The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired left-wing depth in the form of Alex Galchenyuk in a Family Day trade with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Heading to Carolina is Russian prospect Egor Korshkov, who appeared in one NHL game for the Leafs in 2019-20 and scored in that game, as well as AHL veteran defenseman David Warsofsky.
While Warsofsky’s inclusion is a case of off-loading a Standard Player Contract, the cost of Korshkov is not something to entirely write off as a nothing piece in the deal; he was a unique prospect in the system with his size (6’4), and he flashed some offensive ability with the Marlies (16 goals in 44 games) and in his one appearance with the Leafs (as well as some promising camp performances). He’s also tallied 16 goals in 53 games this season in the KHL. While the situation with Covid and Korshkov spending the year in Europe meant he didn’t appear in camp this year, Korshkov looked like he could have a future with an NHL team and bring a hard-to-play-against element to a team’s fourth line if he does indeed come back overseas.
Worth noting here is that Galchenyuk cleared waivers today, meaning he can be shuffled back and forth to the taxi squad for the next 30 days without being exposed to the other 30 NHL clubs. He carried more value having cleared waivers already than he would’ve previously. He also is not bound to 14-day quarantine restrictions as he was last a part of the Senators organization before he was included in yesterday’s trade that sent Cedric Paquette to Carolina in exchange for Ryan Dzingel (Galchenyuk never crossed the Canada-U.S. border).
Toronto is the sixth stop for Galchenyuk since the former third overall pick in 2012 left Montreal for Arizona in 2017-18 as part of the Max Domi trade. He headed to Pittsburgh as part of the Phil Kessel trade the next season before spending time in Minnesota, Ottawa, and technically belonging to the Canes organization for 24 hours.
Alex Galchenyuk has now been traded 5 times in his career:
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) February 16, 2021
A 30-goal scorer in 2015-16 and a two-time 19-goal scorer (in his final season in Montreal and lone season in Arizona), Galchenyuk has two 50+ point seasons and two 40+ seasons to his name. With three different teams since 2019-20, however, he’s tallied just nine goals and 25 points in 67 games.
Galchenyuk has a skill set and shooting ability that belie the trajectory his career has taken over the past few years. Since rumours of off-ice and character issues plagued him in Montreal, he’s struggled to make the consistent impact required to really catch with any of his last five teams. He got off to a good early start in Ottawa, where he scored an impressive goal on the power-play, but he followed it up with too many games where you had to double-check the score sheet to see if he played.
Friend of the site, Callum Fraser, summed up his stint in Ottawa like so:
He was impressive in his first couple of games. Thought he would turn into a PP1 mainstay – wired a couple in just first game, one of them a goal, bar down – but he fizzled after that. On the power play, I specifically remember him whiffing on three perfect passes on his final game. At 5v5, he disappears too often. Think he was feeling the pressure the past few games, because he was far more aggressive and active at even strength, but not enough to save him apparently. Still carries a lot of potential, but he’s disengaged too much.
– Callum Fraser of NHL.com on Galchenyuk’s short stint in Ottawa
That last sentence has largely been the story with the 27-year-old in his recent tours around the league, and you wonder when the urgency to save his career is going to really kick in. Playing at around a 30 or 35-point pace in scoring situations isn’t good enough if the engagement level and overall impact in terms of his 200-foot play isn’t a net positive.
The Leafs will likely put Galchenyuk in a prime opportunity to succeed with their space on the left wing. Expect him to receive a few opportunities next to John Tavares and William Nylander, as well as on power-play unit #2. At a minimum, Galchenyuk should have plenty of motivation to prove two former teams of his (Montreal, Ottawa) wrong in this Canadian division.
Jimmy Vesey and Alex Barabanov have not staked a firm enough claim to a LW spot for the Leafs not to go seeking other alternatives, and the team was understandably looking to improve on its scoring depth, as it has often looked like a two-line (or one-and-a-half line) team in terms of its offensive production at 5v5.
