NHL Canadian Corner – January 23, 2014

Flames snap their home losing skid, Canadiens thumped by the Penguins, five reasons not to get overly excited over the Maple Leafs winning streak, Oilers coach Dallas Eakins hopes not to be fired, Paul Maurice key to the Jets improvement, plus updates on Roberto Luongo and Marc Methot.

Sean Monahan scores against the Coyotes.

Sean Monahan scores against the Coyotes.

CALGARY HERALD: Sean Monahan, Lance Bouma and Matt Stajan scored as the Flames downed the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 for their first home win since December 23.

LA PRESSE: The good news for the Canadiens was Rene Bourque finally scored a goal. The bad news is it was the only goal against the Penguins in a 5-1 loss. Carey Price was yanked from the crease after giving up five goals on 21 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have been mediocre for a month now, and if Price has a bad game, their weaknesses really come to the fore. At this rate, the Habs could fall out of playoff contention before the Olympic break.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby lists five reasons why Leafs fans shouldn’t get overly excited over their club’s six-game win streak. Among the reasons is they’re still giving up too many shots-against, relying on their goalies to bail them out. They also lead the league in giveaways.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hornby isn’t trying to be a buzzkill, but rather pointing out the obvious weaknesses plaguing the Leafs this season, which could still threaten their playoff hopes if left unaddressed.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: With the drama which dogged him in recent years now behind him, Roberto Luongo is quietly having one of his best seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d take Luongo over Price right now as Team Canada’s starting goalie. Luongo is among the reasons the Canucks are in playoff contention this season.

EDMONTON SUN: Dallas Eakins hopes he can avoid becoming the latest Oilers coaching casualty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One reason why the Oilers suck is they’ve been through five coaches in six years. It’s tough for young players to develop when the coach keeps changing every year.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets star Evander Kane credits new coach Paul Maurice for the club’s recent turnaround in their fortunes.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Marc Methot was unhappy over being a healthy scratch against the Washington Capitals earlier this week.


  1. A major issue of late is that the Leafs have played very well with Clarkson out of the line up ……YIKES!

    I still believe that the leafs should look to bolster the bottom 6 with some more intensity type players who like to skate and bang but have a knack for finding the net at times …definitely need to relieve the double headed monster in Orr and McLaren (aka Waivers ) …..Keep Bodie up and bring up another skilled player looking to make a mark that can be slotted in in 3rd or 4th line as well….Kulimen & Raymond are expendable at this point…..Columbus is looking for a 2 way player may be a fit there with Kuli and I still like a Raymond for Raffi Torres trade to help Leafs with tough good skater who likes to take the body and wear teams down which is sooooo important in the playoffs ( if they get there ) .
    Maybe a Kulimen and Ranger or ( Fraser) for Nikita Nitkinin may work for the Jackets .Nitkinin is 6 foot 4 and plays BIG !!

    • BC – Torres is on LTIR and hasn’t played a lick this year. Essentially I don’t see him helping out the Leafs – perhaps the leafs should trade Raymond for Kaleta.

      • Not to mention the guy has maybe 30-40 points total in the past 3 seasons.

        • I wouldn’t call Raymond expendable. I believe he is 3rd or 4th in team scoring and controls the puck better then anyone on the team in the offensive zone when on the pp. he is also one of the fastest skaters and has great hands.

          • Expendable in I dont think he is here long term and taking up Levios spot who plays a little more grittier game in front of the net I would agree BC. (see we do see somethings the same) Id trade Raymond before the deadline. Deffinately not for Torres but yep.

          • Raymond is a poster child of what is expendable. Do you think he will resign for around a million again this off season? If so keep him, if not you trade him thus making him expandable. The Leafs are very set on the wings and can easily replace Raymond with a younger cheaper player more suited to the role Raymond is playing in now and because of that you trade him for assets. Kulimen is the Leafs best defensively sound player that can score…you don’t trade guys like that especially for trash like Torres or any other grinder.

          • Raymond has playoff experience and plenty of hockey smarts. I don’t see the Leafs moving him unless the season goes south.

          • They dont need a guy to teach them how to lose in 7 games they got that lesson last year…lol sorry I couldnt resist. Raymond with that beautiful 1 million contract is just to sweet not to trade imo. I really just dont think he is the missing piece to a cup. As Ive said before I doubt they are going any further with guys like Lupul and Raymond come playoff time then they are with out them Short term pain that could set them up far better down the road. Besides Kadri who is producing on that line now?

  2. Agreed on all of Spector’s notes.
    Edmonton is turning into a gong-show over there. Best thing for them to do is keep Eakins for at least another year, he’s good with young players but you have to give a team and a coach time to mesh.

