Archive for January, 2011

Nabokov Claimed by the Islanders

Update (4:02 PM): Custance clarifies the waiver situation. So the Sharks, for example, wouldn’t get preference on a second waiver go-around because they put in a claim the first time around. They’d have a chance at him just because they want him at all. - Matt

Update (3:37 PM): NYI beat writer @KatieStrangNYI is all over this. She’s got a couple updates that provide insights into the Islander’s plans for going forward here and here.

Also, sounds like Nabokov’s in no hurry to get in touch with the Islanders. I’m liking him more and more. - Matt

Update (3:21 PM): Kenny’s moved on. - Matt

Update (3:11 PM): Supposedly, the Sharks put in a claim. So if the Islanders do waive him again, the Wings would still not get a shot at him, even if the Sharks are the only team that had put in a claim.

Unless. But somebody with space and priority over Detroit is going to want him. – Matt

Update (3:02 PM): Okay, I guess I’m wrong that he’s automatically done with the NHL this year. TSN reports the Islanders can suspend him or waive him, which means he could go back into circulation should the Islanders decide they’re okay with that.

They might as well suspend him, though. Why let another team get him?

But… loop re-opened. - Matt

Update (2:48 PM): Closing the loop: Nabokov reportedly will not report to NYI (also reported here), which means he’s out of the NHL through the end of the year and nobody gets him.

If he’d reported but immediately demanded a trade move, he would have gone to waivers again and been claimed by the next team in line behind the Islanders, but apparently, that’s not happening.

He wanted to play for Detroit, apparently. Shocker. (I guess it’s just as likely that he wanted to play for another contender, but I’m going to go with he wanted to play for Detroit most of all). - Matt

Update (12:10 PM): George with a couple of good points here and here.

Moving on. - Matt

Update (12:09 PM): Now the question is whether or not he’ll report. Regardless, he’s out of the Wings’ reach now and I find myself not caring about that question.

How stupid. - Matt

Update (12:06 PM): Yep, Wings bitten by one of the dumbest rules in the game. Ah well.

As as Jimmy doesn’t get hurt, it’s no big deal. But it’s a thin line to Joey MacDonald Town, eh? – Matt

Update (12:05 PM): McKenzie confirms, as does a NYI beat writer. - Matt

Craig Custance had it out there first. That sucks. Wings don’t get their insurance.

Game Day Notes: vs. Chicago

… This is the third of six games between the Wings and the Blackhawks this season. The series is tied 1-1, with the Wings winning the opener 3-2 in October and the Hawks winning the followup 4-1 in December. They don’t meet again until March 28th, and will finish the season with a home/home.

… The Hawks are 5-2-1 in January, and points in their last five. Apart from a three-game skid bridging 2010 to 2011, they’ve had a strong 35 days or so, which no doubt led to Toews’ mouthing off about passing the Wings.

… That said, they’re still third in the Central, four points back of Nashville and 10 points back of the Wings. That is good enough for 7th place, however, and with Vancouver on top of the West, the Wings would be looking at a Chicago first round if the playoff started today.

… They’ve been off since Sunday, so they’re well-rested. Apparently they spent a lot of time working on their 27th-place penalty kill. If the Selanne Theory holds true today, either the Wings will own the special teams game or the Blackhawks will suddenly be killing penalties at first place rates.

… A couple interesting stats from the Chicago Sun-Times: in their 4-0-1 run, the Hawks have allowed just 1.4 goals on average. And they are 3-4-2 in the first game of a back-to-back. Compare that to their 7-2-0 record in the second game, which in this case is against Philadelphia tomorrow. I suspect, though, that the nature of the first game this time around will add incentive to better that 3-4-2 record. If part of their problem with back-to-backs is looking ahead to the next opponent, they shouldn’t have that problem this afternoon.

Of course, they’ve got a Finals history with Philadelphia now, so maybe that assessment is wrong.

… The Blackhawks may just be missing Nick  Boynton to flu today. That’s rough.

… Corey Crawford is the starter for the Hawks.

… The Wings improved to 5-3-1 in January with a 4-3 OT win over the Blues Thursday night. They blew a 3-0 lead to do it, but overall played well, so they could be characterized as on an upward swing, despite the disappointing loss to the Pens earlier in the week.

… The team added another name to their list of unavailable players today with Valtteri Filppula down with the flu. Cory Emmerton has been recalled to fill in. George speculates why it was Cory rather than Ilari Filppula here and here. Makes sense, though Megan points out how surprising it is how often he’s been overlooked. The waiver-excemption crap wasn’t applicable to Tatar, for example.

