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MURRAY: SENATORS SHOPPING FOR FORWARD
The Ottawa Sun relays the latest trade thoughts from Senators GM Bryan Murray.
“We had a couple of teams I was talking fairly serious to about a smaller type deal that would add one player to our team, but it doesn’t appear it’s going to happen at this point,” said Murray. “As of now, we are what we are.
“I’ve talked to a number of managers, I think there’s a lot of people just saying we’d like to do something, but there’s nothing on the horizon right now.”
Murray on team needs: “I think our defence is going to be okay, in spite of occasional games where we have turnovers. I think our defence is young, it’s big, it’s pretty mobile and it’s getting better. There’s no question a couple of our players back there are playing better. Adding Cody (Ceci) to the lineup has helped considerably.
“If we could find one more forward of particular type, I think that would help us.”
The Sun indicates the Sens are known to be interested in injured Buffalo Sabres winger Matt Moulson and are actively seeking a winger to play with Jason Spezza.
KULIKOV STEADFASTLY DENIES KHL RUMOURS
23-year-old Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is slated to become an RFA this summer and tells The Miami Herald he’s heard the rumours. Not only does he not want to leave the team by trade, he has no interest in returning to play in his native Russia.
“I would like to face those people saying those things and ask them where they are getting their information,” said Kulikov. “Wanting to go back to Russia? Those words have never come out of my mouth. I think the people starting that are just trying to create more drama for the league or whatever. … I want to help turn things around here. I want to win here. The year we made the playoffs was like the best thing ever. It’s a totally different feeling. I want to feel that again.’’
More Kulikov: “I had a great experience in the KHL during the lockout. That was my first chance to play there. I left when I was 17. I wanted to play there and see how it is. But that experience was enough for me. I experienced it. My dream since I was a kid was playing here. I’m living the dream.”
On rumours: “I try not to listen to those things because they are mostly negative. You never know who is putting them out there or why. I don’t focus on them. I’m just playing my game.’’
MALKIN DREAMING OF SOCHI GOLD
With the Sochi Olympics quickly closing in, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review profiles Russian superstar Evgeni Malkin.
“I know it is not easy,” Malkin said. “But is my dream: Same year, and Russia wins Olympics, Pittsburgh wins Stanley Cup.”
On taking his game up a notch: “I’m playing, I think, not bad. When we get to Sochi, I want to be ready, at my best. I’m not yet.”
On the excitement level: “I can’t wait. It’s Olympics. It’s Russia. It’s family and friends and maybe a little bit pressure on me. It’s soon. I’ll be ready.”
Insightful quotes from a variety of players, including fellow Russian Sergei Gonchar, who notes both Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk tend to be the “Sidney Crosby of Russia” in media terms.
“It’s the way he likes it,” Gonchar said. “He’s a little bit behind, and then he gets to surprise everybody.”
Sidney Crosby on Malkin: “I think he’s ready. A lot of those Russian guys, I think you can tell their games are where they are supposed to be. I think you can tell they’re pretty excited.”
FLAMES SKIP THIRD JERSEY USE SATURDAY
In detailing the Flames’ five-game home stand sweep, The Calgary Herald reveals the team was permitted by Brian Burke to not wear their old school third jerseys Saturday.
With an 0-8 record in them, there was good reason to switch things up.
Coach Bob Hartley: “I talked to Brian. I said, ‘We’re playing so well right now. Can we just keep going?’ And Brian said, ‘Let me check.’ He got back to me and said, ‘Yeah, I can help you that way.’ Sometimes, little superstitions …”
JACKETS MUM ON RANGERS’ CALLAHAN
Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, via The Columbus Dispatch, on trade talk involving New York Rangers forward Ryan Callahan: “It’s rumors,” Kekalainen said Saturday. “Sometimes I laugh when I see rumors. Sometimes I scratch my head. I don’t ever comment.”
On the upcoming Olympic break: “It’s another opportunity to move forward. We can use the three weeks to our advantage.”
On the March 5 trade deadline: “I’ll give you my patented, dull answer: We’re always looking to get better. I’m always working the phone, always watching the games — here and on the road — and I am always looking. We’re always looking to get better.”
WILD’S KOIVU EXPLAINS FINLAND’S HOCKEY PRIDE
The Pioneer Press points out with the Olympics just around the corner that international hockey matters to Finland.
“Big time,” Wild captain and proud Finn Mikko Koivu said. “It comes from the success. That’s how you create expectations. We’re proud of our country, our independence and the way we got it. It’s a long time ago but not that long. Our grandparents were there during the war. I think that has something to do with it.
“Our generation, our moms and dads, were raised by grandparents who went through the war. You hear the stories, you know the history. Hockey is a huge part of that.”
SIMMONDS A CORNERSTONE PIECE FOR FLYERS
The Philadelphia Inquirer illustrates how Wayne Simmonds has evolved from a checking line forward with the Los Angeles Kings to a cornerstone power forward with the Flyers. Simmonds and Brayden Schenn were acquired for Mike Richards in 2011.
“We knew when we made the trade we were taking a step back to take two steps forward – and that’s what has happened,” Ed Snider, chairman of the Flyers’ parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, said after the Flyers’ 2-0 win over the Kings on Saturday. “We felt they were young and would get better and better.
Simmonds, on his maturity as a player: “As you get older, I think things start to slow down. You start to realize that you can do things if you take your time and don’t panic all the time. I think that’s the case for me. I’m starting to learn things I can do and things I can’t.”
ROY IMPRESSING BLUES’ HITCHCOCK
In The Slot notes St. Louis Blues forward Derek Roy has let his play do the talking for him since he was a healthy scratch Jan. 23.
“I think since Derek was not in the lineup, I think he’s really made a great account of himself,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He’s been a real good player for us. He’s been one of our best players on the power play, he’s made great plays on the power play, he’s been very competitive and I think he’s really answered the bell and had a great attitude and I think he’s really going to take on the responsibility of keeping that line going with Sobe not here.”
More Hitchcock: “I just think he’s competing. He’s competing for pucks, he’s winning races, he’s not on the outside, he’s not reaching and he’s using his quickness as a real weapon to pick up loose pucks. I think he’s also playing in straight lines and that’s why that line looks so fast. They play in straight lines, they play with great tempo and they’re dangerous. They’re dangerous because everybody knows that once they cross center ice, it’s going towards the net. It’s a really good thing for us. I really liked the way they played today. I liked the way they went to the net, I liked the way they hung onto the puck, I really liked their composure.”
DEVILS’ TABLE SET TO MAKE STANDINGS MOVE
The Star-Ledger details how the Devils may be on the outside of a playoff spot looking in, but coach Pete DeBoer feels his team has weathered a four-month storm and is within striking distance.
“We’re in a good spot. I believe we’re in a good spot and that’s not just lip service,” DeBoer said Sunday. “We’ve played the most road games in the conference. We’ve got 16 at home and 10 on the road left. Our schedule– from an opponent point of view– is never easy because there are no easy teams, but it’s not as difficult as it could be. So the table is set for us to make a move here. We just have to do it.”