Galchenyuk makes $1.05 million this year before he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Why Aaron Rodgers got away with a fine and three Buccaneers got banned – The Globe and Mail
Aaron Rodgers flaunts the NFL/NFLPA coronavirus protocols and gets a fine that barely shows up in his paycheque.
Antonio Brown and two others do the same and get three-game suspensions.
It’s complicated, but in some ways it’s also pretty simple why the Packers quarterback was fined US$14,650, a sum negotiated between the league and the players’ union while developing the COVID-19 protocols. And why Brown, teammate Mike Edwards and former Buccaneers player John Franklin III took a much bigger hit for falsifying vaccination documents.
Rodgers was fined for not wearing a mask in some instances, at a Halloween party and during press conferences. A joint investigation by the NFL and union revealed that he was wearing a mask at other points and complied with the protocols.
Rodgers did mislead the public and the media, but he informed the club – which told the NFL – and his teammates of his status. Indeed, everyone in his ecosystem was aware he was not vaccinated, and he was testing for COVID-19 daily, and social distancing at the team facility. It was those exceptions when he did not do so that led to the fine.
The Packers were nailed for US$300,000 for their lack of oversight in the Rodgers case. Whether that indicates complicity by the organization is a matter of debate.
Tampa Bay was not fined, though it loses an important defensive back in Edwards for part of the stretch run, and doesn’t have Brown, who has missed the past five games with an ankle injury. He also sat out the Bucs’ Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams after testing positive for COVID-19.
The actions of Brown, Edwards and Franklin began during the summer and, according to a person familiar with the case, “were acting like they were vaccinated when they were not.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the players’ specific violations have not been announced.
“The league wanted to make an example of these three,” the person said, “and wanted to suspend them six to eight games and they settled on three.”
The agreement was the players would take the three-game suspensions for repeated protocol violations, not appeal, and there would be no public statements about the fake vaccination cards.
Another person with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press that all three players now are vaccinated.
“These players put all of their people at risk, and themselves and family members, their teammates and team personnel,” the person said, also speaking on condition of anonymity. “They were not wearing masks when they [needed to] and were not tested every day, acting as if they were vaccinated.”
All 32 NFL teams were visited during training camp last summer and advised of the updated COVID-19 protocols. As early as July 22 the league made a presentation to the clubs to be on the lookout for fake vaccination cards, and noted to the teams the potential for that to happen based on media reports of people buying fake cards. The NFL even placed within the slide presentation the logo of the FBI, stressing that acquiring and using a fake vaccination card is a law enforcement issue that could lead to jail time.
And the players’ association made sure all of its members were aware that they actually falsified a federal document if they had a bogus vaccination document.
However, the protocols do not outline discipline for such a violation. Thus, the negotiations between the league and union that led to the three-game dockings.
There has been speculation that Brown’s history of misconduct, which includes an eight-game suspension in 2020 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, led to stiffer discipline. Both the league and union have insisted that is not the case.
The Brown/Edwards/Franklin case is the first disciplinary action with suspensions, and was announced through a joint statement by the NFL and NFLPA, reflecting the seriousness both take with the protocols.
Will there be more such scenarios? With about 95 per cent of NFL players vaccinated – and providing valid and verified proof – the numbers say that’s not likely. By handing down relatively major penalties for such violations, both the league and union hope a loud message has been sent.
Still, imagine if that message has not been heard or heeded, and one or more star players receive suspensions when playoff time rolls around in six weeks.
Senators’ Dorion rephrases state of franchise: Core pieces are in place – Sportsnet.ca
When the Ottawa Senators opened training camp, general manager Pierre Dorion made waves with a declarative statement that the team’s rebuild was “done.”
The Senators finished last season 9-2-1 in their final 12 games, and after four straight years as NHL basement dwellers, Ottawa’s bright young core led by Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stützle, among others, looked ready to take a step up. Dorion felt empowered to make that declaration.
