Our summer of free agency started and still continues with the Ilya Kovalchuk saga, but in the meantime, for just this weekend, we’ve got the Tomas Kaberle saga and tomorrow could see things come to a head with he and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs have until midnight tomorrow to work a trade for the talented defenseman or else they’ll see his no-trade clause go back into effect for the rest of the season. So how are things shaping up on the trade front with just about a day left to get a deal done? They’re not really shaping up at all but people are talking about things nonetheless.
One team that has been rumored to be interested since the get-go this summer is Columbus and The Columbus Dispatch’s Tom Reed got caught up on what the Blue Jackets’ interest is at the moment.
Yes, Kaberle is a power-play quarterback, and the Leafs power play was awful. But look at that lineup. There’s a reason Burke is looking for impact forwards.
How much does a club in a non-traditional market, with scant playoff history, surrender for a player who has only one year remaining on his deal? It’s a tough question. I think Kaberle-to-Columbus remains a long shot, but it makes for an intriguing weekend.
So count the Blue Jackets in as long shots unless something completely out of left field happens and they knock Brian Burke over with an offer. As for what Brian Burke may or may not be doing, ESPN’s Scott Burnside tweeted something of note today about that.
Toronto GM Brian Burke tells us looking more likely that Tomas Kaberle will remain a Leaf. Could change before midnight Sun. Of course.
Just a game of chicken right now for Brian Burke. It’s clear that he’s gotten offers for Kaberle, the seriousness of which we just don’t know right now. Instead of tipping his hand as to what he’ll do, Burke will instead reiterate what he’s said from the beginning in that he doesn’t have to move Kaberle at all. While that’s true, the possibility of losing Kaberle at the end of the season and getting nothing but his salary off the books in return doesn’t really make for great consolation. If anything goes down at all between now and midnight tomorrow it’ll be fascinating to see how Brian Burke’s game of chicken turns out.
Pavel Datsyuk‘s future with the Detroit Red Wings and in the National Hockey League has been up in the air for a while now, as he’s linked to rumors of a return to Russia and the KHL.
His agent, Dan Milstein, recently explained to the Detroit Free Press that Datsyuk’s future should become clear in mid-June after meeting with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.
As per General Fanager, Datsyuk has one more year left on his current deal, which comes with a cap hit of $7.5 million.
From the Detroit Free Press:
“He would like to leave, but at the same time, he wants to make sure the Wings have options,” Milstein said. “He wants to help the team any way he can with the salary cap issue.”
Wings general manager Ken Holland has said there are no loopholes. Because Datsyuk signed his last contract after he turned 35, his $7.5 million salary cap hit remains in tact even if Datsyuk departs. The Wings’ only option is to trade his contract to a team such as Arizona or Carolina that could use the hefty cap hit in order to be above the salary cap minimum.
At the age of 37, his career in the league started in 2001-02, and has spanned 953 regular season games in which he’s accrued 918 points.
He’s had a highly decorated career, with two Stanley Cup championships with the Red Wings, three Selke and four Lady Byng trophies.
The St. Louis Blues need to win Game 6 on Wednesday, or their season is over. Who they decide to turn to in net is likely to be a talking point — heated debate, maybe? — leading up to that contest.
Do they go back to Jake Allen for a third consecutive start, despite the fact he allowed four goals on 25 shots in Monday’s Game 5 loss to the San Jose Sharks? Or, will head coach Ken Hitchcock turn once again to Brian Elliott, who started every single game from the series opener of the first round versus Chicago to Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.
Hitchcock at least felt that going with Allen over Elliott in Game 4 provided the necessary spark for his team, as the Blues evened the series.
But on Monday, the Sharks, on the strength of two Joe Pavelski goals, eventually overpowered the Blues for the win, moving San Jose one victory away from the Stanley Cup Final.
“I thought he was fine. I don’t know, those are decisions we make in a day or so. But I thought he was fine today. He stopped some point-blank shots, especially early, three times early,” Hitchcock told reporters.
“I don’t know. That’s stuff we’ll talk about tomorrow.”
The San Jose Sharks won a back-and-forth Game 5 to take back the lead in a back-and-forth Western Conference Final, moving one victory away from appearing in the Stanley Cup Final.
After scoring the tying goal late in the second period, Joe Pavelski notched his 12th of the playoffs to give San Jose the lead for good just 16 seconds into the third period.
The Sharks earned a 6-3 victory on the road, in a bounce-back effort from Saturday.
Twice, the Blues grabbed the lead. Troy Brouwer gave them the advantage in the first period, showing off his baseball skills by batting the puck into the net on a rebound. Robby Fabbri gave them another lead in the second period, making Roman Polak pay for snapping on Dmitrij Jaskin along the boards.
But the Blues couldn’t hold on. The Sharks scored twice on three power play opportunities and can now clinch the Western Conference on home ice in Wednesday’s Game 6.
As for the Blues, will Ken Hitchcock change up his starting goaltender again? It’s certainly an aspect of this series that will once again be up for debate leading up to Wednesday’s game.
After Brian Elliott had backstopped the Blues through the first two rounds and started the first three games of this series, Hitchcock decided to start Jake Allen in Game 4.
Allen recorded the win Saturday, and was called upon again in Game 5 as expected, but gave up four goals on 25 shots Monday.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Roman Polak took serious issue with St. Louis Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin during the second period, as the two eventually threw off the gloves off in a fight in the corner.
In the process, Polak let his emotions get the better of him — he snapped — by also taking a roughing minor to give the Blues a power play.
The Blues made him — and the Sharks — pay on a blast from Robby Fabbri, who was a game-time decision for Monday’s contest.
The Sharks tied the game at 3-3 before the end of the second period on Joe Pavelski‘s 11th of the playoffs. Pavelski struck again in the third period, giving San Jose the 4-3 lead.