Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Three Periods: Jaromir Jagr improving with age; Wild not quite there; and missed opportunity for GMsNicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports3 days ago
Nicholas J. Cotsonika’s weekly Three Periods column will appear on Thursdays. This week’s topics include how Jaromir Jagr has improved at age 42 and thinks he still has at least one more gear; the Minnesota Wild remains a work in progress; the NHL’s general managers missed an opportunity to address the aggressor issue at their meetings; and switching ends in overtime might not have the effect the GMs want.
FIRST PERIOD: Jagr is stronger at age 42 – and thinks he can be even better
Jaromir Jagr is playing better now than he did when he returned to the NHL in 2011-12, and get this:
“I still feel like I’ve got one more gear,” he said. “At least.”
Jagr had 19 goals and 54 points in 73 games for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011-12. He had 16 goals and 35 points in 45 games for the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins in 2013, the season shortened by the lockout. Now he has 21 goals and 57 points in 66 games for the New Jersey Devils.Mon, Mar 174:30 PM PDTMinnesota at BostonPreview Game
- Yahoo Sports4 days ago
BOCA RATON, Fla. – The most important thing about the past three days of meetings was what the NHL’s general managers did not discuss: concussions.
Four years ago, three years ago and two years ago, the GMs were consumed by concussions. The NHL was in crisis. The league made changes but tabled other ideas.
The feeling now – at least for now – is that the league has gone far enough without going too far. The concussion trend appears to be reversing, but the game is still fast and physical. The GMs focused instead on items like overtime, goalie interference, video review and face-offs.
Commissioner Gary Bettman said concussions have declined to a “significant” and “healthy” degree this season. He would not give numbers. Hockey operations did not give the GMs numbers here, either, simply reporting to them Wednesday that both concussions and man games lost to concussions had declined.
We should not get too excited without hard data – not that we should get too excited even with hard data, knowing how quickly things can change. One bad stretch, one ugly incident, and the NHL could be in crisis mode again.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
BOCA RATON, Fla. – The biggest news to come out of the NHL general managers’ meetings might turn out to be this: a recommendation to dry-scrape the ice after regulation and switch ends in overtime. The thinking is that decent ice conditions and long line changes will lead to more OT goals and fewer shootouts.
There also might be a recommendation to let the referees review goalie interference on a TV monitor in the penalty box – at least in the preseason as a test.
That’s about it.
Though the GMs are discussing several ideas – including 3-on-3 overtime, expanded video review and a coach’s challenge – they know a change can have unintended consequences. A solution to one problem can cause other problems. They want to make the game better, not worse, and as the New York Rangers’ Glen Sather said: “We’ve had a track record of making it worse in some cases.” So they are cautious.
The GMs split into three groups of 10 on Monday, each focused on a set of issues. They will meet as a group of 30 on Tuesday and Wednesday. If they recommend a rule change, it will have to go through the competition committee and then the board of governors. This was the talk after the breakout sessions:
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports9 days ago
From the outside, it might be hard to understand. Why does Martin Brodeur keep talking about playing elsewhere? He has spent his entire career with the New Jersey Devils. He has made millions of dollars. He has won 684 games – more than any other goaltender in NHL history – and three Stanley Cups. Why not go out with grace? What more does he need?
But Brodeur isn’t afraid of hanging on too long. He’s afraid of not hanging on long enough. He isn’t worried he will regret leaving the Devils. He’s worried he will regret leaving the game. In the end, he said, he doesn’t want to sit there and say to himself, “I should have done something.”
“That’s what I’m scared of the most – not living to the fullest in the NHL,” Brodeur said. “If they let you play, you might as well play.”
Brodeur is 41 and at the end of his contract. He is unhappy backing up Cory Schneider, a 27-year-old the Devils acquired from the Vancouver Canucks last year for the ninth overall pick in the draft. All season, he has talked about being open to a trade if he could play more, if he had a chance to win the Cup and if it helped the Devils.
Three Periods: Stastny stays with Avs; flip-flopping thoughts on St-Louis swap; surreal trade for LegwandYahoo Sports10 days ago
Nicholas J. Cotsonika’s weekly Three Periods column appears on Thursdays. This week’s topics include why Colorado kept pending UFA Paul Stastny; a dissenting opinion on the Lightning’s trade of Martin St-Louis; the two surreal sides of the David Legwand deal; a look ahead to next week’s GM meetings; and notes on outdoor games, the Avs, Flames and salary cap.
