Trade Deadline Thoughts
First, regarding the "potential" deal or rumor of Miikka Kiprusoff to the Maple Leafs...Why not Curtis Glencross or perhaps Dennis Wideman?
The only way this makes sense for Toronto to acquire the 36 year-old veteran backstop, who's best seasons are already in the books is if GM Dave Nonis and company share very little faith in the health of James Reimer. As I once stated in an earlier blog, the only way Reimer will lose his spot in the crease is due to injuries, not his game.
If Toronto acquires Kiprusoff as their #1 goaltender down the stretch, then it is completely the wrong step forward. Reimer has battled back from two serious injuries over the past 12 months or so and has showed every capability of playing strong when it matters most. This organization must let him ride out the rest of the season, win or lose. And we fans deserve to see how this kid plays in the postseason. So does he. To throw in the towel on him at this point would be the worst thing the organization can do.
However, I have a better idea. If Toronto sees Kiprusoff as an "injury insurance policy" to Reimer, then they better do everything they can this offseason to acquire Jonathan Bernier from Los Angeles; a young goaltender with #1 potential for years to come in the league and one that EVERYONE knows is going to be dealt sometime around the draft.
Therefore, for Toronto to even think of surrendering a draft pick or two (or even a current roster player) for a past-his-prime veteran goaltender, would be insane. Save those picks to give yourself a better shot at landing Bernier. And I am not just saying that because I am a Kings guy, but it makes sense to me if Toronto feels they are in that situation.
Such a decision also allows for the Leafs to see how Reimer plays in the playoffs and evaluate his overall performance when the season is on the line. If Reimer falls again to an untimely injury between now and the end of the season or in the playoff round, then Toronto's priority leading up to July 1 or the draft day is to go out and bring in Bernier from LA or whatever other option is available. Why go with the old instead of someone 10 years younger and who WILL be available for the right price.
The only guy Toronto should be asking about from the Flames is Curtis Glencross...Big guy, skates well, very versatile like Tyler Bozak. Also chips in on the power play and adds even more size and toughness. I think Glencross would fit the current Maple Leaf roster quite well.
The addition of another strong stay-at-home defenseman also sounds nice, but Los Angeles has already picked up the best option available in Robyn Regehr...
It's best if the Maple Leafs stand pat for now and see what happens in the playoffs...however, I'd still welcome a guy like Curtis Glencross.
LOL...just checking if I had spelled Kiprusoff's name correct, I forgot about Dennis Wideman. I wonder if he would be available...why not?
Again, Toronto needs to be cautious and be in more of a evaluative state of mind the rest of the way.
Kings Land Robyn Regehr, Jettison Drewiske
I like the move. Matthew Barry and others around the league saw this deal happening and seemed very confident about it getting done than any other deal out there thus far.
Regehr fills the shoes of both Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell quite nicely. Actually, he is probably a better player than both of those guys. Regehr's acquisition puts the Kings right back into the Stanley Cup talk with the Penguins, Blackhawks, Bruins and Ducks (as long as Sutter gives Quick some decent rest down the stretch).
Or perhaps Jonathan Bernier will get a chance and run with it?
Then the Kings would really be left with a tough decision on what to do with the 26 year-old backstop...
I still say trade him for the highest price available...if their is a price that high. Hell, if Ryane Clowe can garner a pair of 2nd rounders (and I bet he will re-sign with NYR) and a third...my mouth is watering over what Bernier could be worth.
Rangers Pay Dearly for Ryane Clowe
Two second round picks and a third round pick for a gritty 3rd liner who is constantly injured? Thanks New York! You just gave the Penguins, Bruins, Canadiens and MAPLE LEAFS a better shot at reaching the finals for the next several seasons to come!
Who thought the mighty Rangers, who I thought were the best team in the East last season, would be battling their cross-town rival Islanders for a playoff spot? Funny...and the Islanders actually might end up being the better team! Hats off to the Isles...they have played very well for a team that was pretty much left in the gutter. Even Visnovsky has a total change of heart and signs an extension. Wow! What a turnaround.
Jagr Ships Off to Boston
Instead of Iginla, the Bruins get Jaromir Jagr, who is much better suited for the East than Iginla anyway.
The Western Conference is more based on defensive strength and neutral zone dominance. The good teams are the ones who can take their defensive-minded effort and capitalize on their opportunities when they get them. That is why the Blackhawks, Kings, Canucks and Ducks are where they are. Solid goaltending, strong blue line, and forwards who are willing to work their butts off in all three zones...even more so in their own half of the ice.
I don't think Jagr enjoyed playing in the West. With all of those teams clogging up the neutral zone, it just did not give Jagr a chance to play "his" game. Jagr is a guy who loves to take a pass at center ice or the blue line and blow past everyone and score. That is what the East likes also. The East is more end to end action, with very little emphasis on defense or goaltending.
The Bruins' ability to play a strong Western Conference style in the East and be successful at it makes them even more stronger. The addition of Jagr adds a little more skill and speed to an already structured lineup.
And for the Maple Leafs...it will be even tougher to get past them in a seven-game series.
Boston is still the team to beat in the East from where I sit.
Penguins Will Fail
Sometimes, the hockey gods have a way to deal with "hungry" teams. They may have made the best additions over the past week or so (and somehow gave up very, very little in the process), but when the heart and soul is cut out or damaged, it can only last so much longer.
Without Crosby, the Pens can grab anyone around the league, but it won't help come crunch time. This team cannot afford any more injuries to key players. However, I think Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup hopes went from an all-time high to an all-time low in just a matter of days.
Still, those high's and low's would make for a pretty fun roller coaster ride...
...thankfully those roller coaster rides seem to be coming to an end in Toronto, as loyal and die-hard Leafs fans will finally be able to enjoy some playoff hockey for the first time in nearly a decade!
And in LA, those true long-time fans will also be able to see their Kings defend its title...
Get ready for a fun ride in April! And May!