Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 28 mins ago
Chad Johnson was traded by the New York Islanders to the Buffalo Sabres for Michal Neuvirth on Monday, a deal many felt was an upgrade for the Isles’ backup goalie spot. Which, conversely, meant that the Sabres downgraded their own goaltending.
Why? In theory, because the Sabres want to be as terrible as possible and Neuvirth was playing too well. So, for the second time this season, they traded their starting goalie.
Johnson went on TSN after the trade, and naturally they wanted to ask him about going from a team striving for first place to a team trying to finish last. Host James Duthie twice asked him about playing for a team that’s trying to lose. Johnson remained steadfast that the Sabres are doing everything they can to win games. Like, this season.
"You play to win. I don't think an organization wants to lose,” said Johnson on TSN, in either denial or blissful ignorance.
On Tuesday, with his new team, Johnson told the Buffalo News that the tank talk upset him:
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 3 hrs ago
It's a Tuesday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:
Special Guest Star: Joe Micheletti of NBC joins us to talk about trade deadline and Rangers.
• Trade deadline breakdown.
• Phil Kessel goes nutty.
• NHL Playoff races.
• The least desirable places in the NHL.
Question of the Day: Who won the trade deadline? Ask us anything! Email email@example.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek . Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 6 hrs ago
It was quantity over quality on 2015 NHL trade deadline day. There were 24 trades made with 42 players moved, along with 21 picks. That’s ahead of last year’s total, but most of the big moves were made leading up to the March 2 deadline day.
Which teams made the biggest strides to the Stanley Cup? Which teams made the smartest moves towards rebuilding? Which teams stood pat but shouldn’t have? Which teams smartly stood pat?
Here is the Puck Daddy 2015 NHL trade deadline report card. Keep in mind we factor in the days leading up to the deadline day as well.
Anaheim Ducks: A-
If Bruce Boudreau fails to get out of the second round again, it won’t be because GM Bob Murray didn’t fill his tool chest. The James Wisniewski deal brings a longer term than one might want, but it also brings a known quantity who can help the power play. Simon Despres for Ben Lovejoy? Larceny. Korbinian Holzer, when healthy, can help. And Tomas Fleischmann is a depth offensive player that Boudreau knows well. Full speed ahead. Don’t blow it, Brucey.
Arizona Coyotes: A
Boston Bruins: C
Buffalo Sabres: A-
Calgary Flames: B+
Carolina Hurricanes: B
Chicago Blackhawks: A-
Colorado Avalanche: C+
Dallas Stars: B
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 15 hrs ago
No. 1 Star: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
The Hawks captain scored the game’s first two goals, including a shorthanded one, in their 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. He also assisted on Marian Hossa’s third-period goal.
No. 2 Star: Ben Smith, San Jose Sharks
Acquired at the trade deadline, Smith stepped into the Sharks’ lineup and scored a goal and an assist in their 4-0 whitewash of the Montreal Canadiens. Smith scored in the first period and assisted on Matt Irwin’s goal in the second.
No. 3 Star: Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers
The winger, fresh off a contract extension, assisted on goals by Marc Staal and Chris Kreider in the Rangers’ 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators.
Honorable Mention: Rick Nash scored his 38th. … Brandon Saad scored his 20th. … Alex Stalock made 20 saves for the shutout.
Did You Know? The Blackhawks are 21-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes.
James Wisniewski had been a healthy scratch for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He had been asked for a list of teams to whom he’d be willing to be traded.
He can, in fact, take a hint.
"I kind of saw it coming,” he told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, after being traded to the Anaheim Ducks. "Having my family here for four years, having my kids here, having a home here … we have roots here. That’s going to be tough."
The Ducks acquired Wisniewski and a third-round pick from Columbus for a second-round pick, William Karlsson and Rene Bourque, who was passed through waivers recently.
The trade was a bit of a surprise as Wisniewski injured his left foot against the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday night. Portzline reports it was a bone bruise in his left foot, but not a break.
Karlsson, 22, was a 2011 second-round pick for the Ducks who had 2 goals in 18 games this season, spending most of it in the AHL. Bourque has been traded twice and waived twice this season, which is a heck of an achievement.
On The Milbury Scale:
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The NHL Trade Deadline can sometimes feel mechanical and cold. These are names on the transaction wire, additions to rosters. What gets lost is that these are moves that interrupt lives and affect families.
Thanks to Jordyn Leopold, we’ve all been reminded about the human side of the trade deadline.