    Hornby raises some valid point about the Leafs, biggest issue in my mind is give-aways. The reasoning is plain to see. Out of the 6 D-men, 2 are defensive-minded and responsible in their own end: Gleason and Gunnarsson.
    The rest are more interested in offense, which leads to mistakes. Now, I give the benefit of “newb-ness” to Rielly and Gardiner since they are still very young. However Franson should know better, and the worst of the bunch is Phaneuf. I find it surprising that a defense-oriented coach such as Carlyle cannot get these guys to improve their game in that aspect.
    Should the finger be pointed at the players? At the coach? Both?
    How long can Toronto count on JVR and Kessel’s scoring and Bernier/Reimer to stand on their head?
    If the 1st line goes into a drought (let’s face it, Kessel’s streaky) Toronto is in big trouble as the 2nd line is not producing as expected and the third line is well, the third line…
    No need to hit any panic buttons, but as mentioned, no need to plan the parade-route either!

    • Ehhh agreed it is what it is, Im not sure why going 7 games in the first round made some think this team is a contender, still work to be done as you mentioned the first line as great as they have been is not going to be able to keep this up. At the same time its not like they dont have some really good pieces and hopefully make the playoffs again, if things go south fire the coach and keep building with some youth. Its been a pretty entertaining season so far.

      • Leafs still have lots of issues. Right now they are playing run and gun Ron Wilson hockey because Carlyle have up on pushing defence after the most recent losing streak. I guess he figured its better to play run and gun and win a few they to play defence first and lose all the games.

        • A little bit yep, they are still giving up a tonne of shots but at least now they are taking a good number compared to the streak in October when they were getting doubled up in shots some night 40-20 and going a full period with no shots or 4-5 shots. Its at least a little more balanced. I doubt he gave up on defense I think he just realized or was told that even with guys like Smithson FML Orr Smith Ashton playing center behind Mc Clement and Kuli wasnt only not helping defensively it was generating no chances. He has mixed his lines up a little better imo adding in Holland Bodie and Gleason has looked pretty good too instead of Fraser and Ranger.

    • Try to keep in mind that while turning over the puck is never a good thing and for a team like the Leafs, it’s not surprising that they would have a high turnover rate. The reason for this is simply because they are not very good a holding onto the puck once they get it. They are more interested in moving it quickly, utilizing their speed to score off the rush. They are not a grinding, puck hogging team – they are a quick struck team which moves the puck quickly up ice which leads to more turnovers than skating with the puck.

      Though it’s still important to note that turning over the puck is a bad thing but I would be more interested as to where and/or more importantly, what the end result was, ie a goal against or not. It would be interesting to see how badly these turnovers are on average as compared to other teams in the league, like # of turnovers vs. # of goals scored against = goals scored due to turnovers.

      • Agreed Ron Im not sure what a comparison would look like around the league or team by team but, if you look at some other players around the league that are notorious for turning the puck over they do generate a lot of offense example would be guys like Subban and Letang Buf for D men Tavares and Grabovski also have a large number of Giveaways, not to say its a good thing but that it comes with the territory.

  3. Last night was maybe a little moral victory for fleury as he had a good game against the possible Sartre for team canada after being basically written off from team canada management

    • I kinda smiled about that as well, I really like Price and think he should start in Sochi but Fleury has been a whipping boy on a team that hasn’t exactly played their best in front of him during the playoffs….it was nice to see.

    • Fleury is so over rated I’m happy he wasn’t selected… The facts, numbers, optics or whatever else you use to judge a player just didn’t show he deserved it. No surprise here and one good game here and there doesn’t make one a star let alone a superstar like some thing he is.

  4. Eakins need at least two years to install some system with this young group.

    • Eakins needs some more players that care, Hendricks is a decent start for a third or fourth line but a player like him with some skill to play in the top 6 and a heart and soul type top 4 d guy like Ferrance would go a long way with this team. Scrivens I think was an excellent pick up. The attitude is slowly going to change I think. Starting to get a bit more character now have to give it time to grow.

      • Toronto should look at sending Raymond their way for some picks or prospects.
        He’d fit in very well over there I think.

  5. Edmonton will have a lottery pick again this year. Scouts agree that the top two picks are legit NHL frontliners. Somewhere along the way the Oilers need to address goaltending and defence. Surely they can suck it up, choose the prospect they want to deal and make a trade that builds their back end. Dallas Eakins might want to talk a little less though and focus on coaching. Claude Noel is a chatty guy and he’s looking for a job.

    • I think the worst thing Edmonton can do now is change coaches again, and Noel will not be an upgrade in my mind.
      Laviolette is probably the best available out there, but not Noel.

    • Sam Bennet is nowhere near ready and Nurse this year was more NHL ready than Ekblad will be next year. Front liners maybe in a couple years but if you think Ekblad or Bennet helps the Oilers next year you are mistaken. They will need time I think it would be a mistake that the Oilers have made in the past pushing young guys in to the line up too early because they are high picks.

  6. the habs game was prime example that the team has no chance in the playoffs.besides gallagher and bournival,therrien has no energy to put on the ice.the veterans seem to coast by game to game.if im plekanec,i ask bergevin to find some suitable wingers that play with heart night in night out.that guy has no help.pricey again gets hung out to dry,and im sick of seeing him get abused like that.