Tim Gleason

Trade: Leafs acquire Gleason for Liles (Updated)


The oft-rumored Tim Gleason trade is complete.

Gleason is on his way from Carolina to Toronto, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. In exchange, the Leafs will send defenseman John-Michael Liles and defenseman Dennis Robertson, the Leafs’ sixth-round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Gleason, 30, has spent the last eight years with the ‘Canes after breaking into the NHL with Los Angeles. He represented the U.S. at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, capturing a silver medal.

This has been a difficult season for Gleason, though, as he’s appeared in just 17 games and is averaging less than 16 minutes a night. He has no goals, just one assist and a minus-7 rating.

Gleason is in the second of a four-year, $16 million deal.

Liles, 33, is also in the second year of his deal — a four-year, $15.5 contract. He’s been largely out of the mix for Toronto this season — really, ever since Randy Carlyle took over as head coach — and has played just six NHL games this season, spending most of his time with the AHL Marlies.

Toronto is believed to be the first team to trade a player while participating in the Winter Classic. Liles is at the Big House but a healthy scratch for today’s game.

Update: The ‘Canes have made the trade official, with the following statement from GM Jim Rutherford…

“John-Michael is a puck-moving defenseman who has demonstrated in his career that he can make a difference offensively from the blue line.

“Tim has been a valuable player and leader for the Hurricanes for a long time. We thank him for the contributions he has made to the team and the community and wish him all the best as his career continues.”

Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?