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NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Flames, Oilers, Maple Leafs, More – The Hockey Writers



In today’s NHL rumors, Max Pacioretty addresses rumors of a trade out of Vegas and in doing so, takes a bit of a shot at the Montreal market. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers have finally settled a lawsuit with a Dallas hotel. The Calgary Flames create a goaltending department and Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs comments on the team’s recent additions. Finally, there is news out of San Jose and Arizona.

Pacioretty Takes Shot at Montreal While Addressing Trade Rumors

As per David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Max Pacioretty addressed rumors that he might be moved by the Vegas Golden Knights to free up cap space. Noting he was unconcerned about whatever rumors exist Pacioretty said, “I played in Montreal for 10 years, so this is lightweight stuff.”

Vegas Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty (67) celebrates his goal against the Arizona Coyotes with Shea Theodore, left, during overtime of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. The Golden Knights won 3-2. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

While it might not have been meant as a shot towards the Montreal market, it kind of came off as such. He added when comparing this to what he went through in Montreal, “I’ve heard a lot worse…This is nothing.”

For those that don’t recall, Pacioretty was eventually dealt to Vegas in September 2018 for Nick Suzuki, Tomas Tatar, and a second-round pick. At the time, he’d denied wanting to be traded by the Montreal Canadiens but GM Marc Bergevin said Pacioretty had requested a trade. It was debated for months in Montreal and overtook conversations about the team that entire summer.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Der-Arguchintsev, Amirov, Marner & More

Oilers Settle Lawsuit With Dallas Hotel

Rick Westhead is reporting that the Edmonton Oilers have finally settled their lawsuit and financial dispute with a Dallas hotel that was suing the team for a bounced check. The Oilers are asking that the case be dismissed as the matter has been settled.

When the news of the lawsuit first went publick, Oilers SVP Tim Shipton said back on November 16th that the Oilers were dealing with many of the same issues every team in the NHL has with the pandemic. “We are working diligently through our business operations & attending to outstanding issues from the unexpected stoppage of last season,” he said. But, it wasn’t about not having the money. It was said to be a clerical error.

In other Oilers news, the team sent well wishes from Germany as the Oilers have recalled forward Dominik Kahun from his loan and he’s now en route to Edmonton.

And, Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer recently discussed the idea that the Oilers might be considering trading a depth forward for a defenseman before the season gets going. Stauffer spoke with Mark Spector and Drew Remenda, and suggested the Oilers might move out a forward who is in the last year of his deal who makes less than $2.5M for d-man with similar contract details.

That sounds an awful lot like Alex Chiasson.

Flames Create Goaltending Department

After the Florida Panthers did something similar earlier this week, the Calgary Flames announced today the creation and restructuring of their goaltending department.

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving
Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal)

Flames GM Brad Treliving said, “The goal and mission of this change is to provide us with the best process to identify, draft, develop, procure and coach goalies for the Calgary Flames.” He added, “We believe this structure and process will provide us with the best and deepest goaltending expertise throughout all parts of the organization.”

Jordan Sigalet has been named the Director of Goaltending, Jason Labarbera has been named the Flames Goaltending Coach, and Thomas Speer will continue to serve in his role as Development Goalie Coach with Calgary’s AHL affiliate in Stockton.

Pierre LeBrun reports, “The Flames, I’m told, have been looking at this for a year… Really smart in my mind to go this route.”

Karlsson Staying in Sweden

Chris Johnston of Sportnet is reporting that NHL Forward Melker Karlsson will not be returning to the NHL and has signed with Skelleftea AIK in Sweden for the rest of the 2020-21 season.

Karlsson had six goals and 12 points with the San Jose Sharks this past season and was UFA in 2020-21. He had been with the Sharks for the past six seasons but was seemingly squeezed out of the NHL thanks to a tighter salary cap and opted for a guaranteed contract that came with playing in Sweden.

On Tuesday, Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs joined Tim and Sid to talk about the upcoming 2021 NHL season. Hoping that the season gets under way without further delay, he noted he’s excited about the team’s recent additions and said specifically that he’s looking forward to skating with NHL veteran Joe Thornton.

Noting that former teammate Patrick Marleau has told countless stories about Thornton, despite his reputation for being serious about winning and losing, Thornton is someone who likes to keep everything “light” and have a great time. Marner said “he seems like just an unbelievable dude.”

Coyotes Officially Hire Cory Stillman

As per a story broken by Craig Morgan and the confirmed by the Arizona Coyotes, the team has officially hired hired Cory Stillman to be an assistant coach. With that, the Coyotes coaching staff is now complete.

