Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sidney Crosby sightings

No clue, why Sidney Crosby as the captain of Pittsburgh Penguins took the cab to the hotel [maybe private walkabouts] but he was featured on couple of social media in Anaheim. I know only the reason why he is in the shorts, the t-shirts and his ,staple' flip flops - the Pens are playing the game against the Ducks. OK, I am starting with normal NHL stuff again tomorrow.

Friday, March 7, 2014

'Forever a Flame,' Nieuwendyk to receive honor

CALGARY -- Twenty-five years after No. 25 helped bring the franchise its only Stanley Cup, the Calgary Flames on Friday will honor Joe Nieuwendyk.

Nieuwendyk, who starred for the Flames for eight seasons and was an integral piece of Calgary's Cup run in 1989, will receive the "Forever a Flame" celebration for his contributions to the organization.

"It feels great," said Nieuwendyk, who played the first 577 games of his career with Calgary, totaling 314 goals, 302 assists and 616 points. "I have so much of the early part of my history, my start here with this organization. I'm very grateful. A lot of memories; a lot of former teammates that live in this area still obviously. It's just a classy organization that's rolling out the red carpet and it's a little overwhelming."

Joe Nieuwendyk, who had a pair of 51-goal seasons and won the first of his three Stanley Cups with the Calgary Flames, will receive the "Forever a Flame" celebration Friday for his contributions to the organization. (Photo: Getty Images, Denis Brodeur/NHLI)

Nieuwendyk's NHL career started with a bang as he scored 51 goals in his first full season to earn the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie in 1987-88.

In 1988-89 he had another 51-goal season, reaching 100 career goals in his 144th game. At the time he was the third fastest player to reach that milestone, behind Mike Bossy (129 games) and Maurice Richard (134 games). He also joined Bossy and Wayne Gretzky as the only two players to start their NHL careers with 50-goal seasons.

More importantly Nieuwendyk had 10 goals and 14 points in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 1989 to help the Flames to their only championship, assisting on Lanny McDonald's Cup-clinching goal along the way.

He officially will be welcomed into the "Forever a Flame" group in a pregame ceremony prior to puck drop Friday against the New York Islanders.

A banner with his photo and number will be raised to the rafters alongside fellow "Forever a Flame" honoree Al MacInnis and the retired numbers of McDonald (No. 9) and Mike Vernon (No. 30).

"I'm thrilled," said Nieuwendyk, who still holds the Flames franchise record for goals in a game with five. "I see some familiar faces around here and we all shared in that time period of the late '80s and it was a special moment for all of us. To be a 'Forever a Flame,' with the three guys that have gone before me with Lanny, Vernon and most recently Al, is a thrill. I'm sure there's a handful of guys that are still to come on that run that we had those years that we had in the late-'80s."

McDonald, Vernon, Ric Nattress, Joel Otto and Gary Roberts are among the teammates that will join Nieuwendyk for the ceremony. All won the Stanley Cup alongside Nieuwendyk in 1989.

The thought of being with them back at Scotiabank Saddledome already has flooded Nieuwendyk with memories from his first Cup win.

"It was really interesting for me and for my best friend Gary Roberts to be 22 years old and taking the Stanley Cup out of the Montreal Forum thinking life is good, we're going to do this many times," said Nieuwendyk, who went on to win the Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and the New Jersey Devils in 2003. "I think when I look back now you realize how difficult it was.

"The greatest lesson for me was to see what it meant to some of our older guys, especially Lanny, but Jim Peplinski and Tim Hunter and Brad McCrimmon and Joey Mullen and those guys. It was a big deal. We were young, but to see those lessons made me realize because after that I went 10 years without tasting it again or even getting close."

It was that run with the close-knit group that catches Nieuwendyk's mind when he thinks of the Flames.

"It was quite a cast of characters we had back in those days," he said. "I know some are here [Friday]. I spoke to Al MacInnis because he most recently went through this [ceremony]. We all feel the same way. Even though we all moved on and things changed and we all continued our careers, whenever we get together you just don't even have to say much. You just know what we all went through together and it's a nice bond to have."

Nieuwendyk, the 11th captain in Flames history, will have plenty of teammates on hand to go through the celebration with.

And while they'll relive 1989, Nieuwendyk doesn't think he'll get overly emotional during the evening in his honor.

"I don't think so," he said. "I've been told I have two minutes so hopefully I won't lose it in two minutes, otherwise they'll kick me off.

"I just think I'm so grateful to the organization. … It's been a long time since I've played here. A lot of my teammates are around but we all shared in something special and hopefully [Friday] will be as well."

Tyler Seguin scored a hatrick and he is a star of ...

Tyler Seguin was BB. No, I don't mean Brigitt Bardot BB cream as the girl. I mean either Bad Boy label or his former team of Boston Bruins. He was traded to Dallas Stars and he showed his arrogant reputation again, with stupid comments about the cowboys...not favourite ice hockey guy to love. We know he can score, more often from the hip [behind him are Burke Boys] or into big five of some bad copy of Brigitt Bardot but it was a hatrick now and he won some hearts...of the fans.

See there nice video of his hat trick

It was big celebration for the Stars anyway. They ripped off Vancouver Canucks 6:1 but a half of the ,homework' was done by Tyler Seguin. There were more hat ,tricks' by the fans. Yeah, his once hated cowboys wear hats and they poured like heavy spring rain everywhere at American Airlines Centre. In the air, on the ice.

Not only the fans, but also a referee and ice crew. Just watch, so nice.

I'd like only who will clean up this mess. Judging on his stinkie rented flat back in Switzerland I doubt it will be Tyler Seguin.

Panthers' Trocheck ready for next level

It's been a whirlwind week for 20-year-old Vincent Trocheck. The rookie forward with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League received his first call-up to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday, just after the NHL Trade Deadline passed. He's expected to make his NHL debut for the Panthers on Friday against the visiting Buffalo Sabres.

"It's been crazy," Trocheck said. "It's obviously what I've been working for my whole life. Getting the call was surreal and I couldn't be more excited to be here."

Trocheck began his path to professional hockey long before arriving in the Sunshine State. A Pittsburgh native, he was born in 1993, right after the Pittsburgh Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.

"Growing up in Pittsburgh was a great influence," Trocheck said. "The Penguins were doing really well whenever I was young so that kind of got me into hockey and it all started there."

He spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Saginaw Spirit and Plymouth Whalers. During that time he was picked by the Panthers in the third round (No. 64) of the 2011 NHL Draft.

Last season, split between Saginaw and Plymouth, he had an OHL-high 109 points and won the Red Tilson Trophy as the most outstanding player in the OHL.

The 5-foot-10 center also won a gold medal with the United States at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships; he had three goals and three assists in seven games during the tournament.

Trocheck's decorated hockey resume made for a smooth shift to the pros when he joined the Rampage at the beginning of the 2013-14 season.

"I moved away at a young age so I kind of got used to the whole being-away-from-home thing," Trocheck said. "We have a really good group of guys in San Antonio, so they made the off-ice transition pretty easy.

