Author: James O'Brien

Stan Bowman

Bowman: Blackhawks are ‘pretty close’ to making a trade


Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman feels like he’s “pretty close” to making a trade, and it seems like he’s just as open to landing a defenseman or forward, as he told

“We’re open to either one,” Bowman said. “I know it’s a generic answer, but there’s more than one way to improve your team. It doesn’t have to be just a replacement for Patrick. Sometimes you’re going to improve your team in different ways, bringing in different kinds of players. We’re open to that. We’ll see where it goes.”

Those who love concocting hypothetical deals should be delighted to hear that Bowman’s aims aren’t broad in terms of position alone. It sounds like he’s just as willing to acquire a rental as he might add someone with term on his contract.

The message seems to be “if you have an idea, run it by me.”

The juiciest bit comes from the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc, who reports that the Blackhawks are aiming pretty high with some of their ideas, possibly targeting a player at the higher end like Jeff Skinner or Michael Cammalleri.

Replacing Patrick Kane would obviously be a tall (and borderline impossible) task, but imagine Skinner on a team as talented as Chicago?

It’s possibly more likely that Bowman’s moves don’t make waves at that level, but we’ll find out soon enough, as the March 2 trade deadline looms.

(Chicago’s first full game since Kane suffered his injury went well as they blanked the Florida Panthers 3-0 on Thursday night.)

Canucks admit they were outworked by Sabres in 6-3 loss


In tight playoff races, these are the types of losses that can haunt a team. The Vancouver Canucks saw a 3-3 tie devolve into a 6-3 loss to the increasingly scrappy Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

The overwhelming reaction was that Buffalo players simply worked harder, as the Canucks’ Twitter feed spells out.

“They worked harder than we did,” Daniel Sedin said. “We had it tied in the 3rd and made the mistakes that cost us”

Jannik Hansen rued the Canucks throwing the game away. Shawn Matthias seemed to wonder why the Canucks weren’t firing on all cylinders. Eddie Lack said the Sabres simply wanted it more.

This isn’t a fatal loss for the Canucks, who are still currently above the wild card fray in second place in the Pacific Division. Still, with some tough games coming up and some hungry teams behind them in their division and in the wild card spots, their margin of error takes a big hit in a game many would say they should have won.

It’s another reminder to the rest of the league not to take the Sabres lightly, too.

Mason returns to Flyers fold early as Zepp gets the hook

Steve Mason

It was expected that Steve Mason would back up Rob Zepp for the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, but a tough start for Zepp changed those plans.

The Toronto Maple Leafs scored two goals on eight shots against Zepp, with a Tyler Bozak tally 5:33 into the second period being enough to inspire a goalie change.

Mason’s readiness will be something to watch in this one. He told PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban on Wednesday that he felt as if he hadn’t skated in a “couple weeks” thanks to a knee injury, so we’ll see if he’s sharp in relief duty.

Update: Mason only allowed one goal on Thursday, and the Flyers made a charge to get back into the game, but Toronto ultimately won 3-2 thanks to a fantastic performance by Jonathan Bernier.