NHL Canadian Corner – December 3, 2013.

Canadiens edge the Devils, Jets defeat the Rangers, Jarome Iginla looking forward to his December 10th return to Calgary, updates on David Clarkson and Zack Kassian, and the latest on the Oilers and Senators.

Alex Galchenyuk celebrates his goal against the Devils.

Alex Galchenyuk celebrates his goal against the Devils.

LA PRESSE: After being benched in the third period of Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs, Alex Galchenyuk scored the game-winning goal as the Montreal Canadiens edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Carey Price made 28 saves for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price was outstanding for the out-played Habs, who managed only 17 shots on goal against the Devils.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Olli Jokinen’s third period goal snapped a 2-2 tie and proved the winner as the Jets downed the New York Rangers 5-2. Jets call-up John Albert scored in his first NHL game.

CALGARY HERALD: Former Flames captain Jarome Iginla is looking forward to his return to Calgary on December 10 with the Boston Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Iginla should expect a warm welcome from Flames fans.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger David Clarkson has been demoted from the second line as coach Randy Carlyle shuffles things up in hopes of bolstering his team’s scoring.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This wouldn’t be notable except for the fact Clarkson is in the first year of a seven-year deal worth $5.25 million per season. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers will give Ilya Bryzgalov (currently sidelined with an upper-body injury) every opportunity to challenge Devan Dubnyk for the starter’s job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far Dubnyk has risen to the challenge. He needed that motivation to prove himself.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford doesn’t consider Canucks 23-year-old winger Zack Kassian a bust.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unhappy Canucks fans disagree, especially when they see Cody Hodgson -the guy they traded for Kassian – playing well for the Buffalo Sabres.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators coach Paul MacLean is juggling his lines in hopes of snapping his club out of its current funk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe losing Daniel Alfredsson hurt them more than we believed?


  1. Definitely looks like the Sens have lost a leader and some inspiration, probably missing him more in the room and practice than they are on the ice Ryan has given them some good numbers and at times CMac has looked pretty good (same issue as he had as a Leaf tho…consistency)

  2. Botchford needs his head read if he thinks thats not a very lopsided deal. Kassian may not quite be a bust but no where near the level of player Hodgson is.

    • I agree. The Canucks gave up on a possible first line center with 50-70 pt potential because the coach didn’t like him. Then they fire the coach later. Dumb dumb dumb. I wonder if Vignualt (sp) is doing the same thing to DelZotto? A trade for DeZotto may be a mistake by NYR.

      • LOL sounds like the Nonis and Carlyle show…

        • Ties right in to buying out Grabo to pay Clarkson.

          • Imo Gms should build teams to their strengths not to suit their coach, in this day and age its easier to fire a coach than it is to correct a bad trade or signing.

          • That’s the Lamoriello model you speak of. How dare you criticise Nonis. LOL

            Lou builds his team the way he thinks he can win and looks for a coach to fit with his system and team he has assembled and if they don’t he says don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Detroit does the same. How many cups have these two teams combined for in the past 20 years? and how many have the Leaf GM’s won during that time frame?

          • Yeah us Habs fans know all about picking the coach (Tremblay *shudders*) over the player (P. Roy)

  3. Carey Price absolutely stole that game for the Habs last night. Luckily, the Canadiens got some very timely scoring, killed all 4 PP’s, and scored on their only PP. What a difference with a healthy line up. You really see the depth of the team right now.

    As for OTT, I thought they over achieved last year so this is the team I think they should have been. Last season Anderson played waaaaaaay above his head and the coach had all their call ups playing defence first to play safe. Now the team sees that the owner tried to cheap out on their most important player and saw him walk. I would think that team may be better with a solid veteran presence up front, but that would mean giving up some assets and I don’t think OTT wants to do that after trading some good prospects to the Ducks for Ryan. Personally, the Sens play isn’t surprising at all.

    • The way he has been playing he would get my vote as the starter in Sochi.

  4. Hey Shticky no comment on Carlyle today? He’s back to moving line mates around again in desperation. I think the only two guys that have played more then five games in a row together are the Kessel/JVR and Phaneuf/Gunnar combo’s. Every other guy on the team has had a different line mate every second game. How’s a line supposed to gel?

