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Popsicle Brothers Report 2013, Vol. V
The Popsicle Brothers Report 2013 – 5
The NHL 2013 Stretch Drive Trades
By Gary Norris Gray and Michael-Louis Ingram
Last week players needed to use their frequent flyer miles as they move from east to west or north to south. This gives an opportunity for the Popsicle Brothers to analyze the most important transactions.
The Eastern Conference
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the team to beat as they trade for the current best Black player in the NHL. The Calgary Flames sent their 17 year forward and Captain Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh in exchange for forwards Ken Agostino, Ben Hanawski, and a first round pick for 2014.
Iginla has thrived when blessed with a center that could consistently feed him the puck when he drives to the net. Jarome finally has that center and he might get Lord Stanley’s Cup this spring. Since the Sid Crosby injury last week, the Penguins acquiring Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars and a 2013 third round draft pick now provides Pittsburgh with four lines capable of scoring every time they hit the ice. The Pens should be ok until Sid Crosby returns from a fractured jaw.
The Montreal Canadiens stayed pat only giving up a 5th round pick for defensive help from the Los Angeles Kings with Davis Drewiske. This will help Goal Brothers P.K. Subban and Francis Bouillon in the last days of the season. Les Habs are in the lead in the Northeast Division and don’t want to change their team chemistry. Nice to see the red, white, and blue uniform with the Big C and H logo on the front of their sweaters doing well.
The Washington Capitals needed to get scoring power and they did just that with a trade with the Nashville Predators for forwards Martin Erat (an original Predator) and Michael Latta, sending forward Filip Forsberg to Tennessee. The Caps then sent Latta to the minors. The Caps also received forward Dane Byers from the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Garrett Strafford (still trying to figure out that that trade).
The Caps still have to work on how to score in tight games while not giving up goals at the same time or they could be one and done in this year’s playoffs. Can we all say “teamwork” number 8? Goal Brother Joel Ward has scored in the last few games driving the Caps to the Division title as they have momentarily replaced Winnipeg at the top of the Southeast Division.
The Boston Bruins are a real threat to go back to the Stanley Cup Finals this year with their defensive style. They are trying to hold on to 2nd place in the Northeast Division. The Bruins acquired defenseman Wade Redden and forwards Rob Flick and Jaromir Jagr. If Jagr plays up to his old Pittsburgh Penguin self, Bruins will move on to the 2nd round. This should produce more offense for the Baby Bears in the final weeks of the season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs like the Montreal Canadiens did not want to make waves on their team with only one trade with the Anaheim Ducks Forward David Steckel moved west while Ryan Lasch moved east. The Leafs could move on to the 2nd round for the first time in 9 years. This is healthy for the National Hockey League having another one of the Original Six from Canada in the playoffs.
The Ottawa Senators are following their Canadian brethren with only one major trade with the Minnesota Wild. The Wild sent left winger Matt Kassian east for a 2014 sixth round draft choice. Kassian’s job is to throw his weight around and block offensive players driving into the net. The Sens are the most disappointing team in the east. They still miss the Matrix Man, goalie Craig Anderson. Robin Lehner has filled Anderson’s place but it has not been the same.
The New York Islanders – You have to root for this team because they haven’t been in the playoffs for so many years. It figures, they finally get a hockey team on the Island again and they are moving to Brooklyn at the Barclay Center. The Islanders are having fun trying to sneak into the playoffs with two weeks left; it will be intriguing to see John Taveras and Kyle Okposo doin’ it in prime time. The Tim Thomas trade early in the year from Boston did not work out and the Isles have moved on giving Boston a 2014 and 2015 second round draft choices. New York should demand a re-count.
The New York Rangers – This team lost its identity after the trade for Rick Nash; The Rangers have not been the same. The Rangers have unloaded the store in the hopes of getting to the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Blueshirts sent Forward Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets and 3 draft picks to San Jose for Forward Ryan Clowe. It still might not work, but Clowe paid immediate dividends by scoring his first two goals of the season in a recent Ranger victory.
The New Jersey Devils are in serious trouble. The Men of Newark a.k.a. THE ROCK might not make the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row. The rebuilding program is in the 2nd year with young stars with centers Adam Henrique, and Jacob Josefson, right winger Stephen Gionta and defenseman Mark Fayne.
Right winger David Clarkson and center Ryan Carter must take leadership roles. Their special teams (Power Play and Penalty Kill) have not performed well all year long. Future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur is beginning to show his age by not having that cat like reflexes of the past. Backup goalie Johan Hedberg is not the answer in net either.
The Devils give the Phoenix Coyotes a 2013 seventh round draft choice for speedy forward Steve Sullivan. The Devils also suit up forward Matt D’Agostini from the Saint Louis Blues. Next year center Ilya Kovalchuk might be on the trading block, early.