Jordyn Leopold is the 11-year-old daughter of Jordan Leopold, a defenseman who played for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. In January, she wrote a letter to the Minnesota Wild front office asking the team to trade for her father, a University of Minnesota product who was born in Golden Valley, Minnesota.
"My dad is very lonely without his family," the letter reads. "We are living in Minnesota right now and I am lost without my dad and so is my mom, my 2 sisters and my brother. My dad is on a team with young guys and is very lonely and is not playing because the Jackets got him because they needed a D-man. I has been since November and we can not take it anymore.
“Please, please, please ask the Jackets if you guys can get him.”
On Monday, they did: The Minnesota Wild traded defenseman Justin Falk and a fifth-round pick for Jordyn Leopold’s dad.
Former NHL coach Ron Wilson was a panelist on TSN’s NHL Trade Deadline coverage, and dropped a bomb during a discussion of teams throwing their seasons for high draft picks: While coaching in the NHL, he was asked by a former general manager to tank.
Which team and general manager? Wilson left a trail of breadcrumbs that would make Hansel and Gretel blush. The clues:
- It was a team that was a former Stanley Cup finalist. The only time Wilson made the Cup Final was with the Washington Capitals.
- It was a season that had several high-profile injuries that caused the team to struggle, to the point where a tank was considered.
- The player the team drafted “didn’t play in the NHL.”
Our guess: The 1998-99 Washington Capitals.
The Caps made the 1998 Stanley Cup Final, losing four straight to the Detroit Red Wings. The following season, the Capitals saw significant man-games lost from Peter Bondra (limited to 66 games), Sergei Gonchar (a holdout plus an injury cost him 29 games), Adam Oates (59 games) and others. In total, the Capitals had 511 man-games lost to injury that season.
From that point on, they went 2-11-0.
Was Wilson proud of being asked to tank?
The last time Michal Neuvirth had a game in which his save percentage was under .900 was Jan. 17, which is a heck of a feat for someone that had the Buffalo Sabres in front of him.
The Sabres clearly had to nip this in the bud if they were going to ensure themselves of either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, so they traded Neuvirth to the New York Islanders for goalie Chad Johnson and a 2016 conditional third-round pick.
But please, do NOT accuse a team that just traded its second starting goalie this season of attempting to tank.
Neuvirth will play backup to the goalie for whom he was traded in March of last year, when he was dealt from the Washington Capitals to the Buffalo Sabres.
It’s good insurance for the Islanders should something happen to Halak. OK, it’s better insurance than what Chad Johnson was giving them.
Johnson will get a chance to play for the Sabres. "You know there's a possiblity to be traded anywhere," he told TSN. "There's opportunity there. For a guy like myself, that's what you want. You want to be a starter. It's a good situation."
And on the Tank?
Um. Yeah. Uh. Sure.
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The Detroit Red Wings had designs on Toronto Maple Leafs star defenseman Dion Phaneuf at the NHL trade deadline, but only if the Leafs were to assume at least $2 million annually for the next six years on his $49-million contract.
Thankfully for the Red Wings, because they seriously don’t need $5 million of Dion Phaneuf on their cap for six years, the teams couldn’t make the numbers work.
So the Red Wings turned to the New Jersey Devils and traded a conditional 2016 third-round pick for defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who had to waive his no-move for the trade. The Devils retain $1 million of his salary.
Zidlicky is a pending UFA with a $4 million cap hit. He’s a right-handed shot, which coach Mike Babcock coveted. He’s a veteran puck-mover who could find himself on the second pairing, supplanting either Kyle Quincey or Brendan Smith. His best asset might be as a power-play quarterback; his worst asset would be that he can make head-on-desk turnovers at times.
The third rounder becomes a second rounder for the Devils if Detroit makes the Stanley Cup Final.
So, checking the Milbury Scale:
Social media hasn’t been kind to Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul at the NHL trade deadline.
Please recall in 2011 when Down Goes Brown used a series of tweet that welcomed Lupul to Long Island to fool the Leafs winger into believing he’d been traded to the New York Islanders.
This time, the joke was a little cruder. Anthony Adragna, a die-hard Leafs fan, tweeted a joke about Lupul at TSN’s “#TradeCentre” hashtag. It read: “I want the leafs to keep lupul solely based upon the fact that he banged phaneufs wife.”
And it made it. On the air.
For millions of viewers around North America and the world to see.
Phaneuf's wife, of course, is actress Elisha Cuthbert, once again proving that no good can come from making sex jokes about Elisa Curthbert, right Avery?
Lupul really wasn’t happy about this, as could be expected. So he decided to play the card every upstanding media organization hates to see played. The ultimate media chip.
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