flagship event.

It's rather interesting that the NHL's Winter Classic, featuring the Detroit Red Wings hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs, will be played on a college campus, while the OHL will have at least two games in a professional stadium, no?

For the first time next January, the NHL will feature a Canadian team in the Winter Classic. Now, the OHL will be showcasing their game on American soil. With countless Canadians expected to pour over the border to celebrate hockey's annual "returning to it's roots" to CHL couldn't have picked a better time to take their game outside as well.

Paul Kelly, executive director of College Hockey Inc., has been at war with the Canadian Hockey Leagues for years, trying to keep some of the best American players from ignoring their signed letters of intent to play for NCAA teams in favor of our neighbors to the north. In fact, yesterday, Neate Sager of Yahoo! reported that Kelly was taking measures to avoid more late-summer changes of heart.

As Sager states, a number of highly-regarded American prospects have made late decisions to play in the CHL as opposed to the NCAA, such as Rangers' 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller, a standout on this year's US World Junior team.

The NCAA recently ventured into Canada, as Winnipeg's MTS Centre hosted North Dakota and Clarkson on January 7. 7,075 showed up to see the Fighting Sioux (for now, again, we think?) defeat Clarkson, 3-1.

Naturally, Kelly had to expect a counter-punch was coming, but a 7,000 seat arena pales considerably in comparison to a the idea of an outdoor rink housed by a 41,000-seat baseball stadium.

The spectacle of the outdoor game has become almost a regular occurance among NCAA schools, and has become one of the sticking points in recruiting for some of college's biggest programs. In recent years, games have been hosted in Fenway Park, Lambeau Field, Cleveland's Progressive Field and of course, last year's "Big Chill at the Big House" which drew over 113,000 to Ann Arbor.

So it's about time the CHL starts getting in on the action, right? There's no telling what effect this will have on the marketability of Canadian junior leagues to American prospects, but one thing's for sure. Paul Kelly will not be pleased.

Lack of Instant Replay Usage Hands Devils Regulation Victory in New York

Written by Mike Salerno on .

Alright, enough's enough.

On Tuesday night, the Rangers and Devils played 59 and a half minutes of sleep-inducing hockey that might have left you snoring for what was a thrilling ending to New Jersey's 1-0 victory.

In the waning seconds, with Henrik Lundqvist pulled for an extra skater, the Blueshirts frantically pressed for the game-tying goal. Zach Parise's clearance attempt was knocked down at center ice by Michael Del Zotto, who found Ryan Callahan with just under 10 seconds to play.

Callahan skated down the boards and fired on Martin Brodeur. As the rebound bounced into the low slot, Marian Gaborik crashed into Brodeur, with the help of Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov. Artem Anisimov scored on the empty (or totally full, depending on how you look at it) net, and the goal was immediately waved off.

With three seconds left in regulation, Gaborik was given a minor penalty for goaltender interference and that was it.

Have a look for yourself:

Now this isn't anything new. We've seen numerous times over the course of the season that if there is contact with the goaltender, you're going to get called for interference, whether it's your own fault or not. We even wrote about a similar incident that took place in overtime of a game between the Sharks and Flames on January 17.

There's indisputable video evidence that Gaborik tried to avoid contact by stopping. In fact, when taking another look at it, you can actually see the snow flying up from his skates at he jams on the brakes.

Indisputable, you say? Well then this must be a matter that is taken away from the officials, right? I mean why do they even have that facade of a "War Room" in Toronto?

Exactly.

As we said in our previous article regarding instant replay implementation, there is absolutely no excuse for the NHL not having complete control of a game-changing call involving a goal. Tonight, the Devils were the beneficiaries of it, but ultimately, the game loses.

However, penalties are not allowed to be reviewed. In most cases, that makes complete sense. According to referee Dan O'Rourke, Gaborik was in violation of Rule 69.1:

"Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgment of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review."

Furthermore, the rule goes on to elaborate to cover what the correct call should be in the event an opposing player forces an attacking player into the goaltender:

"If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."

To be fair to O'Rourke, this was not an easy call to make. Only upon further review is it clear that Gaborik was being shoved by Volchenkov for anywhere from five-to-seven feet before making contact with Brodeur. You can choose to blame him for this call. You can also choose to blame the culture of coddling goaltenders that has swept the NHL by storm recently.

Or you can choose to point the finger at the league itself, for not using technology readily available to them to get the call right on numerous occasions. Because that's where it belongs.

Seattle Speculation: Could the Coyotes Land in the Pacific Northwest?

Written by Frank Castaldi on .

Grunge, Starbucks, rain and hockey?bettmancoyotoes

When NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, spoke about how he felt that an NHL franchise located in the Pacific Northwest--Seattle specifically--would work, there was one glaring problem: Lack of an arena.

That problem might be in the infant stages of becoming resolved, however.

This past weekend, The Seattle Times broke the story that a hedge-fund millionaire based out of San Francisco, was working diligently behind the scenes with local government, in effort to build a brand-new arena just south of Safeco Field.

His main prerogative, however, is to bring an NBA franchise back to the area, which has been hoopless in Seattle since 2008.

Of course, there has been no definite notion of a move from Phoenix to Seattle by Bettman or the NHL, but it's always fun to speculate.

With Kansas City's Sprint Center just waiting for a professional franchise to call it home, and Quebec getting more frustrated with each passing second that they don't have an NHL team, it's a nice little wrinkle to throw into the Coyotes' future plans.

Of course, there's also the problem of realignment, as well. With the Northwest Division already needing a spot for the Jets, it would now need to make room for the Coyotes, leaving the Avalanche and Wild as the odd-men-out.

Once again, despite the excitement of a possible team in the Pacific Northwest, we are probably getting ahead of ourselves here.

It's as simple as this with Seattle: If there is no new arena, there isn't even the slightest possibility of the 'Yotes packing their bags and venturing north.

While it would make for a great rivalry with the Canucks, to have an NHL franchise host its games inside of the KeyArena would be as horrific an idea as whoever came up with these.

According to the Times' article, the KeyArena was already deemed unfit for an NBA franchise before the then Supersonics even moved to Oklahoma City back in '08.

The decision of the negotiations--which have been ongoing for eight months--between Christopher Hansen, the hedge-fund guru, and local government, will be the most crucial part of the NHL's eventual decision.

Of course, there is still the chance that the NHL sells the Coyotes to a buyer that decides not to move the team, thus making all this speculation a complete waste of time.

So let us know, loyal readers: Where would you want to see the Coyotes call home?

Where Should the Coyotes Move?
Seattle
Kansas City
Las Vegas
Quebec
Stay in Phoenix
Hamilton, Ontario
  
pollcode.com free polls 

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