Archive for February, 2011


NHL Trades

With the Feb. 28 trade deadline quickly approaching, many NHL GMs are spending quite a bit of time on the phone making deals that will hopefully improve their teams’ chances of making the playoffs. To follow the latest action, check out the NHL Trade Tracker:

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In a shocking move, the NHL suspended forward Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins for a blindside hit to Fedor Tyutin of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The League made the announcement on Wednesday following Tuesday night’s game. It’s no surprise that Cooke is the leading “headhunter” in the league. However, what is surprising is that after years of dirty hits, he finally received a suspension.

In the 4-1 Penguins loss on Tuesday, Cooke was handed a five-minute major for charging Tyutin and sending the Blue Jackets’ defenseman face-first into the glass. Cooke also received a five-minute major for fighting, as did Columbus centerman Derick Brassard, who took exception to Cooke’s hit. Tyutin appeared shaken but otherwise well enough to remain in the game.

“It was the worst hit I’ve ever had from behind,” Tyutin told the Columbus Dispatch. “I wasn’t surprised, not when you see [Cooke] in the highlights all the time for dirty hits.”

As veteran NHLers Bill Clement and Jeremy Roenick have recently stated to the media, Matt Cooke has no respect or regard for the safety of other players. He’s a serial predator and the foremost one in the league. Emboldened by his lack of punishment from the league, Cooke does whatever he pleases with, until now, no repercussions and no consequences. Therefore, leave it to the smug forward to blame his victim.

The Penguins contend that Tyutin looked over his shoulder before playing the puck behind his net. They see nothing wrong with the hit and put the blame on Tyutin rather than on Cooke.

“It used to be you were responsible for yourself if you turned, but that’s not the way anymore,” Cooke said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That call’s been called on us four or five times this year. It’s the same thing.

“He turns and looks and sees me coming. The other defenseman is slowing me down, so I’m not skating full speed,” he continued.

Although Cooke was suspended the four games for hitting Tyutin, he was involved in another dangerous hit earlier in the week. Playing to a loss against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, Feb. 6, Cooke made knee-on-knee contact with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. Cooke was only given a two-minute penalty for what appeared to be intentional tripping. Both Ovechkin and teammate Nicklas Backstrom retaliated for Cooke’s hit by punching him, but neither received a penalty.

As expected, Penguin’s coach Dan Bylsma also defended Cooke Sunday for the hit on Ovechkin, but Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was unforgiving.

“It’s Matt Cooke. Need we say more?” Boudreau said Sunday. “It’s not like it’s his first rodeo. He’s done it to everybody, and then he goes to the ref and says ‘What did I do?’ He knows what he did. There’s no doubt in my mind. He’s good at it.”

After years of the NHL’s turning a blind eye to Cooke’s blatant lack of sportsmanship and continued intent to injure opponents, what took the league so long to finally do something about him? Two words: Sidney Crosby. With the “Face of the League” and leading crybaby out indefinitely with a concussion, there’s no one on the Penguin’s roster to shield Cooke from his overdue punishment. Let’s face it, the only reason Cooke is still in the league is because he’s Crosby’s personal goon. If Cooke were playing for any team other than the Penguins, he would have been drubbed out of the league long ago.

The sad thing is that when Crosby returns to the Penguins’ lineup, Cooke will once again get a free pass. He’ll go unnoticed and unpunished by the league until, as Bill Clement said on NHL Power Play last week, one day Cooke kills somebody.

– CeeCee

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The Nashville Predators announced on Thursday the acquisition of Ottawa Senators’ Mike Fisher. Feeling his team was lacking offensively, Predators’ GM David Poile made the move to acquire the veteran centerman.

“Mike Fisher is a player we have always liked,” said Poile. “We like everything about his game. He plays hard, he scores pretty good, four of the last five seasons he’s scored 20 goals. He plays in all situations, power play, penalty kill. He’s appeared in 75 playoff games, that’s more than any current Predator player. What I really like is this is not a rental. Mike is signed for the next two years. This is a deal that will hopefully help us down the stretch this year and for more years to come.”

In addition to proven offensive abilities, Fisher also has more playoff experience than any other Predator having played in 75 postseason games with the Senators, the only other NHL team for which he has played.

In exchange for Fisher, the Senators will receive a 2011 first-round draft pick. Additionally, they will receive a conditional 2010 pick depending on how well the Predators do in the playoffs. If the Predators advance to the second round, the Senators will get a third-round pick. However, if the Predators advance to the Western Conference Finals, the Senators will get a second-round pick.

On the Senators’ website, the 30-year-old told fans, “[Leaving] is very hard, for sure. It’s a bit of a shock. I’m still trying to process everything. Not sure if it’s set in yet. I wish I could have done more here. I wanted to be part of everything here, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“If there was a place to go, it would be there,” Fisher continued. “I’m excited about being part of that team. They’re very a good team. It’s kind of like going home for me. I’m sure my wife won’t be disappointed, either. I think it’s a great place for me and the family.”

His wife, of course, is Country singer Carrie Underwood, so house hunting is one chore Fisher won’t have to worry about. Underwood already owns a home in Tennessee’s exclusive gated community of Governor’s Club in Williamson County.

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The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the team has signed veteran netminder Ray Emery to a one-year, two-way contract. With the acquisition, the team hopes to strengthen its goaltending by providing a veteran backup for No. 1 goalie Jonas Hiller. Emery must clear waivers at noon on Tuesday and if he does, he will report to the Ducks’ AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch and take over netminding duties from starting goalie Timo Pielmeier who has been reassigned to the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL.

The former Philadelphia Flyer has not played since suffering a hip injury last season. He underwent surgery in April 2010 to repair the ball in his right hip joint which was degenerating from a condition called avascular necrosis. Following a successful bone graft and subsequent rehabilitation, Emery hopes to get his NHL career back on track.

Known for his flamboyant attire and infamous personality conflicts, Emery is a familiar face to Ducks fans who will remember him as the goalie who took the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007 where the Senators lost to the Ducks in five games.

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Forward Peter Forsberg has returned to the NHL. After spending two weeks skating with the team and on his own, the Swedish native signed Sunday with the Colorado Avalanche with whom he last played in 2008. The contract is pro-rated for $1 million.

The highly decorated Forsberg practiced with the Avs Sunday and hoped to appear in his first game Monday night against the Phoenix Coyotes. However, issues with his work visa may delay his start with the team. Coach Joe Sacco said he will probably start his marquee player on the wing and see how things develop from there.

Forsberg hopes that his injury-plagued right foot and ankle continue to improve as he looks to extend his 19-year career which includes two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche, the Art Ross Trophy, the Hart Memorial Trophy, the Calder Memorial Trophy, and two Olympic Gold Medals with Team Sweden.

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