Lou Lamoriello has always made decisions based on what was best and right for his New Jersey Devils. He has been successful in the past in getting many of his veteran players to forego free agency and buy into his philosophy with the Devils. That philosophy has resulted in three Stanley Cups (1995, 2000 & 2003).
If he believed he was going to ultimately lose a valued player as a free agent, he wouldn't hesitate to make the kind of trade that sent Bill Guerin to the Edmonton Oilers just prior to the trade deadline. It hurt the Devils a bit in the short term, but they got something back that helped in the future, and it was certainly better than getting squat if he went as a free agent.
Zach Parish presents a new kind of challenge. Lamoriello's ability to make that type of decision is currently clouded by the Devils' financial woes as they look to relief from the NHL. The Devils under the long time ownership of John McMullen were not usually a high-payroll team, but they had an owner who paid all the bills.
That makes it doubtful that Parise will re-sign with New Jersey in the off-season. Does Lamoriello take a page with how he handled the Bill Guerin situation and get something for Parise at the trade deadline? I say he does.
Parise, 27, is in his prime. He missed most of last season due to injury, prior to that he scored at least 31 goals in his previous four seasons, with a high of 45 in 2008-09. This would stand as one of the all-time great trade deadline chips to play.
Alfredsson finds fountain of youth
Great to see two NHL "senior citizens" leaning more towards coming back for at least one more season rather than make this year a farewell tour.
Daniel Alfredsson has had a season that has mirrored that of the surprising Ottawa Senators. He seems like an actor in the old movie "Cocoon" as he has rediscovered his hockey playing fountain of youth. It seems that there is plenty left in the tank for this classy Senators captain to return next year at the age of 39.
The same goes for Marty Brodeur, who seemed just plain "old" during the early part of this season. Of late his improved play has seen his goals-against average back under 3.00 and his save percentage over .900, reflective more of the traditional Brodeur statistics.
His stronger play of late has Brodeur telling the New York Post that hockey was enjoyable again for him and he is leaning towards returning next year at the age of 40.
Both Alfredsson and Brodeur have contracts that expire this season.
Brooks, Tortorella make peace
Speaking of the New York Post, we had their hockey columnist Larry Brooks as a guest on Hockey Night in Canada Radio last week. He's famous for his heated exchanges with John Tortorella, the Rangers' coach. For years they have made for great theatre and electronic media sound bytes.
Brooks said he is happy to report that those are no longer part of their current relationship and he is happy to put it all behind him. He related how he and Tortorella have agreed to not allow themselves to get drawn into any more comparable arguments. Pretty well guaranteed that they will continue to disagree on pretty well anything else.
Sabres whiff on Ville Leino contract
No shortage of bewilderment and talk about the woes of the Buffalo Sabres. One thing that the Sabres have historically been proficient at is staying away from the "bad" contract. Even if it meant having skilled and popular players like Danny Briere and Brian Campbell heading elsewhere when the Sabres couldn't meet their contract demands.
They reluctantly chose to match the Edmonton Oilers' contract offer to Thomas Vanek at $7.1 million US per season. Though the salary is far above what used to be the Sabres' comfortable salary snack bracket, Vanek has at least delivered the goods on the ice.
The contract given to free agent Ville Leino is a symbol of the Sabres' current woes. A 28-year-old who just had his best NHL season with the Philadelphia Flyers with 53 points (19 goals, 34 assists), the Sabres gave him a 6-year, $27-million deal this past summer.
It can be argued that Leino's contract is the "worst" free-agent signing this past summer as he struggles to make an impression in the Buffalo lineup.
Mock all-star draft
We pride ourselves on the great content and guests that we feel we deliver on Hockey Night in Canada Radio. I do have to admit that co-host Tim Wharnsby and I doing our own mock draft for the upcoming teams for the NHL all-star game doesn't fall in that category.
A few minutes into my assuming the role of Alfredsson and Wharnsby as Zdeno Chara, I realized this was a painful exercise for our loyal listeners. The nine minutes likely seemed like nine hours.
A lesson learned...Never again!
With a fan in Vancouver showing up with a bottle of syrup behind the visiting Los Angeles King bench to make light of Dustin Penner's pancake injury, it makes me wonder why Penner didn't take a few minutes to come up with a better story. For those of you who missed it, Penner missed a game earlier when his back seized up as he leaned forward to enjoy some pancakes.
Maybe honesty is the best policy. Penner strikes me as either a guy who doesn't think things through or as a supremely confident individual to run with the true story.
Hurricanes can't match 2006 Cup success
A Stanley Cup victory certainly seems to mask many deficiencies. The Carolina Hurricanes are a great example of that. Because they won the Stanley Cup in 2006, we seem to feel that they should be playoff contenders year in and year out even when they are struggling.
Truth be told, their entire body of work over the past decade has been more of a struggle. This will be the seventh season in the last nine that they have failed to qualify for the playoffs. Besides their Cup win in 2006, they made it to the Conference championship series in 2009.
Yip good pickup for Predators
I liked the Nashville Predators' move in claiming Brandon Yip off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche. Yip is 26-years-old and has a reasonable $850,000 salary. Two years ago he had a great but injury-shortened season with the Avalanche, scoring only 11 goals in 32 games.
The Predators liked the fact that Yip and Colin Wilson were teammates and linemates at times for two seasons at Boston University (2007 - 20009). During their last season together, Wilson led the team in assists (38) and points (55) while Yip was a leader in goals (20).
Father-son relationships priceless
I like the "new" tradition in the NHL with those road trips where the fathers get to accompany their sons on a planned father-son event. What a great memory and experience that is priceless in this era of big salaries.
One fashion opinion from someone who knows: I like it better when the father's are in their regular "street clothes" like the New York Islander fathers were rather than wearing their son's replica jersey like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild, just to name two teams, did.
Put the replica jersey in a suitcase and to take it home as a one-of-a-kind piece of memorabilia.
Truth be told, the kids should be wearing the jerseys to honor their Dad's.
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