FIRST PERIOD: Paul Stastny stays with Avs for the present and probably the future
It was deadline day. It was also Ash Wednesday and an off day for the Colorado Avalanche. So Paul Stastny, a pending unrestricted free agent and a Catholic, went to mass and came back to the team hotel in downtown Detroit. He ordered some food and a movie, “American Hustle,” and kept his phone nearby.
“It went by really slow,” Stastny said.
Finally, at 3 p.m. ET, the deadline passed. Had Stastny been traded, he wouldn’t have been shocked because he had prepared for, as he called it, “the worst.” But he wasn’t traded, and it was best for everyone involved.
- Yahoo Sports11 days ago
Now that was a trade deadline.
The NHL reshaped itself in the days, hours and minutes before 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday despite the tight salary cap and standings.
On the move were goaltenders and goal-scorers and big names galore, including Ryan Miller, Roberto Luongo, Martin St-Louis, Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik …
… Tim Thomas, Jaroslav Halak, Ilya Bryzgalov, Ales Hemsky, Chris Stewart and Steve Ott …
… David Legwand, Dustin Penner, Stephane Robidas, Tuomo Ruutu, Martin Erat and more.
The real winners and losers won’t be known for months and years, of course. There were so many trades we won’t hit them all. But here are our biggest knee-jerk reactions after the most intense period of personnel shuffling this league has had in recent memory.
WINNER: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
This could have been a disaster. Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman served as the executive director of Team Canada and initially didn’t put Martin St-Louis on the roster for the second straight Olympics. St-Louis wanted out even after Yzerman made him an injury replacement for Steven Stamkos, even after coming home from Sochi with a gold medal.
- Yahoo Sports11 days ago
The NHL's trade deadline was Wednesday, March 5, at 3 p.m. ET. Here’s a list of the deals, with trade-by-trade analysis by Yahoo Sports NHL writer Nick Cotsonika.
ANALYSIS: Stempniak, a 31-year-old rental, played on the power play and killed penalties for the Flames. He has produced only eight goals and 21 points this season. You’d think he would slot into the bottom six, one of the Penguins’ weaknesses, but he is a right winger. The Penguins need someone to play with Sidney Crosby because of Pascal Dupuis’ knee injury.
(Trade completed March 5, 2014.)
Traded back to Panthers: Roberto Luongo returns to Florida sunshine as sorry Canucks saga finally comes to endYahoo Sports12 days ago
Roberto Luongo’s voice kept breaking up on the radio. It was strong, then garbled, then strong, then garbled again. The Vancouver Canucks finally traded him Tuesday – to the Florida Panthers, his former team, to tandem with Tim Thomas, of all people – and he spoke into his cellphone on the way to the Phoenix airport, trying to put it in perspective.
“There were ups and downs, no doubt about it,” Luongo told TSN Radio. “I think it was a pretty successful run. What’s going to hurt the most is making the Stanley Cup final and not winning it. That’s the thing I’m going to regret for a long time.”
That’s the thing that will haunt Luongo forever, not to mention the Canucks. That’s one of the places where all this hinged. [Related: Canucks trade Roberto Luongo back to Panthers]
- Yahoo Sports12 days ago
The flurry began Tuesday. Ilya Bryzgalov to Minnesota. Dustin Penner to Washington. Stephane Robidas to Anaheim. Victor Fasth to Edmonton. Andrew MacDonald to Philadelphia. Roberto Luongo to Florida.
Many others could move before the NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, including Ryan Kesler, Ryan Callahan, Martin Brodeur, Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Jaroslav Halak, Mike Cammalleri and Ales Hemsky.
The salary cap and the standings are tight. But because of a combination of factors – unhappy players, contract squabbles, expiring deals, fire sales – things will be frantic for many general managers whether they make trades or not.
Here are the top 10 GMs to watch:
1. Ray Shero, Pittsburgh Penguins
Shero has a long history of being aggressive before the deadline, and he reportedly is going after Kesler, a heart-and-soul centerman with two more years on his contract at $5 million per season. Kesler reportedly wants out of Vancouver, though he has denied it, and has some control with a no-trade clause.