TSN Hockey Insiders Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger have the latest on security and safety at the Sochi Games, if the NHL is ready to expand video review, who might be available in Edmonton, could Matt Moulson be a member of the Senators, and more.
Who might be available and who might be on the move in Edmonton?
Darren Dreger: Sam Gagner, we know. Ales Hemsky, we know. Ryan Smyth is expected. There's no dialog between Craig MacTavish and Ryan Smyth. The belief is that Smyth wants one more crack with a winning team to see if he can win the Stanley Cup. He's still effective, at least in the offensive zone, so I expect his name will heat up as we get closer to the deadline.
Could Matt Moulson be heading to Ottawa?
Pierre LeBrun: Matt Moulson will be a very popular name as the March deadline approaches. We know he's one of the guys the LA Kings are looking at, but the Ottawa Senators are another team. A little bit of a connection with the Senators, as GM Bryan Murray's nephew Tim Murray is now GM in Buffalo. Moulson's a guy that if the Senators can stay in the playoff mix over the next few weeks, I believe they will make inquiries on him.
Might Thomas Vanek, who was part of the Moulson trade, re-sign on Long Island?
LeBrun: He has liked it on Long Island a lot more than he thought he would. You hear these stories about the Islanders and playing in a bad rink but Vanek has really enjoyed his time there. He loves playing with John Tavares and he likes the way he's been treated by Garth Snow, so he's got a big decision to make. I think at the end of the day he's still going to go to free agency, which makes him force the hand of Snow. For Snow, that's the number one priority; to sign Vanek before the trade deadline.
How big an issue is security and safety at the Sochi Olympics?
Dreger: It is a concerning issue. The threat of terrorism always is going to be concerning for a world spectacle such as this and that's not lost on neither the Players' Association and National Hockey League. Both will tell you that their guest list, be it family or friends, is reducing on a week-by-week basis leading up to the Olympic Games but the NHL is confident that their safety will be insured by the Russian government and the International Olympic Organization. But if there were significant terrorist attempts or attacks prior to the Olympics in Sochi, I think that the NHL and the NHLPA also wouldn't hesitate to remove themselves from the Games.
Is the NHL ready to expand video review and when?
LeBrun: I think more than ever. It's all about timing and I can tell you right now that it's on the GM's agenda in March when they will again tackle this. But this time, I think the league might finally get its way. We know that hockey operations has wanted to expand video review for a long time and if they get their way this year, not only will they get it moving forward but maybe even for the playoffs if they can get the owners and the NHLPA to sign off. Lots of "ifs" but certainly there's a different movement here.
Bob McKenzie: I believe that Detroit goal on Saturday night was the tipping point for general managers. GMs in the past have overwhelmingly been against expanding video review but after Saturday night, I surveyed 23 NHL GMs and 22 of them said we cannot have a repeat of what happened on Saturday night. The one GM who didn't say that said they have to discuss what they're going to do. Now, how exactly they go about that is the controversial aspect. Some guys want the coach's challenge, some guys want it only to be on the very specific play where a puck comes off the mesh, and some guys want the referees to be able to review it at the penalty bench. It's all over the map and how they process this is the controversial aspect to it. But after that goal that was scored on Saturday night, many general managers said 'could you imagine if the Stanley Cup was decided on a goal like that.'
Does anything come of Sens owner Eugene Melnyk presenting the NHL Matt Cooke investigation evidence?
McKenzie: No, it doesn't. When this incident happened last season, Melnyk said that he believed in his heart that Cooke had malice and intentionally severed the tendon of Erik Karlsson. He said afterwards he was going to prove it and talked about a forensic investigation. He spent a lot of time, effort and money and put together a fully detailed medical report and presented that to the NHL in New York City on Monday. There's not going to be any retroactive justice here, but Eugene Melnyk had his day in court, so to speak, and did what he said he was going to do.