… Jimmy Howard will start today and will be backed up by Jordan Pearce, who is filling in for Joey MacDonald due to waiver rules. The Nabokov situation forced Holland to shuffle pieces around the board for no real reason other than the waiver rules are stupid, essentially.

… The Wings put out a great effort against a difficult team Thursday night and they’re going to have to do the same today but to a different degree. The Blues are a hardworking team with a few dangerous pieces. The Blackhawks probably work hard enough, but their main threat is their talent level. The early start may make it difficult to get going on time, but the Wings will need to bring their best at some point, preferably before too long.

McKenzie Clears Up Nabokov Situation

Or at least he’s pretty sure he has. In short, any scenario like discussed earlier (pick-up, then re-waive) involving the Devils or any other team, is very unlikely, as the Wings apparently would not end up at the head of the line on a second waiver go around, as was reported throughout the day.

The Wings are just too high in the standings to have a realistic shot at Nabokov, which most likely makes the whole thing a relatively cost-free, but lost, gamble on Holland’s part (relative in that Nabokov could end up somewhere that hurts the Wings, and they don’t get the insurance they might have gotten with a more sure-fire method such as a trade).

Wings 4, Blues 3 (OT)

Solid: This is the best word I can think of to describe this game and the way the Wings played it. Or at least much of it. Their play wasn’t much of anything special in most ways: they looked very  much like a depleted team. But they did work hard for most of the first two periods and even when they were busy coughing up the lead, they weren’t all that bad, apart from those specific moments. This was a game in which the depleted Wings were relatively evenly matched by a young and energetic Blues team. In general, Had the scoring shaken out differently but still ended up 4-3 in OT, I think we’d be fairly happy with the result. The blown 3-0 lead sucks, but 4-3 against the Blues with their injuries, it makes some sense.

Jimmy: I thought he looked strong overall. The goals were mostly defensive lapses and/or great shots, so I didn’t find any  particular blame in how he looked on them. He wasn’t out long so the rust factor is almost non-existent, but if he was sore at all still, it didn’t look like it.

Kronwall scare: It didn’t take long for another potential injury to pop up, as Kronwall took a shot off his hand very early in the game and couldn’t put it back on his stick. He got checked out on the bench and returned, however, so it looks like there’s no injury there.

Eaves: Didn’t take a genius to go out front with Z behind the net, but still a good move and more evidence that he makes a passable plug in that line when needed. The success of the Eaves Reclamation Project continues to look certain.

Kindl: Congrats on the first NHL point, Jakub. Even if it wasn’t intentional.

Ericsson: Was not his greatest night. Missed on a pass block that lead to a goal, nearly cost the team heavily when he shot the puck in from his side of the ice, that kind of thing.

Final Push: The Wings nearly avoided handing the Blues a point with a last minute push that should have resulted in a goal. That was disappointing.

Hudler: Helm started the play with a great tip-past the St. Louis D-man,  but Hudler made it work with a strong pass across to Helm for the game-winner. A good night for young Huds, though it’s high time he started going above and beyond good to “lighting it up” territory.

Next: Hosting the Blackhawks at home in the afternoon. So starting on time may be an issue.

MacDonald Returned to GR, Pearce Promoted to First Chair Faceoff Charter

Update (8:11 PM): Commenting as “WHL Scout,” a reader chimes in with a take on Grumet-Morris. Not that it matters, unless he manages to land a longer-term deal somehow. But interesting that the Griffins chose him. – Matt

Update (1:56 PM): Khan has the reasoning  behind the move straight from the team. Waiver rules are ridiculous. And yeah, Khan’s right: if/when Nabokov gets claimed, MacDonald’s likely  headed back to Detroit. - Matt

So says the AHL transaction wire. With the Griffins down to just Pearce and a guy named Dov Grumet-Morris (really), returning their #1 goalie makes sense for the Wings, if they’re confident that Nabokov’s going to either clear or be returned to them. The Griffins have a double-header starting tonight, both games of which will no doubt feature MacDonald. Meanwhile, Pearce will chart faceoffs tomorrow. The Wings could bring MacDonald back up after tomorrow night, but that depends on the results of the waiver process with Nabokov.

CapGeek suggests this is a cap move, but I don’t see why. Pearce makes more than MacDonald and the Wings don’t have a need for room anyway. Wuest says it means Osgood’s likely going on LTIR, but I don’t know why this has to mean that.

