Free agent D-man Marc Andre-Bergeron received medical clearance to return to live action last week as he's missed all of this season with a knee injury.
Sources close to Bergeron tell me he considering multiple NHL offers as four teams have expressed interest in signing the power play specialist. Word is the four clubs are made up of two Western Conference teams as well as two from the East.
Bergeron expects to have a contract signed by the end of this week. He's likely to immediately report to the AHL and play a few games before we see him back in the National Hockey League.
Gutsy call on Pronger....
There's been a lot made of the recent unsportsmanlike penalty called on Flyers D-man Chris Pronger late last week against Calgary.
This was certainly the correct call as Pronger obviously waved his hand in front of the face of Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
Referee Ghislain Hebert deserves some props for having the guts to make a call like this in overtime. Not to mention the game was in Philadelphia's barn and involved a superstar player nonetheless. Hebert by the way works mostly in the American League and was called up to work the NHL game. Some veteran officials might not have had the “you know what” to make such a call which was guaranteed to draw as much attention as it did. Word is the NHL fully supported Hebert’s decision to make the call.
Pronger handled the post-game presser in typical Pronger fashion as he had his way with the Philadelphia media. Apparently Pronger was on his "A"game that day and must have been pretty funny considering the "media chuckle" was in full effect.
Are we slowly creeping back to the old NHL rules?
Is it just me or are NHL referees allowing more of the old stick-work, holding, and especially interference plays to go on without any infraction being called?
It appears the referees have loosened up some of the restrictions put in place coming out of the lockout. Remember back in 2005-2006 when virtually every game was loaded with hooking and interference penalties? Even if your stick touched an opposing player’s hip you were headed to the box for two minutes. More D-men are now getting away with pinching a player off on the wall and obstructing his path to the puck while his D-partner retrieves. On some nights this is an obvious interference call for a ref to make.
NHL referees are looking to find a balance where they aren't forced to blow the whistle every other minute and have an ongoing parade to the penalty box.
It's not hard to watch a game and see that the standards put in place coming out of the lockout have shifted. I don't have a huge problem with this as long as the game is being called consistently across the board throughout the league.
A good referee will probably wait and see what the result is before raising their right arm. If the infraction creates a scoring chance or gives one team a clear advantage then they are more likely to make the call.
If anything the rules have worked as the game is certainly quicker and better. NHL executives and scouts will tell you that much of the obstruction has been almost completely removed from the game at the junior level.
I really don’t understand why we hear so many big name players speculated in trade rumors at this point in the season. Why would Washington move Alexander Semin if they want to win the Stanley Cup this season? Same goes with Brad Richards of the Dallas Stars. Obviously Dallas is a better team with Richards in the lineup and they have every intention of making the playoffs.
Now if Dallas falls way out of the playoff race then that’s a different story. You can always try and move players at the draft if it doesn’t make sense during the season. Losing a player for nothing in free agency is a price most teams are willing to pay in exchange for a Stanley Cup. I don’t expect Semin to be leaving Washington anytime soon.
There's a decent chance Ottawa will part with D-man Chris Campoli for the right player in return.
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