whatasave:

All depends on Turco’s play.

Originally posted on ProHockeyTalk:

According to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, the Boston Bruins have a specific number in mind when it comes to Tim Thomas:

55.

That’s the maximum number of starts they want the 37-year-old goalie to have. GM Peter Chiarelli has often said 55 is the “money number” of yearly starts, with stats to prove it — Thomas won the Vezina in 2008-09 after starting 54 games and again in 2010-11 after starting 55.

Clearly, there’s an emphasis on not overworking Thomas, which explains the consternation over Tuukka Rask’s injury. Rask will be out 4-6 weeks with groin/abdomen injuries, Thomas has made 42 starts already and there are 18 games left in the regular season.

Because of this, the Bruins were forced to sign Marty Turco from the Austrian League — and are now praying Turco’s capable of carrying the load, even though he’s coming up on the one-year anniversary of his…

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Buyer Or Seller? Maybe Neither

Phone call, after phone call, after email, after meeting. Repeat.

I can assure you that is the schedule that many NHL GM’s are on currently as we approach the NHL Trade Deadline. And with the trade deadline comes the annual catch phrase “buyer or seller?”. Struggling teams such as the Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Montreal Canadiens would fall into the “seller” category by most, but for NHL GM’s, is it smart to have an all out seller mentality? I ask myself this question every year leading up to the trade deadline, and find it hard to picture myself as GM and what I would do. Being a “buyer” this time of year normally means that a team is in good shape for the playoffs, and is looking to fill a few spots on the roster. Say you are Peter Chiarelli, Boston Bruins General Manager. Your team is one of the favorites to make a push for the Stanley Cup, and adding depth is key. Pickups such as Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly for the Bruins at last year’s trade deadline proved to be imperative to the Bruins championship run. Buying this type of year is normally a pretty easy decision to make, and a smart one for a team looking to make a run for Lord Stanley’s Cup. But this leads me to my real question, is it smart to be a seller?

18-35-7, 43 points, last place in the NHL . That is where the Columbus Blue Jackets fall in the standings, most likely making Columbus a “seller”. GM Scott Howson has to make some tough decisions with the future of Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, and the future of the franchise at his finger tips. Many teams would love to land Nash or Carter on their roster, as both can carry a team offensively towards a deep playoff run. (As I am writing this, I am reading on twitter that Columbus has been re-arranging their conference room to make room for more journalists. Press conference about a trade anyone?) Anyways, back to what I was saying.  Columbus could pick up many assets in a trade involving Nash or Carter. Draft picks, roster players, and prospects are all very possible to be headed Columbus’ way if either forward were to be dealt, but does this make up for the huge loss of talent? There is a very select amount of players in the league that could replace a player such as Nash or Carter. Personally, I question if it is smart to give away talent that is so hard to find. Yes draft picks and elite prospects are great, but there is a level of uncertainty that comes along with them. Odds are, none of the prospects or draft picks that the Jackets receive will turn out to be  a Nash or Carter caliber player. I firmly believe in the long haul process of developing a farm team, acquiring players during free agency, but most importantly, holding onto a core group of players for a franchise to build on. Selling is not the solution.

A great example of this is the Carolina Hurricanes organization. This season has been a disappointment, but the future is bright. Their farm team the Charlotte Checkers has many future NHL players. They also have prospects in the CHL and in Europe that have a bright future. The results my not be instant, but Carolina will only have things improve from here on out. With the re-signing of Tuomo Ruutu and Tim Gleason, Eric Staal as their captain, a stud in goal with Cam Ward and a great elite young player in Jeff Skinner, they have a core. Carolina, even though last place in the east, will not be major sellers. There may be some minor moves on deadline day according to their GM Jim Rutherford hinted to on NHL Live the other day, as the Canes are in position to move a defenseman, but besides that, are not drastically changing the team. I think this is a perfect example of a team that has struggled, but has not fallen into the “seller” category.

Enjoy these crazy days before the trade deadline.

Player Spotlight: Joe Wegwerth

Joe Wegwerth is a forward currently playing for the Brewster Bulldogs, in the Empire Junior Hockey League. He attends Brewster High School, where he also plays on the varsity hockey team. Through 26 games for the Bulldogs this year, Joe has tallied 12 goals and 23 assists. Joe is 6’2”, 210 pound forward has been recognized by USA hockey and will be attending the Youth Olympics Games in Austria, playing for Team USA. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Joe for an interview. Here it is.

Q: Who would you say model your play after? Why?