GM Bill Armstrong said of the decision to hire Stillman: “We are very pleased to have Cory join Rick Tocchet‘s coaching staff.” He added:

“Cory was a great player who won back to back Stanley Cups during his career. He is a very good coach who has a strong work ethic and a passion for the game. I’m confident that our players and staff will benefit from his knowledge, insight and expertise.”

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Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins explains excitement in adding Steven Matz –



Statistically, Steven Matz was at his worst in a lot of ways last year.

In a pandemic-abridged season, Matz posted a 9.68 ERA (44 ERA+), 7.76 FIP and 1.696 WHIP. He also finished in the bottom six percentile in exit velocity allowed, hard-hit percentage and expected batting average.

So for those seeking positives in the aftermath of Matz joining the Toronto Blue Jays from the New York Mets via trade, they’ll have to look a bit closer.

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins certainly has, and he explained his excitement for adding Matz during Thursday morning’s Lead Off show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

“We’re excited about his ability to get swing-and-miss, we’re excited about the power to his stuff,” Atkins said. “Incredibly hard working, incredible teammate.”

We can’t quantify Matz’s work ethic or value as a teammate just yet, but Atkins makes a point about the on-the-mound qualities. Matz’s average fastball velocity was 94.5 m.p.h. last season, which was his highest since his debut season in 2015 and nearly two ticks higher than league average.

From a swing-and-miss standpoint, his 23.4 whiff rate lagged behind league average (26.8), but he sported a 32.6 whiff rate on change-ups. Some combination of above-average fastball velocity and a missable change-up could be a recipe for a rebound.

There’s also this: in 2020, every offering from Matz’s four-pitch mix had a higher weighted on base average (wOBA) than expected — which isn’t a good thing for pitchers. That’s been the case for most of his career, as his total wOBA has exceed his xwOBA in five of six seasons.

Clearly the Blue Jays see some things they like, and Atkins believes there’s room for Matz to succeed on this roster.

“I’m excited to have (our personnel) try to put this guy in a position to have success,” Atkins said. “Guys who can get major league hitters to swing and miss at a good clip and don’t walk a lot of guys, there’s a place for them on every team. On every team. And hopefully we can be a part of his continued growth and development and continuing to get better.”

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Quick Reaction: Bucks 115, Raptors 108 – Raptors Republic



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A. Baynes22 MIN, 11 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 5-12 FG, 1-7 3FG, 0-0 FT, 3 BLK, 0 TO, -12 +/-

I think someone needs to mock up one of those Spiderman pointing memes with Aaron Baynes and Brook Lopez, because the big Aussie was letting them fly tonight. Baynes looked the most comfortable he has in a Raptor uniform all season, but perhaps that was a bit too comfortable? He provided his team with some nice offense in the first half, but one could argue he was open as much as he was for a reason. However, his screen setting, ability to clog driving lanes and rebounding supplemented his night nicely.

N. Powell40 MIN, 26 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 8-13 FG, 5-7 3FG, 5-6 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -10 +/-

He’s on a roll. Powell played with the aggression that Raps fans have come to adore him for, taking every inch of space the Bucks defence gave him in this game. The Raptors have picked up their pace of play over the past few contests, which seems to be fuelling Norm’s impact on the offensive end of the court. More transition opportunities and quicker ball movement are what Norm thrives on, and he was in his happy place tonight.

F. VanVleet38 MIN, 10 PTS, 5 REB, 10 AST, 4 STL, 3-17 FG, 2-11 3FG, 2-2 FT, 3 BLK, 2 TO, 1 +/-

Fred had an awful night shooting the ball, going 3/17 from the field. However, he did do a solid job of facilitating on offense, setting up his teammates for some great looks. But as a top 3 usage guy on the team, we need to see more out of a player who shoots the ball as much as he did. Shot selection was bleak for VanVleet, and that’s just not going to cut it for a guy who’s relied on so heavily by his team to score each night.

K. Lowry37 MIN, 21 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 7-12 FG, 6-8 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, -17 +/-

Looking to bounce back from the lackluster showing in Indiana, Kyle seemed to be almost back to himself on Wednesday evening. He ummed and ahhed his way through the first 3 quarters, but really dialed up the intensity in the 4th. Despite his average playmaking, he shot the ball incredibly well from deep, nailing 6 triples on the night. A couple charges drawn, a couple shoulder down drives, and a couple… oh no, make that 10,000 points for Lowry in a Raptor uniform.