"On the ice it was just different coming in. Everybody was bigger. I heard before I got here that the speed would be the biggest thing but I didn't see much of that as a problem to transition."

Former NHL player and coach Tom Rowe, who took over as coach in San Antonio when Peter Horachek was promoted to Florida in November, has overseen Trocheck's development in the AHL.

"What we like about him is his competitiveness," Rowe said. "He comes to the rink every day and loves playing, and he's a rink rat. He's here morning, noon and night.

"Vince is not afraid of the physical side of things. He sticks his nose into the traffic areas, and obviously his skill and the way he can set up plays [are what make him special]. For a first-year guy he's probably adapted to pro hockey as quick as anybody that I've coached in the American league."

Trocheck leads San Antonio in goals (16), assists (25) and points (41) in 54 games; those totals also rank him in the top 10 among AHL rookies. Rowe recognizes the motivation behind the forward's impressive numbers.

"He wants to be in pressure situations," Rowe said. "He wants the puck when the game is on the line, which is a real good trait to have, and I think that's what drives him.

"The thing that has always impressed me is how good he wants to be, how he will compete for loose pucks, take hits and hit guys … a lot of skilled guys don't necessarily do that stuff."

Trocheck's thought process on the ice is simple.

"I just try to stay even-keeled and focus on playing my game," he said. "And that's what I've been doing."

He credits the cohesiveness within the organization that drafted him for the success he's had so far and trusts that it will continue to help shape his future accomplishments.

"It's a great organization in Florida and they pride themselves on having good character, which is huge," Trocheck said. "In San Antonio we have a great staff. Tom Rowe has done a great job since he's come in and he's really great for teaching young guys.

"There are things that [the Panthers] want me to improve on and that's what I've been working on [in San Antonio]. Tom has gone through everything they tell him I need to improve on and he relays it back to me and helps me on it."

Barely five months into his pro career Trocheck is poised to take his talents to the next level, according to his coach.

"He's way ahead of the curve when it comes to his dry-land training and his preparation before practice and games," Rowe said. "He's in the gym stretching and doing the proper things before we go on the ice. Off-ice, I've never had a young kid be as prepared as he has been in his first year."

It's clear that Trocheck has impressed the Panthers organization with his adjustment to the AHL. He gets the chance to take the next step Friday.

"He's got NHL hands," Rowe said. "He can move the puck and beat guys 1-on-1 in tight areas that a lot of guys can't. So that part of his game is definitely at a very high level."

For the latest news, scores and stats from around the American Hockey League, visit

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Red Wings retire Nicklas Lidstrom's No. 5

DETROIT -- They rolled out the red carpet Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena, and there was no question as to whom it was meant to welcome.

Looking down at center ice prior to the Detroit Red Wings' game against the Colorado Avalanche, the red carpet was in the shape of the No. 5. If you looked behind each net, "5" was painted into the ice; in the corners of the rink, there were 5s; and attached to the lapels of Red Wings employees: 5.

That, of course, was the number Nicklas Lidstrom wore during his legendary 20-year NHL career, all with the Red Wings.

It clearly was the seven-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman’s night, and the Red Wings made sure everybody knew it.

The night could conclude only one way, so after a heartfelt speech by the guest of honor, in which Lidstrom thanked a lot of people, his No. 5 was raised to the rafters to join the likes of Hall of Fame members Gordie Howe (9), Ted Lindsay (7), Alex Delvecchio (10), Terry Sawchuk (1) and Steve Yzerman (19).

Perhaps Detroit television broadcaster Ken Daniels, who emceed the festivities, put it best right before the banner went up: "Nick, it's your time to take your place with them. This, in Detroit, will be forever known as the greatest high five."

Seconds later, Lidstrom, his wife, Annika, and their four sons watched as the Red Wings legends up in the rafters officially welcomed a new member to a prestigious club.

It was a ceremony that was supposed to last 45 minutes but stretched to 70, and nobody in the building complained. In fact, if one loud fan had it his way, it might have lasted all night. As Lidstrom started wrapping up his 10-minute speech, he paused just long enough for the fan in the upper reaches of the arena to be heard loud and clear: "Don't leave us, Nick!"

It was that kind of night in the building where Lidstrom spent hundreds of nights displaying the effort and skill that earned him the nickname "The Perfect Human."

He did his best to live up to that moniker with his speech, in which he thanked all of his former coaches, teammates, Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch, the large contingent of family and friends who traveled from Sweden to attend, and, finally, the fans.

Lidstrom also delivered some memorable lines.

Near the beginning of his time at the podium, he revealed just how he came to wear No. 5. It all started while meeting with the team's trainer at the time, shortly after coming over from Sweden as a 19-year-old.

"I was here to sign my first contract. I didn't know much about the team," Lidstrom said. "I knew Steve Yzerman was the captain and played here for a long time, but besides that I didn't know a lot about the team. So when the trainer at the time asked me what number I'd like if I made the team, I told him that I wore No. 9 in Sweden and it'd be great to be No. 9 again. He said, 'Kid, that just ain't gonna happen.' So I just kept my mouth shut, and No. 5 was handed to me.

“So I came back here in the fall of ’91 and just kept my mouth shut. No. 5 was handed to me. It’s really special for me to have No. 5 hang in the rafters next to the other guys that are up there. And one of them was my captain for 15 years, and one of the reasons I’m standing here today, Steve Yzerman."

Lidstrom saved another good line for Tomas Holmstrom, who's not only a former teammate but his best friend.

"Homer, I'm not sure how many shots you blocked or how many goals I scored that got disallowed because you were standing in the crease," Lidstrom said. "I do know one thing: If you weren't standing there, I wouldn't have scored as many goals. Thank you!"

Prior to Lidstrom's words, he was feted by coach Mike Babcock, general manager Ken Holland and Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, who spoke on behalf of his parents.

After revealing that his family's nickname for Lidstrom is "The Perfect Red Wing," Ilitch, who parents could not attend the ceremony, summed up the evening's meaning with a turn of phrase that again centered on the No. 5.

"No one will wear the No. 5 again," he said, "because no one can wear it quite like Nick Lidstrom."

The ceremony was as memorable for the pomp and circumstance as it was for the words. Delvecchio and Lindsay attended, and Howe, Sawchuk and Abel were represented by family members. There were two video presentations, and two long rows of seats behind Lidstrom and his family were filled with former coaches and teammates.

Among those sitting in those seats were former Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman and former assistant coach Barry Smith, both of whom work in the Chicago Blackhawks’ front office. Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill, Holland's former assistant in the Red Wings' front office, was also on hand. Former Red Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov was too; besides Lidstrom, he drew the biggest applause of the night.

Yzerman, now general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, wasn't able to attend but called Lidstrom earlier in the day and also delivered a message via the scoreboard video screen during a first-period stoppage. Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal did the same.

Lidstrom and his family were welcomed to the ice by the current Red Wings, all of whom wore jerseys bearing No. 5 and lined both sides of the red carpet. The Stanley Cup, the Norris Trophy and the Conn Smythe Trophy, all of which were won by Lidstrom over his career, were also displayed to the side of the podium.