A: I would say I model my play after a player like Brian Boyle. He is a big guy like me and can score and play physical. But he is also reliable in his own end.

Q:What is your pre-game routine?

A: My pre game routine usually consists of a nice home cooked meal or a plate of pasta. At the rink I will always kick a ball around with teammates.

Q: Is it hard being on the varsity team plus playing on a junior team? How does it affect your school work and studies?

A: Being on both teams is a lot of fun and creates a grind that I think is good for me considering my plans for the future. I think  it will pay off eventually.

Q: When did you become recognized by USA Hockey Olympic Development?

A: I was first recognized by USA hockey two years ago when I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend the national camp for 14 year olds. I was given the opportunity again this year at the 15 year old camp and was then recognized by USA hockey Olympic Development.

Q: What equipment do you use (stick, skates)?

A: I currently use a S19 stick and Vapor X:60 skates.

Q: How do you see your future in hockey (CHL or college route)?

A: I definitely see myself taking the college route. I think it’s silly to pass up an opportunity to get a great education as well as possibly preparing yourself for the next level by playing against men.

Q: What is your “pump up” music?

A: My pump up music is definitely Avicii, specifically Levels.

Q: What has been the hardest decision in your life regarding hockey?

A: Thankfully up to this point there haven’t really been any tough decisions in my hockey career, I’m sure there will be some tough ones very soon though.

Q: What is your summer routine in the way of workouts?

A: My summer routines consist of working out every other day with current National Team Development Player Steven Santini. We love to push each other and make each other better on and off the ice.

Q: What NHL team are you a fan of?

A: I enjoy watching the Rangers in the Eastern Conference because they play a gritty game that isn’t always pretty but find a way to win a lot of games.

Q: Worst injury?

A: The worst injury I’ve ever had was my high ankle sprain I suffered last year. The rehab was tough and my first game back i re-injured it so it was a long recovery.

Q: What would you say the strongest part of your game is? Weakest?

A: The strongest part of my game is probably my ability to be physical and still be effective with the puck by either scoring or setting up my teammates. The weakest part of my game is my quickness or mental toughness which I am definitely trying to improve every time I step on the ice and have improved a lot from where I’ve started.

Q: If you had to say someone was a mentor/ role model, who would it be? Why?

A: Professionally I would say my role model is Jed Ortmeyer. He is a guy that does anything for his team, block shots, fight, etc. He also was able to overcome cancer which takes a lot to do so I really enjoy watching him. In hockey I would say my junior coaches right now either Jeff Devenney or Al Meola because they both are so dedicated to helping us win and helping me get to where I need to be to move on.

Joe is currently in Austria with Team USA. This is the kind of guy you want representing your country.

Follow Joe on Twitter: @Wegs27

Player Spotlight: Ben Dalpe

Ben Dalpe is a 17 year-old forward currently playing with the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central Canada Tier One Hockey League (CCHL). Ben was born in Paris, Ontario and grew up with two brothers, Phil, and Zac (who plays for the Carolina Hurricanes).

The Ontario native is listed at 5’9” and 165 pounds. Ben played for the Brantford 99er’s AAA Minor Midget last season, but his season ended abruptly when he was diagnosed with a concussion. That meant that last summer was huge for Ben. Once he got cleared by the doctor to workout and start training, he did so right away. When I asked Ben to summarize his offseason, he said, “I had an amazing off-season working on my strength and one ice skills.” He trained extremely hard with his brothers Zac and Phil. Ben gained weight and muscle and is continuing to grow and develop as a player.

Ben is currently in 12th grade at Pembroke High School. In 28 games played this year, Ben has totaled 7 goals and 6 assists for 13 points. Ben has already exhibited his maturity as he had to overcome an early season shoulder injury. He continued working out even when he was not allowed to skate, by conditioning off the ice. He returned quickly and got back to producing points. Last Saturday, I interviewed Ben and learned a lot about him. Here is the interview.

Q: If there is one player you would say you model your game after, who would it be?

A: If there is one player I like to play like, it would be Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings. I like his work ethic and his skill set, it’s a style I like to model after.

Q: What is life like living away from home with a billet [host] family? Biggest upside/downside?

A: Life away from home is tough at the start but you definitely adjust and you get used to it. The biggest downside would be probably just missing my family and friends back home. The biggest upside is that you mature not only as a hockey player, but also as a person.

Q: How do you see yourself moving on in your hockey career (College or OHL) ?

Ben (left) at one of Zac's practices with the Charlotte Checkers last season.

