Tag: Paul Mara

Paul Mara

Veteran blueliner Mara signs with ECHL team

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Paul Mara — a 13-year NHL veteran with over 700 games on his resume — has agreed to a contract with the Ontario Reign, the ECHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

“Mara’s experience will definitely help us on the back end this year,” head coach Jason Christie said in a release. “With Paul coming in, he has a pretty calm demeanor about him and he has played at the highest level possible; it’s good for guys sitting in the locker room to have that kind of presence.”

Mara, 33, didn’t play at all during last season — his last NHL action came during the 2010-11 campaign, when he appeared in 53 games for the Anaheim Ducks and Montreal Canadiens.

He spent 2011-12 coaching the Bourne (MA) High hockey team, but didn’t officially retire from the game.

Prior to taking the Bourne gig, Mara said there were contract talks with the Rangers and a couple other teams. But after interviewing for and receiving his first-ever coaching job, he decided to commit to being a bench boss.

“I was still training as if I was going to go back and play, and then this job opening came up,” he told Cape Cod Online. “When something comes across your head and your heart –- and that’s what you want –- I jumped at it. I had the interview process and I was lucky enough to get the job.”

The Reign open their ECHL campaign on Saturday, Oct. 13 against the Stockton Thunder.

Glen Sather: No timetable for Marc Staal’s return

Marc Staal
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Marc Staal’s absence in New York thanks to post-concussion issues have been a serious issue for the Rangers to get a handle on. While Staal has struggled to get a handle on things in his recovery, the Rangers are showing now that they’re a bit more than worried about his condition.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that the Rangers will be calling up rookie Tim Erixon to play in the team’s games in Europe. He also reports that they are in talks with free agent defenseman Paul Mara to try and bring him back and give the Rangers a bit more depth defensively and a NHL-ready guy to play for them.

Why the sudden and drastic moves though? Worse yet, Brooks gets word from Rangers GM Glen Sather that things with Staal are very much up in the air as to when he’ll be able to come back.

“Doctors have said that it could be a week, but it could also be a month,” Sather said of the No. 1 defenseman, who has been receiving treatment back home. “I wish we had something absolute, but we don’t.

“If Marc’s out for a substantial length of time, it’s going to have an impact on our club, no doubt about that. He’s our top defenseman, one of our top players, gets the most ice time and is always on against the other team’s top players.

“But it’s something we’ll just have to deal with.”

Deal with it, yes. Do well without him though? That’ll take a true team effort.

Staal’s struggles with post-concussion symptoms have been a big problem for the Rangers and given how he was set to go at the start of training camp seemingly without a problem, you have to wonder if perhaps the Rangers just didn’t know how bad off Staal was or if they weren’t paying attention to how Sidney Crosby has been watched closely in Pittsburgh to ensure he doesn’t come back too soon.

Either way this is now a big problem for the Rangers. Without a timetable for his return, the Rangers are without their top defenseman for an unknown amount of time. Guys like Erixon and Mara, should he sign, can only patch things up in the mean time. If the Rangers are going to be a threat for the Stanley Cup this season, they’re going to have to do it getting out on the wrong foot.

Assessing the bottom of the barrel: Which remaining unrestricted free agents are worth a look?

John Madden

With September training camps just a few weeks away, the game of musical chairs is almost over for the remaining unrestricted free agents out there. Granted, there might be future opportunities during the 2011-12 season itself, but that’s probably not a very appetizing possibility for the guys who are hoping to pull in another NHL contract.

To be fair, there aren’t a lot of no-brainers left. Some might argue that there are none. That being said, if NHL general managers are willing to keep their expectations in order, there are still a few players out there who could help their teams or might at least be worth a shot.

With that in mind, here are a few of the more interesting free agents looking for work. This list is wholly subjective, so if you want a full view of everyone available, click here. If you notice a glaring omission, then it might come down to your own personal taste about a given hockey player. It’s probably worth noting that there are only a couple players whose lack of employment surprises me, though.

Let’s start with the guys who might not make a huge splash, but can do dirty work.

John Madden – This guy might be the most deserving of an NHL job. Sure, he’s getting up there in years at 38, but he shouldn’t come at a high cost and has three Stanley Cup victories (two with New Jersey, one with Chicago) on his resume.

More important than the Cups – to me, at least – is his versatility. He won’t knock your socks off with his offensive output (25 points in 2010-11; 23 in both 09-10 and 08-09), but he can be a moderate threat on the PK and plays a lot of the tough minutes that can open doors for your star players. I wondered if he really dropped off the map that badly in Minnesota, but he was their top forward when it came to shorthanded time per game (2:27 minutes) and only missed six games last season.

source: APAny number of contenders could use a player like Madden if he’s OK with signing a cheapish deal. Mike Grier brings some similar strengths to the table, but I’d take Madden over Grier at this point.

Paul Mara – He’s a limited player no doubt, but there are certain defensemen I like to refer to as “inning eaters.” Mara might not be sublimely talented – and worse yet, he’s injury prone – but teams with thinner defense corps would benefit from his size and experience. And while it might feel like it happened ages ago, Mara does have two 40+ point seasons to his name.

