NHL Canadian Corner – January 4, 2012.

Joffrey Lupul on a mission…Milan Michalek looks to regain his scoring touch…Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out with shoulder injury…Rene Bourque in trouble…A call for the Habs ownership to clean house…Jets fill-ins getting the job done…Canucks sputtering power-play.


Lupul turned his career around in Toronto.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul is finally putting four years of struggles and injuries behind him, crediting the trade to Toronto as a career-changer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lupul has been amongst the league’s leading scorers for most of this season and isn’t showing signs of slowing down, justifying the faith Brian Burke had in Lupul when he acquired him from Anaheim last season.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Milan Michalek is trying to regain the scoring form he displayed prior to his concussion injury last month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Michalek was leading the league in goals when he got hurt. If the Senators hope to remain in the playoff chase, they’ll need him to regain that scoring touch.

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers rookie star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has a shoulder injury, the nature of which has yet to be revealed by the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully it’s not serious, as this could be a serious blow to their hopes of getting back into the playoff race.

CALGARY HERALD: Winger Rene Bourque undisciplined play against Washington on Tuesday not only has him in the doghouse of head coach Brent Sutter, but could also have him in hot water with the league for his elbow to the head of Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bourque seems to be playing his way off the Flames, or at least he would be if they could find any takers for his $3.33 million per season contract, which has three more seasons after this one left on it.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jack Todd calls on Canadiens owner Geoff Molson to clean house, including replacing Pierre Gauthier as GM and finding takers for expensive Habs like Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta and Tomas Kaberle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gauthier is probably a goner at season’s end if the Habs miss the playoffs. Good luck moving out those expensive contracts. Seems only the Habs are willing to take on other teams expensive mistakes.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets call-ups have given the club surprising depth without upsetting team chemistry.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: The Canucks need help to bolster their struggling power-play.


  1. Sheesh – the Habs are enervating this season.

  2. I am not for trading Kaberle. Not until Markov is back at 100%, which may not happen. If the Habs blow it up then they better do it all at the deadline to maximize value and pick up first rounders and pry a blue chip prospect or two. I dont think that will happen. If anything it will be money for money deals. Ppl should stop worrying so much at this point. If they lose 4 of their next 5 or 6 them the season is over anyways. Does anyone see them pulling it together for a win streak? Didn’t think so. Just relax on the guys do that they can just play, hopefully better, and move a couple contracts. There’s no point to getting worked up now unles they win 8 in a row. The only move that will for sure occur will be removing Gomez from the team.

  3. Sweet, now all the Leafs have to do is score 7 goals per game from here on in and they should make the playoffs. This way they don’t have to worry about playing defense or worry about their goaltending or PK.

    Connelly added some spark to the top line that has been lacking for the past 5 to 7 games although I wasn’t impressed with his defensive game last night.

  4. I agree with SmielmaN. There is no rush to move Kaberle until we have a clearer picture of Markov’s situation. I would like to see us move some smaller players for size.

    How about Gionta and Campoli to Calgary for Bourque and Sarich?

  5. As a Habs fan it pains me to see the direction this team has gone in for several years, terrible decisions, bad contracts, unfortunate injury’s, questionable leadership. The problem as I see it is that Ownership/Management is terrified of the backlash from the francophone fan base of tearing the team down and rebuilding.
    Is there any team in the NHL that would receive more critical backlash then Montreal for a complete rebuild, the fans in Montreal and across Canada wouldn’t stand for it, it would be reprehensible,,,,,but needed!
    Cant resit….Toronto has been rebuilding since I was 6..remember those Hockey push pull games we had, ever wonder why they came with extra interchangeable Leafs…lol… love ya Leaf fans most die hard in the game.

  6. Casey, if that trade was on the table we’d take it in a hearbeat! Bourque is a terrible hockey player and if we could get rid of him we could. Sarich will be available but his NTC lets him decide where he’s going.

  7. I would say Pleks and Campoli to Columbus for Carter. Or Pleks, Campoli, 1st rdr to the ducks for getzlaf.

  8. I’m for blowing up the Habs roster, as well, though it’ll be hard to do. As Lyle mentions, we seem to be the only team willing to take bad contracts. When Louis Leblanc is our only drafted player in the last 3 years (in any round!) to play for the club, problems run DEEP.

    I can’t see us trading Gionta – not least because the nature of his injury still isn’t known. But he’s still the captain and that means we’d have to get a return greater than his skill to cover the value of his leadership. I don’t think we get that (plus his expensive contract), so I think he stays, at least for another season.

    Cammalleri – who I love, but isn’t really helping us – should go for a high draft pick. I think he can still pick up a 2nd and a 5th (for a potential 25-30 goal scorer). Start stocking the minors and reducing our cap hit as much as we can. Kaberle is playing ok for us, but I still think he’s untradeable we’re stuck with his contract until the end.

    Cammy for a high pick. Gill, bless him, can go for a 7th rounder to a playoff bound team in need of depth. No great return, but more cap space is always nice. Gomez will likely be bought out instead of buried, I’m guessing, but anything helps. Moen will go for low rounder, especially if Ryan White can get healthy.

    It’s not much clearing house, but it’s a start. Oh, and fire Gauthier. Please. Maybe some other team will hire him and he will trade for Kaberle again?

  9. I’ve been trying to hold my tongue with all this Habs talk, not wanting to ruffle any feathers, but why would you want Gauthier to be in charge of your team through the trade deadline and preparations for the draft. Gauthier has shown he will put anyone under the bus to protect his own butt, and somehow he’s supposed to be the man to turn this team around. Hopefully you’re not counting on Cunneyworth to be the driving force behind the Habs future, the man’s been a lame duck from the day he was promoted. Start the rebuild now by naming an upper management team that has a vested interest in next year’s team.

  10. ya our team blows. our only good player is our goalie. there is no way we could trade our players for a blue chip prospect….and plecs and campoli with a 15th overall pick is not nearly enough to get getz…..way to over value our players.