Nichols’ Notes

Nichols’ Notes: Sakic Sees O’Reilly as Part of Avalanche’s Core

Nichols’ Notes: Sakic Sees O’Reilly as Part of Avalanche’s Core
Chris Nichols

Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic reiterated on Saturday what we heard from Patrick Roy earlier in the week concerning one Ryan O’Reilly.

As in don’t look for a trade involving the hard-working center.

“I don’t want to trade Ryan,” Sakic said. “The plan right now? No. Never say never. I don’t believe anybody’s untouchable. We’re not in a position to say we have one untouchable. If there’s a deal that’s going to improve our organization, we would look to do something. But with that being said, I don’t want to trade any of our core.”

Sakic also noted that “Ryan is part of our core. My intention is that at the end of the year I want to try and re-sign him. That will be the goal with Ryan. That being said, we’re not going to want that same distraction going on all year next season, either. But he’s a guy I want to have here. And hopefully we can work something out this summer.”

Roy, you may recall, admitted the team has explored trade possibilities for O’Reilly as a simply prudent business practice, but has no desire whatsoever to actually move him.

“ 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: Frei/ Post

Source: LeBrun/ ESPN

Source: Nichols on Hockey/ KKFN 104.3


Interesting perspective from former NHL GM Jay Feaster on the trade deadline, who points out how critical it is for a GM to know his locker room when making deals.

Chemistry… glue guys… those are real things.

He recalled being on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s team bus the afternoon he acquired Darryl Sydor at the 2004 deadline.

“I was in the front seat right behind the driver,” Feaster said. “Our captain, Dave Andreychuk, got on, looked at me, put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed my shoulder. He was just nodding his head with a very serious look on his face.

“I’ve always said, it was right then and there that was the captain saying, ‘This is good for the room; the boys like this.’ ”

That turned into, incidentally, the Lightning’s Cup-winning season.

Source: Smith/ Times


These days leading into the annual trade deadline are not easy for anyone involved in the sport, particularly those who could be dealt.

“This is a very difficult time for players, no matter where your team is at,” St. Louis Blues bench boss Ken Hitchcock said. “There’s players who are looking at their Twitter accounts every 15 minutes, there’s a lot of talk going on in the room that’s non-preparation talk.

“I think as a coach, whatever happens, you’d just like to get on to Monday, get past it, so you can get playing again. There’s so much discussion and the buildup is so strong that it’s hard to keep everybody’s focus.”

Source: Rutherford/ Post-Dispatch



To deal or not to deal. That is the question.

How to arrive at the answer differs, from the perspective of a coach versus a general manager.

“I always do the same thing each and every year,” Detroit Red Wings head coach Babcock said. “You put together what you think can help your team and then it’s between the pro scouts and the general manger to weigh the costs and the help now and the damage later. And I don’t think like that. I just think like a coach, so I try not to worry about that. I try to live right here, right now in the present.

“This is where my job’s much different than Kenny’s job. And it’s the same as the last day in training camp. I just want to win tomorrow and he wants to build an organization. So these are hard decisions. We like winning, we like winning now, but we like winning every year. We’re kind of greedy that way. Hard decisions.”

Source: Khan/ Michigan Live


Eddie Lack says he learned a lot about mental toughness last season, along with the importance of staying on an even keel.

Fellow Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom has seen it first-hand.

“You saw what he went through (last season),” said Markstrom. “It can either bury you or you can learn from it. You’re going to face adversity. The quicker you bounce back from it, the longer you’re to be in this league.”

Source: Willes/ Province


Russian hockey legend Igor Larionov penned a strong piece recently pointing to the dearth of creativity in the NHL.

“The problem is more philosophical and starts way before players get to the NHL,” surmised Larionov. “It’s easier to destroy than to create. As a coach, it’s easier to tell your players to suffocate the opposing team and not turn the puck over. There are still players whose imagination and creativity capture the Soviet spirit — Johnny Gaudreau in Calgary, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in Chicago just to name a few. However, they are becoming exceptions to the rule. Many young players who are intelligent and can see the game four moves ahead are not valued. They’re told “simple, simple, simple.”

Larionov believes that if Pavel Datsyuk hadn’t had Scotty Bowman as a coach when Datsyuk entered the league (“Bowman had the wisdom to see his potential”), it’s entirely possible Datsyuk would be a KHL star today instead of plying his trade in the NHL.

“In Russia right now, there are four or five Datsyuks playing in the KHL who never got their chance,” claimed Larionov. “Sergei Mozyakin led the KHL in scoring last season and was in the scoring race for most of his 20s. But he’s 33 now and nobody in America has ever heard of him. Why? Most North American coaches don’t have the patience for his style of play.