Then there were the gifts.

Lidstrom's former teammates gave him a safari trip to Africa, and he received a gray pickup truck from the organization and local auto dealers.

It was quite a celebration and it won't soon be forgotten by those who saw it, particularly the guy whom that Red Wings trainer randomly assigned the No. 5.

“When Ken Holland told me that Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch wanted to retire my jersey I tried to put the honor in context," he said. "It’s not like winning a trophy for a successful season or playoff. It’s not like winning an individual trophy. This is something different. This is all about being a Detroit Red Wing.

Or the "Perfect Red Wing," as the Ilitches might say.

Daily Primer March 6: Stamkos returns for Lightning

Martin St. Louis may be gone, but Steven Stamkos is back.

One day after the Tampa Bay Lightning traded their captain to the New York Rangers, their superstar center returns against the Buffalo Sabres at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG-B, BELL TV, SUN). Stamkos will be in the lineup for the first time since breaking his leg in a game against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11. He has 14 goals in 17 games this season.

"I'm excited, a little anxious, a little nervous, everything all in one," Stamkos told the Lightning website Wednesday. "It's been a long road. It's been tough, but I think time heading in [to see the doctor] I was the most confident going in there knowing how I felt on the ice, off the ice, what I needed to do in order to get cleared to play, the tests I needed to go through, and everything felt great."

Here's a closer look at the action Thursday:

Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins -- Dustin Penner's debut with the Capitals did go as planned. Washington fell behind 4-0 and eventually dropped a 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Jaroslav Halak could make his Capitals debut Thursday after his short stay with the Buffalo Sabres. The Bruins added some experience to their injury-depleted defense by trading for Andrej Meszaros on Wednesday. Meszaros had 17 points in 38 games for the Flyers this season and will help make up for the absence of Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid.

Los Angeles Kings at Winnipeg Jets -- Desperately needing another goal scorer, the Kings acquired Marian Gaborik from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Gaborik is a three-time 40-goal scorer who has fought the injury bug this season but had 14 points in 22 games for Columbus. The Jets announced Wednesday that center Mark Scheifele sustained an MCL sprain in the team's 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday. Winnipeg also signed defenseman Mark Stuart to a four-year, $10.5 million contract.

Buffalo Sabres at Tampa Bay Lightning -- The Sabres followed up the huge trade with the St. Louis Blues last week that saw goalie Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott moved by also parting ways with the goalie they got back in that trade, Halak, as well as forwards Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick and defenseman Brayden McNabb on Wednesday. Michal Neuvirth, acquired from the Washington Capitals for Halak, joins Jhonas Enroth as the new goalie tandem and the Sabres also grabbed forward Cory Conacher off waivers Wednesday. Steven Stamkos returns and a new chapter in the history of the Lightning begins after Martin St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers on Wednesday for Ryan Callahan in a swap of team captains. The Lightning are beginning a six-game homestand.

Colorado Avalanche at Detroit Red Wings -- The Avalanche are 13-5-0 in their past 18 games, 17-6-1 in their past 24 and have the most wins (16) and points (33) in the League since Dec. 31. Colorado added depth in goal Wednesday by landing Reto Berra in a deal with the Calgary Flames. Meanwhile, Detroit sent forward Patrick Eaves, prospect Calle Jarnkrok and a third-round draft pick (which becomes a second-round pick if the Red Wings make the playoffs) to the Nashville for Legwand, a Grosse Pointe, Mich., native who played his entire 15-year career with the Predators.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Chicago Blackhawks -- Columbus, 15-6-1 since New Year's Day, has responded to a three-game winless streak with three straight victories. The Blue Jackets remain solidly in the mix for the postseason, led by Artem Anisimov, who scored twice against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday and has he game-winning goal in each game of the current winning streak. Chicago lost 4-2 at home against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday and lost ground in the Central to the third-place Avalanche and first-place St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks are without forward Marian Hossa, who is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with an upper-body injury.

St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators -- The Blues will go for a third straight victory since trading for goaltender Ryan Miller and try to stay ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division race, while Pekka Rinne will be looking for his first victory since returning from hip surgery for the Predators. The Predators have scored six goals in the past four games, but forward Patric Hornqvist has been in on half of them (two goals, one assist).

Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars -- Vancouver has been rapidly losing ground in the Western Conference with losses in 10 of its past 11 games, even though goalie Eddie Lack has a 1.25 goals-against average starting the past four. To make matters worse, Canucks forward Daniel Sedin is out indefinitely with a leg injury. As for Dallas, it acquired goalie Tim Thomas from the Florida Panthers on Wednesday. Thomas should relieve some of the load from Kari Lehtonen, who has already started 50 games this season.

Montreal Canadiens at Phoenix Coyotes -- Left wing Thomas Vanek, acquired from the New York Islanders moments before the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday, will make his Canadiens debut. Vanek has 21 goals and 32 assists in 60 games this season between the Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. Phoenix has split the first two games of its three-game homestand. The Coyotes earned a 1-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

New York Islanders at Edmonton Oilers -- The Islanders are already without leading scorer John Tavares, and now they'll be without Thomas Vanek too. New York scratched Vanek on Tuesday, yet still came away with a 3-2 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. The Oilers, who had scored two goals in their previous three games, ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks -- The Penguins have lost two of three, including a sound defeat in their 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Pittsburgh acquired forwards Lee Stempniak from the Calgary Flames and Marcel Goc from the Florida Panthers on Wednesday in exchange for future draft picks. The Sharks have fallen to the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres since the break. Rookie goaltender Alex Stalock is 3-0-1 over his past four starts, with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.

Red Wings prepare to retire Lidstrom's No. 5

NEWARK, N.J. -- The only thing that would make the Detroit Red Wings happier than seeing Nicklas Lidstrom's No. 5 go up to the rafters in Joe Louis Arena on Thursday is if the former captain came out of retirement to play against the Colorado Avalanche after the ceremony.

Jonathan Ericsson thinks he could do it too.

"He could probably come in and play today without even practicing, that's how good he is," Ericsson told "Well, to be realistic, maybe he'll need a few practices. But if he practiced for a week you wouldn't even know he was gone for a year and a half."

Unfortunately the Red Wings know all too well that Lidstrom has been gone since announcing his retirement on May 31, 2012. They'll honor him Thursday by retiring his jersey, but seeing No. 5 up in the rafters will only remind the Red Wings players what they're missing.

The Detroit Red Wings wish they still had Nicklas Lidstrom on their blue line. Instead, they'll retire his No. 5 Thursday night before their game against the Colorado Avalanche. (Photo: Getty Images)

Lidstrom was their leader and best player until the day he retired. Goalie Jimmy Howard said it's still weird that he isn't around.

"You look in the middle of the dressing room and you're expecting to see No. 5, Lidstrom's nameplate sitting there," Howard said. "But playing with Nick and just learning so much of how to be a pro on and off the ice, he's just a great human being. When they say he's a perfect human being, it's actually true."

