The Courier-Post ran a feature on James van Riemsdyk and his connection to Saturday’s Sandy charity game in Atlantic City. At least one other tidbit aside from that emerged though.


He’ll be skating with some former Flyers teammates next week, followed by some time at the University of New Hampshire. No specific timeline mentioned there, but if the lockout is still going on after that he plans ‘to look a little bit closer at going over there to Finland.’


He also reiterates what we’ve heard from him since the summer about the challenges of moving from the wing to pivot. Yes, he played at centre in college, ‘but this is a whole other animal.’


If you’re not currently a JVR owner in your keeper league, you should hope he struggles initially so you might still be able to nab him. Before long he’ll absolutely blossom as a player in Toronto and his draft position will continue to climb north in the next few years.


He also should definitely get on a plane and play somewhere soon if there is no CBA progress, especially if he’ll have the chance to refine his game down the middle. It may not be at the NHL level just yet, but every little bit will help to ease the transition.




In terms of that Sandy benefit, Henrik Lundqvist was stellar in making either 56 or 57 saves. Doesn’t matter either way, but different reports had different tallies.


 has some good quotes and a full rundown.




The Winnipeg Free Press has a report about rumours surrounding Tobias Enstrom potentially practising and maybe then playing with the Orebro Vipers, a Swedish second division club, with his brother.


Enstrom missed 20 games last year and finished with 33 points, but in general he’s one of the more stable points options once you get past the first-tier defencemen. He should be good for around a 50-point pace for the foreseeable future. He certainly doesn’t carry the immense peripheral value of a Dustin Byfuglien, but having Enstrom in the middle of your defensive line-up is a safe play with strong rewards.




The Miami Herald visited with Peter Mueller and everything is still 100 percent positive with him health-wise, which is excellent news for a guy previously slowed down by concussion issues. Teammate Stephen Weiss calls him ‘a super-skilled guy who is going to fit in here nicely.’


We touched on Mueller a bit in last Sunday’s Ramblings and at least a few times before that since his summer signing with the Panthers (along with a few tweets during free agency wondering why someone hadn’t snapped this guy up yet), but he should be poised to be one of the most effective comeback players when the NHL finally resumes action.


Again, it’s his vast offensive upside mixed with how late you’ll likely be able to select him in your draft. Is there a risk of a recurrence of the concussion issue? Certainly. But that risk is easily outweighed by the potential reward. Compared with who else will be available in those rounds of the draft, he’s an easy ‘yes’ when it comes time to pick.




The Roberto Luongo trade will happen at some point. Of course. But The Vancouver Province delves into pretty much every conceivable aspect of what could happen, so if you have a hankering for Canucks speculation it’s worth a few minutes of your time. The potential case for Dan Ellis as Cory Schneider’s backup is also made.




The Montreal Gazette ran a compelling interview with Tomas Plekanec, where he had some salient advice for hotshot prospect Alex Galchenyuk as he nears the beginning of his NHL career. Words that can and should be heeded by any young player.


“Don’t listen to all the hype. Everybody’s going to tell him he’s a great guy, a great player, that he’s going to be great. If I were him, I wouldn’t listen to those things too much.”


He added: “(Galchenyuk) should just be focused on his game, his work ethic, his practices. What will really make him a good player in the NHL is not his talent right now, but his work ethic and attention to details that will come into play in the NHL. That’s the biggest thing for him.”




Friday’s cancellation of the latest chunk of NHL games included officially getting rid of the All-Star game, which came as no surprise. The Columbus Dispatch indicates the absence of the game will mean losing $12 million in revenue and as much as $50 million in media exposure that the weeklong All-Star festivities were projected to create.


On the bright side? The franchise itself should be in much better shape on the ice in 2015, when it appears they’ll probably get that game rescheduled. Love me some John Davidson.




Michigan Live, like many news outlets, has been running scouting reports on their team’s players in an effort to fill hockey section space during the lockout. I actually laughed out loud when I read the headline: ‘Ian White must find way to flourish without Nicklas Lidstrom.’




‘Astronaut must find way to survive in space without oxygen.’


Good luck with that, Ian.




Speaking of filling space... The Pioneer Press takes a stab at how the NHL might generate more interest when the lockout ends: Invite the various European league champions over and tell them to bring their title trophies. Put all the hardware on a table, along with the Stanley Cup, and have a winner-take-all tournament. Winner gets to keep all the trophies for a year.

Yep, it’s crazy. Won’t happen in a million years. But it’s kind of a funny concept though.




The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review asserts that the lockout has forced as many as three defensemen who would have started the season in the NHL — Brian Strait, Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres, perhaps — to the AHL. That, in turn, has led to a serious ice-time crunch.


One thing the organization has tried to do to counterbalance that impact is to increase the individual instruction young defensemen are receiving in practice.


The scratching of Brian Dumoulin (once), Joe Morrow (three times), Alex Grant (11 instances) are noted, along with the impacts on Carl Sneep and Reid McNeill.




Also on the Pens, Friday’s Hockey Hearsay made mention of a Post-Gazette Q&A with Chris Kunitz. He, Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis have been a practice line during the lockout. We’ve also seen that trio together a lot in past seasons. In ’11-12 though, with Crosby sidelined part of the year, Kunitz skated with Evgeni Malkin quite a bit.


Kunitz talks about the benefits of the Crosby line familiarity and how he tries not to change his game regardless of his centre. He also was asked to compare Crosby and Malkin as centres.


“Oh, man. [Malkin] has that unexpected movement up the ice, that skill to create things in a different sense. Sid has that power, nose for the net, can play with both sides of his stick. They create the same awe factor. They get to the same parts on the ice, but just in different ways. You can't compare their styles, but the elite talent and vision they have for places on the ice and where they are is very similar. I'll bet if you copied some tapes, they'd end up in the same spot the majority of the time.”


The gritty winger had really favourable numbers last year (26-35-61, plus-16, 49 PIM), which probably wasn’t too much of a surprise given how Malkin was tearing the league apart city by city. The added bonus for Kunitz’s owners last year was his shot total though, which surged to a career-high 230.


He turned 33 in September and will be a UFA in 2014.




Barry Brust broke Johnny Bower’s 55-year old AHL record for consecutive minutes played without allowing a goal. Brust’s streak lasted 268:17. The AHL has more info if you’re interested.




Good read on concussions from The Tribune-Review, even though it’s dealing with football players. The headline says it all: ‘Head trauma awareness up, but many NFL players are tuning it out.’


It’s a subject which has received a lot of attention in recent years, but is still one which we’re likely still a long way from truly understanding.



Twitter: @Nichols_NHLPool NHL news, analysis & fantasy takes with minimal inane babble.


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Fresh Ramblings each Sunday.

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