A: I see myself moving on to college hockey but you never know what could happen. My brother Zac went through the college route and it worked out for him, so we will see.

Q: How has it been growing up with a brother who is now at the NHL level?

A: Growing up with Zac as my brother and being right by his side on his journey to pro hockey has been a great experience. I get the opportunity to see what the everyday life is like and what it takes to get there.

Q: What would you consider your strongest part of the game? Weakest?

A: The strongest part of my game would probably be my shot. It’s something I work very hard on, to have a fast release and pick spots to have the best chance to score. My weakness would be my strength. Sometimes I can be knocked around. The best thing about this weakness is that it’s something that can be fixed by working to get stronger.

Q: Is there any NHL team in particular you would ideally want to play with one day?

A: There is no team of choice, I just want to play in the NHL one day.

Q: What type of stick/skates are you using?

A: I use a Reebok stick, and CCM skates.

Q: What is your pre-game routine?

A: My pre game routine is pretty simple. I make sure to follow it every game and never tell anyone my superstitions.

Q: Is it hard to get through all of your school work because of hockey?

A: School work can be overwhelming at times, but once you get in a routine, you find time to do everything without it being a struggle.

Q: What has been your hardest choice in life regarding you hockey career?

A: To be honest there really hasn’t been a hard choice regarding hockey.

Q: After hockey, what would you like to do? If you weren’t playing hockey, what would you want your career to be?

A: Life after hockey is uncertain for me. Something I’m interested in is being a police officer.

Ben hopes to be drafted after this season.

We would like to thank Ben for taking the time for this interview.

Follow Ben on twitter: @Bdalps, he’s a beauty!

Update on Trade Rumors and News

Happy Saturday! If you aren’t already, turn on the NHL Network and watch Hockey Night in Canada. I have a lot of leads on some future trades. I have tweeted most of them, but it may be hard to keep track of all them. Here I will organize everything I know.

The Molson Family (owners of the Montreal Canadiens) is not happy with Kaberle trade.

Martin not in good favors with Molson

Hearing that Andy Sutton will be given a 10 game suspension  *UPDATE* The league has banned him for 8 games. for his illegal hit on Alexi Ponikarovsky. The NHL has not confirmed this yet.

Sidney Crosby could possibly be more hurt than originally expected.

Although Bobby Ryan is now “off the market”, the Ducks are still receiving and considering offers.

FUN FACT: Every team Tomas Kaberle has been traded to has one the Stanley Cup that year. I guess Montreal is happy to hear that. For those who say what about Carolina, he was not traded there.

Washington is still looking for a good offer in exchange for Semin

Those are all the serious rumors and news I am hearing.

Have a great night everybody!!

Game Picks:12-6-11

A new feature on this blog, every night we will chose the team we think will win. Here are our picks for tonight.

VISITING TEAM HOME TEAM TIME NETWORK/RESULT Pick
7:00 PM ET
MSG,SNET-O New Jersey
7:00 PM ET
SUN (HD),MSG PLUS Islanders
7:30 PM ET
RDS (HD),FS-O (HD) Columbus
7:30 PM ET
VERSUS (HD),TSN2,FS-D Detroit
8:00 PM ET
FS-A (HD),FS-TN Phoenix
8:30 PM ET
NESN (HD),TSN-JETS Boston
9:00 PM ET
FS-CR (HD),SNET-W (HD) Carolina
10:00 PM ET
ALT (HD),SNET-P (HD) Colorado
10:00 PM ET
FS-W (HD),PRIME (HD) Anaheim
10:30 PM ET
FS-WI (HD),FS-N (HD),CSN-CA (HD) San Jose

NHL Realignment Approved

Tonight, the NHL Board of Governors approved a new four conference system, eliminating the six division, two conference system. The newly created the four conference based off of geography. There will be two conferences with eight teams and two conferences with seven teams. The conferences (un-named as of yet) are as followed:

New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington, and Carolina

Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay

Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg

Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado

The new system was designed to take the travel burden off of many teams located in the center of the country, like Dallas who play in western divisions. Not only do they have to often travel far distances  for division games, but they are often playing in different time zones, unlike the teams who play in the east who do not leave their time zone or travel far when playing within the division. Playing in different time zones also makes it hard for fans to watch when games are starting later.

With the realignment, every team in the league will play each other twice, once at home and once on the road. The rest of a team’s games will be played within the conference. This allows for fans to see every team and superstar at least once a year.

