Stan's Java Jive: 3/25/21
Cliff Fletcher looking; Tim Peel fallout; The goalies keep coming, and how the expansion draft will effect one Blackhawk.
HEADLINE: CHUCK FLETCHER'S PHILLY S.O.S.
THE JIVE: The Flyers' boss is worried and he doesn't mind telling people either. With his Not-So-Broad-Not-So Bullies hosting the Coming-On-Strong Rangers tonight, Fletch has gone public. "I'm more aggressive than a lot of (g.m.) people," says Chuck, who needs a defenseman beyond badly. "I'm looking at all options, but I'm not selling." Why should he? His club is fifth in the MassMutual East Division just two points behind the Bruins and two ahead of the Blueshirts. I'd say Detroit's vet Marc Staal would be an ideal get, especially since he's played his whole career -- up until this season -- with the Rangers and is of proven quality. (Meanwhile, the NHL.com's trade savant, Nick Cotsonika reports, "More teams are looking to move some pieces than take on pieces.")
HEADLINE: FLAMES SEASON IS ON THE BRINK
THE JIVE: The "magic" of Darryl Sutter behind the Calgary bench has been reduced to a flicker. His team can't score and his (not Darryl's fault) overpaid goalie Jacob Markstrom can't stop pucks when it counts. Now, under .500 (15-16-3) the Boys From Alberta must show that they're better than their 3-1 loss to Ottawa last night. Worse still, the Senators fourth-string goalie, Filip Gustavvson beat them with 28 saves. "We're not scoring," says Sutter. His Sens opposite, D.J. Smith has the answer: "If you sling pucks at the net a couple of times and hang on, you wear a team down." (A bit too late, Smitty's Ottawa guys are on the rise. A bit too early in the homestretch, the Flames are fading.)
HEADLINE: THE PASSING OF COLORFUL BOB PLAGER
THE JIVE: When the NHL doubled its size from six to twelve teams in 1967, the huge expansion gamble depended on the new teams successfully drawing fans. The St.Louis Blues did so by winning and boasting a number of characters, among them Bob Plager who passed away at age 78. Like his late brothers, Barclay and Bill -- also former Blues -- Bob played a boisterous, hard-hitting game. His upbeat personality made him a huge favorite of the Mound City fans and was a reason why St.Louis made it to the Cup Final three straight years, (1968-70.) "Few men in NHL history were more closely connected to a city and a franchise than Bob Plager was to St.Louis and the Blues," said Commissioner Gary Bettman. Former Blues teammate and Hall of Famer Glenn Hall told NHL.com's Dave Stubbs: "I'm saddened beyond words." (Those of us, myself included, who knew Bob when he was a Ranger, share Glenn Hall's sentiments.)
HEADLINE: REFEREE TIM PEEL NO LONGER OFFICIATING
THE JIVE: The league did the right thing based on the comments made by the official referring to a penalty he had called against Nashville's right wing Viktor Arvedsson in the match with Detroit. "It wasn't much," said Peel, "but I wanted to get a penalty against Nashville, early in the......." At that point Peel's comment ended. The NHL's Senior Executive V.P. Hockey Operations Colin Campbell issued with clarity, the league's decision. "Nothing," said Campbell, "is more important than ensuring the integrity of our game. Tim Peel's conduct is in direct contradiction to the adherence to that cornerstone principle that we demand of our officials and that of our fans, players and coaches and all those associated with our game expect and deserve. There's no justification for his comments, no matter the context or his intention and the NHL will take any and all steps necessary to protect the integrity of our game."
HEADLINE: SUPPORT FOR THE NHL'S DECISION RE REFEREE PEEL
THE JIVE: Typical were observations made by commentators on Sportsnet. "He (Peel) deserves it," said one panelist. "The league has to protect its integrity. The league had no choice." A key question revolves around how the NHL follows up on the issue. "Some things have to change," voiced another panelist. "The referees deserve more scrutiny. They feel that they don't have accountability," Nashvillle forward Matt Duchene observed: "That (Peel's comment and the penalty) can't happen. There's no place in hockey for that." Duchene added that his view was that the call against Arvidsson "wasn't even close to a penalty."
HEADLINE: EXPANSION DRAFT AFFECTS ONE BLACKHAWK
THE JIVE: Ever since his days on the Islanders defense, Calvin de Haan has been a reputable --not to mention very likeable -- blue liner. The same holds true for his most recent stint with Chicago. But because younger Hawks have recently enjoyed success on defense the talk is that de Haan likely will be exposed to the Expansion Draft and picked up by the Kraken. Not surprisingly, our old pal, Calvin, is taking a realistic and most professional approach to his fate. "I still have a job to do," he told Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times. As for the real possibility that he'll be skating for the new Seattle sextet, Pal Cal is philosophical. "I'll still have a job and I'll still get to play hockey." (That man sees things clearly and sees them whole. You have to like Cal de Haan.)
HEADLINE: ESPN IS IN BUT WHO'S NEXT?
THE JIVE: With the league's ESPN deal in place, the next question revolves around which tv contender will win the other half of the NHL tv program in the States. Speaking on Hockey Central, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly observed that, "It would be great if they (meaning NBC) continues to be a partner." That, of course, does not mean that NBC is in like Flynn -- nor Daly, for that matter -- but Bill is referring to the excellent experience the NHL has had with NBC as a partner. Fox and CBS both are out there, among other potential competitors and only time will tell which network prevails.
HEADLINE: THE GOALIE PARADE GETS LONGER BY THE WEEK
THE JIVE: Never in my memory have there been so many new, effective goaltenders added to NHL rosters than this season. It's not even close. Doesn't it seem like a long time ago since Petr Mrazek and James Reimer were the Canes double-dip between the goal posts? Does to me. You have to wonder if either of the aforementioned vets will be good enough to dislodge the latest member of the Goaltenders' Union, Alex Nedeljkovic. The Parma, Ohio native was drafted 37th overall in 2014 by Carolina and graduated from AHL Charlotte. At last look his NHL record was a handsome 7-2-2, plus 1.96 GA and .930 in the save percentage area. (Big Al could wind up as Rod Brind'Amour's playoff starter.)
HEADLINE: NHL Adjusts Draft Lottery
THE JIVE: The NHL has made significant changes to its draft lottery. The team with the worst record can now pick no lower than third, one spot higher than previous years. Also, teams can no longer win the lottery more than twice in a five year period. However, lottery wins prior to 2022 do not count to this total. Lastly, teams will not be able to move more than 10 spots in the lottery, so a team with the 11th worst record is the best team that can obtain the first overall pick.
* SABRES SET RECORD WITH 15TH STRAIGHT LOSS: What else is new?
* WILD WINS 10TH STRAIGHT AT HOME: What else is new?
* RYAN MILLER BLOWS SOFT SHOT, NICO STURM PUTS IN WINNER. That's a new one!
YAY to Winnipeg's Adam Lowry and Andy Copp. When Vancouver's Bo Horvat was seriously injured on the ice and painfully struggled to get to the bench, the Peg guys helped him by pushing him along with their sticks. (It proves that the little things mean a lot.)
TRIVIA CORNER: Before all NHL rinks measured 200 by 85 feet, which arena has the shortest length?
HUMOROUS LINES FROM YESTERYEAR:
"Put all six Sutters together and they don't weigh 200 pounds. They just play like they think they do."
-Ex-NHL coach Bob McCammon.
Chicago Stadium's ice surface measured 85 by 188 feet.
Boston Garden's numbers were 83 by 191