P. Siakam35 MIN, 11 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 5-12 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -17 +/-

Siakam was impactful in this one for little bursts, attacking the paint with a spin move, or getting himself a good shot off an iso move, but then you forgot he was out there. He was great some of the time tonight, but in order for this team to be competitive against stiff competition like Milwaukee, he needs to be consistent. It just wasn’t there during all four quarters for Spicy P tonight, and his team struggled to put points on the board because of it.

T. Davis19 MIN, 8 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 3-9 FG, 2-6 3FG, 0-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 4 +/-

TD was pretty serviceable while he was out there tonight. Nailed a couple threes, played tough D, but wasn’t the most efficient, doing it at a 33% clip.

Y. Watanabe13 MIN, 5 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-5 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

Man it’s fun to watch this guy play. He played some really strong minutes off the bench this evening, showing off his smooth looking jumpers on a few occasions. Yuta usually brings multiple things with him to the table, and tonight was no different. Great hustle, great D, great shooting. Nothing crazy, but still very valuable stuff.

C. Boucher13 MIN, 10 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-9 FG, 2-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 2 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

After a red-hot offensive start to the season, Slim Duck seems to be cooling off a bit. Boucher’s shot looked pretty bad tonight, especially when he hoisted them up from three. He usually counteracts subpar shooting nights with great D, but his rim protection wasn’t as noticeable tonight as it’s been in games past.

S. Johnson13 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 2-4 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -3 +/-

As what should come as a surprise to no one who’s been watching this team all season, Stanimal played excellent defense tonight, severely limiting Giannis’s impact. Of course, stopping the Greek Freak was a team effort, but I would wager that his stat line would’ve looked dramatically different without Johnson draped all over him. Stan also hit a couple key shots which makes him that much easier to keep on the floor for Nick Nurse.

Nick Nurse

Nurse had a good game plan to stop Giannis, and that was effective, until the fourth quarter began. He got his club to fight tooth and nail to compete in this one, but Milwaukee just had more warm bodies out there tonight, with Middleton and Holiday showing up as real co-stars to their 7 foot Greek counterpart.

Things We Saw

  1. As bleak as it is to celebrate a loss, the compete level we saw from Toronto tonight was easily that of a Playoff team. You have to think that if this team stays committed on the defensive end and is able to stay healthy, that they’ll be in a good position to secure a playoff spot come the end of the season.
  2. How about Norman Powell? What a roller coaster of a career for a dude who didn’t play a year and a half ago, who’s stayed the turbulent course of the NBA to find himself thriving in this new starting role. Powell has been the Raptors most consistent option on offense during the past few games, and he might have won himself the starting role for good because of it.
  3. A moment of silence, followed by a loud round of applause for Kyle Lowry, who moved into 3rd all-time in franchise scoring for the Toronto Raptors, passing Vince Carter and scoring his 10,000th franchise point for the Dinos tonight. KLOE now trails only Chris Bosh and his best bud Demar DeRozan on the Raps scoring totem pole.

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Vendée Globe Skipper Who Had Close Call with Bulk Carrier Collides With Fishing Boat – gCaptain –



A Vendée Globe skipper who just days ago had a close call with a bulk carrier off the Azores has now been involved in a collision with a fishing boat, his team has informed.

“At 19:50h UTC this evening, while racing in third place, some 90 miles from the Vendée Globe finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne, German skipper Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) was in collision.
He reports damage to his starboard foil and some other damage, but he is unharmed, has secured the boat and is proceeding towards the finish line at reduced speed,” according to an emailed statement from his team.

An update on the Vendée Globe website said the collision was with a fishing boat.

Herrmann addressed the collision in a video during which he said he was asleep before the collision. He also questioned why his alarms did not alert him to the other vessel, raising the question that perhaps the fishing vessel was not broadcasting AIS.

 “I have never experienced anything like this at sea before,” Herrmann said, “but the most important thing is that no one was hurt.”

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The incident comes just a few days after Herrmann reported that he had to convince the captain of a bulk carrier to give-way as the two were seemingly on a collision course. The bulker did eventually turn to starboard, giving way to Herrmann’s sailboat.

In the previous incident, Herrmann said he was in communication with the ship but that the captain needed some convincing to give-way. “As if we didn’t have enough stress, this adds to the stress. Half an hour of checking, convincing him. ‘Get out of my way, I’m a sailboat. I have right of way!’ Ha!,” he said, recalling the event.

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