Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

God Save the Queen

Between trade talk, free-agent talk and Heritage Classic talk, her Royal Highness was the talker

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One man's completely haphazard collection of NHL notes, random thoughts and half-baked ideas we like to call...

'Just thinking out loud here...'


-- Made contact with four different player agents this week who represent Tanner Glass, Jim Slater, Evander Kane and Ondrej Pavelec and they all came back with the same reply: GM Kevin Cheveldayoff had not started contract negotiations with any of them. Read into that what you will, but the take from this perch is the Jet boss won't make any commitments or even begin discussions until at least after next Monday's trade deadline.

That also has me convinced of two things:

1. The two minor deals the team has made of late -- dealing Akim Aliu for John Negrin and Riley Holzapfel for Maxime Macenauer -- can't possibly be Cheveldayoff's only moves before the deadline and;

2. Kevin Cheveldayoff is one helluva poker player.


-- Just FYI, here's what Allan Walsh -- Pavelec's agent -- said in an email: 'Since Winnipeg is in a playoff race, it really isn't the appropriate time for me as Ondrej's agent to discuss contracts. There will be plenty of time this summer to work that out. Right now, it's about playing hockey.'

All this said, I'll be shocked if those discussions don't happen lickety-split after next week's deadline passes.


-- An update on a story we've been tracking since last October. The NHL has now made inquiries with the Blue Bombers about the availability of Investors Field for a possible Heritage Classic game in 2014. This comes after confirmation from the league and Jets governor Mark Chipman of their interest in the game as well as the NHL's investigation of weather patterns in Winnipeg in January and February.


-- Memo to the guy who dressed up as the Queen at Friday's Jets' game and even had guardsmen in tow: more please. Loved the act, loved the Jets having some fun and having you draw the winning ticket for the 50-50 draw. The creativity here beats the hell out of a couple of fellas dressing up in green unitards.


-- So Martin Brodeur told reporters he doesn't think Sunday's game in Montreal will be his last in his hometown. Fair enough. They've already got a spot for him at the Hockey Hall of Fame and he's certainly earned the right to determine when he walks away from the game. But what do the Devils' do about their goaltending? There are 57 NHL goaltenders with a better save percentage than Brodeur's .903 and he turns 40 in May. Jersey's other goaltender is Johan Hedberg and he turns 39 a day before Brodeur's birthday.


-- If you haven't seen Mike Ribiero's OT winner against Calgary the other night, you need to watch this a few times:


-- TSN's Dennis Beyak says the network's stats gurus -- and they have a pile of them -- figure it will take 90 points to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. If that holds true, the Jets would need 28 points in their final 22 games. Even those of us who are mathematically challenged know that's a lot.


-- Maybe you have to be around a lot to appreciate him, but the Jets head coach spent close to 16 minutes chatting with the media on Saturday -- that's a lot, by NHL coaching standards -- swapping stories and offering insights to a variety of subjects.

Among his gems Saturday:

On winning and losing: "I know one thing today: I like winning more than I like losing. That's good, eh? Write that down... winning is better than losing. That's going to be the quote of the day. 'Winning is better than losing.' Should I attach my name to that one? That's C. Noel."

On whether the trade deadline is stressful for him: "It's not stressful for me at all. It might be for people above me, but not so much for me. I try to keep it simple and coach what I have. I don't deal too much with what we have and don't have. I don't sit at night and lose sleep with who we have and don't have and might have and not have. I mean, I don't even know who, what... that stuff hasn't even been discussed with me."

When asked if he'd ever want to be in management down the road: "That's a good question. I'm 56 now. Can you coach till your 90? I don't know. I've got quite a bit greyer this year. In another two years I could be looking like the other guys on my coaching staff (both Charlie Huddy and Pascal Vincent are bald). Coaching is what I like to do and I'm really happy with the job I have."


-- I pity the folks in the Columbus Blue Jackets marketing and ticketing departments -- especially if they move both Rick Nash and Jeff Carter before next season. That's a hard enough sell right now with those two. And without? A possible Blue Jacket promotion come the 2012-13 season: 'Paper Bag and Hard Liquor Night.'


-- Headline on a Philly blog Saturday after the Flyers fell 6-4 to the Penguins: 'Bad to Worse: Flyers Dropped by Pens on Poor D and Worse Goaltending'. Ilya Bryzgalov, signed to a nine-year $51-million contract last summer, was pulled after two periods and after allowing three goals on 13 shots. Afterwards, the flakey Philly netminder said: "I will try and find peace in my soul to play in this city."

Yeah, good luck with that.



Current odds to win the 2012 Stanley Cup, courtesy


New York Rangers11/2

Vancouver Canucks6/1

Boston Bruins13/2

Detroit Red Wings7/1

San Jose Sharks11/1

Pittsburgh Penguins12/1

St. Louis Blues12/1

Philadelphia Flyers13/1

Chicago Blackhawks16/1

Nashville Predators20/1

New Jersey Devils 25/1

Los Angeles Kings 28/1

Washington Capitals28/1

Florida Panthers30/1

Toronto Maple Leafs30/1

Ottawa Senators45/1

Calgary Flames50/1

Phoenix Coyotes50/1

Dallas Stars60/1

Colorado Avalanche65/1

Tampa Bay Lightning65/1

Anaheim Ducks75/1

Buffalo Sabres75/1

Montreal Canadiens75/1

Winnipeg Jets75/1

Minnesota Wild 80/1

New York Islanders100/1

Carolina Hurricanes150/1

Edmonton Oilers250/1

Columbus Blue Jackets 500/1

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 19, 2012 B3

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