League and Olympic Thoughts

One big trade this week, is it a sign of things to come? Team Canada’s top dogs are on the prowl scouting a handful of teams this week, who’s Gretzky got his eye on? Plus more notes on the season so far.There’s two ways to look at the trade made between Boston and Los Angeles this week. From the Kings’ point of view, they get the best player in the deal by adding Jason Allison, likely one of the top ten centers in the NHL. Playing him on the top line should give Ziggy Palffy a jump start and, hopefully, reignite this team. From Boston’s viewpoint, they aquire two guys who will play on their top two lines and gave up zero points from their team stats sheet to do it. Glen Murray was already having a good season, but the change of scenery might benefit Stumpel the most. So who wins the deal? LA got the best player but Boston added without losing hardly anything. Perhaps the final decision rests on the performance of Mikko Eloranta.

The hottest rumor surrounding Toronto’s holdout defencemen Tomas Kaberle is coming out of Long Island. Kaberle and his agent Jay Fee are going to meet with Mike Milbury to see if a contract could be wroked out between the two sides. If so, the Islanders would become the front runners in the race to aquire the young blueliner. The Islanders could offer a few different players to fill the big holes on Toronto’s team. Adrian Aucoin or, perhaps, Kevin Haller and Ken Sutton. Toronto also needs to find someone to backup Cujo, maybe Garth Snow could be included.

Wayne Gretzky, Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe were in Toronto to scout the game between the Leafs and the Bruins. The only Leaf being considered for the team is Cujo, but they weren’t there to scout him.

“We’re watching Thornton tonight,” said Gretzky, referring to Boston’s young centerman who was overlooked from last month’s minicamp. Asked about Thornton’s chances at making the team, Gretzky replied, “I mean it’s hard, there’s only four centerman spots available (3 already taken) but Thornton’s had a really nice start and we wanted to make sure we watched him play.”

Gretzky was onhand the next night to watch the Red Wings beat Edmonton 4-1. Undoubtably he had his eyes on Brendan Shanahan and Luc Robitaille from Detroit and Anson Carter from the Oilers, all three are playing terrific hockey so far this season. Gretzky will also watch two more games this week, including Friday’s big match between Dallas and Detroit. I wonder if they’ll get around to watching Jeff O’Neill in Carolina soon, he’s only second in scoring so far this season.

Lock your doors and hide your children, Vancouver and Colorado are set to resume their war tonight. Will Donald Brashear finally get involved?

Ottawa’s luck isn’t getting any better. Losers of four straight games, the Senators go to Philadelphia to play the Flyers. Already there has been a rumor of Pat Burns being lined up to replace Jacques Martin.

A look at the top ten goalies (by save percentage) has a couple surprises: the Flames, Islanders, ‘Canes, Wild and Lightning are all represented. So is Philly, but not by who you would expect. Brian Boucher has been outplaying Roman Cechmanek, by all accounts, and he makes the list in 7th place (.922).

The worst? Brent Johnson (STL) is a dreadful .863 and Ottawa’s Patrick Lalime isn’t much better at .875.

Mike Richter has the league’s third worst GAA at 3.54, compared to Dan Blackburn’s 3.24 (both have identical .898 save percentages).

Two Blackhawks share the best +/- record in the league, Alex Karpovtsev and Jon Klemm at +12. One of the worst ratings goes to Pavel Bure who is already a -8.

Roman Turek won his grudge match against St. Louis this week, but it was Phil Housley who beat the Flames the next night in Chicago. Brett Hull faces Dallas on Friday.

That’s it for this edition of Puck Sight, keep your comments coming and pay a visit to the chat room while your here!

Guy Flaming