After The Whistle: Byfuglien or Lidstrom?
Each week hockey columnist Scott Morrison and his protegé, senior hockey writer Tim Wharnsby, exchange (mostly) friendly banter on the latest storylines in the NHL.
1. Who would you rather have on your team, Dustin Byfuglien or Nicklas Lidstrom? Both defencemen are off to terrific starts to the season that is nearing the first-quarter pole.
WHARNSBY: In the short-term, of course, I would rather have the future Hockey Hall of Famer in 40-year-old Lidstrom in the lineup. He has been rejuvenated by the Detroit Red Wings early playoff exit last spring. But if my team was not a contender and I was rebuilding a roster, the 25-year-old Byfuglien would be my guy. It's hard to ignore his league-leading four game-winning goals, and his seven goals in 21 games is tops among defencemen.
MORRISON: How do you say no to Lidstrom? He is still going strong and may win another Norris this season. And he looks like he could play a few more seasons. He is so fit and so smart on the ice. No question Byfuglien has more future, but I want to see this kind of play over a longer period of time before I am 100 per cent sold. He frustrated the Chicago Blackhawks coaching staff with inconsistent play last season.
2. What's been your favourite story in the past week?
MORRISON: I was so impressed with the play of Carey Price again last week. Four shutouts overall, three in a six-game stretch. This kid was, and continues to be, under so much pressure, but he has responded wonderfully and may be the hottest goalie in the NHL right now.
WHARNSBY: Also Scott, nice touch by Price to reveal after his 20th career shutout, an impressive 30-save 2-0 blanking of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, that the late Pat Burns sent him an inspirational message through Habs assistant coach Kirk Muller in training camp. Price has shown maturity, poise and improved technique so far this season to help ease the pain of the Canadiens faithful after the loss of their playoff hero Jaroslav Halak.
3. Do you agree with the Calgary Flames telling captain Jarome Iginla so early this season that they will not ask him to waive his no-movement clause?
WHARNSBY: Shouldn't the Flames keep their options open? I understand they wanted to quell the speculation that they will trade their captain – and judging by his five goals in two games, the ploy worked – but what happens if Calgary continues along the same path near the bottom of the Western Conference standings? Don't they want to move Iginla (if he agrees to it) to a contender at the trade deadline to begin the rebuilding process?
MORRISON: I think it was a wise move. I don't think you could trade Iginla's contract right now and get a good return. So you better calm things down, eliminate the distraction and get him playing better and leading the way to turn that team around. If it doesn't work, nothing says you can't ask him to waive the no-trade later in the season.