Lidstrom earned the reputation as being the perfect human because if he had any warts on his game or his personality, he never let them show.

* He won the Stanley Cup four times and in 2008 he became the first European to captain a Cup-winning team.

* He won the Norris Trophy seven times, a mark surpassed only by Bobby Orr's eight.

* He finished his career with 1,142 points and a plus-450 rating in 1,564 games.

* He had 183 points in 263 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

* The Red Wings never missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Lidstrom's 20 seasons, winning at least one round 14 times.

Those who played with Lidstrom still say he's the best defensemen they ever played with. Those who played against him say he's the best defensemen they ever played against. Coaches admired him for his perfection and how he never seemed to sweat in the big moment; they feared him because of how good he was. General managers would dream that one day he'd play for them, even if they knew that day would never come.

"I mean, just beyond perfect," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "He was that good. He was a lesson for young players because he didn't force anything. He just was simple. He was smarter than everyone else and skated better than everyone else and was more professional than everybody else. He taped his stick better. He put away his hot pack better. He cleaned his stall better. He treated his family better. He talked to the media better. He was more respectful. When you asked him a question, he had an opinion."

Babcock appreciated Lidstrom so much he remembers his stats like a kid who used to memorize the backs of baseball cards.

"I arrived [in Detroit] when he was 35 and most guys are done at 35," Babcock said. "He won the Norris Trophy four times [from 2005-12]. He averaged 59.4 points per season over seven years, was plus-271, and we got 100 points every single year and made the playoffs. He was the first European [captain of a] Stanley Cup champion. He was OK."

Lidstrom was also a mentor to his teammates, especially to fellow Swedes such as Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall, who still struggles to describe what the former captain meant to him for the seven years they were together in Detroit.

"I don't think it's really until he's not there anymore that you really realize how much he meant," Kronwall said. "You get so spoiled just having him around every day. Being around a guy like that and seeing not only how good of a player he was and how he made it look so simple, but how he carried himself as a person in all kinds of different situations, whether that was with media, fans, just in the locker room, the gym with how hard he worked, it's tough to put into words."

Ericsson stressed how he feels lucky to have played with Lidstrom. He said it's something he'll talk about for as long as he's alive.

"Just watching him, learning from him on and off the ice, how professional he was about everything -- I think him and Stevie [Yzerman] put the standards of what leadership is in the Detroit organization and everyone has to live up to that," Ericsson said. "The whole group has been so involved with each other, a great group of guys, and they were the cornerstones of that."

Lidstrom didn't become captain of the Red Wings until Yzerman retired following the 2005-06 season. The transition was seamless, and the Red Wings never skipped a beat. Detroit finished with 113 points in 2006-07. It won the Stanley Cup in 2008, after winning the Presidents' Trophy with 115 points. The Red Wings got to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2009 before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Detroit had 102 points in 2009-10; 104 in 2010-11; and 102 in 2011-12.

Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy three straight times from 2006-08 and again in 2011.

"It's pretty hard to be better in your position than Nick Lidstrom was," Babcock said.


Prospector Files: OHL draft-eligible All-Star team

A record 22 players representing the Canadian Hockey League were selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Of the 22 players, eight were from the Ontario Hockey League, including Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67's by the Calgary Flames with the sixth pick. It wouldn't be too surprising to see a dramatic increase in first-round picks from the OHL this year when the draft takes place at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27.

Over the next five weeks, Prospector Files will offer a First Team draft-eligible pick six at each position from the four major junior hockey leagues and one All European Team, beginning this week with the talent-laden OHL.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, United States Hockey League, Western Hockey League and international standouts will follow in the coming weeks.

The OHL is stocked with high-caliber prospects across the draft board this season. In fact, 14 of the top 30 North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list are from the OHL, and 20 of the 40 players invited to the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Calgary on Jan. 15 are also from the league.

Here are the top players at each position from the OHL eligible for the 2014 Draft:

Michael Dal Colle , LW, Oshawa Generals

In 63 regular season games as a rookie in 2012-13, the 6-foot-1.5, 179-pound left wing ranked sixth on the Generals with 48 points, including 15 goals, and fifth in plus-minus at plus-19. It was a season in which the versatile left-handed shot earned valuable experience on a line with captain Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Tyler Biggs (Toronto Maple Leafs).

He's now fourth in the league with 89 points (36 goals and 53 assists) in 63 games. Dal Colle, who leads the team with 16 power-play goals, is No. 5 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible skaters in North America.

"He gets to open spots, can come off the wall and get to the net," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "He has great speed, so if he adds more size and strength to that frame, he's going to become a force. I see what he's doing now and know that he will only get stronger, that's why I really like

Draft dandy of the week: Nagelvoort

University of Michigan freshman goalie Zachary Nagelvoort bleeds blue and gold.

The resident of Holland, Mich., not only attended many games at the university as a youngster but grew up listening to the Red Berenson Radio Show.

Today, he's playing a big role in Berenson's lineup for the Wolverines. He's 10-7-3 with a 2.24 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 21 games. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound left-handed catching Nagelvoort is No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible goalies in North America. He is also one of 19 goalie candidates in the running for the Let's Play Hockey/Herb Brooks Foundation Mike Richter Award.

He and Boston College freshman Thatcher Demko, who is No. 1 on Central Scouting's midterm list, are the top two 2014 draft prospects among the nominees.

"To be nominated for the Mike Richter award is a huge honor; I couldn't be any happier to hear that my name is put up there on a list with some of the best goalies in the country," Nagelvoort told "It's a great feeling to be able to contribute in the ways that I have right away my freshman year."

Nagelvoort played much of the 2012-13 season in the North American Hockey League with the Soo Eagles and Aberdeen Wings before closing out the campaign with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League.

His big moment for Michigan this season came Dec. 11 when he stopped 29 shots before earning a 2-1 seven-round shootout triumph against Ferris State University.

"I would describe my game as aggressive and athletic," Nagelvoort said. "My athleticism allows me to make saves that a blocking-style goalie wouldn't be able to make. Also, getting out of my net and playing the puck is a big part of my game."


NHL team: New Jersey Devils. "I was born in [Ridgewood] New Jersey."

NHL player: Martin Brodeur. "He was the goalie I always looked up to."

Glove or blocker:

Most memorable moment: "I would say my first college shootout win over Ferris State."

Video game: "I don't play video games. I've never been a big fan of them."

Movie: "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Actress: "Anna Kendrick; hands down, absolutely beautiful."

Website: "Twitter. My handle is @znagelvoort94."

Music: Country. "I enjoy Billy Currington or Eric Church."

Three you would invite to dinner: Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell

Sport (other than hockey): "Fishing, golf or tennis."

Breakfast food: "Big omelette with a little bit of everything in it."

Superhero: Superman

-- Mike G. Morreale

this kid."

Samuel Bennett , C, Kingstown Frontenacs

The 6-0.25, 178-pound left wing, No. 1 on Central Scouting's midterm list, is third in the league with 90 points on 36 goals and 54 assists in 55 games. He had a league-high 25-game point streak (17 goals, 46 points) snapped on Jan. 30 in a 4-0 loss to the Windsor Spitfires. Bennett was named the OHL player of the week on Monday after notching four goals and six points in three games.

