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NHL Report

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TOP HEADLINES

\ **DUCKS PUT ON WEIGHT, ACTIVATE NEIDERMEYER\

\ Finally a juicy trade to dissect, Anaheim trades Andy McDonald for Doug Weight. The Ducks free up some cap room for next season to lock up Corey Perry, but are they better?\

\ **SIMON SAYS I’LL TAKE A BREAK\

\ Let’s see, in less than a calendar year Chris Simon has done this and now this. What is this guy being allowed to collect a paycheck from the NHL exactly?\

\ **MIKE RICHARDS, $69 MILLION MAN\

\ Speaking of paychecks, how about a guy with 36 goals in 169 career games signing a 12-year, $69 million deal? Richards is on pace for 40 this season and will be the captain in Philly for a decade, and the leadership/heart/guts quotient is off the charts with him, but doesn’t his physical play make him a bit of an injury risk? Flyers fans would have loved to get Eric Lindros locked up for 12 years when he was 22 as well.\

\ **RIVAL LEAGUE STARTING UP?\

\ Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A Russian tycoon, a great former Russian hockey player and an exiled NHLPA executive director walk into a bar and … A rival league would obviously have monumental odds against survival, even against top European leagues, and Caps fans do not even want to think about envisioning the scenario near the bottom of this take.\

\ **COULD BE CANADA AND EVERYONE ELSE IN WJC\

\ Most of the rosters for the upcoming IIHF U-20 World Junior Hockey Championship were announced this week, and Canada will be looking for a four-peat as the obvious favorite. While the Americans will miss top NHL rookie Pat Kane, the Canucks could field a team of U-20 guys that are not on the team (think Sam Gagner, Jonathan Toews, Peter Mueller and David Perron plus the guys who were cut from the actual team) that could medal in/win this tournament.\

\ COUNTING THEM DOWN: BUSTS\

\ Ranking the NHL teams with a look at who is the most disappointing player on each club as we near the season’s midpoint\

\ 30. Los Angeles Kings: None of the free agents have been good, but Michal Handzus has 10 points and is minus-9 (30)\

\ 29. Atlanta Thrashers: This team needs more than four goals and seven points from Pascal Dupuis in a supporting role (23)\

\ 28. Washington Capitals: Alexander Semin’s troubles can be blamed to a certain extent on the ankle injury; Viktor Kozlov’s three goals have no such explanation (29)\

\ 27. Tampa Bay Lightning: Jan Hlavac returned from a European hiatus and has four goals despite playing a lot with Brad Richards (24)\

\ 26. Florida Panthers: Top prospect Anthony Stewart has zero points in 10 games, but Jay Bouwmeester still hasn’t taken that final step to elite d-man status (22)\

\ 25. Phoenix Coyotes: David Aebischer went from preseason favorite to claim the No. 1 job to European exile (26)\

\ 24. Nashville Predators: They were banking on Alexander Radulov making the leap to stardom; they are still waiting (17)\

\ 23. Edmonton Oilers: Jarrett Stoll had 68 points two years ago; he has 52 since (28)\

\ 22. New York Islanders: After losing so much offense, Isles needed young guys like Sean Bergenheim and Jeff Tambellini (combined one goal in 35 games) to step forward (21)\

\ 21. Chicago Blackhawks: How many more chances is Sergei Samsanov (no goals, four points in 22 games) going to get in this league? (19)\

\ 20. Columbus Blue Jackets: Some young guys have not progressed, but David Vyborny has to produce more than two goals and 10 points (18)\

\ 19. Buffalo Sabres: The talent is undeniable, but five goals from Maxim Afinegenov? Five? (25)\

\ 18. Toronto Maple Leafs: Bryan McCabe and his hefty contract have become the poster boy for all whipping boys around the league (20)\

\ 17. Pittsburgh Penguins: The goaltending has been suspect and Mark Recchi was cut, but Jordan Staal’s sophomore slump has been critical (15)\

\ 16. St. Louis Blues: Doug Weight had only 11 points in 29 games before being traded to Anaheim (13)\

\ 15. Montreal Canadiens: Michael Ryder had 30 goals each of the past two seasons; he has three this year (16)\

\ 14. Philadelphia Flyers: Sami Kapanen is long past his days as an offensive force, but he has three goals and zero assists (12)\

\ 13. New York Rangers: Just about every forward has disappointed, but it has to start and the top with Jaromir Jagr’s seven goals and 22 points (10)\

\ 12. Anaheim Ducks: The checking guys (Sammy Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer) aren’t asked to score much, combining for 11 points is not enough (11)\

\ 11. Calgary Flames: Mikka Kiprusoff has a mega contract kicking in next year, but he has not been an elite netminder this year with a 2.89 GAA (22)\

\ 10. Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Hamilton looked like a free agent steal with 12 points in his first 14 games; he has three in the past 17 (3)\

\ 9. Minnesota Wild: Defenseman Kim Johnsson, he of the three straight years with double-digit goals before the lockout, has zero this season and is a minus-six (7)\

\ 8. Boston Bruins: They traded for Manny Fernandez and his $4.5 million salary, and he won two games before a season-ending knee injury (9)\

\ 7. Colorado Avalanche: Marek Svatos has rebounded a bit from last year with 10 goals, but one assist in 30 games? (14)\

\ 6. Vancouver Canucks: He is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, but Trevor Linden has five points and is having trouble getting in the lineup (5)\

\ 5. New Jersey Devils: Zach Parise has taken a major step forward; Travis Zajac (five goals, 15 points) has not (6)\

\ 4. San Jose Sharks: How this team is surging despite no player besides Joe Thornton having more than 15 points is crazy (and underscores how good Evgeni Nabakov has been), but former Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo has four goals in 28 games (8)\

\ 3. Dallas Stars: D-man Trevor Daley (one goal, seven points, minus-6) has not taken a step forward some predicted (4)\

\ 2. Ottawa Senators: A shoulder injury has slowed Patrick Eaves in what could have been a breakout campaign (2)\

\ 1. Detroit Red Wings: Must be nice when a goalie with a 2.52 GAA qualifies for this list, but Dominik Hasek is the closest there is to a disappointment on this roster (1)\

\ TROPHY HUNTING\

\ A look at who are the leading candidates (this week, anyway) for the NHL’s coveted individual hardware\

\ HART TROPHY\

\ 1. Jarome Iginla, Flames\ 2. Henrik Zetterberg, Red Wings\ 3. Vinny Lecavalier, Lightning\

\ CALDER TROPHY\

\ 1. Pat Kane, Blackhawks (his lead is shrinking though)\ 2. Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks\ 3. Tobias Enstrom, Thrashers\

\ VEZINA TROPHY\

\ 1. Evgeni Nabokov, Sharks\ 2. Roberto Luongo, Canucks\ 3. Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers\

\ JACK ADAMS TROPHY\

\ 1. Claude Julien, Bruins\ 2. Andy Murray, Blues\ 3. Mike Babcock, Red Wings (they are too good for him not to be in the mix)\

\ NORRIS TROPHY\

\ 1. Nicklas Listrom, Red Wings\ 2. Dion Phaneuf, Flames\ 3. Chris Pronger, Ducks\

\ GET TO KNOW …\

\ Washington Capitals defenseman Tom Poti\

\ Poti, a 30-year old Worcester, Mass. Native, is in his first season with the Caps. He was a third-round pick by Edmonton in the 1996 draft. After two seasons at Boston University, Poti made his NHL debut with the Oilers in 1998. He has 58 goals and 205 assists in 622 career games.\

\ Q: Favorite player?\ A: Ray Bourque\

\ Q: Favorite team?\ A: Boston Bruins\

\ Q: Favorite car?\ A: Dodge Viper\

\ Q: Favorite video game?\ A: Probably Super Mario Brothers, probably played that one the most\

\ Q: Favorite food?\ A: Pancakes\

\ Q: Favorite restaurant?\ A: Morton’s\

\ Q: Favorite goal?\ A: My rookie year against San Jose in overtime to clinch a playoff spot\

\ Q: Favorite rink to play in?\ A: The Fleet Center or whatever they call it now, because of playing in front of friends and family and I played there a lot in college\

\ Q: Biggest phobia?\ A: Probably getting old - I don’t want to get old\

\ — Corey Masisak

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