NHL Canadian Corner – January 31, 2012.

Cory Schneider to start in goal for Canucks tonight against Blackhawks…Making the case for Erik Karlsson for the Norris trophy…Jets fans love Dustin Byfuglien…Mike Cammalleri hoping to pick up his game…Leafs eyeing the standings… Atmosphere in Canadiens dressing room improving…Oilers aim not to give up on season.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Cory Schneider gets the start in goal tonight for the Canucks as they face off against the arch-rival Chicago Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick, somebody start a rumor this is proof the Canucks are showcasing Schneider for a trade!

Karlsson a Norris contender?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch makes the case for Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson to become a nominee for the Norris Trophy after Karlsson shone at the All-Star game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will ultimately depend on Karlsson’s performance over the remainder of the season. So far, he leads all NHL defensemen in assists (40) and points (47) by a wide margin, and is tied for the lead in power-play assists for defensemen.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets and their fans love defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, but he’d get more love if he improved his fitness and became an elite defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injury and conditioning have hampered Byfuglien’s performance this season. I expect he’ll put forth a better effort of improving his conditioning in the off-season.

CALGARY HERALD: Flames forward Mike Cammalleri is looking forward to a playoff push by the Flames after a period of adjustment following his trade to Calgary from Montreal earlier this month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames will need Cammalleri to find his offensive touch if they hope to clinch a playoff berth this season.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs players confess to watching the standings, and hope their improved health will pay dividends as they hope to improve their positioning.

LA PRESSE: Canadiens Max Pacioretty and Mathieu Darche claim the atmosphere in the team’s dressing room has improved in recent weeks compared to a month ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens did show improvement in their final five games leading up to the All-Star break, going 3-1-1. It remains to be seen, however, if this is the start of a significant turnaround, or merely a blip.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers are determined not to give up on this season despite their lousy record.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not going to please those Oilers fans hoping the club will tank the rest of the season to secure another first overall pick.


  1. I wonder if the last 5 games the Canadiens have played might be the sign that Habs management needs to make a few more changes, Perhaps the following players may add just what the team needs; T Ruutu, Jeff Schultz and Shane O’brien, Re-signing T Moen and Ak-46 while trading away Weber, Gill, Campoli and Darche and maybe even Engvist.
    They have the cap to do this and if Gauthier does this right I see no reason to not provide size and more youth on the back end as well as added toughness. In no way am I saying the Habs will do this, but perhaps these types of moves will provide the needed punch against teams like Boston and a few others in the eastern conference. What are your thought s Lyle are these reasonable options?
    Thanks Lyle Keep up the good work!

  2. For the Flames’ sake, I hope Cammy does find his scoring touch. But he did show up for Habs camp “in the best shape of his career” and anticipating “a career year.” We all know how that went. In other related news, I suspect the Habs dressing room started to improve right around January 13.

    Like mikeg, I would love to see the Habs add Ruutu and then re-sign him. I think he is the perfect fit for the Habs, especially if we are losing AK and with our small centres. Schultz would look pretty good also.

  3. mikeg, re-sign AK-46? Now’s the time the Habs might be able to actually get something for him. I say trade him now! He’s not lived up to the expectations.

  4. I would re-sign AK if he truly does provide the discount he offered. Pay him third line rates and keep him to play that third line with Eller. If we can offload Gionta in the offseason, great. If not, he is great defensively and would also look good on that third line. If we can, bring up Leblanc to play with Ak and Eller.

    Ruutu- Pleks-Bourque

    Then fix the D and we’re not a bad team.

  5. I for one did not think that the Habs won the deal for Borque.. but so far he has had a bigger impact than Cammi… so i bite my tongue.

    However, that is still a terrible roster… This is a team in BAD need of offense and an infusion of players who scare the opposition. Right now they dont have anyone who does that.

    In my opinion, the Habs need to blow it up and start to collect major pieces. The only players i would keep 100% are Price and Subban. Only for the right deal would I trade Pacioretty, Eller, Leblanc, Plekanec. Other than that….. package players together and try to acquire stars.

    Price was the only all-star on the Habs and not a single other player was even close to being considered. This is an erosion of a team that perenially had stars and all stars who made them a threat to win games every night. I just don’t see that anymore.

    Fail for Nail.

  6. Frankly there isn’t many oilers fans that would like to see this season tanked at all. We like winning, even if history says otherwise.

  7. If the atmosphere in the Habs dressing room is finally improving then it is probably proof positive that Martin should not have started the year behind the bench. Let’s face it … this coach was hired to run a bunch of small, fast, skill players whose main focus was offense. People point to Martin’s time in Ottawa as indicating that he is some sort of goal scoring coach but his years in MTL. prove that they gave the wrong tools to the guy. Imagine how good the moral would have been if Martin was gone. The other albatross in the room is Gomez. A lot of people are pointing to his good play of late … my couch vantage point only sees the same Gomez but having a little more luck. He is still half-azzed in the Habs end, still playing on the perimeter, and still holding on to the puck too long. The plays he does make are working out a little better but the man was having amazing bad luck. Gomez does not suck but he has proven he is not coachable or willing to work with the team and that his perimeter style game doesn’t compliment a lot of players.

    Moen has been a great player for the Habs but his parting gift to fans and the org. should be being traded for above his regular season value. A.K. is not going to ever pay the Habs back via trade. Keep him and let Eller redeem him.

  8. JoeBoo , the problem I see with moving AK46 is that i do not believe for one second the Habs could get equal value back for him and if he wants to stay for less, good news for the habs! As inconsistent as he is 20 goal scores are hard to replace and his comfort level with Lars Eller is extremely encouraging.
    I think that the habs are not that far away from being a good team, but changes need to be made and one player the habs need to trade for certain is Darche and likely Gill and Campoli for draft picks.
    They have the cap space to pick up some very much need depth and this could go a long
    way towards maybe saving this season.

  9. Shaun, actually Martin was really more of a defence first coach for most of his time in Ottawa. They just had a lot of strong offensive talent back then. His biggest weakness was his seeming inability or unwillingness to adjust his game plan during games where they had fallen behind as well as his reluctance to dress players that could play physical (much of this is on the G.M.’s of the time as well). As a result they often got man handled by bigger physical teams. Sound familiar? If given a fair chance I believe Randy Cunnyworth could become a very good coach. Too bad about the french/english thing, they’ll likely gas him at the end of the season as well.

  10. The room has improved in Montreal in the last few weeks…cammy was traded a few weeks ago….coincidence?

    I agree about keeping AK if he really will take less. He is over payed for what he brings, but he does bring something to the table. He along with Pleks should stay unless a great offer comes in. Patches, Cole and Desharnais are all off the table (although I still ahve reservations about DD). So are Diaz, Emelin, Subban, Eller, Leblanc, and Price. Bourques stays by virtue of just being acquired. The rest are all in play with Gill, Moen, and to a lesser extent, Campoli, the most likely to go. IMO

  11. Well it would appear after tonight’s 5-4 loss to the Penguins, the Leafs were staring at the standings just a bit too long instead of shutting down the Penguins en route to blowing a 4-1 3rd period lead only to lose 5-4 in overtime