The Jersey shuffle, Russian kids and a Wild surge

The Devils trade of Jamie Langenbrunner back to Dallas yesterday could be the beginning of a significant housecleaning, although GM Lou Lamoriello won’t call it a rebuilding. “I despise the word ‘rebuilding,”‘ Lamoriello said in a conference call.
“We have to look at the reasons why we’re in this position. Maybe it’s
talent. Maybe it’s chemistry. We have to be very careful and look at the
big picture.”

Rich Chere of The Newark Star-Ledger thinks big center Jason Arnott could be next. Arnott’s contract, which brings him $4.5 million this season, expires at the end of the season and he would be unrestricted free agent July 1. He has not been particularly effective this season, with 9 goals and 8 assists in 40 games and a minus-12 rating. There are rumblings his foot speed has diminished.

It doesn’t appear that goalie Martin Brodeur will be traded however. Lamoriello said he wouldn’t listen to offers for the 38-year-old
goalie, Brodeur said (quoted by Chere): “I’m not surprised. I’ve had a great relationship
(with management) throughout my career. At the end it’s their decision.
I’ve made it pretty clear I don’t want to go anywhere. I want to stay
in New Jersey.  But if their mind changes, there’s not much you can do.

“Right now, we will be making every decision that we possibly can to
push ourselves forward to certainly get out of what we’re in right now,”
Lamoriello said. “I believe that right now we have to get a total
consistent approach and everybody has to put aside whatever aspirations
we had at the beginning of the year – whatever we looked at as the team
on paper – and right now whatever decisions have to be made going
forward will have to be made for the right reasons. There could be more,
yes.”

*     *     *

Anyone who watched Russia’s games in the World Junior Championship had
to be impressed with the play of two Russian forwards, Evgeni Kuznetsov
and Vladimir Tarasenko, each had 4 goals and 7 assists, the second
highest total after Canada’s Brayden Schenn.

Tarasenko, considered the top Russian prospect
of the 2010 draft class, is property of the Blues; Kuznetzov, whose
spectacular play in the medal round sparked comeback victories, is the
property of the Capitals, as is Dmitri Orlov and both of those players were selected to the All-Tournament team.

How quickly these players will be in the NHL is anyone’s guess. Tarasenko is signed through the end of this season with Novosibirsk Siber of the KHL, and the Blues cannot talk to him until the completion of his season. If
Tarasenko makes Russia’s roster for the World Championships, the
Blues may not be allowed to talk to him until May. Kuznetsov and Orlov each have a year remaining on their contracts with their teams
in the KHL, Traktor and Novokuzetsk Metallurg respectively.

*     *     *

One of the hottest teams in the NHL — besides the first overall Canucks — is the Minnesota Wild, who have captured 15 of 20 points since mid-December and have joined the sardine pack in the middle of the Western Conference that has a mere 5 point spread between the fourth place Predators and the 13th place Blue Jackets. The Wild have 45 points.

The Wild have been particularly effective on the road where they’ve gotten 14 of 18 points since December and after downing the Bruins in Boston 3-1 on Thursday, the Wild play tonight in Pittsburgh, where the home team will again be without their captain, Sidney Crosby.

One of the keys to their game is that coach Todd Richards allows his defence to venture deep in the offensive zone, with the third forward in the zone covering for him. “We’re finding out that the system is working when we’re doing it
right,” defenceman Greg Zanon told Michael Russo of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “It’s more trust in each other within the system.
The defencemen know now that we can go down and pinch the wall because the third [forward] will be there, and sure
enough, you turn around and he’s right there.”

Their also getting solid all around play from players like Martin Havlat, who is not just excelling offensively (9-27-36 in 40 games, one point more than Mikko Koivu), but in all aspects of the game. Against the Bruins, he scored the game’s first goal by driving through traffic, finishing with a backhand shot (video), as well as checking the B’s all over the ice.

“We don’t get the respect we feel we deserve at times,” Richards told Russo. “But there’s only
one way you get the respect. It’s not given. You have to earn it.
Without a question, we have to earn our stripes.”

47 Comments

  1. Duracell3 says:

    Sometimes 5 goals.

  2. newbrunswick troy says:

    Everybody stop coming up with these dillusional trades with Gomez going for a bag of pucks and smoke meat ..that reallity is plain and simple …at 7-8 mil. for the next few years the only way he gets traded is if Mike Millbury becomes G.M of another team (with deep pockets)

    So lets just say ” he,s ours for Eturnity”

  3. Willy the bum says:

    PK and the Wiz together is quite the powerhouse of PPs, but it’s kinda better to have one on the first wave while the other goes on second wave so that each Habs PP wave would have more chances.

  4. Price_Is_Right says:

    Just something to Digest, and I will preface this by saying that I love Markov. I think that if the Habs could go after a gritty solid D that can bring it in the playoffs, like (Robyn Regher) and sigh Wisniewski, we would have 2 Good tough D men, that can give us that “edge” that we miss so much come post season! And the cost of those 2 would probably be that same cost as Markov!

  5. A. Berke says:

    I use exclusively Mac/Safari, the problem appears to be with the server side and not with Mac.

    Ali B.

