Nichols’ Notes

Nichols’ Notes: Jagr Won’t Ask for Trade, Hartnell Hits 1000 Games Played

Nichols’ Notes: Jagr Won’t Ask for Trade, Hartnell Hits 1000 Games Played
Chris Nichols

Jaromir Jagr could certainly make for a good deadline acquisition, but would he ask the New Jersey Devils for a trade?

“I feel I don’t have to ask,” Jagr said on Monday. “If it is good for the team, I’m gone. If they feel like they’ve got a good offer, they’ll trade me. I don’t have to ask.”

Whatever happens, happens.

“I don’t pay attention to the deadline. I’m a professional. I just work even harder than I did before,” Jagr explained. “If I stay here, I stay here. If I don’t, I still have to be ready. If somebody trades for me they’ll expect me to be good. And if I stay here, I have to be good. So I have to work harder than ever to make sure I’m good.”

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What does Barry Trotz think his Washington Capitals could use before the trade deadline?

“I think we have a pretty good idea what we need,” Trotz said on Monday. “Now, how to acquire it …”

“I would tell you all of our needs but I’m not going to because then everybody will know and hold us hostage, so I will not tell you.”

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Really cool read with Tom Cochrane explaining some of what’s behind the song Big League.

“It is one of my most poignant songs, and I often say to people it’s the song I’m most proud of,” Cochrane said. “It’s a Canadian anthem. And it does resonate universally, but it’s still our story, you know? And that’s important to me.”

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Analyst Eddie Olczyk shared his insight into what he’s still seeing from Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa:

“I would say, offensively, it’s been an average year for Marian Hossa,” Olczyk said. “He’s had some bad luck as far as the goal-scoring part of it. But as far as his all-around game, he’s still a difference-maker. He made some plays (Sunday) in that game that very few players have the ability to make…. Marian Hossa is a complete player.

“He still has an impact on the game, and I don’t think you can put a price tag on it. I still think there are very few players who can make a difference in a game and have an impact on the game even if they’re not scoring, and that’s Marian Hossa.

“His impact is a lot greater on this team right now away from the offensive side of the puck. And that matters, especially when it comes playoff time. Defense wins, and when you’re able to have guys that are able to forecheck and put guy in positions with the puck and take away options, Marian Hossa’s still one of very few players that can do it.”

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Devan Dubnyk picked up NHL first star honors on Monday, which followed a week where more stellar play had earned him third star recognition.

Not too shabby after the onslaught of horror that was last season.

“It’s great,” Dubnyk said. “It’s exciting. It’s one of those things, I’ll probably try to sit down Wednesday and take a minute and really enjoy it, because we’ve got a couple big games coming up here.

“It’s nice to be talked about for the right reasons. It’s important to not change what I’m doing, but it’s also important to take some time on a day in between and really enjoy it.”

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With the news of Monday’s trade of Evgeni Nabokov from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the San Jose Sharks and Nabokov’s expected retirement announcement coming, Todd McLellan was happy to see things unfold this way.

“It goes back many, many years,” said McLellan. “He still lives in our community and I think it’s not only a great thing for Nabby, it’s a really good thing and classy thing by our organization and really good for the community. He’s part of it. He lives here, his kids are going to grow up now and play hockey here, and he deserves to be recognized with the honor that was awarded him today by coming back and becoming a Shark once again.”

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Scott Hartnell. 1000 NHL games.

And still somewhat of an old-timer, much like he observed when he was learning the ropes in Nashville.

“Yeah, I suppose I’m more of an old-school guy,” Hartnell said. “I’m not a guy who filters through Twitter or looks at the stats right after a game or drinks protein shakes instead of beer after a game. I’m not one of those guys.

“I was taught to appreciate what I have, what I’ve been given and what I’ve earned. This will be a special time here for me.”

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Speaking of that game tonight, Marian Gaborik headed into it ready to play in Columbus for the first time since being traded from the Blue Jackets to the Los Angeles Kings.

Any idea what kind of reception to expect from the home crowd?

“I can’t control it. We’ll see,” he said. “I’ve played in these situations before. I’m not really thinking about that. I know I’ve been hurt a lot. But I’ve done my job here.

“I waived my no-trade clause to come here, so I showed them that I wanted to come here. I hope the fans appreciated that. We’ll see. Leave it up to them.”

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A few weeks after the trade deadline last year, Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen offered this on Gaborik:

“He’s a good player. We had thought about it long and hard when we acquired him that we needed a little bit more skill. I think we still could use a a little bit more skill like Marian Gaborik has, but it just didn’t fit and it was time to move on because he was going to go to the unrestricted free agency.

“Our team is hard working, blue collar, grinding, in-your-face type of team and that’s our identity and we need 20 guys that are like that in our lineup.”

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Those Kekalainen comments then harken back to something Kings GM Dean Lombardi said months later, less than two weeks before winning another Stanley Cup. With Gaborik.

“Well, everybody forgot he was tutored by probably one of the best defensive coaches – I’m not taking anything away from Darryl – but I’m sure he has a lot of respect for Jacques Lemaire,” Lombardi began.

“And that’s the one thing about Marian that was very clear – that he knew what to do defensively. He’s as smart defensively as he is offensively, and he had been trained that way, and he had been trained that way, and he had also been trained that defense was a priority to the point where maybe there was that criticism out there to turn him loose. But Jacques Lemaire knows what wins. So he had been trained properly from a very young age, and those things.

“And, quite frankly, only in recent memory have you been getting European players that are maybe fascinating to watch but can be coined ‘one-way players.’ But traditionally, the European player has been a 200-foot player when you look at the Larionovs and the Fedorovs and the Hossas of the world. He had been schooled, and he would fall into that category even before he got to Minnesota.

“The thing about Marian…as much as you knew what he could do as a player, the most important thing was that this was a good teammate that was well-liked. Whenever you have a high profile player of his caliber, to get back that from other players that have played with him was huge. And you go back to that this guy cares. Now this is something that we can look at. But the biggest thing that makes that work, particularly over a short period, is the way those guys in the room went out of their way to embrace him. Jeff Carter grabbed him, said ‘You’re not staying in a hotel room. You’re coming to stay at my place.’ He lands in Winnipeg, the first guy that grabs him is Mike Richards. ‘Let’s go out for breakfast.’

“His acclimation, being part of this group is such a tribute to the guys in that room that embraced him right away, that made him feel a part of the family, and by virtue of that, impresses upon him, ‘Hey, this is the way we play here. Certain things have to be done. Now go do what few players can.’ “

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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