Fast-forward to the quarter-mark of the season, and it’s abundantly clear that’s not the case. The Senators are 32nd in the NHL with a 5-15-1 record, headed once again toward draft lottery sweepstakes for what could be another foundational player.
On Saturday, Dorion acknowledged that his pre-season statement needs to be rephrased.
“Sometimes the excitement of a season gets to you,” said Dorion. “What I should’ve said is pretty much all the core pieces of the rebuild are in the organization right now.
“Obviously, (I) didn’t foresee us just winning five games after 21 games, but probably how I should have phrased it, and that’s on me, no one else, is that most of the core pieces, I feel we might be one piece away, are in the organization at this point in time.”
The Senators have faced several obstacles out of the gate. In November, 10 players and associate coach Jack Capuano entered COVID-19 protocol, causing three games to be postponed.
Beyond COVID, they’ve also dealt with a plethora of injuries: Colin White (shoulder), Austin Watson (ankle), Shane Pinto (shoulder), Erik Brannstrom (hand) and Josh Brown (upper-body), to name a few.
Dorion pointed to White and Pinto, two centremen who are still out for the foreseeable future, as “monumental losses.”
“When we projected our team, you know, sometimes you can reject losing one guy for 10 games, but at the same time, when you project losing both guys for a majority of the year, we’re going to suffer,” said Dorion.
Ottawa has made minor moves in an attempt to shore up their lack of depth by trading a seventh rounder for Dylan Gambrell and picking up Adam Gaudette off waivers.
“I know at the same time you can go out and make trades where you sacrifice important pieces of your future for immediate help, but I don’t think that was part of the plan. It’s not something that, you know, we can look at doing,” said Dorion.
“I’m not going to lie to anyone here, I’ve had a few sleepless nights. I’ve not enjoyed this stretch of our team, but it’s not by lack of effort. The players are playing hard, but sometimes players don’t play up to their potential and they know that too, and the buck stops with me and I’m not afraid to say that we didn’t anticipate this. But we’re going to battle through this.”
Dorion also cleared up the situation surrounding goaltender Matt Murray, who was shockingly placed on waivers on Nov. 27.
Since joining the Senators via trade and signing a hefty four-year, $25-million deal, the two-time Stanley Cup champion has struggled. This season, he’s gone 0-5 with a 3.26 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage.
Now in Belleville with Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, Murray addressed being sent down earlier this week.
“They just called me in and said they’re going to put me on waivers with the intention to send me to Belleville,” said Murray in an interview with The Athletic’s Ian Mendes. “They said it was a management decision and that’s about all I got.”
On Saturday, Dorion detailed the steps he took to tell Murray he was being placed on waivers, including a “four-to-five minute conversation with an explanation of why” between himself, the Senators goaltender and head coach D.J. Smith.
“We said if someone picks you up, good luck. If not, you’re going to be assigned to Bellville,” said Dorion.
When Mendes asked Murray if Dorion had reached out to communicate with him since the discussion, he said: “Not Pierre, no.”
With Murray still part of the organization, Dorion says he’s still holding out hope for a resurgence.
“We still have faith in Murray. He’s just got to find his game, not be under the NHL microscope, and at some point in time, you’ll be back with Ottawa,” said Dorion.
The Senators take on the Colorado Avalanche Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on Sportsnet ONE.
Vice-skip Darren Moulding leaves Brendan Bottcher’s curling rink – Globalnews.ca
Vice-skip Darren Moulding has left the curling rink led by Brendan Bottcher.
Team Bottcher announced the lineup change on Friday night in a statement posted to Twitter.
The rink said that Moulding is taking time away from curling for personal reasons and that it would announce a new player at a later date.
Moulding disputed the statement in his own tweet saying “‘Personal Reasons’ lol? that’s a head scratcher?. Might have ask whose “personal reasons” those are.”
He added hashtags saying “Don’t believe it” and “lies” to the tweet.
Bottcher’s statement said that the new player would play with the rink for the rest of the season, including defending the Tim Hortons Brier title.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
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