Morning notes on: Kessel, Crosby, Letang, Lidstrom, Kuznetsov, Gerbe, Nash, Selanne, Gomez and Toews

  • Damien Cox of the Toronto Star: Cox doesn’t think Phil Kessel fits with the Maple Leafs. Despite his ability to score 30 goals,

    “He’s no leader on a team still developing internal leadership. He’s not combative or a fierce adversary. He doesn’t bring size to the equation or pluck or two-way excellence.”

    Cox thinks the Leafs should look at trading Kessel. He has a $5.4 million cap hit, and will get a $5.1 million salary next year and $5.4 million in the last year of his deal.

  • Helene St. James via twitter: Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom suffered a bit of a setback. At yesterdays’ morning skate,

    “I was more sore today when I skated, so that’s why I was out there for just a few minutes. It was more sore today.” He has a deep bone bruise and there is still some swelling, no fracture.

    On shutting things down for a bit:

    “We’ve talked about it,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll talk more to the coaching staff and see what the next step will be, but it’s still day-to-day. It’s discouraging that I haven’t started feeling better, as it’s going on two weeks now.”

  • John Vogl via twitter: Sabres Nathan Gerbe was scratched from last night’s game with upper-body injury.
  • Jim Matheson via twitter: A veteran pro scout on Blue Jackets Rick Nash, he loves his skill but “Does he make other people around him better?”
  • Derek van Diest of the Toronto Sun: Blue Jackets Rick Nash won’t talk about his trade request and why he wanted out of Columbus.Defenseman James Wisniewski on how it is has been in the dressing room after Nash’s request came out last month,

    “Our job is to go out there and play hockey,” said Blue Jackets defenceman James Wisniewski. “We go out there to try and win hockey games. What happened behind the scene is his personal business and we support him as a person and as a player.”

  • Jeff Miller of the OC Register: Jari Kurri thinks that Teemu Selanne should keep playing,

    “Everybody’s really happy with what he’s doing,” Jari Kurri said. “Keep going. Why stop now?”

    “I’m hoping he keeps playing,” Kurri said. “Why stop? I know he wants to win. He wants to do well and he’s playing well. I don’t see any reason for him to stop.”

  • Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette: Canadiens forward Scott Gomez will miss some time with a concussion. Gomez suffered the injury when he was hit by Sabres Tyler Myers, who was suspended for 3 games.
  • Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune: (written on Tuesday) Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Jonathan Toews:

    “it’s part of the process. Some days are better than others, but he knows his body and we’ll see how he is. Hopefully, we’ll get him back on the ice (Wednesday) and things progress.”

    “Jonathan was excited when he was skating,” Quenneville said. “He’s still looking forward to getting back. Hopefully, it’s going to be soon.


  1. D

    March 15, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Cox is an idiot. I think we can all agree it was unreasonable for burke to put such high expectations on kessel, it all started with the price burke paid to get him. That being said, would you rather pay kessel 5.4m for the 40/40 he’ll get? or would you pay grabo 5.5m for the 30/30 he probably wont get? (this is why i think burke should have been fired instead of/with ron wilson)

  2. Lennycle7

    March 15, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I agree D, Cox (and Steve Simmons for that matter) are idiots. I’m not saying that Kessel is the Leafs savior but in my opinion Kessel (and Lupul) are the only reasons that Toronto did as well as they did for the first half of the season. What Cox doesn’t seem to realize is that one of the best forms of leaders is the quiet leader. The guy who shuts his mouth in front of the media, doesn’t call out his teammates, and just goes out and plays hard day in and day out.
    I’m willing to bet that as soon as Toronto is officially eliminated from the playoffs one of Cox, Simmons or Dave Hodge will make a statement like “Brian Burke should be fired for firing Ron Wilson while the Leafs were still in the hunt”.

  3. Captain Ahab

    March 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Getting rid of Dion Phaneuf makes more sense to me. Sure Kessel is a liability defensively but that can be worked with or at least have defensively responsible line mates with him. He is probably one of if not the best “pure” goal scorer in hockey today and those types of players are hard to find. Carlyle and him may clash over defensive responsibility but replacing 30 to 40 goals is hard to do if not impossible.
    Phanuef has been doing a great imitation of a traffic pylon most of the year and he’s been gone around so many times he starting to get a neon orange glow (hey, Neon Dion, sounds good to me) and he was Wilson’s choice for captain and leader of the Leafs and I just don’t see him fitting in well with Carlyle. There are a few teams that could use his big, booming and often erratic shot.

  4. Wunschkind89

    March 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I’m not opposed to Burke trading Kessel as long as the return is right. Same with Phaneuf. He’s putting up the points again, but he’s no longer a physical presence–gone are the highlight-reel big hits–and he can’t skate worth a damn. Even a guy like Schenn I can see being trade bait in a package as the guy seems to have peaked.

    The Leafs need size up front, and they need a defense corps that can keep up and box guys out consistently. Liles, Gunnarsson and Phaneuf are far too soft, especially in front of their own net.

    I’d love to see Burke shed some payroll and sign a guy like Ryan Suter, if possible.

  5. hotwings

    March 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    well, this leafs season went downhill super fast…

    im a fan of burke… but some of his moves have been questionable… and i understand that any gm is not going to get it right even 80% of the time… i think he is a victim and the benefactor of making a high number of moves compared to other gms.

    if he is navigating the ship, then he has a lot of course correcting to do this summer…

    even though they were 4 points out of the playoffs at the trade deadline, i think he should have parted with at least 1-2 of the players who he got offered first round picks for… namely reimer…

    id also question the “strategy” of giving ron wilson a one year extension a few weeks before firing him… it just reeks of a calculated move to give his friend some cash no matter what happened to the leafs this year… couldnt the extension have waited until the summer??

    also.. can we please just give kadri a whole season up here? christ.. number 7 overall… enough with the merry go round back to the marlies…

    as much as you can hate phaneuf.. that was still a very lopsided trade for the leafs… phaneuf cant be a 1-2 dman though… he gets too many minutes and is too much of a defensive liability.. i still like his offensive capabilities and he has controllled his shot since last year..

    i dont think you can trade kessel… because, what happens to lupul? does he go to? you just have to add to kessel.. its too bad they couldnt get brad richards in the off season… they need a brad richards type solution on the forward ranks…