Cory Stillman – It’s a slight bit surprising that the familiarity-centric Carolina Hurricanes didn’t bring Stillman back after he scored a solid 16 points in 21 games after the team reacquired him last season.

J.P. Dumont – Sure, he’s on the decline, but why not give the six-time 20+ goal scorer a chance if he’s willing to sign a  cheap deal?

More talented players with more troubling flaws

Bryan McCabe – Anything bad someone could say about McCabe has already been covered with extra buckets of vitriol by Toronto Maple Leafs writers and fans. Still, he can run a power play well and isn’t afraid to get physical when he’s not committing terrible turnovers.

Sergei Samsonov – Offensively talented, but not enough to camouflage his issues in other areas on the ice. That being said, he seems to do well when he knows it’s time to prove himself; he scored a solid 14 points in the 20 games he spent with the Florida Panthers after being traded.

Chris Campoli – A lot like a younger Bryan McCabe, only if you replaced the hits with superior skating ability. I’m not a huge fan of Campoli, but it seems like someone should give him a shot, right? Maybe?

Fascinating gambles

Pascal Leclaire – Almost certainly a flash in the pan at this point, but seems worthy of at least a two-way contract if Brian Elliott can earn one of his own.

Steve Bernier – Remember when people referred to Jonathan Bernier as Steve’s younger brother? Chances are good that Steve will be a footnote in Jonathan’s career when it’s all over instead.

Other noteworthy names: Marty Turco, Kyle Wellwood, Mike Modano and more.

Feel free to mention any UFAs who might be worth a small gamble for prospective NHL teams.

Not surprisingly, the Habs are surprised by Mark Recchi’s comments about Max Pacioretty

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders

People who recently suffered concussions clearly cannot go to movies.

That is the medical opinion of potential Hall of Fame winger Mark Recchi, who fanned the flames of Boston conspiracy theories that the Montreal Canadiens “embellished” the injuries suffered by Max Pacioretty after that Zdeno Chara hit.

While Joe Haggerty writes that Recchi knows exactly what he was doing by saying that, the Canadiens largely couldn’t follow the aging veteran’s logic. While head coach Jacques Martin and nearly-Chara-sized defenseman Hal Gill were coy in their responses to Recchi’s rabble rousing remarks, Paul Mara responded for ESPN Boston while Michael Cammalleri discussed Recchi’s statements in the Boston Globe.

First, here are Cammalleri’s comments. The back end of his commentary responds to the idea that Recchi was saying these (largely ridiculous) things to stir the pot.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate,” Cammalleri said. “I don’t think those comments are appropriate by Mark. Surprised, to be honest with you. Mark’s a guy who’s been around a long time. I’m not sure he has a medical degree yet. I think it is what it is when it comes to the brain. These are very unclear injuries and very serious ones. I think it’s a little bit disrespectful with those comments, that’s for sure. A little bit surprised coming from a guy with the reputation that he has.”


“It might be,” said Cammalleri. “That’s why it’s surprising to me, because Mark’s a veteran. He does have a reputation. He’s been around so long. It might be. I don’t know. I think Mark would admit he’s not an M.D. He’s not diagnosing these things. Maybe it is a bit of gamesmanship.”

Moving on, here were Mara’s thoughts.

“We heard those comments yesterday,” Montreal blueliner Paul Mara said Thursday morning in advance of the game between the Bruins and Canadiens at TD Garden. “A player with a broken vertebra and has been knocked out on the ice for 3 or 4 minutes, how do you question the integrity of a hockey team and that we’re embellishing it? [It] is really questionable coming from a guy who’s 42 years old and has been around the league for so long. He’s entitled to his opinion and we’re entitled to ours, but in Montreal we really know the truth.”

It’s no surprise that the Canadiens are surprised by Recchi’s comments since most people in hockey were probably at least a bit stunned by it.

The Habs and Bruins shouldn’t need much bulletin board material considering the fact that the Northeast Division should be the only dangling carrot necessary, but these comments and the bitterness lingering over that hit should fuel whatever fires that aren’t started by standings points. It could be a great match, one that might even factor into which team has home ice advantage if the the two teams meet in the playoffs.

Montreal to lose Jaroslav Spacek for 4-6 weeks with knee injury


Things happen in the NHL sometimes and you have to be prepared. In the case of the Montreal Canadiens, their wont to get deeper on defense was confirmed today when Jaroslav Spacek met with world famous doctor to the athletes Dr. James Andrews and found out he’ll need arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and miss 4-6 weeks.

Spacek has been steady on the Habs blue line and a solid veteran contributor. To make up for the loss of Spacek and to fill their own needs from within by acquiring Paul Mara from Anaheim and Brent Sopel from Atlanta. Those two guys are all about straight defense in their game and Sopel made a name for himself in the Stanley Cup playoffs last year as a shot blocker extraordinaire for the Blackhawks.

Spacek has better abilities to move the puck than either Mara or Sopel, but with the added toughness to the Habs blue line, expect the already frustrating Canadiens to be even more annoying to deal with while Spacek is out.