Columbus Blue Jackets Press Conference Introducing New Players Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski

Carter-Johnson deal seemingly leaves everyone happy

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It’s human nature to simply transfer a player’s numbers to another team after a trade, but the human element tends to get lost in the shuffle. After all, NHL teams aren’t just acquiring X amount of points; they’re also adding any number of quirks, insecurities and other traits to the equation.*

When the Philadelphia Flyers traded Jeff Carter to Columbus, he was nakedly devastated. It took him an unusually long time to make a public statement on the matter, so the natural question after his latest trade is how he feels. It’s also tough not to wonder if Jack Johnson might react in a similar way to going from a contender to a pretender.

If you believe public statements, then the verdict is: everyone’s happier than the characters in a schlocky Robert De Niro movie.

Carter: satisfied to little surprise

Naturally GM Dean Lombardi released a glowing statement, but Carter didn’t hesitate to voice his approval, as you can see in this NHL.com article.

“I am obviously excited,” Carter told the Kings’ website. “I am familiar with the team and a lot of guys on the team. I looked at the Kings at the start of the year as being a club in a good position to win. I look forward to coming to L.A. and being a part of it all.”

Imaginary Carter added: “Seriously, there’s a ridiculous amount of Philadelphia Flyers on this team!”

My guess is that the Kings were either No. 1 on his wish list or at least in the top five. The only drawbacks one could imagine probably revolve around a) having to answer inevitable questions about partying with Richards and b) all the pressure that comes from a tenuous playoff run.

Here’s video of Lombardi’s reaction:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Johnson: also quite pleased

Some might be surprised that Johnson seemed pretty happy, but if you look at some of his time with the Kings, it shouldn’t be that surprising. Lombardi was quite frank about Johnson’s NCAA days, as he basically said that Red Berenson allowed him to roam freely instead of learning to play a disciplined defensive style at Michigan.

Eric Smith reports that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said Johnson is “over-the-top” excited about the deal while Aaron Portzline captured these comments from the defenseman:

“I am excited by this, to go to a team that wants me and to play in a great sports city,” Johnson said. “I’m a mid-western boy at heart.”

Key phrase: “A team that wants me.”

Howson on the aborted Carter era

To close things out, Portzline gathered this interesting thought from Howson on Carter’s short stay in Columbus.

“I don’t regret the move (to acquire Carter),” Howson said. “I regret how it turned out. But that’s the nature of pro sports. You move on.”

***

All things considered, it seems like everyone is moving on with a solid burst of optimism. Logically speaking, I must say that those rave reviews seem genuine, but do you buy them?

* – They’re also separating players from former linemates, which can have little-to-no impact or drastically change an individual’s ceiling.

WATCH LIVE: Stanley Cup Final Game 1 – Sharks at Penguins

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 30:  Pittsburgh Penguins fans sit outside of Consol Energy Center prior to Game One of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks on May 30, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The wait is finally over. The 2016 Stanley Cup Final is about to begin.

Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks received some time to lick their wounds after three grueling playoff rounds, so expect Game 1 to be fun, even if there might be a subtle bit of rust here or there.

The star power is considerable. The beards are burly (at least on the Sharks’ side). It’s time to get cracking.

Game 1 airs on NBC. You can also stream it via the link below and enjoy some “NHL Live” coverage leading in.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Vlasic on the unenviable task of matching up against Crosby

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 21:  Marc-Edouard Vlasic #44 and Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada look on during the Men's Ice Hockey Semifinal Playoff against the United States on Day 14 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 21, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
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Plenty of people believe that the San Jose Sharks’ defense is superior to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ personnel, but it’s one thing to be better on paper. When you’re on the ice, against a speedy and talented team, can you really stop the Penguins?

All signs point to sorely underrated Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic drawing the difficult assignment of trying to slow down Sidney Crosby.

Vlasic, a former Team Canada teammate of Crosby (as you can see from this post’s main image), realizes that he’ll have his hands full. In fact, he seems to believe that this will be an even tougher challenge than trying to solve St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko.

The fantastic all-around defender isn’t exactly expecting to reinvent the wheel in his strategy against Crosby.

“It will be the same as in the first three series,” Vlasic said, via The Hockey News. “We’re playing against the top players on every time – Sid, (Evgeni) Malkin and those types of guys for Pittsburgh. Me and (Justin Braun) will just keep doing what we did, taking away time and space and hopefully it works out.”

The two players have had glowing things to say about each other for some time, but don’t be surprised if this high-level competition turns those happy thoughts into hard feelings.

It stands as one of the matchups to watch in what could be a fresh and fascinating Stanley Cup Final.

Red Wings look to future in net … a future possibly without Howard

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 07:  Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings makes a save against the Boston Bruins during the first period at TD Garden on April 7, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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This summer looks like it could be one of changes for the Detroit Red Wings, even beyond the most obvious storyline of Pavel Datsyuk‘s future.

One area where the Red Wings would like to make some tweaks is in net, namely in trading Jimmy Howard. The Detroit Free-Press points out that GM Ken Holland admitted that moving the former franchise netminder “might be good for the organization.”

It’s reasonable to wonder what kind of market there will be for Howard, whose deal ($5.29 million cap hit through 2018-19) looks pretty tough to stomach on paper.

Maybe it’s best to consider the Red Wings’ options if Howard starts the 2016-17 season off on a strong note, or something of that nature. Perhaps an expansion draft could “solve” that problem if Detroit cannot find any takers?

The Red Wings remain forward-thinking and patient, which likely explains why the Free-Press focuses on their confidence with prospect Jared Coreau.

“In the big scheme of things, he’ll play in Grand Rapids for another year, but now we know he can play a lot of minutes if needed,” Goalie coach Jeff Salajko said. “Jimmy Howard played four years in the minors. We’re not rushing Jared, but he is going to be an NHL goalie, there is no doubt in my mind about that.”

In other words, a pairing of Petr Mrazek and Coreau wouldn’t just be a cost-effective duo … it might just be the Red Wings’ ideal scenario in the not-too-distant future.

Stanley Cup Final referees: McCauley, O’Halloran, O’Rourke, Sutherland

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 13:  Referee Dan O'Halloran #13 holds up a face-off between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators during their NHL game at First Niagara Center on December 13, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Dave Sandford Getty Images)
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From the NHL:

refs

Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.

Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.