The Winnipeg Jets picked the wrong time to start a losing streak and need help on defense. The Jets take advantage of the Columbus Blue Jackets fire sale. They picked up forward Tomas Kubalik for Spencer Machacek. Their special teams, like the Devils have not helped their goalie.
Ondrej Pavelec was at times stellar in net this year but the Jets have suffered because of this inconsistent blip. Love watching Goal Brothers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien bouncing players off the boards and center Evander Kane scoring goals.
The Philadelphia Flyers are under siege at the end the 2013 season. The Flyers might have found a goalie in Steve Mason from the Columbus Blue Jackets and a 2015 third round pick. Mason has to give Ilya Bryzgalov rest if they are to reach playoffs. If they get in, the New Broad Street Bullies can score but can they stop anybody is the question.
Major injuries in the defensive rotation have killed Philly’s momentum after a recent four game winning streak. Simon Gagne returns to Philly from Hollywood and the Los Angeles Kings hoping to put the fire back in the offense with Goal Brother forward Wayne Simmonds.
The Chicago Blackhawks started out hot with 24 games with at least a point before a loss. They have since cooled off in the middle of the season. They acquire forward Michal Handzus, from San Jose, forward Maxime Sauve from Boston and defenseman Kirill Gotovets from as they send forward Rob Flick to Boston and Philippe Paradis to Tampa Bay.
The Blackhawks have to stay away from the injury bug, make a decision on who will be number one in net, and are they going to roll 4 complete lines. The Hawks should make it to the Stanley Cup Final round – if Coach Joel Quenneville goes with Sugar Ray in net!
The Anaheim Ducks will be a tough out this year for anybody. This team just sticks around and makes life miserable for other teams. The Ducks add forward Harry Zolnierczyk from Philadelphia for Jay Rosehill. Like the Ducks really need another scorer. What could hurt Anaheim is the playoff schedule. They are one of the oldest teams in the league.
The Vancouver Canucks are going for their 5th straight Northwest Division Title and they did not make any major trades this spring.
The Los Angeles Kings are the defending Stanley Cup Champions and they have struggled all year. The Kings cannot decide who is number one in net and that has put pressure on their defense. The two Jonathan’s (Quick and Bernier) share the net-minding duties, both have been static. The Kings sent Simon Gagne back to Philadelphia for a conditional fourth round pick. New Goal Brother Emerson Etem (from Long Beach) may have a hand in the stretch run with his efforts (9 points in 31 games) and youthful energy.
The San Jose Sharks are making the Tank a tough place to play. They acquired forward Raffi Torres from the Phoenix Coyotes for a third round pick in 2014. This puts muscle back in the Men of Teal because center and Captain Joe Thornton will not or cannot perform these duties. The Sharks are restocking their roster with draft picks from the Pittsburgh Penguins as they sent defenseman Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh. The Thornton Line got their mojo working again scoring a point every game. This could be a bright sign for San Jose.
The St. Louis Blues are the conference’s “Darth Vaders.” Still nobody is talking about this team as they continue to play with a steady hand. The Blues shored up their defense acquiring big defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from the Calgary Flames. This player will protect goalie Brian Elliot in the playoffs, and we feel this is the best trade of the year in the Western Conference. It is what the Blues really needed, a 20 – 25 minute man on the back line to move on to the 2nd round in the playoffs; add sniper Chris Stewart and Blues could be the most dangerous eighth seed to come down the pike in a while…
The Minnesota Wild will be making their 2nd trip to the playoffs if they continue to win the rest of the season. They shore-up their goaltending position acquiring Jeff Deslauriers from the Anaheim Ducks. The Dany Heatley (right winger) and Devin Setoguchi (right winger) trade from San Jose last year has changed this team forever. They will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs this year. Our only wish is that they would change their awful team colors. They are butt ugly – prefer the old North Stars color scheme…
The Detroit Red Wings are currently fighting for the 8th and final spot in the west. They have not changed much and will go into the playoffs with what brought them this far-DEFENSE. The Wings sent defenseman Kent Huskins to the Philadelphia Flyers for 2014 Conditional seventh round pick. That is the only change for the American Red Army.
The National Hockey League might have to tweak the overtime shootout rules because it seems like teams are playing for that point instead of winning the game. Just like in the old days there were teams who played for a tie.
Second Period Penalties Gray 7:15 (tripping); Ingram 8:58 (boarding); McClean 11:28 (hooking); PBros bench (too many Brothas on the ice – served by R.Howell) 17:18;
The Next column will be the playoff edition of the Popsicle Brothers.
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