    • Sorry I wrote this as you were posting your Carlyle comment. lol

    • I was trying to avoid it…honestly Im not normally so militant. But yep tough to get any kind of feel, sometimes you need to shuffle things around with injuries, slumps and things I get that but it does seem to be a little much. Really Clarkson is about 15 games in on a new team and really the past 4-5 games seems to becoming a little more around. I dont think this team has used the same line up more than twice in a row more than 2 or 3 times yet this year. Notice the only line that has been consistently together is the only line that produces? (and not the way it supposed to I have yet to see Kessel score off cycling the puck)

      • Yes, it’s tough to watch.
        I’m also very disappointed in Bozak’s faceoff losses. He’s 45.4% over all and wopping 24 for 69 in the dot when short handed which works out to 34.8%. Any idea why the pk is in the crapper Randy?

        Better off giving the pk center job to Jerred Smithson at this point 60.7% over all and 20 for 35 in the dot short handed 57.2%

        • It’s doing the little things right by putting a player who can succeed in the right role that add up to a win and boosts confidence.

        • How can anyone read this ‘Better off giving the pk center job to Jerred Smithson at this point 60.7% over all and 20 for 35 in the dot short handed 57.2%’ and think this person knows what he’s talking about. I mean Smithson was only a placeholder until the team got some bodies back when their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd line centers were out, remember that? Smithson, a player overlooked, and rightfully so – see his past season’s numbers, lets say barely AHL level at best…
          So my point is, and you want this guy, who’s been pretty unspectacular so far, to see more ice time? You notice how bad the PK has been since he was put on it to ‘win’ at the dot? Does one have something to do with the other? Well, given the past numbers vs the current ones suggests there is IMO.

          • I agree too much is made of faceoff numbers Bozak and Smithson are fine examples of this. An ahl caliber player playing in the nhl and a third liner playing on the top line. Ill take a guy who is 48-49 % on the dot but has a bit of someother skill over captain faceoff type guys who are just about useless in any other role 10 out of 10 times. What good is always winning the draw if you cant do anything with the puck anyway. One dimensional players.

          • Ron
            Sorry you are right 57.2% typo in the calculator.

            My point isn’t really so much that Smithson should be given the node on the pk it’s more that Nonis went out and put so much stock in Bozak’s face off record other wise why did he sign him for $4.25M? He really doesn’t have anymore skill then a 3rd liner and is missing grit in his game to be a checker so why the big dollars then? and please don’t say because it would have opened up a hole on the top line center position. McClement make $1.5M as a third line center is Bozak 3 times better then him? Is he even .5% better then him?

      • Same problem as the leafs have had YOU MEAN !!!

        A few game ago JVR Kessel and Lupul combined for 6 points in 12 games !!!


        Ranger ….not NHL material anymore

        FRASER ……TOO SLOW …no first pass

        Gardiner ……. not a Defenseman …he doesn’t even play the body just skates with the puck every game terrible in own end !!

        Reilly ….Rookie

        Franson …..top 4 defender

        Liles …in minors …LOL

        • forgot about the Princess ….LOL

          • Too Funny

          • Spoken like a true Leafs fans. No wonder fan bases always say Leafs fans are dumb.

          • The “Princess” is among the top of league never mind just defencemen in +/- and has beeen playing 25 mins + agame against the best players in the world slam Reily and Gardiner then say Franson is a top 4 defender? Both the other 2 have been better than Franson (I really dont care about his assists defensively he is perhaps the biggest disappointment) Ranger is..Well Ranger, before you bury all these guys should probably look at how they are being asked to play. It doesnt help that they get shuffled around in nd out of the lineup more than a deck of cards at a blackjack table.

      • Your comment about Kessel is ridiculous. I guess you’d like Clarkson to score off the rush and Jake Gardiner to be a stay-at-home defenceman.
        Phil Kessel scores plenty of goals doing it his way. Focus on the guys that aren’t doing their job. Kessel is doing what he does best.

        • Thats my point…players should play to their strength and play better that way Kessel scores off the rush yet Randy wants the team to cycle more. Same as Kadri Raymond Lupul gets some goals in close but more of a rush type player JVR is a big body who moves quickly with good hands can score from the dirty areas but has skill to score off the rush. This team should be more of a north south team rather tan a cycle and collapse team. If the wingers were more of a pressure guys along the boards create turnovers and transition it would lead to more possession less shots against, (probably more scoring chances with mistakes but they have good goaltending) instead of collapsing and being under pressure constantly, or chipping pucks in to the corner in the offensive zone where they cant really win battles. Its backwards this will get very ugly over the next month.

