Canadian Corner – October 22, 2011.

In today’s roundup of notable Canadian NHL team news: Flames hope to step up their physical game…Canadiens center Scott Gomez sidelined…Mike Komisarek in lineup for Leafs game against the Canadiens…Sami Salo delivering for Canucks at both ends of the ice…Oilers must soon decide Ryan Nugent-Hopkins future for this season…Senators forward Peter Regin sidelined again by should injury…Jets struggling to snap out of their losing ways.

CALGARY SUN: Led by captain Jarome Iginla, the Flames finally reached their anticipated level of physical play in their recent game against the NY Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have to maintain that style throughout the season if they’re to remain in playoff contention, as well as convince GM Jay Feaster to stop working the phones and listening to offers from other teams

RDS.CA: Montreal Canadiens center Scott Gomez will be sidelined by a lower body injury from tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The much-maligned Gomez won’t be missed by Canadiens fans, who’ve been very unhappy over the decline in his offensive game since joining the club two years ago. His huge salary cap hit (over $7 million per season) has only exacerbated the situation, with Habs fans calling for Gomez to be demoted to the minors to free up cap space to pursue a true first line center. The Canadiens are likely stuck with Gomez’s salary until the end of this season, when they’ll likely hope the next CBA will once again provide a one-time-only, penalty-free buyout of contracts.

TORONTO SUN: After being a healthy scratch against the Boston Bruins, Mike Komisarek will be in the Leafs lineup against his old team, the Montreal Canadiens, tonight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs coach Ron Wilson is likely hoping the combination of playing the Habs and determination to avoid being a healthy scratch again will light a fire under Komisarek to elevate his game.

A two-way presence on Canucks defense.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks veteran blueliner Sami Salo has been providing his team with solid play at both ends of the rink, off to the best start of his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 37-year-old Salo has always been talented, the problem has been his lengthy injury history. If he can stay healthy this season, he should continue to be an invaluable presence on the Canucks blueline.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers head coach Tom Renney floated the notion the Oilers could sit promising center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a game or two in order to determine how well they can play without him. The Oilers will soon have to decide if they’ll keep Nugent-Hopkins on their roster, or send him back to junior this season and avoid paying out the first season of his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That might not be a bad idea.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Peter Regin recently re-injured his surgically repaired left shoulder in a recent game against Winnipeg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a serious blow to Regin and the Senators. Here’s hoping this isn’t something which keeps him out for long.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets slow start to this season has the players second-guessing themselves



  1. I love my Canadiens, but it’s not all Gomez that’s causing their current slide. Everyone seems off except pacioretty. It’s got my brother and I wondering what Bob Hartley is doing nowadays. He got got results from his players and he coached with enthusiasm and passion. Something that is apparently missing now that Muller is gone.

  2. “Sources tell TSN that the Komisarek deal with the Maple Leafs includes a limited no-trade clause. Every September, Komisarek will be asked by Toronto to submit a list of 12 teams he would accept a trade to.”
    I sure hope Burke is calling these teams and trying to find a taker for this guy as he’s just not working out here but maybe somewhere else he might

  3. The next five games will tell the tale of what will happen with the Canadiens this season. The last three games in that stretch are against Philadelphia and Boston then the Canadiens have a stretch of five days without a game. One win or less in those five games will signal big changes in my opinion. Two or three wins will keep the controversy brewing but probably little will happen until the end of the season.
    With four or five wins the slow start will be forgotten.

    The reason I say the next five games are key is because of the extended break after that period. It would give a new coach or players time to acclimate themselves before being thrown into the fray.

    My guess is that it will be two wins with no changes thereafter resulting in an increasingly irate fan base.

  4. @SmielmaN
    Bob Hartley is presently coaching in a swiss league.

  5. I went from wanting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to go back to Junior, to being unsure, to grdugingly accepting that he’d be staying the year, to wanting him back in junior again.

    If Ryan stays in the NHL, he’ll get top-6 ice-time on a team that is best-case scenario a play-off bubble longshot. The Oilers won’t be a lottery team, but they won’t make the play-offs either. He’ll play with some brilliant young developing forwards and some savvy veterans. He’ll have a shot to win the Calder trophy.

    If he goes back to junior, he’ll get a chance to dominate his peers and his age group, while developing the few parts of his game that aren’t magnificient (mainly building some extra body strength and working on those face-off skills). He’ll almost definitely make Team Canada at the World Junior’s, and have a very good shot at dominating the tournament and winning a Gold Medal. He can then make the NHL next year, bigger, stronger, better at face-offs and more experienced. He would still have a shot at winning the Calder, but on a better, more developed team. He’d be a better player, and would still have 3 years on his entry-level deal.

    To me right now, sending him back seems like a no-brainer.