"Sam Bennett is a legitimate, high-end prospect and I would expect him to go top half of the first round pretty easily," Gregory said. "He grew during his underage year. He's one of those guys pushing the top half. He does everything well, has good size and skill."

Nikolay Goldobin , RW, Sarnia Sting

The 5-11.5, 178-pound left-hander, No. 14 on Central Scouting's midterm release, is considered a very creative player with a solid two-way game. He ranks first on the team with 86 points, is tied for first with 35 goals and is second with 51 assists in 62 games.

"[Goldobin] has a high energy and is smooth out there," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said. "He's got good playmaking ability and he probably would have a lot more points if players were able to finish for him. He doesn't always need the puck, but he sets up linemates, competes hard and is dangerous almost every shift.

"He's the type of kid who receives a lot of ice time because he plays a complete game."

Aaron Ekblad , D, Barrie Colts

At 6-4, 217, Ekblad captures the eye of any scout in attendance at any one of his games.

He was the first defenseman and second player since John Tavares to be granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada to be eligible for the 2011 OHL priority selection draft as a 15-year-old. That's a year younger than the standard age of 16.

He's No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible skaters in North America, which also makes him the top defenseman on the board. Ekblad, who has 21 goals and 47 points in 52 games, played for Canada at the 2014 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia, in January, and impressed the coaching staff to the point that he earned top-four ice time at the tournament. He served as captain for Team Orr at the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January, and is also captain for Barrie this season.

"It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Aaron went No. 1 overall at the draft," Edwards said. "If a team is looking for a defenseman and picking near the top, this is your guy. He's got the skill set and hockey sense needed to play at the next level."

Anthony DeAngelo , D, Sarnia Sting

Compared by some to a young P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens or Ryan Murphy of the Carolina Hurricanes, DeAngelo is having quite the season for the Sting.

The 5-10.75, 175-pound right-handed shot leads all OHL defenseman with 53 assists and 68 points in 48 games. He is 13 points ahead of second place Matt Finn (Toronto Maple Leafs) of the Guelph Storm despite playing 13 fewer games.

"He's a highly skilled player, and every shift he seems to make something happen," Edwards said. "He likes to jump up into the rush and can hit the one-timer. He skates well, has a quick recovery and very rarely comes off the ice.

"He's not a physical presence and gets himself into trouble at times when he handles the puck too much, but that part of his game will come around."

DeAngelo, a New Jersey native, was also one of the last players cut from the United States National Junior Team that competed at the 2014 WJC.

"He has a high skill level, but has to learn to move the puck a little bit quicker," 2014 U.S. Junior Team coach Don Lucia said. "He's playing on a team [in Sarnia] where he probably has the puck a lot and has to make a lot of plays by himself. That's one of the things he'll learn and grow into as a player. I think he can take his game to another level."

Alex Nedeljkovic , G, Plymouth Whalers

Despite the fact his team has struggled this season, Central Scouting's top goalie evaluator, Al Jensen, likes his drive and determination. The Parma, Ohio, native has actually gotten better as the season has progressed.

In 56 games for Plymouth, Nedeljkovic is 23-25-7 with a 2.91 goals-against average, one shutout and .925 save percentage. He was invited to participate in the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game in Pittsburgh in September and stopped 13 of 16 shots in 30:53 of playing time.

"He's another very quick and athletic goalie," Jensen said. "He battles and has good strength in his crease area, has excellent recovery and lateral quickness. He's got quick reactions, flaring out his pads to make low corner stops. He's very smart and is capable of playing big games consistently."

Richter Award candidates: Demko and Nagelvoort

Freshmen Thatcher Demko and Zach Nagelvoort, two of the top goalie prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, were announced among the 19 candidates in the running for the inaugural Mike Richter Award honoring the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men's hockey for 2013-14.

The award will be presented at the 2014 NCAA Men's Frozen Four in Philadelphia. Candidates were determined by nominations from all 59 NCAA Division I men's hockey head coaches, and finalists and the winner will be selected by a committee of coaches, scouts and members of the media.

Demko, a 6-3.75, 192-pound left-hander, is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible goalies. He could become the first American-born goalie drafted in the first round since the Dallas Stars selected Jack Campbell with the 11th pick of the 2010 draft. Demko, who won the Eberly Award for sporting the highest save percentage (.966) at the Beanpot Tournament last month, is the youngest player participating in the NCAA ranks. The San Diego native is 13-2-3 with a 1.75 GAA, two shutouts and a .935 save percentage in 18 games.

"He's a huge, strong goalie with excellent net coverage," Jensen said. "He has that NHL presence in the net. He's more of a positional style goalie that relies on his angles and size and he plays big in his stance."

Demko was the second youngest (after 2015 draft-eligible center Jack Eichel) to play for the United States National Junior Team at the 2014 World Junior Championship.

"When he drops in the butterfly, he gets his body in front of a lot of shots. He's smart at reading the play and gets set quickly," Jensen said. "Strength is definitely not an issue with him."

Jensen acknowledged Nagelvoort has relied heavily on his positional play. It's worked out well too, as the 6-2, 190-pounder sports a 10-7-4 record with a 2.24 GAA, one shutout and a .927 save percentage in 21 games for the Wolverines.

"He's got good size and has a good blocking style," Jensen said. "He has a very good extended butterfly and is tough to beat down low. Technically, he moves well, has strong legs and a good stance. He did allow a lot of big rebounds with his pads, but I still like his presence. He's also got a good glove hand."

Born in Ridgewood, N.J., and now living in Holland, Mich., Nagelvoort is No. 21 on Central Scouting's midterm list of draft-eligible goaltenders.

The Richter Award candidates combined for a 2.19 GAA, a .926 save percentage and a grade-point average of 3.12. Criteria for winning the award include skills on the ice and academic achievement and sportsmanship.

For a complete list of nominees for the Let's Play Hockey/Herb Brooks Foundation Mike Richter Award, please visit


1. John Quenneville , Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL): The second cousin to Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was recently upgraded to an "A Watch" on NHL Central Scouting's February players to watch list.

Also the nephew (through marriage) of Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, the 6-0.5, 182-pound left-handed center has 23 goals (seven power-play goals), 53 points and 51 penalty minutes in 55 games.

"I liked [Quenneville] a lot when I saw him," Gregory said. "He has the pro makeup and is a hard-worker. He makes good plays very quickly and is good at moving the puck. I'd like to see more consistency from him, but I like the way he finds open spaces and his ability to make any kind of pass."

2. Dylan Sadowy , Saginaw Spirit (OHL): The left wing (5-11.75, 183) was upgraded to a "B Watch" on Central Scouting's February players to watch list. He has 26 goals, 35 points and a plus-13 rating in 63 games for the Spirit. A second-round pick (No. 37) by the organization at the 2012 OHL priority draft, Sadowy has 28 goals and 43 points in 124 career games.

