News of the Colorado Avalanche - Links from around the NHL - March 4th, 2013

Kirk Irwin

MacLeans has an article about the size of the nets.

There is one thing about the game of hockey that has not changed since before hockey was hockey. It is an axiom older than the six-a-side game, older than the division into three periods, older than even Lord Stanley’s cup. It is there in the official rules of the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada, created in 1886 to select a national champion: goals are to be "six feet wide and four feet high . . . unless otherwise agreed." One hundred and twenty-seven years later, those are still the official dimensions of the goal wherever hockey is played, from Hamilton to Hong Kong.

But the goalies did not, alas, stay the same size in the meantime. Many of you can probably name the starting goaltenders for any postwar year of the Original Six NHL: in 1960, they were Johnny Bower, Glenn Hall, Harry Lumley, Jacques Plante, Terry Sawchuk and Lorne "Gump" Worsley. None of these men was above six feet, and the Gumper was five foot seven. By contrast, the first six goalies taken in the 2012 NHL entry draft average six foot three, and the league already features galoots like the Senators’ six-foot-seven Ben Bishop and Tampa Bay’s six-foot-six Anders Lindback. The Oilers have a six-foot-five starter, Devan Dubnyk, and just traded for a six-foot-seven AHL goalie, Niko Hovinen.

CBC has an editorial about the offer sheet that was extended to Ryan O'Reilly and what would have happened if the Avs had not matched.

I don't know why teams bother with offer sheets. They rarely result in a player changing addresses anyway. Only two players, Chris Gratton (Philadelphia to Tampa Bay) and Dustin Penner (Anaheim to Edmonton) out of the last 11 offer sheets have switched teams.

The players love offer sheets because it helps drive up salaries. See Joe Sakic's three-year, $21-million US offer sheet from the New York Rangers that the Avalanche matched in August 1997 or the six-year, $38-million one Carolina put in front of Detroit star Sergei Fedorov in February 1998.

I didn't see any problem that the Avalanche took only a few hours to match the Flames offer sheet, which gives O'Reilly a $2.5-million signing bonus, plus a prorated $1 million salary this season and a $6.5 million salary next season. Now they have their prized 22-year-old back, and he could play as early as Sunday.

There has been a suspension.

The NHL suspended Flyers forward Harry Zolnierczyk four games Sunday for charging Ottawa defenceman Mike Lundin.

The incident happened Saturday midway through the first period of the Senators 2-1 loss in Philadelphia. Zolnierczyk launched himself into Lundin as the Ottawa forward was cutting into the Flyers’ zone.

Erik Cole discusses his perceived relationship with P.K. Subban.

No one beyond the players and the equipment staff truly know what goes on behind the doors of an NHL dressing room.

Not even the coaches, who aren’t in the athletes’ inner sanctum when nerves are raw, tempers are frayed or when these men, individually and collectively, ponder why they suddenly and inexplicably can’t put the puck in the ocean or stop one the size of a beach ball.

Of course, there is no shortage of speculation based on hearsay, rumour, thin sources and second- and third-hand observation about what transpires behind these doors: the cliques, feuds, slights, bruised egos.

So it was that, even before Erik Cole’s stall at the Bell Centre and the team’s Brossard training complex had been fully emptied this week, stories were circulating about a strained relationship between Cole and defenceman P.K. Subban, and how this bitterness perhaps had expedited the forward’s trade Tuesday to Dallas.



An update of the Amazing Race.

As the Maple Leafs enter an amazing race in search of playoff gold, they are tracking an ex-Leaf's million-dollar quest around the world on TV's The Amazing Race.

Bates Battaglia, who played 95 games for Toronto between stints with the AHL Marlies, leads the highly rated reality adventure show with partner/younger brother Anthony after two segments, with the third episode airing Sunday at 8 p.m. on CTV.

Bates had just retired from playing in Europe, while Anthony still toils for the Huntsville (Ala.) Havoc of the Southern League. The two skaters did well in pearl diving in Bora Bora last week and used hockey smarts in a follow-up challenge to propel a coconut across a sandy arena and over a seaweed goal line - all while balanced on stilts.

What's the next move for Jay Feaster?

Don’t be surprised if the Pittsburgh Penguins get Sidney Crosby a little help.

While the Penguins’ captain is doing a good job setting a torrid scoring pace this season, Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero is expected to go shopping for another winger and possibly a defenceman before the April 3 trade deadline.

It’s believed the Penguins – among other teams – have targetted Calgary Flames winger Jarome Iginla, who will be a unrestricted free agent July 5, as a possibility to play on a line with Crosby.

Komisarek didn't admit to asking out of Toronto, but he didn't deny it either. Also of note in this article: John-Michael Liles has been a healthy scratch.

Mike Komisarek didn’t deny reports that he has requested a trade out of Toronto.

However, the veteran defenceman, who has played just four games this season, simply said such talk has no substance.

"It must be a slow news day," he said after Maple Leafs practice on Sunday.

The Leafs are obviously entertaining their options with Komisarek and fellow veteran defenceman John-Michael Liles, both of whom are stranded as healthy scratches.

Good news for Malkin.

Still headache-free and with his short-term memory completely returned, Evgeni Malkin went through a full-contact practice with many of his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Sunday.

Malkin, who has missed the past four games due to a concussion, said he “felt pretty good” immediately after the workout at a suburban rink.

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