TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie gathered for the latest installment of Insider Trading and the topics discussed were the NHL's realignment plan, the Bruins plans to possibly add another player, the issue of staged fighting, the return of Nathan MacKinnon and the location of this year's NHL awards.
Why did the NHLPA agree to the NHL's re-alignment plan?
Pierre LeBrun: It's the lesser of all the poison pills they were going to take on re-alignment. If the NHLPA had decided to make this a bigger fight than it was in the end, because they delayed it longer than the NHL would have wanted, what are their options?
The NHL could have sent this to systems arbitration and if the NHLPA loses in arbitration, which is binding, the NHL could have this re-alignment structure for eight years, the length of the CBA, let alone the three years that the NHLPA has consented to. This way they can re-evaluate this after a couple years and decide if they want something different.
Number two, the owners haven't agreed to the Olympics yet - I think they will and the players will go to Sochi - but just a little carrot that I think the players realize in the back of their minds that if they made this a fight the owners might come back hard on the Olympics. Should mention that the owners still have to vote on re-alignment within the next week but I don't suspect that will be an issue.
Are the already-loaded Bruins poised to add another player?
Darren Dreger: Carl Soderberg, who is playing with Linkoping of the Swedish Elite League - in fact they just finished their regular season - and he was lights out good, I'm told the best player in Sweden this year. He finished with 31 goals which is 10 more than his closest competitor, and he could join the Boston Bruins as soon as the Swedish Elite League playoffs end for Linkoping. What's interesting about this is that he was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the second round in 2004. After suffering a serious eye injury he was traded to the Boston Bruins, Pete Chiarelli picked him up back in 2007. He remains property of the Boston Bruins, so he could join the Bruins either before the trade deadline or after the trade deadline. He is 6'3", 225 pounds and they believe he can play as a second line centre, second line winger or at worst case in their top nine. He's the real deal.
Is staged fighting still an issue the NHL is looking at?
LeBrun: Colin Campbell said they continue to talk about this issue internally but the bottom line is that when the NHL attempted to bring in a new rule to curb staged fighting in March 2009 the NHLPA blocked it through the competition committee that summer, so for now it is status quo. Now, if a GM wants to bring this up on the agenda for the March 20 GM meeting they will talk about it, but at this point it remains the way it is, there really are no plans to curb staged fighting.
Bob McKenzie: In terms of tangible fallout from Wednesday night's bout between Frazer McLaren and Dave Dziurzynski, no surprise to me if you know anything about general manager Bryan Murray of the Ottawa Senators, old school guy that has old school values, the Ottawa Senators are in the market for someone who can play a real physical game and preferable someone that can drop the gloves and match up with some of the heavyweights.
Dreger: The Ottawa Senators won't be looking at Georges Laraque this season but I spoke with Georges earlier today and he says that he was planning to come back this season but there was the lockout and he couldn't get it done. He says he's in good shape and he intends to come back next year.
Speaking of comebacks, Nathan MacKinnon has fallen down the consensus draft rankings a spot, mostly because of Jonathan Drouin's great play. When is he going to come back from his injury?
McKenzie: I think there's a real good chance we'll see MacKinnon playing for the Halifax Mooseheads early next week. He's been out for four weeks now - four weeks ago Friday was the last time that we saw him play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with a knee injury. He wants to come back and make sure he's 100 per cent. Hey, he watches the draft rankings as much as anybody else and wants to be 100 per cent healthy when he's back, and that should be the beginning of next week.
McKenzie: And one final note on the National Hockey League Awards. No trip to Las Vegas this year, it looks like the NHL Awards are likely to be staged during the Stanley Cup Final in one of the two cities that will be hosting it on an off-day between games. Nothing is finalized yet, but it looks like it's going to be a scaled-down, on-the-fly version of the NHL Awards.