NHL Canadian Corner – Thursday, March 14, 2013.

Recaps of the Canadiens-Senators & Flames-Red Wings games, and the latest on the Maple Leafs, Canucks, Jets and Oilers.

Lars Eller scored in a shootout as the Canadiens down the Senators 4-3.

Lars Eller scored in a shootout as the Canadiens down the Senators 4-3.

LA PRESSE/OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Ottawa Senators rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime and a shootout, but it was the Montreal Canadiens who triumphed 4-3 on a shootout goal by Lars Eller.  The Canadiens also received some sad news yesterday, as forward Blake Geoffrion is considering retirement after suffering a fractured skull in an AHL game earlier this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eller has been steadily improving this season, and his play against the Senators last night was his best game thus far. As for Geoffrion, sounds like his NHL career is over before it really had a chance to begin. It would be a heartbreaking end to his playing career.

CALGARY HERALD/DETROIT FREE PRESS: Three unanswered third period goals and a solid performance by Miikka Kiprusoff lifted the Calgary Flames to a 5-2 trouncing of the Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Flames, but given their current plight, every win is a big one for them now, and they need many more to keep their playoff hopes alive.

TORONTO STAR: With the Maple Leafs in a three-game losing skid, is it time to shake things up on the blueline? Perhaps by playing healthy scratch John-Michael Liles? Or recalling Jake Gardiner?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only coach Randy Carlyle knows for sure. As for Gardiner, he’s busy backpedaling from a tweet by his agent suggesting the Leafs “free” his client.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Tony Gallagher believes Canucks coach Alain Vigneault is running out of excuses as his team continues to struggle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t blame Vigneault for this. He’s saddled with a roster lacking depth at center (which is very apparent with Ryan Kesler on the shelf), David Booth remains a bust as a scoring winger, and they obviously miss the injured Kevin Bieksa on their blueline. This was also supposed to be the season Cory Schneider took over the role of starting goalie, but his performance suggests management was wise to hang onto Roberto Luongo. Yes, Vigneault has to find a way to snap this club out of its current doldrums, but he can only do so much when there’s some glaring weaknesses on the roster.

WINNIPEG SUN: Kyle Wellwood is making the most of his return to the Jets lineup.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers have placed Ben Eager on waivers. He essentially lost his job when the Oilers acquired Mike Brown from Toronto.

8 Comments

  1. I think the leaf’s should play Liles and bench Kostka or Gunny or Dion for that matter, I like Liles and his play.

  2. What is stopping Mike Gillis from using common sense and signing natural center Jason Arnott to a contract?
    Could it be the fact that he is 39 going on 40? This should have no bearing on getting him in a Canucks jersey because the team has a bunch of twenty something’s right now playing like they think they are going on forty. It can’t be cap space because he will come cheap and this years contract would be pro rated.
    With Arnott’s six foot five and two hundred and twenty pound frame he would be a force to be reckoned with in front of the net and possibly his right hand shot could fit in well with this mostly left shooting crew. 
    If anyone in the Canucks organization took the time to study Arnott’s stats they would see that he is a consistent 20+ goal/50 point man as well as almost always being on the plus side on the plus-minus category during a normal regular season. I believe he would still pot close to 20 points in the last half of this short season.
    What the heck does Gillis and the Canucks pop gun offense have to lose?
    With the possibility of not making the post season a reality and having to fight for the eight and final playoff spot, which could mean playing the Blackhawks in the first round, looming why not take a chance on signing someone with something to prove. His body wouldn’t wear down too much with just twenty plus games to play and he would be playoff ready come the post season. The organization is bemoaning the fact they need a center for the third line and with Kesler still mending Arnott could be just what the doctor ordered. 
    Coach Vigneault’s job could well be on the line if A: the Canucks miss the post season or B: go out in the first round so again I ask, what the heck do they have to lose?

    • Same could be said for the Leafs signing Arnott for the balance of this year to replace Bozak on the top line. Bozak won’t stand in front of the net or dig in the corners and isn’t tough to play against. With Kessel having the same issues it would be a nice fit to have someone on the line who is the opposite of Kessel and Bozak. JVR possesses some toughness and stands in front but one guy on the line with two pussy’s isn’t getting the job done against the tougher teams. The playoffs will be even worse when every team plays 100% tougher and will bash crap out of Kessel and Bozak. Toronto needs to address this issue before the deadline and just MAYBE Arnott could be a temporary answer for this year then they can go look for someone else to fill this role this summer for the years to come.

      • Well said, I have been thinking that for a while now. What is there to lose? Sign him 1 year plus a 1 year option.

        • Failing that or any trade I’d say give McClement a shot to center Kessel and JVR. He has 5 goal and 5 assists playing 15min per game (most of which are killing penalties or bailing out his line mates with his backchecking) as opposed to Bozak’s 7 goals and 8 assists playing 20min per game. McClement digs, cycles, is good on face offs, goes to the net, stands in front, has high energy and BACKCHECKS. It’s what the so called top line needs if Nonis can’t pull off a blockbuster trade for a number one center. He’s definitely worth a try. Carlyle could also replace JVR with Lupul and put JVR with Grabo and Frattin. This Bozak centering the top line experiment has to end.

  3. I wondered when the Canucks rumours would start. Vigneault and his staff have proven themselves many times over but GM’s tend not to look in the mirror when things are tough. They certainly miss their injured stars but every team has injuries and the good teams deal with them – I still expect Vancouver to go on a tear and win their division.

  4. split the sedins up there are many ways of shaking things up………players need too step up don’t beleive one player makes a team….ottawa has proven it

  5. Regrettably, because of work obligations, I have missed way too many Leaf games including Saturday CBC broadcasts. Story I’m hearing is Dion and Kessel are killing this team; by and large with no help from rebound prone goaltending and questionable work ethic issues from the team as a whole.

    Right or wrong, this years edition of TML is largely a .500 hockey team who at any one given time will be +/- 4-5 games over/under .500 and; at present, the skid part is on. TML has for years, seemingly enjoyed tearing the hearts out of their die hard fans knowing that no matter how indifferent or shitty or both they played, their fans would always come back to savor the moment of victory no matter how meaningless it proved itself as the season unfolded.

    To that end, Dave Nonis, if you are listening, stop sitting on your ass and do something. You have players that should be here and aren’t; and have players here who really shouldn’t be here. Its time to come out from under Burke’s shadow and blaze a trail. This team was never quite good enough to amount to much more than .500 anyways and that just isn’t good enough to make into the post season so stop deluding yourself about chemistry because likely a ton of finger pointing is currently at play here.

    Ya that concludes my rant about the stiffs from Big Smoke and if they keep up the current trend of useless, we can call them the Stiffs that Choke from Big Smoke