3. Liam Pecararo, Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL): The 5-10.5, 164-pound right wing, committed to the University of Maine in 2014-15, has 16 goals, 45 points and a plus-17 rating for the Black Hawks (34-9-4). In 77 career games spanning two seasons, the Canton, Mass., native, added as a "C Watch" player on Central Scouting's February players to watch list, has 24 goals, 58 points and a plus-9 rating.


Barbashev finding his way in North American game

Forward Ivan Barbashev never felt out of place or intimidated as the youngest member of the Russian National Junior Team at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden.

"I looked at it as my dream come true to play for my country, and wanted to use the experience to learn more and help my team win a medal," Barbashev told

Barbashev would help Russia win the bronze medal playing a third-line role, producing one goal, two points, a plus-1 rating and 12 shots on a line with Edmonton Oilers 2013 third-round draft pick Bogdan Yakimov. He didn't play much on the power play but did get plenty of opportunities on the penalty kill.

Ivan Barbashev made the move from Russia to Canada because he liked the North American style of play. The 2014 NHL Draft prospect has adjusted quickly and become a force for the Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. (Photo: Daniel St. Louis)

It was a role with which Barbashev wasn't accustomed, but he did his part nonetheless. He's now proving to be just as valuable as a member of the Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In two seasons, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-handed shot has 43 goals and 130 points in 116 games.

"Coach told me I need to play much better in the defensive zone because I was on the third line," Barbashev said.

He's adjusted quickly. As a rookie in 2012-13, Barbashev played wing at the outset, but was ultimately shifted to center and adapted well. Scouts appreciate his compete level, hockey sense and defensive-zone coverage, an uncommon trait in some young Russian players daring to give the North American game a shot.

"It was really important to me, because I want to play in the NHL," Barbashev said. "I was thinking about moving to Canada three years ago. I talked to my father (Dmitri) and agent (J.P. Barry) because, in Canada, that's my style of hockey. The physical game and stuff like that; that's why we moved to Canada."

There's little doubt Barbashev will be one of the first players from the QMJHL selected at the 2014 NHL Draft in June. He and fellow Russian Nikolaj Ehlers of the Halifax Mooseheads are considered to be the top two players from the league eligible for the draft this year.

"Last year was really hard for me [during the adjustment]," Barbashev said. "I really didn't know the language for the first three months. But this season I'm feeling much more comfortable. I learned a lot from last year on and off the ice. I know I need to keep working hard every day in practice."

Born in Moscow, Barbashev this season has 25 goals and 68 points in 48 games as an alternate captain for Moncton, including 22 multiple-point efforts. He also has a 46-percent efficiency on faceoffs, winning 443 draws, but is bothered by his minus-11 rating. He produced three goals and 12 points in eight games in the month of January and eight goals and 18 points in 10 February games.

As a rookie in 2012-13, Barbashev connected for 18 goals and 62 points with a plus-9 rating in 68 games.

He is No. 12 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible skaters in North America. Ehlers, who has 43 goals and 91 points in 57 games for Halifax, is No. 22 on Central Scouting's midterm report.

"Ivan is a strong skater; he reaches top speed quickly and is a very good playmaker with quick hands," Central Scouting Director Dan Marr said. "He's not afraid to mix it up, competes one-on-one and battles for pucks. He can be a game breaker."

Barbashev was the No. 1 pick by the Wildcats in the 2012 CHL import draft. He was inserted on the top line alongside Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice and Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals for Team Cherry at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Calgary in January and had one assist.

"He's a tough kid; will play and give it his best," Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau said. "He's a good skater."

It's interesting to note that Barbashev sat out five games with a lower-body injury in October, but struck for seven goals and 13 points in his first seven games back.

"I do think I can still improve in the defensive zone," Barbashev said. "I always have a minus in every game, and I don't know why. Coach [Darren Rumble] told me I need to work more in the defensive zone. I'm trying to do that and it's something I learned a lot at the World Juniors."

In addition to his participation in the 2014 WJC, Barbashev played for Russia at the 2013 Under-18 WJC, and had three goals and nine points in seven games.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Canucks take big risk by trading Luongo

VANCOUVER -- In a little more than eight months, the Vancouver Canucks have gone from trying to choose between goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider to having neither.

After shocking the hockey world, and both its goalies, by trading Schneider to the New Jersey Devils at the 2013 NHL Draft, Vancouver was at it again Tuesday. This time, they surprised even Luongo by sending him to the Florida Panthers, his former team, in a four-player trade on the eve of the NHL Trade Deadline.

Just like that, the best goalie in franchise history and his heir apparent are gone from the Canucks. In their place are rookie Eddie Lack and unproven prospect Jacob Markstrom, who was acquired from Florida along with center Shawn Matthias for Luongo and left wing Steven Anthony.

Just like that, Vancouver has gone from a proven veteran with almost 800 NHL games played, a run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, and two Olympic gold medals, to two goalies with less than 70 games of combined experience in the NHL, no Stanley Cup Playoff experience, and lots of question marks.

"There is going to be a drop-off in experience for sure," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said. "There is a risk in all of this stuff, but you have to take some risk in order to make these kinds of moves."

As for how the Canucks ended up without either of their star goalies from last season, Gillis said he needed to trade one in order to get under a shrinking salary cap for the 2013-14 season. Luongo's 12-year, $64-million contract through 2021-22 limited his trade options, and Gillis said Luongo's no-trade clause further complicated matters.

"[Luongo] was able to exercise an element of control," Gillis said. "The team he really wanted to go to that he made people aware of was Florida and they didn't have the wherewithal. Would we have done things differently? Perhaps, but we didn't have control of the situation."

Gillis said the Panthers' ability to acquire Luongo changed with new ownership. But why would Vancouver trade Luongo now, especially with Schneider already gone and its season on the line? Vancouver is on the fringes of the Western Conference race, two points out of a playoff berth but in a grouping of five teams separated by six points in the battle for the final spot.

Gillis insisted a controversial decision to start Lack instead of Luongo at the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic on Sunday was not a factor in the timing, though he did admit to talking with Luongo's agent, Pat Brisson, after the decision was made. Luongo also downplayed the slight that left 54,194 fans chanting his name at BC Place, but it is clear his desire to leave Vancouver never changed, even after Schneider left.

Gillis was finally able to fulfill that nearly two-year-old request Tuesday.

"Am I happy about the resolution?" Gillis said. "Yes I am."

All of which leaves the Canucks with a lot of questions, and not much experience, in goal for the rest of the season.

Lack, 26, was signed as an undrafted free agent and played his 26th NHL game Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes after spending his first three pro seasons in the American Hockey League. Markstrom has a better pedigree as the 31st pick in the 2008 NHL Draft and has been considered the best goalie not in the NHL for a while. However, the 24-year-old Swede has 11 wins and a save percentage of .898 in 43 games with Florida, and has spent most of this season back in the AHL.