In the seven team conferences, each team will play each other six times; three times at home and three times on the road. The teams playing in the eight team conferences will play other teams either five or six times in a season on a rotating basis; three teams would play each other six times and four teams would play each other five times.

The top four teams in each conference will make the playoffs. The playoff format would then be 1vs.4 and 2vs.3 The winner of those two rounds will then meet for the conference championship. That will leave four remaining teams. These four teams will play based of the best record and the last two will play for the Stanley Cup.

Pros:

There will be great playoff rivalries and the same teams will see each other often in the playoffs.

Cons:

5th place team in a “stronger” conference misses playoffs and 4th place team in a “weaker” conference makes it. Also, two of the NHL’s elite teams, maybe the top two overall, could conceivably meet in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Overall, this realignment will make for a great regular season, but I’m not crazy about the playoff format.   The only real way to tell if the system will work is to try it.

Leave your comments below on what you think of realignment.

NHL Staying Green: The Recycling of Coaches

65 hours later and another coach in the NHL is recycled in the perpetual madness! Seems like each season coaches are being fired and getting jobs almost immediately right back in the show with another team.  The latest case happening with Bruce Boudreau and the Washington Capitals.   It is unheard of that a coach in any professional sport get fired and re-hired 65 hours later.  I tip my hat off to Bruce and hopefully he can get it done in Anaheim.  But, I do love what the Penguins did in Dan Bylsma.  Why don’t most organizations take a page out of  Super Mario’s book and take who you have been breeding?  Dan Bylsma is by far a class act in every way and exudes professionalism.  Perhaps more owners should dissect their programs from top to bottom and make sure you have a coach like that in your organization.  Someone that could step right in and not miss a beat to the marching music.  Someone who can implement a system that works for their team.  Someone who is pragmatic about what and who they have and figure out how to taylor a sound lineup game in and game out.  Lets face it folks; hockey is such a simple game yet so complex at the same time.  Check your blueprints owners and GM’s if you are reading this and make sure your foundation is sound.  Your only as good as your youth!

1-3-1 System Outrage

So…a system that is taking the NHL by storm as of late.  The 1-3-1 forechecking system is a work of art by the Finns to forecheck basically with one forward hounding the puck while three player are lined up across the redline and a safety defensemen sitting between the circles in their defensive zone for any loose pucks and the first to a dump in.  Well after watching the Tampa/Phila game last week where the Flyers literally brought the game to a stop and complained about it was sort of funny to me and ironic as I have seen the Flyers utilize the same system in the past.  So should this system be banned?? Well do not for many reasons!  Firstly, it is a sound system, but just like anything it can be broken. So teams need to do their homework and figure out how.  Fast puck movement, reversing the puck, and guys finding the soft spots in different lanes can break this system down.  If the NHL should try anything, perhaps try this at the NHL Rules and Development Camp that takes place over the summer: anytime the first forward on the forecheck crosses the blue line he must attack the puck.  This way the opposing team would have to continue to keep the game moving.  Tampa just sat back the other night instead of hounding the puck like normal.  So that could be one rule that could be implemented.  If you have any ideas please write in your answers as we would love to hear them!

Struggles In Columbus

The Columbus Blue Jackets are 2-11-1, not the way any team hops to start the season. Columbus has notoriously been an average at best team. They are coming off an embarrassing 9-2 loss against the Flyers on Saturday night. The Jackets surrendered a short-handed goal and were losing 5-0 at the end of 20 minutes. To give you the flat out truth, they were playing ECHL quality hockey.

One thing that caught my attention while watching was the game, was how hard it must be to be a player in that dressing room. There must be constant resentment about having to play in Columbus. There must also be no hope, no desire, no want to go out and play each night.

Steve Mason, the 2006 third-round draft pick of the Blue Jackets has been in Columbus is whole career. Mason is a good goalie who has been overshadowed by the struggles of Columbus. On Saturday, Mason gave up 7 goals; 5 even-strength, 1 powerplay, and 1 short-handed. Only one of the goals was realistically stoppable, as many were on odd man rushes or from point blank range in the slot.

There must be drastic changes in Columbus to turn this downward spiral around, although it is probably too late to save this season. When a franchise is in such turmoil, it requires a new coaching staff and a new group of core players. Rick Nash, the Jackets’ captain has been off to a very slow start. This has to make you think he is just sick of playing in Columbus. Nash has a no-movement clause for three more years followed by a modified no-trade clause for three years after that. Imagine Nash on a team like Chicago or Washington, he would be dynamite.

Plain and simple, it must suck to play in Columbus.