Author: Matt Reitz

Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils

Parise hopes Devils keep “spending to the cap”


The financial situation in New Jersey is getting a little murky. The truth is that Ray Chambers desperately wants to get rid of his stake in the team and the rest of the ownership group is trying to refinance about $80 million in debt. On top of all that, the team faces the unfortunate reality that one of the faces of their franchise, Zach Parise, is set to hit the open market on July 1.

Talk about horrible timing.

Today, Parise spoke a little bit about the team’s financial situation. For anyone looking forward to Parise hitting the open market, it’s interesting that these remarks were made by a player who is set to sign a huge contract in the near future.

“You hear about teams that, no matter what, they’re not going to spend to the cap,” Parise told the New York Post. “That’s just the way they are. It’s hard to be competitive if you’re not going to, if you can’t spend as much as these other teams. So if there’s a change, you hope that part won’t change, because we’ve always been a salary cap team.”

On top of the organization’s individual concerns, it’s important to remember that the financial landscape of the entire league will likely shift with the new collective bargaining agreement. Will the Devils be able to continue to shell out money for an increased payroll? Will there be a rollback in current salaries that give the team a little more breathing room? Will a lower salary cap force the team’s hand? Only time will tell if the Devils will continue to spend to the salary cap next season.

There are plenty of variables that will affect Parise’s future in New Jersey. But no matter what the salary cap is next season, Parise’s made it clear that he hopes the team spends to the limit. After all, they’ll probably need to if they want to lock him up to a long-term contract.

The Ducks are… streaking?

Ottawa Senators v Anaheim Ducks

Who are some of the hottest teams in the league right now? The Penguins have won five straight. The Predators have won nine of their last 11 game and the St. Louis Blues have only lost once in regulation over their last 10 games. But the hottest of all may be the Anaheim Ducks. Yes, really—the Ducks.

With their 2-1 win against the surging Ottawa Senators, the Ducks have now won four straight games and have earned points in eight straight games (7-0-1)—including a five-game winning streak at home. It’s not just that they’re winning; they’ve been incredibly impressive as they’ve outscored their opponents 33-14 in their last eight games.

Where was this team during the first three months of the season?

The problem for the Ducks is that they dug such a hole at the beginning of the season, they’ll need a historic run over the next three months to make the playoffs. Going into the evening games, they’re still 11 points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the 8th seed in the Western Conference. They’ll need to continue their hot streak and play like the Devils did last season just to make it interesting. Until then, Western Conference playoff teams will continue to root for the Ducks to knock off other contenders; it’ll take a while before the competitors start taking them seriously.

But if they can continue this hot streak for another few weeks, other teams will be forced to sit up and take notice. Until then, we’ll just be left wondering how a team can look this good for two weeks after looking so poorly for the previous two months—and how many of these players will still be on the team after the trade deadline.

Luongo becomes Canucks all-time winningest goaltender

Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks

Despite all of the garbage thrown in Roberto Luongo’s general direction recently, sometimes people forget he’s been a pretty successful NHL goaltender. After setting the Florida Panthers’ franchise record for wins at his last stop, he’s now replicated the feat while wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey. With the Canucks 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, Luongo past Kirk MacLean on the all-time wins list for the Canucks.

It’s only appropriate that we pump his tires today after he earned his 212nd win for the Canucks. After all, that sounds a little more impressive than the 108 wins he had for the Panthers.

Luongo deflected the praise after the game. “It’s a great honor,” Luongo said. “We’ve had a great team here since I’ve been here. Looking forward to winning many more” That’s true—the Canucks have had some stacked teams since Luongo arrived in British Columbia in 2006. But whenever a goaltender is averaging 40 wins per season over the first five seasons with a new team, he’s probably doing something right.

Even last season, he and Cory Schneider won the Jennings Trophy in the regular season and he put up four shutouts in the playoffs. Of course, there are still fans that are going to question Luongo’s feats until he brings a Stanley Cup to the Pacific Northwest. But for a day, we’ll take a step back and pay respect to a man who’s performed at a pretty high level over the last five seasons.

Vanek embarrassed with Sabres play

Thomas Vanek, Justin Faulk

It’s no secret that things aren’t going well for the Sabres. “Poor play” is one way to describe it. Other people might say the team is “reeling.” There are even columnists that say this is “the worst Sabres team in a decade.”  Then there are some fans in Buffalo that might use a little stronger language to describe the Sabres’ recent play. That’s what happens when a team gets outscored 19-5 in the first four games of a winless road trip.

Today, Sabres sniper Thomas Vanek had some equally strong words for his team’s recent play. “It’s embarrassing,” Vanek said Saturday afternoon. “Since day one when I got here, I always prided myself — and it’s what I learned from the older guys — to be a good road team which I thought we’ve always done a great job at. Right now it’s a mistake and it goes south for us.”

It’s not just that the Sabres are losing; it’s the way the team is losing. Once things start to slide for the team, the opposition is able to put on the pressure and destroy the Sabres without much resistance. The struggles have been on full display as they’ve lost their last three games to the Red Wings, Blackhawks, and Jets by a combined score of 15-3.

“Mentally, it’s tough. I’m not going to lie here and say we’re doing just great because we’re not.”

Good to hear that he’s not going to lie, because they aren’t playing well. It doesn’t get any easier tonight as the stumbling Sabres face off against the red-hot St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.

Flyers suffer yet another concussion, this time it’s Briere

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers impressive 4-1 win in New Jersey this afternoon didn’t come without a hefty price tag. Immediately after the victory, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced that Daniel Briere suffered a concussion and he will be out indefinitely. For those masochists who are counting, that brings the Flyers concussion total to six this season—and we aren’t even to the all-star break yet.

The most troubling part of Briere’s concussion is that the organization (and Briere himself) has no idea when the concussion occurred. Straight from Sarah Baicker at

“Through Flyers PR staff, Briere said he had no clue when he was hit or how the concussion happened. He returned to the game after the Volchenkov hit in the first period. But in addition to that hit, Briere was punched head-on by winger Patrik Elias.”

Not only does he have a concussion, but no one knows how it happened.

Briere is only the latest in a long list of Flyers that has been diagnosed with a concussion during this nightmare season. Captain Chris Pronger has already been diagnosed with a concussion and is out for the rest of the season. Superstar center Claude Giroux lost a handful of games in the middle of 24/7 filming, Brayden Schenn has struggled to get his NHL career started this season due to injuries (including a concussion), and James van Riemsdyk is currently sidelined. Mix in Matt Read, and the Flyers have been scrambling to fill holes all season.

There is never a good time for an organization to find out that one of their leaders has a concussion, but it’s even worse when it’s the day before a game against the defending Stanley Cup champs. After the game against the Bruins, the Flyers will travel down to Florida for a game against the Panthers before they head to the All-Star break. By that time, we should have a better idea of the severity of the concussion.