In today’s roundup of notable NHL Canadian team news: Four player trade surprises Canucks player…Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin could pay the price for Habs poor start…Taylor Hall believes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should keep playing…Matthew Lombardi impresses with Maple Leafs…Chris Mason stepping up in goal for Jets…Senators pot two late goals to defeat Columbus…Flames head coach Brent Sutter happy with his team’s work ethic.
VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks players respond with shock to last night’s news Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm were shipped to Florida for David Booth and Steven Reinprecht.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a good move by Canucks GM Mike Gillis. Samuelsson is still hampered from off-season surgery, and Sturm is on his last legs. They need a decent second liner winger for Ryan Kesler’s line, and while Booth hasn’t been the same since suffering a concussion two years ago, he’s still capable of potting 25-goals per season, perhaps more with a better caliber linemate like Kesler.
SPORTING NEWS: Jesse Spector suggests Montreal Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin could pay for his team’s poor start if things don’t soon improve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of Andrei Markov and Chris Campoli to injury haven’t helped their defensive game, some fans feel the team misses former assistant coach Kirk Muller, who is now coaching in the AHL. Center Scott Gomez showed no signs of improvement this season prior to a recent injury, and free agent addition Erik Cole has been a non-factor. There probably isn’t a trade management can make at this point which can bolster their defense, bring more skilled size to their forward lines, or clear Gomez’s contract off their books. If things don’t improve over the next couple of weeks, heck, the next couple of games, Martin could lose his job.
EDMONTON SUN: Oilers sophomore Taylor Hall doesn’t believe the club should make his linemate, rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, a healthy scratch to determine how the team would perform with the youngster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nugent-Hopkins leads the Oilers in goals (5) and points (7) after seven games. He’s been a terrific fit with Hall and Jordan Eberle. While I agree it remains to be seen how well “RNH” will perform over the rest of the season, I believe he’s played well enough to earn his shot this season. Keep him on the roster.
TORONTO SUN: Center Matthew Lombardi may have been the “throw-in” when the Leafs acquired Cody Franson this summer from the Nashville Predators, but it’s been Lombardi who has been impressive so far, while Franson struggles to gain a roster spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I knew if Lombardi could make a full recovery from post-concussion symptoms he’d be a terrific addition to the Leafs. It remains to be seen how well Franson makes out, but Lombardi’s play has certainly made the Leafs the clear winners of that trade.
WINNIPEG SUN: Backup Chris Mason replaced struggling starter Ondrej Pavelec early in the first period, and the move paid off, as he backstopped the Jets to a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
OTTAWA SUN: Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek’s goals in the final 36 seconds carried the Senators to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
CALGARY HERALD: Flames head coach Brent Sutter acknowledged his club still has some problem areas, but defended their work ethic following their 2-0 loss to the Nashville Predators.