The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell thinks both the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs need major makeovers to become competitive again. And while his column’s not entirely pessimistic, it does include the phrase “both teams suck wind,” so yeah.
On the Habs, Campbell writes that GM Pierre Gauthier “has made questionable decision after questionable decision,” but on the bright side, at least they’re going to get a top draft pick this summer.
On the Leafs, he writes that GM Brian Burke “has come up woefully short …in acquiring free agents” while conceding Burke “has made some very shrewd trades and done a good job restocking the Leafs farm system with decent, but not great, prospects.”
So ahead of Saturday’s game between the two struggling clubs, we thought we’d put it to a vote – which team has the brighter future?
—- Toronto is one of the youngest teams in the NHL. The organization boasts a deep pool of prospects including Jake Gardiner, Nazem Kadri, Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens and James Reimer. Not to mention, Phil Kessel is only 24, Tyler Bozak’s 25 and Dion Phaneuf’s 26.
—- Montreal has a franchise goalie in 24-year-old Carey Price and talented young regulars like David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty, PK Subban and Lars Eller. The prospect pool isn’t ranked very highly, but it does include first-round picks Nathan Beaulieu, Louis Leblanc and Jarred Tinordi, plus junior standout Brendan Gallagher.
The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.
“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.
“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”
More on the statue from the Devils:
The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.
Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov
Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.
“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”
“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.
“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”
The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.
Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues
In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.
After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.
The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.
The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.
The Islanders also have a game in hand.
Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings