Nichols’ Notes

Nichols’ Notes: Avalanche Still Want to Keep Ryan O’Reilly

Nichols’ Notes: Avalanche Still Want to Keep Ryan O’Reilly
Chris Nichols

Patrick Roy admitted on Thursday morning that the Avalanche has looked into Ryan O’Reilly trade scenarios, but the overall message was one of the team fully intending to keep the player.

“Every night I’ve been using him a lot,” began Roy. “Yes, I use him on important faceoffs, penalty killing, power play, 5-on-5, against top lines. I’m having a lot of trust in him. I’d be very surprised if we do a trade with Ryan O’Reilly.

“The contract dispute to me is just the business side. For me as a coach, I push that aside. It’s not even important. Even for Joe, we’re not making a big deal out of that. I know that it seems to be a big deal, but obviously when you see a guy like him becoming UFA at the end of next year… it forced Joe to look into it. But it’s not in our intention to move Ryan O’Reilly. Actually, we’d love to see Ryan O’Reilly be an Avalanche for a long time. Joe has spoke to his agent a bit in the last few days and yes we’d like to have Ryan signing a long-term deal.

“… It’s a tough business. Gretzky’s been traded. I’ve been traded. Trades are always part of – unfortunately they are part of the game. But I don’t see how we could trade a guy like him right now, quite honestly. He’s part of the core of the team. We like him a lot. That line’s been playing really well. We’re very happy with that. Even if we don’t have the season that we want, we like the core of this team. We believe in the core of this team and I don’t see us making huge change in the core of our team.”

Source: Nichols on Hockey/ 104.3

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Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis has no interest in trading Jordan Staal.

“I remember reading an article with Ken Holland a while ago, and he talked about the importance of good veteran guys, good leaders. We’ve got some good young pieces, but you can’t just throw them to the wolves. You have to have support around them,” said Francis.

“Listen, Wayne Gretzky got traded, so there’s always a chance that anybody gets traded. But for me, these are good pieces for our team; you see them out there, they’re 6-foot-4, heavy, they can play with the puck down low and they’re hard to defend. Teams are looking for those kinds of players and we have them. I’d much rather keep them than move them.’’

Source: LeBrun/ ESPN

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Barry Trotz brought up an interesting point about the impact of a trade on a team’s makeup which can often be overlooked by fans hungry for deadline day additions.

“It may make us that much better, but if you’re taking out a guy who’s been totally invested all year to get that much better, maybe you’re not getting as good as you think, or someone’s who’s been invested all the time, they’re going to give you everything they have,” Trotz said. “We’ve talked about that, because they can jam things up when you have too many of the same guys if you will, in terms of the same types of roles. It can jam things up. When you add a player it affects two others, because someone is either going to get moved down or out. It affects your team chemistry a little bit, but if you get the right fit, it’s pretty seamless sometimes.”

Source: Prewitt/ Post

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Steve Yzerman would like to add a right-shot defenseman for his Tampa Bay Lightning, but if this deal even happens it may come right down to the deadline.

“Right now I’m finding there are very few teams in the selling mode and there are very few players, specifically what we want,” Yzerman said. “At this point, the teams that I’ve talked to seem willing to wait a little longer to see if they can get a better deal as we get a little closer to the deadline.”

Source: Jones/ Times

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How much does the speculation about Claude Julien’s future with the Boston Bruins impact the head coach?

“I’ve got to come in here and do my job,” Julien said. “It doesn’t matter what other people think, and I’m talking about whether upper management thinks there needs to be a change or whatever. Those things don’t matter to me. What matters to me is I have to come in and do a job here. Whatever they decide, they can decide. It really doesn’t matter to me. If they think I can do the job, that’s great. If they don’t think that the job was done to the expectations that it should have been done, that’s their prerogative.

“But those things don’t even faze me the least bit. Trust me when I say that,” Julien continued. “I’m here, I’m happy, I’m doing my job, I’m working with players and people around me I enjoy working with, and when that doesn’t suffice anymore, then we move on. That’s the life of a coach.”

Source: Zolak and Bertrand/ CBS Boston

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The Detroit Red Wings may well acquire a veteran defenseman by Monday’s deadline, but the caveat – for any team – remains the same.

“I think every team would like to upgrade,” Red Wings director of pro scouting Mark Howe said, “but at what cost? There are only seven picks in a draft. I have a lot of confidence in our players and their ability. Marchy has done a good job. Ouellet can play. I know Jakub Kindl can play.”

Source: St. James/ Free Press

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Dean Lombardi provided some great insight into the Los Angeles Kings’ acquisition of Andrej Sekera on Wednesday.

“So, factoring that into the price we paid – yes, it’s a steep price, factoring through the things we had to analyze with Voynov and things – but when it comes down to it, it comes down to your players. Given how far they’ve gone the last few years and the way they responded to adversity, I think that lends itself to being more aggressive. If this was a team that maybe had gone out in the first round the last couple years or whatever, you back off. I don’t know if it’s the right word, but what they’ve accomplished and the way they keep fighting through, it’s almost like you owe it to ‘em. I think that’s what your level of aggressiveness gets in terms of what you pay and the moving parts that are involved overall in terms of the Voynov situation. … If they hadn’t done what they’ve done here in the last three years, like I said, they deserve it.”

Source: Rosen/ LA Kings Insider

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And now that the Kings have Voynov, team exec Mike Futa explained on Thursday the mindset of the team as far as a potential future with the club beyond this season.

“So we’re adding a player that sitting in Carolina was looking at a tremendous payday in the off-season,” noted Futa. “Now he’s coming into a bit of a pressure-cooker.  He’s going to be challenged. He’s only played in eight playoff games and there’s going to be pressure on him, which he wants – which he wants and we’re looking forward to evaluating how he handles the pressure.

“He’s probably – he’s going to write his own ticket as far as whether he’s available on the market or whether he’s comfortable here and whether we’re comfortable paying it.

“But we’ve got to wait to see how things unfold with Slava away from the rink. That being said, you can never have enough good defensemen. If he fits the mold and fits what we’re talking about here, then we’ll find a way to keep him here.”

Source: Nichols on Hockey/ Sportsnet

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Coyotes head equipment manager Stan Wilson has seen a lot of trade deadlines come and go, which can lead to hectic times on the equipment front for him and his staff.

They also try to ease that initial transition process for the outgoing Coyotes.

“It’s a tough day for that guy,” Wilson said. “His whole life changed in a matter of minutes. Most of us, we have a job change we have months or weeks. They have minutes. So it’s tough for them, so we just try to get them set up the best we can.”

Source: McLellan/ azcentral

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Gary Bettman addressed a number of issues on Wednesday evening, including legalizing sports gambling and its place in the NHL.

“This is a lot bigger deal to basketball and football because that’s where the bulk of the money is bet,” said the NHL commissioner. “For us, if you look at the Las Vegas take, we’re at about 1 percent. That has nothing to do with the popularity as it does the nature of the game and how susceptible it is to betting on it.

“My bigger concern if there is going to be a discussion going on is twofold. One, what is the imagery? What is the statement we want to make about sports and professional athletes? Should young people who idolize athletes and focus on sports view it as a betting vehicle or view it as something different, more akin to what it’s been?   That’s a concern to me.

“And secondly, there is a concern about the environment in the building. There’s nothing wrong with race tracks, but I don’t like that atmosphere compared to the atmosphere we try to have in our buildings with our fans, particularly a lot of young people. My view leans more towards the essence of sport than to betting itself.”

Source: Gormley/ CSN Washington

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Mike Babcock is looking for Riley Sheahan to step up offensively for the Detroit Red Wings, particularly with Henrik Zetterberg sidelined.

“He’s got an absolute bomb and he’s got great hands, so let’s score,” Babcock said. “Let’s put it upon yourself to be a scorer as well. You got to dig in, you got to play with more pace. He has all those things.

“With him it’s confidence. You got to earn the right to feel that way, so it’s going to take him time.”

Source: Khan/ MLive

Nichols’ Notes
Chris Nichols

Chris has written about both hockey and fantasy hockey for a number of media outlets over the last 14 years, including a combined decade with Sportsnet.ca and ESPN.com. He launched NicholsOnHockey.com in February of 2014. An aversion to wearing socks sparked a move from his hometown of Edmonton to San Diego, California in the mid-’90s, and the Oilers have not won a Cup in his absence.

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