News and Notes

- TSN televised the prospect combine yesterday, proving that no occasion, no matter how trivial, where hockey is involved will draw an audience in Canada.

- Last year at this time the media was filled with vituperative bile over Heatley's trade request. This year the Bolts Martin St Louis and the Oilers Sheldon Souray (both with no-movement clauses) have made similar requests without the media seeking to have the offending players publicly drawn and quartered. The difference? Bryan Murray. His media campaign to villify Heatley was one of the most disgusting and patently ass-covering debacles in GM history. Nice to see that even the hapless Bolts and Oilers brass had more class.

- The Hall vs. Seguin debate got more complicated as Hall's Spitfires won a second straight Memorial Cup, while Seguin wowed scouts with his combine performance and obvious character and intelligence. It's shaping up like Kovalchuk Vs Spezza part Deux, where the choice is between two less than perfect candidates; a high skill power winger or a smart playmaking pivot. Personally I still hope the Oilers take Seguin leaving Hall for the Bruins, but those chances appear to be 50/50 at best.

- Have the Red Wings reached the end of their run as an elite team? With Lidstrom cresting 40, and the pipeline of elite prospects drying up (except on D) and a couple of anchor contracts (Franzen in particular) holding on to their status could be impossible. That said I've been predicting their demise for two years or more, so it's not like they haven't defied conventional wisdom before.

- Jagr is officially off my draft board as he re-signs in the KHL for another year.

- The Hobbit will on the other hand be coming back to Detroit after a year seeing how life in the KHL really is. Hudler will be an excellent replacement for the likely to depart Bertuzzi. God knows he won't take stupid penalties or give the puck away at the same rate.

- Several commenters at Lowetide have made the point that Calgary definitely improved by unloading Phaneuf on the Leafs. Not because they love the return, but because statistically Phaneuf was a horror show in his own end, ranking fourth worst in the NHL in his own zone. So of course the Leafs will make him their Captain.

- I project Seguin as the top pick in our prospect draft no matter where he goes.

- One piece of speculation by Elliotte Friedman I agree with is that Paul Kariya would be a great fit on the Pens as hecwinds down a just sub-HOF career.

- If TBay could do over the Stamkos selection would they take Doughty with 20/20 hindsight?

- Pronger is having a whale of a playoffs, but how much time is left on him being an FP?

- Here's a million dollar question, does Montreal commit to Halak and move Price elsewhere? Does keeping both make any sense?

- How big an anchor are the Khabiboulin and Horcoff contracts in Edmonton? Khabby has been a total bust so far, but Horcoff is merely overpaid for his role now that his offense has vanished playing hard minutes against the other teams top lines (and without Hemsky).

- How about that Ville Leino? He's clearly the best of the three dwarves signed out of the Euro leagues two years back (Pesonen and Brunnstrom being the other two). Nice to see another Heads late round Prd pick panning out, albeit for someone else.

- Is Philly's Mike Leighton even draftable? Is it possible that the potential cup winning goalie won't even be a starter next year? The mind reels.

- Along with FP Kovalchuk the big name to watch for jumping to the KHL is Nabokov. His contract is up and he'll have multi-million reasons to consider leaving the NHL. He would clear a tonne of cap space for the Sharks, but also leave a gaping hole in between the pipes.

- How many cups would Pittsburgh have won if they had taken Toews or Backstrom instead of Jordan Staal?

- Gonchar's time as a Penguin is probably over. Not just because of cap constraints but for the horrific defense he played against Montreal. He was worse than mediocre, he was indifferent.

- if Paul Martin exits NJ for greener pasteurs the Devils will officially have a terrible defense corps. When was the last time anyone said that?

- Boston landing Tyler Seguin means that a follow up trade is likely as they are already stacked at center. If they get Hall the fill a hole on the wing with one of the most explosive prospects in years.

- The perils of selecting prospects in advance of their draft year can be illustrated by considering how both Kiril Kabanov and John MacFarland have plummeted from sure-fire top 5 picks to possible 2nd rounders.

Quote of the Day

"Mike Richards is Jonathan Toews if Toews had had a bad childhood."