Monday Musings


Written on 9/27/2010 by Jim Cerny

Here's a quick analysis of the top stories from this past weekend in the NHL:

Streit Headed Straight to IR
It can't be easy being an Islanders fan. Or being Garth Snow or Scott Gordon, for that matter. The team holds an open scrimmage for their fans to get excited about its young up-and-coming team, and what happens? The Islanders top defenseman, Mark Streit, suffers a major shoulder injury when checked by teammate Matt Moulson. Word is that Streit will miss 6 months of action due to damage in the labrum and rotator cuff. Other than an injury to John Tavares, could you think of a more important player to go down for the luckless Islanders? I sure can't. Streit is invaluable to this team. It's No. 1 defenseman. It's power play quarterback. A legit 50-60 point player from the back end. A 25-minute per-night ice hog. Respected locker room, and on ice, leader. Barring a trade, and reports say the Isles have no interest in Edmonton's Sheldon Souray, look to James Wisniewski, Jack Hillen, and Andrew McDonald as defensemen asked to step up up offensively. Yikes! What a comedown from Streit, in my opinion one of the most underrated blueliners in the game. Perhaps 19 year-old Calvin de Haan will get a longer look now, though he, too, is coming off shoulder surgery from last season. Plus several scouts have expressed their doubts about de Haan to me, though most reports have him pegged as a solid offensive defenseman. Bottom line, though, Streit's long-term departure is a crippling blow to the Islanders, one that only could be surpassed by a similar injury to Tavares.

Redden Waives Goodbye to Broadway
The news that defenseman Wade Redden was placed on waivers by the Rangers on Saturday was expected. The veteran's play has been in a steep decline for years and his $6.5 million salary cap hit has been an albatross for GM Glen Sather for three seasons. But anytime a team is willing to pay a player that much money not to play---or at least to do so in some minor league outpost like Hartford---is still somewhat of a surprise. I have not spoken yet with Redden, but you would think he and his agent Don Meehan have been preparing for this moment all summer and have thought out all of their options. To keep collecting his mega-salary, Redden must report to the Rangers AHL affiliate. But he and Meehan could try and broker a deal in Europe, similar to what Blackhawks unwanted goalie Christobal Huet has done this season. Either way, Redden is finished on Broadway. And while it is the right move for the team to make, it shouldn't be lost in all of this that Redden is a decent, well-intentioned person. Redden was All-Class all the time. He is not the monster Rangers fans would have you believe. In fact, he is the exact opposite. And I wish Wade and his wife Danica, who just gave birth to the couple's first child last Wednesday, the best moving forward.

Calling Jose Theodore! Calling Jose Theodore!
Josh Harding's gruesome knee injury in which he suffered not only a torn MCL, but a shredded ACL, as well, has Minnesota on the lookout for a No. 2 goalie to play behind Niklas Backstrom this season. While 20 year-old Matt Hackett is viewed as the Wild's goalie of the future, he needs more seasoning and would not benefit playing 20-odd games behind Backstrom. And minor league backstop Anton Khudobin, while being talked up by GM Chuck Fletcher, doesn't fit the bill either. But at the right price, a veteran like 34 year-old Jose Theodore (30 wins, .911 save percentage, 2.81 goals against in Washington last year) or Vesa Toskala (not so pretty in Toronto and Calgary) would be a nice addition. And why wouldn't the price be right? Better to be the Wild's No. 2 than sitting out, staying in shape, and waiting for the phone to ring during the season, all while NOT being paid a cent. Minnesota will head to Finland to begin the season shortly, so Fletcher needs to make a decision soon. If I'm Theodore, I'd make sure my passport is ready to go.

Burke Says Kadri Not Such a Sure Thing
Ok, I'll admit it. When thinking about who the top rookies would be in the NHL this season, I always, and I mean every single time, had Toronto's Nazem Kadri near the top of my list. Not so fast, according to Toronto GM Brian Burke who came down hard on the 19 year-old center this weekend. Burke flat out said that, though, Kadri survived a round of cuts, the kid hasn't shown anything in the pre-season that leads the Maple Leafs to believe he can contribute at the NHL level this season. OUCH! Kadri was a 35-goal, 93 point player in London last year, and his arrival in Toronto has been eagerly anticipated by Leafs fans ever since he was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft. That wait now may just be a bit longer. Burke is a straight shooter. While his words had to have some motivational meaning behind them, I really believe that Burke right now is leaning towards farming the kid out. Kadri's got this week to pick up his play. Let's see how he reacts to a taste of adversity.

Youngsters Shine in Edmonton
19 year-old wing Magnus Paajarvi netted a Hat Trick late last week. 20 year-old Jordan Eberle makes the highlights with two pretty goals and an assist last night. 18 year-old first-overall pick Taylor Hall has a goal and two assists in his first two games. And 23 year-old Linus Omark thrills with his goal-scoring prowess. I know it's only the pre-season, but the Oilers look like they have a lot to be excited about---not just this season, but thinking long-term---with the play of these four exciting rookies. Edmonton coach Tom Renney was loathe to play the kids when he coached the Rangers in the all-consuming win-now atmosphere. But is he now willing to take on this many kids and let them grow together, knowing the inevitable bumps in the road which will come on a regular basis, perhaps more often than victories, to start? I hope so. The potential for the Oilers to be one of the more intriguing and exciting teams to watch this season is growing by the day. Let the Kids Play, Tom!

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