“I roll my eyes whenever I hear people talk about how fast the game is now and how sophisticated the systems have become. Watching the game, does it really seem much faster? Does it really seem more advanced? We had a saying in the Soviet days that I wish more coaches and scouts would adopt today: It’s not how fast you skate, it’s how fast you think.”

Source: Larionov/ The Players’ Tribune


On that same creativity front, Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett offered some observations on Sam Gagner.

“Skilled players, they have to have some rope to make skilled plays and every coach recognizes that,” coach Dave Tippett said. “But sometimes you have to execute things that enable you to win, and that’s where Sam has had some plays this year where his execution in those spots hasn’t been as good as it needs to be. … It’s that fine balance all the time. You want your skilled players to be creative, have the ability to make good plays. But there’s things that happen during the game where it doesn’t matter if you’re a skilled player or a non-skilled player, you’re expected to make plays at times that help your team win.”

Source: McLellan/ azcentral


It has been one year since Carey Price did his part for Team Canada in its stellar gold medal run at the Olympics, and the goaltender has been winning a lot of games for the Montreal Canadiens since then.

“I got the opportunity (in Sochi) to see how several captains of other teams conduct themselves and prepare themselves for games,” Price said. “The calmness they project in a locker room is something that maybe I took notice of.”

Source: Stubbs/ Gazette


One of the less appreciated aspects of the Nashville Predators’ success may be the relationship between head coach Peter Laviolette and veteran forward Matt Cullen.

The duo won a Cup together in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes.

“When I came here, I was really glad Matt was here,” Laviolette said. “Any time you experience something with players and go through what we did in 2006, there’s always a connection, there will always be that bond. Those were special times. You keep those relationships maybe more so than others. It’s not often a coach and player can be together almost 10 years after an experience like that.

“I lean on Matt a lot. There’s not a lot of guys in our room with Stanley Cup experience, and Matt is one of them. He’s played great for us. He’s a multi-functional player, I depend on his versatility to play a lot of different roles, and as you become more seasoned as a player, you’ve got to be able to keep your speed and that’s still his greatest asset.”

Source: Russo/ Star Tribune


Over the weekend, Predators GM David Poile addressed his team’s mindset.

“It’s confidence, but also fully aware that we’re yet to accomplish anything,” Poile said. “We’re a team that hasn’t made the playoffs the last two years, so we’re happy to be where we are and we’re very appreciative to be back in the playoffs. We’re also totally aware that we aren’t entitled to anything.

“Everything that we’ve got to this point, we worked hard to earn. Nobody gave it to us and certainly no one is going to give us anything down the stretch or in the playoffs. So as good as it is today, we’ve got to earn it. It’s just like being in the Army; you’ve got to earn your stripes every day. We got here though hard work and a lot of skill and belief in each other. That’s turned into some really good confidence and it totally has been that team effort.”

Source: Willis/

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 and He launched 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.

More in Nichols’ Notes

NHL: MAR 02 Hurricanes at Blackhawks

Nichols’ Notes: Timonen Savoring ‘Every Second’ Of Comeback

Chris NicholsMarch 19, 2015
NHL: JUN 27 2014 NHL Draft

Nichols’ Notes: Red Wings’ Prospect Larkin Draws Rave Reviews

Chris NicholsMarch 18, 2015
NHL: MAR 29 Sharks at Avalanche

Nichols’ Notes: Wilson Won’t Ask Thornton To Waive NTC

Chris NicholsMarch 17, 2015
NHL: MAR 14 Wild at Blues

Nichols’ Notes: New App Lets You Train Like A Wild Player

Chris NicholsMarch 16, 2015
NHL: JAN 28 Penguins at Capitals

Nichols’ Notes: Holtby’s Key To Success for Capitals

Chris NicholsMarch 15, 2015

Nichols’ Notes: Leafs’ Season of Chaos No Surprise

Chris NicholsMarch 12, 2015

Nichols’ Notes: Kucherov’s ‘Fork-In-the-Road Moment’ for Lightning

Chris NicholsMarch 11, 2015

Nichols’ Notes: Brodeur likes Price’s Charisma and Swagger

Chris NicholsMarch 10, 2015

Nichols’ Notes: Luongo Recounts Unusual Return Against Maple Leafs

Chris NicholsMarch 9, 2015


Slapshot on Facebook

Slapshot On Twitter

Copyright © 2014 Today’s Slapshot, All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Use/Privacy | Copyright | Site Map | About Us | Authors | Contact Us