Rink Rats! Cheechoo/Gordon/Guerin
Would you take a chance on Jonathan Cheechoo?
Here’s a guy who has basically fizzled out of the league after scoring 56 goals just a few short seasons ago. Word is he stopped committing himself off the ice after he got married and his game suffered as a result. As the NHL got faster, Cheechoo appeared to get slower and before you knew it he was basically begging for a job.
His North American options were scarce but sources tell me he turned down a multi-million dollar offer to take his game to Russia this season. Now Cheechoo would gladly accept the league minimum just to get another chance in the NHL.
Cheechoo is 14 games into a 25 game AHL tryout with the Worcester Sharks, the farm team for San Jose. So far he’s receiving a decent amount of ice time playing out of position. His natural position is on the wing but he’s been able to score five goals playing in the middle. Word is San Jose GM Doug Wilson has not ruled out the idea of signing Cheechoo to a contract at some point this season. Wilson is pretty much doing Cheechoo a favor by giving him a platform to showcase his ability.
Right now a team could basically have the 30 year old for nothing. San Jose doesn’t own him beyond 25 games and they’ve told him they won’t get in the way if a team comes looking to sign him. Look for San Jose to sign him to another 25 games if he’s left without any options. Considering you don’t have to give up anything to get him and you’d only have to pay him a pro-rated minimum contract, would you take a chance if you were looking to add scoring?
Speaking to someone with firsthand knowledge of the New York Islanders situation… I’m told the players turned on Head Coach Scott Gordon and basically quit playing for him. Things weren’t going to improve until a change was made. The system implemented by Gordon has been described to me as one that’s very effective in the minors but rarely works in the NHL. If you watch how poor the Islanders have been in the third period you can easily see the lack of energy and inspiration in their game. A heavy puck pressure game can work against you in the NHL considering how good opposing players are at handling the pressure. It can be very taxing trying to play that style of hockey for three full periods. Word is Gordon was too stubborn to change which ultimately cost him his job.
Word is Capitals GM George McPhee believes his club is one D-man away from getting over the hump. Look for Washington to go after a name D-man at or before the trade deadline.
Don’t be shocked to learn Billy Guerin accepts a position with the Pittsburgh Penguins before too long.
Former Canucks forward Ryan Johnson continues to skate in Thunder Bay, Ontario waiting for his phone to ring. As we sit right now, Johnson is not considering Europe or retirement.
More to come,
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