"But Eddie's experience rivals Cory's from last year in a lot of ways, and Jacob's experience rivals Cory's when he first came up from Winnipeg [of the AHL] and was a backup, so relatively speaking there are some similarities, just some years removed," Gillis said.

Neither Lack nor Markstrom will have Luongo as a mentor, something Gillis cited as a key element in the maturation of both Schneider and Lack. They will, however, have goalie coach Roland Melanson, whose role in these decisions, including the Heritage Classic starter, should not be underestimated.

Roberto Luongo

Goalie - FLA

RECORD: 19-16-6

GAA: 2.38 | SVP: 0.917

Gillis agreed Markstrom fit the style Melanson prefers -- a deeper-in-the-crease approach that minimizes movement. It's worked well for the 6-foot-4 Lack, and should also allow the 6-foot-6 Markstrom to use his size more efficiently and effectively than he has to date.

While playing in Europe, Markstrom was praised for his patience and ability to react late to shots. In North America, pucks went through an overactive Markstrom too often for a goaltender of his size as he transitioned to the smaller ice surfaces.

"We like his size and athleticism," Gillis said, "We feel strongly that with continued work and structure he has a chance to be a terrific goalie. He is very good now but he certainly has the tools to work with him and advance him and we're excited about getting him."

Lack will also rely on Melanson for help in the transition from backup to starter. It's one Schneider struggled with at times as the increased workload made it harder to find time for the position-specific work with Melanson that made it easier to play well after prolonged stretches watching Luongo start.

Now it's Markstrom's turn to benefit from that technical fine-tuning, while Lack learns to live without it.

"We feel strongly about his demeanor," Gillis said of Lack. "As he gains experience, he is going to be a top-flight goaltender."

Lack has a familiarity with Markstrom. He backed up Markstrom for a season in the Swedish Elite League, and both still work with renowned Brynas goaltending coach Pekka Alcen during the summer.

Their roles will now be reversed in Vancouver. And if neither proves ready to take over the starting job, Gillis pointed out that he has other options in goal later this summer.

"The free agent [pool] is not strong this summer, except for the goaltending position, so if we feel we need more experience or a different look, it will be available," Gillis said. "But we have to two really good young goalies now we think highly of, and we are going to hopefully get our group to rally around them and play well in front of them."

It's just not the goalies anyone expected to be here a year ago.

Brodeur unsure if he'll be a Devil after trade deadline

NEWARK, N.J. -- A sellout crowd of 16,592 fans packed Prudential Center on Tuesday night, and they were still chanting for their favorite goalie long after Martin Brodeur left the ice following the New Jersey Devils' 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings.

"We want Marty," they yelled in unison. "Marty, Marty, Marty…" they repeatedly chanted before and during the game.

If this was Brodeur's final game as a Devil, he went out in style, with his NHL-record 684th victory, all with the only franchise he has ever played for.

However, nobody, not even Brodeur, is sure if this was his final game with New Jersey because it's unclear if he will be traded before the NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Brodeur, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, said following the game that he has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause yet. "I don't know," he added when asked if he thinks he will still be a Devil after the deadline.

Brodeur also said he has had conversations with general manager Lou Lamoriello about his immediate future, but he is keeping those private. He wouldn't rule out the possibility of signing a contract extension with the Devils before the deadline passes, saying, "It's not something that is out of the question.

"I had some good conversations with Lou about what I want to do for the rest of the year and maybe next year," Brodeur said. "From there, you know, it's up to him to make the decision that he wants. He knows exactly where I stand. These are private matters between me and him. It's been a hard couple weeks and it's been a hard last part of the season with me with not playing a lot. We'll see what's going to happen."

Brodeur has started and won two of the past three games. If he stays with New Jersey beyond the deadline, there's a chance he could start again Friday in Detroit. He would almost certainly start one of the Devils' next two games because they play Friday in Detroit and Saturday at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"If I'm here I hope so," Brodeur said when asked if he thinks he'll start Friday. "It's all about getting some wins. Next weekend is a back-to-back, so we'll see."

Speculation about a trade involving Brodeur is active now because his days of being the No. 1 goalie in New Jersey appear to be over. The game Tuesday was Brodeur's first at Prudential Center since Jan. 7. He has started five of the past 19 games; Cory Schneider started the other 14.

Brodeur wants to play a lot more than he is now and feels he can still play at a high level. That's why he'd consider waiving his no-trade clause if Lamoriello approached him with a potential trade.

"That's what I'm trying to tell myself, to say to myself, that I still can play this game and I just need the opportunity," Brodeur said. "So, it's kind of nice to be between the pipes the last few games to prove I still can compete at a high level and get some wins. It's all about winning. It's not about stats. For me it's all about getting Ws."

Brodeur said he has not gone in depth with teammates about his situation, but he admitted that he has spoken with Jaromir Jagr about handling the trade speculation because Jagr has been through it in the past. Jagr, in fact, went through it as recently as last season, when he was traded from the Dallas Stars to the Boston Bruins shortly before the deadline.

"Of course if something happens I would hate to see him go because you're losing a very good goaltender and a very good guy, and the face of this franchise," Jagr told "On the other side I want him to be happy. What makes him happy is to play the game. If he plays the game here or somewhere else, it's up to him. I understand that. He doesn't want to sit around. It's not going to make him happy.

"There's no way without the competitiveness in your body that you can last for so long and play in the League at such a high level," Jagr said. "You have it inside. Once you lose it it's time to retire, but he didn't lose it. He wants to play. I understand that."

However, Brodeur might be facing the harsh reality that there isn't a team out there willing to give him the playing time he wants. Most playoff contending teams have their No. 1 goalies already, and a series of on Tuesday didn't help his cause.

The Minnesota Wild seemed like a reasonable landing place, a team Brodeur would have waived his no-trade clause to go to, but they took care of their goaltending need by acquiring Ilya Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers for a fourth-round pick. Bryzgalov, an unrestricted free agent after the season, will serve as Darcy Kuemper's backup.

The Anaheim Ducks traded Viktor Fasth to the Oilers because they had a surplus of goaltenders, including Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen.

Brodeur also still has competition in the goalie market with the Buffalo Sabres likely trying to move Jaroslav Halak. It's possible that the Florida Panthers may be looking to trade Tim Thomas after they acquired Roberto Luongo on Tuesday.

"Teams are making moves for different reasons, what they need," Brodeur said. "For me, I have my own situation and it doesn't matter where other goalies end up [Tuesday]. We'll see what [Wednesday] is going to bring."

It's possible, if not likely, that Brodeur's best chance to play a lot down the stretch is by staying with the Devils because DeBoer has been consistent in rewarding the goalie he feels is playing best with more ice time.

Schneider had it going for a while, but Brodeur has won his past two starts, giving up four goals on 42 shots.

"Whether he's here or not, he's the face of this organization for the last 20-plus years," center Travis Zajac said. "All the shutout records, the win records, that will never be forgotten. He's the best goalie to ever play the game and he played for the Devils. Everyone will remember that, no matter what happens."


Six goalies moved ahead of NHL Trade Deadline

Goaltenders have been the hardest players to move before the NHL Trade Deadline during the past few years because the supply has far exceeded the demand.

