Came away with some interesting tidbits on my weekly show “Murphy’s Hockey Law” this Saturday. NHL Vice President of Player Safety & Hockey Operations Damian Echevarrieta joined me to give a behind the scenes look on how suspensions and fines are determined. He also gave some interesting insight into what he agreed was one of the toughest decisions he and NHL Vice President of Hockey and Business Development and Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan have had to make and that is the 15-game suspension handed down to Shawn Thornton in December. As Echevarrieta pointed out, suspending a guy they want other players to emulate was very difficult.
The NHL roster freeze went into full effect Friday at 3 p.m. and there was not the flurry of trade activity many in the media were expecting. But while all was quiet on the trade front, the chatter around the league went into full Olympic mode. One of the big debates for years now has been whether or not NHLers should be participating in the Winter Olympics. But when the NHL and NHLPA ended the lockout of 2012-13 and agreed on a new CBA, they both agreed that the players would participate in the Sochi games and then reevaluate for South Korea in 2018. But as of late, it doesn’t appear that most owners and teams are upholding the spirit of that agreement.
On Thursday, Flyers owner Ed Snider didn’t hold back when asked what he thought of NHLers traveling to Sochi or any Olympic tournament mid-season.
It was another busy day of NHL trade rumors Thursday with the Olympic roster freeze Friday at 3 p.m. ET. Many expected that the freeze would serve as another trade deadline before the official one on March 5 but as of Thursday night there hadn’t been any major deals this week. Still that doesn’t mean teams aren’t talking and trying to get ahead of the rest of the pack by pulling off an impactful trade before the Olympic break.
With the Olympic trade freeze coming up quickly and the trade deadline coming March 5th, ten days after the Olympic trade freeze is lifted, trade rumors are coming fast and furious. The Montreal Canadiens have been part of trade rumors for the bulk of the season, with the latest rumors being them heavily shopping forward Rene Bourque. Let’s look at what the team needs and who a rumored to be on Bergevin’s radar and who might be on the outs.
Tis the season for trade rumors and furthermore rumors of trades that could only be pulled off in a video game. Such was the case last Thursday when Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reported that the Avalanche and Canadiens were discussing a possible deal that would send defending Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban to the Avalanche in exchange for draft picks and prospects.
For much of the last few weeks, New York Rangers defenseman and soon to be unrestricted free agent Dan Girardi has been a constant in the increasing NHL trade rumors circuit. But now according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post and Pierre Lebrun of ESPN.com and TSN his teammate and captain Ryan Callahan – who is also an unrestricted free agent on July 1 – is being shopped as well. Both Brooks and Lebrun reported that contract talks for both Girardi and the Rangers’ heart and soul forward Callahan have hit a wall and Rangers general manager Glen Sather is fielding offers for both so they don’t end up leaving the Rangers with nothing if and they walk via free agency.
During the 2013 off-season, Marc Bergevin spent nearly $6.5 million to improve the Montreal Canadiens. He started off with the ever confusing and controversial signing of Daniel Briere for a generous two-year deal that will pay the Gatineau native $8 million. Bergevin’s following move was trading a seventh round pick in 2014 along with AHLer Philippe Lefebvre to the Florida Panthers for enforcer George Parros. His final move came in August with the signing of Douglas Murray to a one year deal worth $1.5 million to replace the then injured Alexei Emelin.
No matter whom you cheer for, there is nothing like being in Montreal when the Canadiens are winning or in the playoffs. The Habs haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993 and yet a mid-season winning streak can make a winter day with sub-arctic temperatures seem like spending a beautiful summer day sipping a pint of your favorite beer on a Crescent Street terrace. As the Canadiens go, so goes the city of Montreal and that’s why when they’re losing there is nothing like being part of the media in Montreal.