Ritter's Rant: News and Notes from Around the NHL

Mark RitterSenior Writer IJune 1, 2010

TORONTO - APRIL 6: Tomas Kaberle #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs moves the puck during a NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on April 6, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

Don Cherry Stops Traffic

There is no easy way to ask this, so I’ll just throw it out there... how many taxi cabs did Don Cherry have to dismantle before he had enough yellow and black checkers for the suit he wore Saturday night?

Let’s be honest, it was God-awful, maybe one of the worst jackets Cherry has ever worn.

Kaberle Update

For all you Leaf fans that are holding out hope that the Leafs could land the Columbus Blue Jackets fourth overall pick in this year's NHL Entry Draft, don’t you think Columbus could do a little better than Tomas Kaberle?

The problem with Kaberle is that he has just one season left on his contract, and the odds are that he would not sign a long-term deal in a small market such as Columbus.

Simply put, trading for Kaberle would be a bad move for Columbus—if I was the Blue Jackets GM, I’d be calling the Chicago Blackhawks (a team that will need to dump a ton of salary this summer) instead of the Leafs; there’s just more value there.

Briere Centre Of Attention

If I am Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, I am keeping Danny Briere at centre—he’s been awesome there, not so much on the wing.

Fickle Fans

Hockey fans are pretty fickle these days.

Day-in and day-out, hockey fans are begging for more offense. Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals produces a total of eleven goals and the consensus is that the game wasn’t entertaining. Huh?


It’s all well and good to point out how poorly Philadelphia Flyers rookie forward James Van Riemsdyk has played throughout the playoffs (two goals, four points in 18 playoff games.

The fact is, JVR was horrific down the stretch, scoring just one goal and two points (in the same game: April 1st against the New York Islanders) in the Flyers final 20 games of the regular season.

It’s about time Laviolette took JVR out of the lineup, though it should have been earlier.

Blackhawks D is Down

Note to all Chicago Blackhawks defensemen—shoot the puck on the power play, would ya?

Side note: Chicago’s defensemen have yet to score a goal on the power play this playoff season.

Did Anyone “Czech” Out The World Cup?

The Czech Republic should be congratulated for their Gold Medal World Cup victory over the Russians. Then again, does anyone really take this tournament seriously anymore?

Tell me the truth, after Team Canada was eliminated we all turned the TV’s off, right?

Anton, Gone?

There have been a lot of rumors circulating that the Ottawa Senators free agent defenseman will sign with the Washington Capitals this summer.

Capitals GM George Mcphee has denied any interest in the rugged defenseman, stating he has “no interest in that player (Volchenkov).”

Funny, I would think the Capitals would be a much-improved team if they brought Volchenkov into the fold. A stay-at-home D-man is just what the doctor ordered if you ask me.

More Russians

A lot of other Russians are making hockey headlines this week. Rumors are circulating that Anton Volchenkov, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Alexander Frolov have all been approached by various KHL teams flush with massive contracts.

Money is nice and all, but if you really want to evolve your game and be respected by your peers as great hockey players, you play in the NHL, period.

I say if the Russian players want to leave, let them go. Trust me, as much as I would miss watching this trio, the NHL will thrive without them.

Sticking with the KHL, how long before they start offering big money deals to North American players? Wouldn’t it be interesting if they stepped up and offered the likes of Patrick Marleau and/or Paul Kariya a big money deal?


Is there really any team out there that will be willing to offer Olli “the choker” Jokinen a long-term contract this summer?

Somehow, after all his struggles and uninspired play, I just can’t see any NHL GM’s saying to themselves “yeah, Jokinen, that’s what my team needs..."

***For more NHL news and notes check out my website at www.thesalpshot.com


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