Quick Hit Rumours

– Add a new team into the Mats Sundin sweepstakes: the Ducks. That’s right, the perpetually financially strained team is reportedly making a pitch to Sundin, and with the Ducks so close to the cap they’re going to have to shed salary (again). This time, the casualty may be Chris Kunitz, the former Ducks alternate captain who hasn’t quite lived up to his $3.5m price-tag since signing it. No doubt that the Ducks would prefer to trade Kunitz to an Eastern Conference team, but Brian Burke continues to put himself in situations in which he has absolutely no leverage –

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Point Taken?

I could live with Kurt Sauer‘s hit on Andrei Kostitsyn. It’s a fast game and it happens when people are hitting others – the arms come up sometimes to protect themselves and near the boards is always a dangerous area to be. What I don’t get, however, is what Georges Laraque was supposed to accomplish. There are only a handful of teams out there who dress their tough guys fairly regularly: Montreal with Laraque, Minnesota with Derek Boogaard, Pittsburgh with Eric Godard, Atlanta with Eric Boulton, Anaheim with George Parros (who is on a scoring streak), Buffalo with Andrew Peters,

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Montreal Canadiens

On paper the Habs look great. The reigning Eastern Conference champs lost replaceable players over the summer but addressed toughness issues with Georges Laraque and got their French-Canadian star in Alex Tanguay. The Habs enter their centennial season with high expectations from the team, media, and fans alike, and even pegged by some to win their 25th Cup. The Habs are skilled and fast – they may not be tough or big, but the players buy into Guy Carbonneau and Kirk Muller‘s system and as a result became one of the most efficient teams in the league, scoring 257 goals

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Mixing and Matching

Training camp’s all about establishing chemistry and figuring out which players go where. ESPN’s Sean Allen provides some insight and here are the highlights: Zach Bogosian seems to be penciled in to make the team, and Allen figures him to hit the 40-point mark, but I highly doubt it. I think their top powerplay quarterbacks are going to be Ron Hainsey and Tobias Enstrom. With Justin Williams out for most of the season it means a spot has opened up beside Eric Staal. The likely candidate is Patrick Eaves, although Sergei Samsonov, who has rejuvenated his career in Carolina, may

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Habs Move On

The Habs’ acquisition of Robert Lang from Chicago means a couple things: 1. Mats Sundin will not be a Hab. That is with utmost certainty after Bob Gainey made that clear in his press conference. Lang will be slotted into the third line, which means that Kyle Chipchura, who is expected to make the squad, may start the season in the AHL unless he has a good camp. 2. Chicago will still be looking to dump salary, but it looks like they may actually start the season with a Cristobal Huet–Nikolai Khabibulin tandem as Dale Tallon had suggested they would.

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Same New Song and Dance

More on Mats Sundin. The endless carousel goes ’round and ’round, with still no end in sight. “This is the song that never ends, As it goes on and on my friends. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, And they’ll continue singing it forever just because…” While Sundin sits on his sofa and mulls over his options, teams are getting anxious, reports Bruce Garrioch. Sundin is going to be the first domino to fall – once he decides what to do, there will be a flurry of moves as teams move to their Plan Bs. Others

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THN Rankings – East

1 Montreal Canadiens 2 Pittsburgh Penguins 3 Washington Capitals 4 Philadelphia Flyers 5 Ottawa Senators 6 NY Rangers 7 New Jersey Devils 8 Carolina Hurricanes 9 Tampa Bay Lightning 10 Boston Bruins 11 Buffalo Sabres 12 Florida Panthers 13 Atlanta Thrashers 14 Toronto Maple Leafs 15 NY Islanders Again, I’m going to have to disagree with THN over this. If the Pens had managed to keep Ryan Malone and/or Marian Hossa I’d be inclined to agree that they would finish atop their division, but they won’t. When you potentially have Miroslav Satan as your top scoring winger you’re not going

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TSN Shortcuts

As Canada’s #1 sports network, and hockey obviously at the forefront, I’m a little disappointed and frustrated at times by their hockey coverage, especially those of their staff writers. They’ve recently coughed up a short article on the Canucks. (The Leafs and Habs have also been covered). You’d think that for a sports network as large as theirs they’d take a little more prudence when writing these things, but they don’t. In the Canucks article, they noted that Jason Jaffray as a potential “youngster” that could be thrust into a scoring role should Mats Sundin not sign, but Jaffray is

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Winners and Losers

Here are a few of my thoughts about the trade deadline action. Short Term Winners Pittsburgh Penguins – Adding Hossa, Dupuis and Gill has the potential to make them a really scary team. Think about it. In recent weeks the top line of Malkin, Sykora and Malone have been one of the best lines in the NHL and over the next week or two you will add Crosby and Hossa to fill out a 1A line. Losing Armstrong and Christensen will hurt the third line but with a top 2 lines that good they may not need a third line.

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Northeast division preview

Boston Bruins Strengths: -Good 1-2 tandem at center with Savard and Bergeron -Should get improved goaltending with Manny Fernandez Weaknesses: -Lack of overall depth. -No quality game breakers on the wings. -Mediocre defense Question Marks: -Can Chara rebound after a questionable season last year? -Can Fernandez be the anchor in goal that the Bruins desperately need? -Can Glen Murray stay healthy and get back to 40 goal territory? Outlook: The Bruins addressed one of their key problem areas with the acquisition of goalie Manny Fernandez but one still has to wonder if Fernandez, who only once has played more than

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