Followup: Nabokov, the Wings and the Devils, and Osgood

Update (1:52 PM): The Devils aren’t going to claim him. Still could end up in Detroit if just one team puts in a claim, but the odds of that remain slim. - Matt

Update (10:31 AM): Taking off my Osgood fan hat for a minute: if the Wings somehow manage to actually  get their hands on Nabokov and he works out in a way that results in an off-season re-signing, it would mean great things for the Wings’ chances at success next year. Nabokov is a guy who could easily and consistently spell Howard enough that both guys would be healthy and rested by the playoffs, so either guy could contribute to a run.

Realistically, Osgood could possibly stand in to a lesser degree in the same capacity, but with his groin injury history, he likely wouldn’t be able to spell Jimmy in the same way. The surgery is not going to eliminate the heightened risk of re-injury entirely. Looking at it as a rational Red Wings fan, a Nabokov eventuality is a good thing for the team.

Putting my Osgood fan hat back on: it would really, really suck if Osgood got shouldered out like that.

But the Wings fan hat comes first, as much as that would hurt to see as an Osgood supporter. - Matt

Update (9:29 AM): CapGeek’s Matthew Wuest has a trio of tweets that clarify the situation with the waiving and the re-waiving: here, here and here (read in sequence). If that’s the case, the Devils theory falls apart, because the odds of just one team (the Devils) putting in a claim are slim to none. - Matt

George has a great roundup post on last night’s news, including a couple late updates that are quite interesting. Read the whole thing, but specifically check out the 11:14 PM update, the first quote of the 11:36 PM update, and the 1:36 PM update. So basically, the favor theory has been turned on its head.

The Devils, despite their cap problems, do actually have the space to claim Nabokov right now thanks to injuries. Why they would do the Wings a favor, when all indications are that the two organizations aren’t all that friendly, is a mystery, but I guess it’s conceivable. I don’t imagine the NHL would appreciate that too much, though, so if that is the way things are going, the Wings and Devils’d better be sure they’re in the clear.

Also, the 10:55 PM update includes this from the CBC’s Jeff Marek:

@TSNBobMcKenzie that must mean Osgood is done for the season

It technically doesn’t have to mean that thanks to the low cap hit on the Nabokov contract, but I have to admit it is looking unlikely that Osgood will make it back. His full recovery from the surgery may take longer than the 6-8 weeks they’ve been claiming, and it may be unlikely the Wings would work him in when they’ve got Nabokov and Howard, especially when activating him would mean getting rid of another player.

What happens beyond the end of the season would be up to the Wings and Nabokov, I guess. If Nabokov decides he wants to stay at a reasonable price, Osgood may be Maltby’d into the front office. It was kind of a crappy way to have a career ended for Kirk and it would be for Osgood too, but nothing’s settled yet. Just projecting for now. I don’t like the thought on a personal level.

It’s Official: Nabokov Signs for One Year

Update (11:53 PM): It just dawned on me that Khan was wrong about the frills. The no-movement clause is clear evidence that perhaps the Wings really do want Nabokov. That’s a bit of a blow against the favor theory, because it means he’s that much less attractive as an acquisition on the wire. A free and clear Nabokov was one thing. A Nabokov you can’t move under any circumstances short of a waived NMC is another, even if it’s just for the remainder of the season. - Matt

Update (10:52 PM): McKenzie confirms the NMC. - Matt

Update (10:49 PM): Okay, notes from the FS D discussion:

Deal was signed a couple of hours ago. Cheap deal, less than $1 million (but no specific number. Must be the $570,000 or so, though). FS D thinks LA might take a shot at him.

It has nothing to do with Osgood not coming back. It has to do with insurance with risk of Jimmy injury, said Ken Daniels.

Nabokov cannot go to the AHL, says Daniels, because he’s signed after Dec. 1. And Daniels also mentioned a no-movement clause, which he and Mick later confirm when they say he can’t be traded down the line. So between the rule about demotions related to December 1st, and the NMC, Nabokov’s a Wing for the duration of this contract. That means when everybody’s healthy, they’ll carry three goalies into the playoffs, as Ken and Mick said. If he clears waivers, of course.

Given the roster size limitation, though, somebody’s going to have to be on the LTIR through the end of the regular season (my analysis) - Matt

Update (10:34 PM): Just kidding. Brain-cramped on that Shannon tweet. He goes on waivers tomorrow at noon, has until noon Saturday to clear. - Matt

Update (10:33 PM): John Shannon confirms what I was thinking but wasn’t sure about: because the deal was finalized before midnight, he has until noon tomorrow to clear waivers. – Matt

News broken by the official Twitter account. Now he heads to waivers.

More to come, as FS D fills us in in a coming segment.