Quebec City’s renewed vigor for the NHL is a truly fascinating thing. From the stories about how they’re looking to build an NHL-ready arena in the city to replace the vastly outdated Colisée de Quebec to speculating on which teams they think would be most ready to move out of their current home to move to La Belle Provence it’s incredible to see such interest in pro hockey there once again.
Making things all that much stranger is an event being called the Blue March set to happen in Quebec City and featuring lots of former Quebec Nordiques and Quebec politicians to rally for the return of the NHL including Michel Goulet and Peter Stastny.
“I had my greatest moments in Quebec City,” said Goulet, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998. “I had 10 great years so it’s important to show my support to the fans.”
Slovakian scorer Peter Stastny, who played alongside Goulet for a decade in Quebec City and was inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year, says making the trip from Europe will be symbolic for fans and important to him.
“I know how big this will be for the people,” Stastny said from his office in Brussels, where he serves in the European Parliament.
Aside from the former dynamic duo, other former Nordiques who plan to travel to the capital for the rally include Steve Finn, Mario Marois, Alain Cote and Pierre Lacroix.
What’s baffling about this is that this rally is happening 15 years after the Nordiques left Quebec City for Denver where they became the Colorado Avalanche and promptly won the Stanley Cup in their first season in the city. It’s possible that this is just a lot of political grandstanding to help get a new arena built there and improve the standing of the city as a location for a team to move or as a candidate for future expansion.
For everything that went wrong the first time in Quebec, what held the Nordiques down were politics, taxes, a bad Canadian dollar, and rapidly decaying building. While politics and taxes will always be an issue, the Canadian dollar has vastly improved against the American dollar and getting a big, new arena would instantly make Quebec City a great destination as compared to Winnipeg. As for what the Blue March itself, I hope the fans in Quebec City enjoy the day to relive the memories of the Nordiques, but I sure hope they’re not expecting anything more than a politically motivated dog and pony show.
After a good Tuesday night, the Vancouver Canucks are having a lousy Wednesday morning.
The club has just announced that center Brandon Sutter and defenseman Alex Edler have been sent home from the club’s current two-game road swing, after suffering injuries in a win over Colorado last night.
Craig Oster, Sutter’s agent, told News 1130 his client has a broken jaw after taking a puck to the face. Per TSN, Edler is undergoing “imaging” on his foot following a blocked shot, but it’s believed he’ll be out the next 2-3 weeks.
The impact of these injuries could be profound.
Vancouver hasn’t been good this year but remains in the thick of the playoff chase, sitting just four points back of the Avs for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference — with three games in hand.
At the same time, the Canucks also have two potentially big trade chips at the deadline in pending UFAs Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata.
Will the Sutter and Edler injuries factor into Vancouver’s future plans?
You’d have to think so.
Edler is a staple on the back end, leading all Canuck blueliners in points (20) and TOI per game (24:27). Sutter, meanwhile, was supposed to be a key piece of the club this year but has had most of his season ravaged by injury — prior to the broken jaw, he missed 33 games following sports hernia surgery.
All told, Sutter has appeared in just 20 games this year.
His is also the second major facial injury suffered by a Canuck this season — Hamhuis only recently returned from a 21-game absence after taking a puck to the face in mid-December.
The Los Angeles Kings have placed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff on waivers, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
A veteran of almost 800 NHL games, Ehrhoff has not fit well with Los Angeles after signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal in August. The 33-year-old has just 11 points in 40 games and is a team-worst minus-10. Though he had two assists in last night’s 9-2 win over the Bruins, he also took a careless tripping penalty in the first period that led to a Boston goal.
In a related story, the Kings are rumored to be looking for help on the back end. In fact, they were reportedly quite interested in Dustin Byfuglien, before he re-signed with the Jets.
According to Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider, 23-year-old defenseman Kevin Gravel is “on the verge of a recall” from AHL Ontario.
The Kings play Thursday in Brooklyn.
Nazem Kadri‘s throat-slashing gesture is under review by the NHL, according to TSN.ca.
The Maple Leafs forward made the gesture while sitting on Toronto’s bench last night in Calgary, moments after he was laid out by Flames captain Mark Giordano.
The NHL first started cracking down on the throat-slashing gesture in 2000. Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.
After Tuesday’s loss to the Jets — the Blues’ fourth in their last six games — head coach Ken Hitchcock said his club has “got to play harder than this” and “got to compete at a lot higher level than this.”
He then added “it’s up to us to fix it.”
Well, help is on the way.
On Wednesday, the Blues activated forward Jaden Schwartz off injured reserve, after he missed the last 49 contests with a fractured left ankle. Schwartz is expected to be in the lineup on Friday when the Blues take on the Panthers in Florida.
The 23-year-old should provide an immediate boost to the lineup. Schwartz had four points in seven games before getting hurt, and that came on the heels of a successful ’14-15 campaign in which he posted career highs in goals (28) and points (63).
The Blues’ first-round pick in 2010 (14th overall), Schwartz is a 17-18 TOI per night guy, so he’ll be a big presence almost immediately. His return also inches the team back to full health, though there’s still a ways to go — Alex Pietrangelo and Jake Allen are still week-to-week with knee and lower-body injuries, while Steve Ott is out until late February following hamstrings surgery.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made