Why Atlanta makes the playoffs, while Boston and NY won't…

Thrash.jpgBoston Bruins vs. New York Rangers
12:30 p.m. EST – Sunday, March 21, 2010
Live on NBC

Let’s face it. The Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers are
flailing. While they tread water and fail to actually grasp hold and
take charge of the situation they’ve each been given the Atlanta
Thrashers have snuck up behind them. The Thrashers are now in prime
position to overtake both the Rangers and Bruins for the 8th spot in the
East, while the two teams seem intent on throwing lame, half-hearted
efforts at the opposition at the most crucial part of the season.

The
Bruins and Rangers are both facing a loss of leadership but for two
completely different reasons.

The Bruins have had all the life
sucked out of them ever since the Marc Savard incident, and the fact
that they couldn’t even muster a single ounce of motivation, at home,
against the Pittsburgh Penguins speaks volumes about how out of it their
locker room is. This isn’t a team ready to make the playoffs; this
isn’t even a team that deserves to make the playoffs.

I understand
it’s not fair that the Bruins have to deal with such an ugly injury to
one of their top players, but use that as motivation; not as a tool that
forces the team to just spiral out of control and flush the season down
the toilet. Of course, the Bruins had the worst offense in the NHL and
no matter how well Tuukka Rask might play, he can’t score goals.

The
New York Rangers are dealing with a similar lack of leadership, but
what gets me is that it seems that John Tortorella is intent on actually
squashing any form of leadership that comes from his locker room.
Although I would guess that he’d rather the leaders on his team start
scoring goals and put the effort on the ice, not just spouting off to
the media.

The Rangers are a team with a lot of money tied up in
mediocre players, and just don’t have the skill necessary to make sudden
push into the playoffs. The Rangers have had numerous opportunities the
past week to make up ground on the Bruins as they’ve faltered and have
mustered just the same lame duck efforts as the team in front of them.

All
the while the Atlanta Thrashers have started to build momentum and
creep up on the two floundering teams. It seemed as though Atlanta was
out of the playoff picture with a devastating losing streak coming out
of the break, yet the struggles by the Bruins and Rangers have given
them a shot. So while those two teams struggle, the Thrashers are
building momentum.

If a Thashers team without Ilya Kovalchuk can
overtake the Rangers and Bruins, and it certainly looks like a
possibility at this point, then both teams from the Northeast should
hang their heads and shame and expect change to be on the way. This is
the time of year when the best teams show what they’re made of; Boston
and New York appear to be made of nothing but fluff.

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    Coyotes’ defensive makeover continues with Luke Schenn signing

    SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 20:  Luke Schenn #52 of the Los Angeles Kings in action against the San Jose Sharks in Game Four of the Western Conference First Round during the NHL 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 20, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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    While Brayden Schenn hopes to hammer out a favorable deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, his brother Luke Schenn inked a two-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

    Arizona didn’t confirm these details, but the cap hit looks to be $1.25 million, according to reporters including Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

    “We are very pleased to sign Luke to a two-year contract,” New Coyotes GM John Chayka said. “He’s a good, young defenseman and we feel we can optimize his performance here. He will be a solid addition to our blue line.”

    Chayka is making some significant changes to the Coyotes’ blueline, even if Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still the star of that group.

    The Coyotes traded for and then signed Alex Goligoski. They possibly grabbed a falling star in the draft, too, as they selected Jacob Chychrun. Adding Schenn might not be the last move, either.

    Schenn isn’t necessarily an analytics darling, but a two-year, $2.5 million deal is reasonable even with some flaws. This contract seems even more reasonable when you consider the five-year, $18 million deal that just expired.

    Report: Maple Leafs, Holland are about $1M apart

    TORONTO, ON - APRIL 11: Peter Holland #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates up the ice during NHL action against the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre April 11, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
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    Peter Holland‘s submitted salary request for arbitration is reportedly more than double what the Toronto Maple Leafs proposed.

    With that in mind, Monday’s pending hearing serves as a challenging deadline.

    Holland’s asking for $2.1 million in 2016-17 while Toronto is offering $900K, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

    This comes a day after the Maple Leafs placed Holland on waivers, advancing the argument that he’d be worthy of a two-way deal. He cleared waivers today.

    Granted, the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle wonders if Holland would clear waivers under normal circumstances:

    Holland is a solid player, generating 27 points in 65 games with Toronto last season. He’s a nice enough piece, but with the Maple Leafs in rebuild mode, they’re not exactly anxious to pay supporting cast members more than necessary.

    With such a context in mind, it should be intriguing to see how much either side will budge.

    At the moment, the Maple Leafs seem to hold the advantage.

    Report: Flyers, Schenn disagree on money, term with arbitration looming

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Brayden Schenn #10 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates his goal in the second period against the New York Rangers on April 7, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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    It sounds like the Philadelphia Flyers have some work to do if they hope to avoid an arbitration hearing with Brayden Schenn.

    The session would take place on Monday, so the clock is ticking.

    While the differences in opinion aren’t outright enormous, the Flyers still need to clean up their cap situation, so every $1 million counts. That – plus the length of a deal – seem to be the issue for the 24-year-old forward and the Flyers, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

    With the Flyers aiming for a two-year agreement while Schenn just wants one, it’s not quite as simple as merely saying “split the difference.”

    Then again, that general logic could prove helpful. Perhaps the best path to a deal would be for the Flyers to edge closer to $5.5 million while convincing Schenn to sign for two years rather than one?

    Of course, the Flyers could also offer Schenn more security in exchange for giving up some UFA years:

    The physical forward really started to show why he was the fifth pick of the 2009 NHL Draft last season, setting career-highs in goals (26), assists (33) and points (59).

    He’s coming off of a two-year, $5 million contract, so Schenn can take heart in realizing he’s heading toward a healthy raise even if he doesn’t get everything he’s asking for.

    Wild, Schroeder settle on two-way deal

    UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 24: Jordan Schroeder #10 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 24, 2015 in Uniondale, New York. The Wild defeated teh Islanders 2-1 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Jordan Schroeder might be a depth player for the Minnesota Wild – at least when he’s with the big club – yet his situation provided a decent dollop of drama.

    The two sides avoided salary arbitration by settling on a deal on Saturday, but not before the Wild “sent a message” by putting him on waivers.

    That message was received, as Schroeder’s one-year contract is a two-way deal.

    CBC’s Tim Wharnsby has the details regarding how the salary works out:

    Schroeder has 107 regular season games under his belt, yet he’s played more games with the Iowa Wild than the Minnesota Wild since joining the organization.

    He might not like it, but a two-way deal makes sense considering his standing with the team.

    Granted, there’s the outside chance he’ll flourish under Bruce Boudreau; Schroeder is still just 25 and was the 22nd pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.

    If he unexpectedly blossoms, he’d have a lot more leverage next time around.