Not anymore. At least not this year.

Goalies dominated trade discussion in the past few days, and they were all over the news Tuesday afternoon when four, most notably Roberto Luongo, were traded in a span of a few hours. Six goalies have been moved since Friday, including three who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents after the season.

The trade deadline isn't until 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and there could be more goalies on the move; Martin Brodeur and Jaroslav Halak, both UFA-bound, have been featured in rumors and reports across the League.

"How many times have we heard about goalies being rentals?" NHL Network analyst Craig Button told "The last guy I can think of in this boat was Dwayne Roloson in 2006, when he was traded from Minnesota to Edmonton. I think it's largely unprecedented. This is very uncommon."

How uncommon? Just consider how few goalies were dealt around the deadline in the past several years.

Ben Bishop and Steve Mason were the only goalies traded before the deadline last year. Bishop was the only noteworthy goalie traded before the deadline in 2012, but he was playing for the St. Louis Blues' American Hockey League affiliate at the time.

There were two trades involving four goalies in the days leading up to the trade deadline in 2011, but none of the trades involving Craig Anderson, Brian Elliott, Dan Ellis and Curtis McElhinney was considered a blockbuster.

"I'm surprised at the moves, for sure, and how quick," said former Detroit Red Wings goalie and current Fox Sports Detroit analyst Chris Osgood. "Usually, if goalies are getting moved, it's at the draft. But teams want goalies, and sometimes they get desperate because it's hard to find one. I use the example of when [Nikolai] Khabibulin left Tampa Bay, they searched for another goalie and this year they finally got one in Bishop. It's not easy to find elite goalies."

There have been two blockbusters in the past five days involving four goalies, including the two who played in the gold-medal game at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics -- Luongo and Ryan Miller.

The dealing started Friday, when the Blues acquired Miller along with Steve Ott from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a conditional pick in 2016.

The Sabres may well be winning to flip Halak to a team that wants a goalie before the deadline Wednesday. However, that trade between the Sabres and Blues was merely a prelude to what transpired Tuesday.

The day started with rumors involving Brodeur and him potentially waiving his no-trade clause to go to the Minnesota Wild. Halak was also mentioned as a candidate for the Wild, and Anton Khudobin's name was being discussed in rumors as well.

None of them wound up in Minnesota, because general manager Chuck Fletcher paid only a fourth-round draft pick to acquire Ilya Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers. Bryzgalov, who did not start the season in the NHL, will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the Wild likely only need him to play a handful of games as Darcy Kuemper's backup.

Khudobin eventually signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract extension to stay with the Carolina Hurricanes. Brodeur played against the Detroit Red Wings, his status still very much in limbo. Halak was still with the Sabres for the time being.

"[Bryzgalov has] played in three Olympics, was second-team All-Star one year, he's won over 200 games in the NHL," Fletcher told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "So, to add a goaltender of that caliber for what we felt was a very manageable price made a lot of sense to us."

The Oilers could part with Bryzgalov because they paid a price of two draft picks (a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick) to acquire Viktor Fasth from the Anaheim Ducks, giving them a goalie tandem of Ben Scrivens and Fasth for the foreseeable future. Fasth is signed through next season, and Scrivens on Monday signed a two-year extension that will take him through the 2015-16 season.

Anaheim GM Bob Murray felt he could part with Fasth because he still has Frederik Andersen playing behind Jonas Hiller, who is in the final year of his current contract. Highly touted prospect John Gibson has a 2.27 goals-against average and .923 save percentage with the Norfolk Admirals, Anaheim's AHL affiliate.

As important as having goalie depth is in the NHL, Murray didn't like the fact that he had three NHL goalies for two spots.

"You've watched Freddie Andersen play, so I don't need to say anything else," he Murray said. "And you've got Jonas Hiller there. That had to be cleaned up for the sake of the hockey team. Too many people around, too much uncertainty, as a former player, is not a good thing. I felt it had to be done."

GM: Panthers made statement with trade

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- For the Florida Panthers, bringing goaltender Roberto Luongo back to South Florida was about making a statement.

That was the message from general manager Dale Tallon, who said he consummated the four-player trade with the Vancouver Canucks after getting the go-ahead from owner Vinnie Viola, partner Doug Cifu, and new president/CEO Rory Babich, who took over on Monday.

"It is huge," Tallon said in a conference call Tuesday night. "He's a big name down here and it sets the tone for our franchise. Vinnie and Doug and Rory and I want to win the Stanley Cup, and talk is cheap, so we're acting and we're following up on what we said we would do. We're just looking to get better every day to achieve our goal of winning the Stanley Cup."


The big move, though, came a little later in the day -- and it was a stunner.

The Vancouver Canucks shipped Luongo and Steven Anthony to the Florida Panthers, reuniting the goalie with his former team, in exchange for goalie Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias. The Canucks agreed to pay 15 percent of Luongo's salary for the remainder of his contract, which runs through the 2021-22 season and carries a salary-cap charge of $5.33 million.

"It is huge," Florida GM Dale Tallon said of acquiring Luongo. "He's a big name down here, and it sets the tone for our franchise. [We] want to win the Stanley Cup, and talk is cheap, so we're acting and we're following up on what we said we would do."

The trade brings an end to one of the longest-running goaltending sagas in history. Luongo had been involved in trade rumors since the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he was replaced in the lineup by Cory Schneider. The Canucks tried to trade him before the deadline last season, but couldn't find a willing partner. Luongo then delivered his famous press conference, when he was brutally honest in blaming his contract for why he couldn't be traded.

"My contract [stinks]," Luongo said on April 3, 2013. He then added, "I'd scrap it if I could."

He wanted to be traded that badly, and Florida was his preferred destination because he has a home there and his wife is from there. It didn't happen at the deadline last year, and less than three months later Luongo was the Canucks' No. 1 goalie again because general manager Mike Gillis found it easier to trade Schneider at the 2013 NHL Draft.

Luongo remained with the Canucks and that day got a visit in his Florida home from owner Francesco Aquilini while Schneider was moved to the New Jersey Devils for the No. 9 pick in the draft, which Vancouver used to select Bo Horvat.

It was assumed then that the Luongo saga was over, that he was again going to be firmly entrenched as the Canucks' No. 1 goalie with Schneider out of town.

Well, not really.

Fast forward to this past Sunday, when Canucks coach John Tortorella chose to play Eddie Lack instead of Luongo in the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at BC Place. The Canucks lost and Luongo was traded approximately 48 hours later.

So instead of having Luongo and Schneider, which used to be one of the top goaltending tandems in the NHL, the Canucks instead have Lack and Markstrom, a tandem with a combined 68 games of NHL experience, including zero in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Lack and Markstrom, their potential is good but you still don't know," Osgood said. "You've traded away Schneider, who has already proven he's one of the best young goalies in the League, and Luongo, whose numbers are the same every year. You can say what you want, but he has great numbers. These are two guys that are proven for two guys who are not. That's taking a big chance."