  6. novahab says:

    The problem with JM is he a cookie cutter coach one way of thinking and can’t think outside of the box. Why wouldn’t you play PK and Wiz on the PP togther. Most PP goals are scored in the first minute after that it drops way off.

     

  7. novahab says:

    Why wouldn’t the Habs take a chance on Arnott there is no way  this team is going any where with three centre 6 ft,5.9 and 5.7. He gives you a face off man in your own end and on the powerplay when you need to win face offs. I see him on the forth line with Moen and you can play Eller on the wing to give him some ice till next year. On D I would bring up Henry  the last time he came up  he played ok. He will give you more size back there I don’t think we need to trade for a d-man we need to give the farm a chance.

  8. LA Loyalist says:

    Does orange julius still exist? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in California. Wow.

    Seriously, what a message to Gomez – you’ve been replaced with a guy who’s reserve tank light is on. 

    Yah Arnott is a risk but look at the guys who came in here and got some rejuvenation at the end of their careers and helped us get through some bad patches – Dougie Gilmour, Andy Moog, Joe Juneau… Halpern, for that matter. Nobody saying the guy has to be Ovechkin, right now I’d settle for a guy who can put effing passes on the tape and win face-offs and at least STAND in front of the net. We’re not committing long-term.

    Is that too much to ask? Scott? Scott are you there? You liked Jersey, didn’t you? Good pizza, from what I hear..

  9. SmartDog says:

    I hear they’re better than Gomez in the face-off circle though.

    ——-

  10. LA Loyalist says:

    You know who I miss on our D? Craig Ludwig. Just because. And his shin pads. I loved his shin pads.

    Good article.

     

    “To failing hands we’ve passed the torch.”

  11. habs001 says:

    most posters have had problems posting….the tech department for this site gets a D for their half way report card…

  12. SmartDog says:

    It’s happening (just this morning) with me with Firefox too… oddly I can reply to post (like now) but I can’t post from the bottom of the main screen.  :(

    ——-

  13. montreal1 says:

    no joke, a buddy of mine heard it on some french media radio station, maybe its true, maybe its not, but depending on whos going to the devils i like it, we would only have to pay half of this years contract of 4.5

  14. SmartDog says:

    I hear he’s holding out for an Orange Julius and 2 dozen white seed.

    ——-

  15. HabFanSince72 says:

    When Saku was here we occasionally came back from 2 goals down.

    Often with him leading the charge.

     

  16. LA Loyalist says:

    For Gomez and a tray of smoked meat (medium) from Schwartz’s. If absolutely necessary we’ll throw in a Gino Vanelli t-shirt and a case of Molsons. Geoff’s good for it.

  17. LA Loyalist says:

    I’ve been fine with Safari – one trick is sometimes you need to “disable rich-text” to post, especially on my iPhone though occassionaly on computer. 

    Good luck!

  18. J.J. of Turku says:

    Anyone else using Safari-browser? Looks lite site doesn’t work with it? Keeps telling me I’m not logged and when I try to log in, it it doesn’t work because I’m suddenly already logged. And the vicious circle goes on and on… Had to download Firefox to be able to post…

     

    http://media.turku.fi/kamera1.html

  19. LA Loyalist says:

    Yep. Glad to see the back of Koivu… we sure are smart around here..

    LA Times:

    Carlyle dropped Bobby Ryan from the top unit and replaced him with Saku Koivu, a natural center with a left-handed shot and the faceoff skills to replace Getzlaf — and perhaps as important, a player who has exceptional chemistry with Selanne.

    It paid off 13 seconds into the first power play of the game, when Lubomir Visnovsky passed to Koivu along the wall and Koivu quickly found Selanne in the right circle. Selanne made good on it, beating Steve Mason on the glove side at 5:48 of the first.

    “Obviously with Getzlaf out, you can’t really replace him. But Saku, especially on that side, can see the game so well,” Selanne said. “If you get open, you know the puck is coming.”

    You may notice that Koivu’s pass wasn’t off the back of Selanne’s foot, or into the ether… is that a shot at Gomez? The 7.35 $ cap hit man? Ya think?

    _

    …and of course a Ducks fan came over and asked me why the heck we dumped Lapierre (who got an assist last night and was buzzing all over the ice).

    I just said to go on HIO and ask the geniuses there.

    As for me, “I’ll be in my basement room, with a squirrel, and a raccoon…” (apologies to The Rolling Stones)

    Bring on Boston, let’s see if we have any stones left.

  20. montreal1 says:

    Jason Arnott about to be traded to the habs

  21. habs001 says:

    we had trouble scoring all last year…in the playoffs without camm(scoring at a 52/goal season pace and gion at 35 goal/season our goal scoring troubles would have been even worse before it manifested vs the flyers..after half way thru the season we are one of the lowest scoring teams in the nhl…there is no indication that this will change in the second half of the season…we may get a few players hot but we will revert back to the same 1-2 goals most nights….we had trouble scoring last year and we lost over 35 goals from players who left and right now it looks like their replacements will not even match those stats…the pressure on our goaltending and d not to give up more than 2 goals a night for us to have a chance to win is too draining over a long season…


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