          • Look at the Sharks for example or the Wings or Blackhawks …all teams built with speed lots of pressure out on the perimeter. Not overly physical lots of possession. Lots of possession leads to less shots against (higher quality chances tho but again we have good goalies) more shots for. Randy is a dinosaur.

  5. I keep reading from posters and others how the Senator’s ‘overacheived last year and played ‘way over their heads’. I can accept that type of observation over a short period of time, like a playoff series or two, however over 48 games and a first round playoff series (which I remind you they won handily) its a bit of a stretch to say it was a fluke or they were just lucky. Anderson, Bishop and Lehner all played well last season so it wasn’t just one hot goalie carrying the team. The multiple call ups brought up last season due to the teams multiple injuries contributed well primarily because coach MacLean had the whole team buying into his system and it worked. This season, who knows. The teams inconsistency y.t.d. has been the one big consistency so far. (The loss in leadership with Alfredsson and Gonchar leaving may a be contributing factors as well.) Right now the Senator’s are playing below average hockey and they need to start playing a whole lot better to even have a chance of making the playoff’s this season. That’s hockey, in todays NHL there’s a fine line between good, average and below average and so far this season the Senator’s have been playing below average hockey (unlike the last two seasons).

    • Just for arguments sake, did you think Anderson was going to play at the level his stats showed last year, this year? The playoff series was highly contested (save for one game) and it was Anderson who stole that series for the Sens, let’s not kid ourselves. Who else beside Karlsson, Spezza, Ryan, michalek are capable of carrying the team on any given night?

      Your opinion is yours but it’s hard to argue with the actual play and record of the Sens so far this season. I wouldn’t even play Anderson more than Lehner right now. I would give the reins to the kid who dominated the AHL rather than the journeyman back up/starter who’s ALWAYS had consistency problems. Some may argue my opinion on that playoff series but I watched it intently and the Canadiens played well enough to win except for one game. Anderson stole that series (along with the help of a couple weak goals let in by Price)

      • SmielmaN, I get you hold the bleu, blanc et rouge in your heart but to say that the series was close is clearly misleading. The series was won by Ottawa four games to one with Ottawa’s winning game scores of: 4-2, 6-1, 3-2, and 6-1. Montreal’s lone win was a score of 3-2. As far as Anderson goes, he has played well for Ottawa the past two seasons. This season however he has struggled a bit (as did Carey Price last season!). Robin Lehner is still very young and the organization has been cautious in his development which, in my very humble opinion, is a good thing.
        Most teams really only have four or five key players that they count on to ‘carry’ the team. So far this season neither Michalek or Spezza has played the way they can or perhaps used to. Surprisingly Ottawa’s most consistent forward has been Clarke MacArthur which probably says a lot.
        Anyways Hab’s and Leaf fan’s can look on the bright side this year, it appears the Sen’s probably won’t be playing come the post season anyways. Who knows maybe Toronto and Montreal will face each other. Now that’s a series I wouldn’t mind seeing!

        • Ummm, I think Karlsson has been Ottawa’s most consistent player as well as their leading scorer. I think a huge issue for Ottawa is that suddenly players with bright futures that looked to be key like Colin Greening, Mark Stone, and Stephen Da Costa haven’t really panned out. Zibs is coming along nicely and there is still some hope in Ceci, Puempel, and maybe Prince.

          • Sen’s really are not a good team. None of their players are exciting except maybe Ryan. Most of the kids are a bust. You can see it on Murrays face after almost every game. Cheap owner…..bad trades made and owners viewing the team through rose coloured glasses thinking the team is better then what it is.

  6. I would like to see the leafs use liles, Defence cant get any worse can it?

    • Its been juggled an awful lot not sure anyone short of a big money # 1- or 2 type d guy help. Its the system or the coach.

  7. Sharks 4..Leafs 2..out shot again…another loss..didn’t get to watch it or form an objective opinion as to why they lost or a subjective opinion based on woulda, coulda shoulda. Do know this though. Carlyle I believe has lost the room and made one too many line shuffles to the point nobody knows what to do anymore.

    Can Carlyle. No longer working..Otherwise, tank and finish dead last for the #1 pick and then can Carlyle.