Nicholas J. Cotsonika

  • Like
  • Follow
Author

Nicholas J. Cotsonika is the NHL writer for Yahoo! Sports. He previously worked for the Detroit Free Press, where he covered the Red Wings, Lions and several other subjects. He has written three books, including "Hockey Gods: The Inside Story of the Red Wings' Hall of Fame Team."

  • NHL emerges from lockout gloom in record-breaking fashion

    This might be hard to hear, but here goes: Gary Bettman was right. The commissioner of the National Hockey League knew what he was doing as he weighed the risks and rewards during the lockout. In reality, the risks were never that great. The rewards already are.

    Gary Bettman knew what he was doing during the dire days of the NHL lockout. (Reuters)Bettman made a calculated business decision. He sacrificed a few months and ticked off a lot of people, but he secured a better labor agreement for the owners and could count on the fans and sponsors to come back, based on history and cold, hard data.

    By salvaging a 48-game regular season, Bettman set up the NHL to rebound immediately. The league returned for the time of year when it always draws the most attention and generates the most revenue, anyway, and it amped up the competition with a compressed, every-game-matters sprint to the playoffs.

    For all the loud protests and dire predictions, the fans haven’t seemed angry or apathetic. They have seemed eager and engaged. Just 2-1/2 months after the NHL got back to

    Read More »from NHL emerges from lockout gloom in record-breaking fashion
  • Discovering Columbus: With John Davidson and Marian Gaborik, Blue Jackets headed in right direction

    Since joining the Columbus Blue Jackets, John Davidson has read some puzzling things about his new city and new franchise. Columbus can’t support an NHL team. The Jackets are going to move.

    John Davidson arrived in Columbus with the mandate to turn around the longtime moribund franchise. (Getty)“That’s nuts,” said Davidson, who became the Jackets’ president of hockey operations in October. “I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t know how people surmise that. This is a strong, committed, good ownership group. We’re not going anywhere.”

    Actually, the Jackets finally are going somewhere, in a good sense.

    They acquired star sniper Marian Gaborik before Wednesday’s trade deadline. He was the first star Thursday night in a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators, scoring the winning goal, adding an assist and telling reporters: “I’m glad to be a part of this.”

    They entered Friday night on an 11-2-3 run. They were only one point out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, and they were about to play the eighth-place St. Louis Blues.

    Yes, the Blues had two games in hand,

    Read More »from Discovering Columbus: With John Davidson and Marian Gaborik, Blue Jackets headed in right direction
  • Three Periods: Rating the Stanley Cup contenders, from the favorites to the forgotten

    Nicholas J. Cotsonika’s weekly Three Periods column will appear on Thursdays. This week’s column is a special post-trade deadline edition, breaking down Stanley Cup contenders into four categories: the favorites, the hangers-on, the up-and-comers and the would-be Kings. Also, notes on the need for hybrid icing, a silver lining for the Predators, Blue Jackets GM snubbed, and the pathos of Roberto Luongo.

    FIRST PERIOD: The Favorites

    Thanks to the salary cap and loser point, the NHL is a league of parity. Thanks to the lockout and shortened schedule, the standings are tight as the playoffs approach. But that doesn’t mean every team is the same. There is still a lot of stratification, and there is still a lot of intrigue within each clump of Stanley Cup contenders, especially now that the trade deadline has passed. Let’s start with the teams who have the best shot at a championship:

    The Penguins loaded up, but Jarome Iginla & Co. still have a few hurdles to clear. (USA Today)— Pittsburgh Penguins: They are the most fascinating team in the league, because they had a ton of

    Read More »from Three Periods: Rating the Stanley Cup contenders, from the favorites to the forgotten
  • 2013 NHL Trade Deadline: Winners & Losers

    The clock struck noon on Wednesday before anyone made a move in the NHL, and the first deal involved two minor-leaguers, one of them a kid named Flick. It felt more like “A Christmas Story” than Christmas morning on TV. Only it wasn’t Flick whose tongue was stuck, frozen to a pole. It was the news-breakers with no news to break, the analysts with nothing to analyze.

    Marian Gaborik takes his high-wire goal-scoring act to Columbus. (Getty)But though Roberto Luongo and Miikka Kiprusoff stayed put, the dead tradeline turned into the trade deadline after all. Marian Gaborik went to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jason Pominville went to the Minnesota Wild. There was a flurry of moves up to and even past 3 p.m. ET, despite the tight standings, the lower salary cap next season, the tough seller’s market.

    Combined with the activity leading up to deadline day – from Jarome Iginla and Jaromir Jagr, to Jay Bouwmeester and Ryane Clowe – several contenders fortified themselves for the playoffs while others girded themselves for a rebuild. None of the deals can be

    Read More »from 2013 NHL Trade Deadline: Winners & Losers
  • 2013 NHL Trade Deadline: Trade tracker & analysis

    The NHL's trade deadline is Wednesday, April 3, at 3pm ET. Here are moves that were made in advance of the deadline with analysis.


    COLUMBUS
    ACQUIRED
    Patrick Killeen, G

    ACQUIRED
    Future considerations
    PITTSBURGH

    ANALYSIS: A sixth-round pick in 2008, Killeen has toiled the past three seasons in the ECHL.

    (Trade completed April 3, 2013.)


    MINNESOTA
    ACQUIRED
    Jeff Deslauriers, G

    ACQUIRED
    Future considerations
    ANAHEIM

    ANALYSIS: The Wild get some goaltending depth on the cheap. Deslauriers has bounced around the pros for nearly a decade, with NHL cups of coffee in Edmonton and Anaheim.

    (Trade completed April 3, 2013.)


    WASHINGTON
    ACQUIRED
    Martin Erat, F
    Michael Latta, F

    ACQUIRED
    Filip Forsberg, F
    NASHVILLE

    ANALYSIS: Erat had a no-trade clause, but he clashed with coach Barry Trotz, had only four goals this season and wanted out of Nashville, the only NHL team he has ever known. GM David Poile got a great return by packaging Erat with Latta for

    Read More »from 2013 NHL Trade Deadline: Trade tracker & analysis
  • Bruins on the attack: Jaromir Jagr traded to Boston

    Jaromir Jagr is no Jarome Iginla. He’s no Brenden Morrow. He’s no Ryane Clowe, even. He hasn’t spent his entire career with one team, becoming the face of a franchise, a captain or a glue guy.

    The Jaromir Jagr show is heading to Boston. (USA Today)He’s a mercenary. He has bounced between teams, selling himself to the highest bidder without regard to league or loyalty. He left the NHL for the KHL and came back again. He spurned his old Pittsburgh Penguins, joining the rival Philadelphia Flyers when they gave him a one-year, $3.3 million deal. Then he bolted for the Dallas Stars when they gave him a one-year, $4.5 million deal.

    He rented a hotel room, not even an apartment, for his stay in Big D during this lockout-shortened season. The Stars talked to him about an extension and didn’t reach a deal, and they had to know he would shop himself this summer, as usual.

    Oh, and he’s 41.

    But from a pure hockey perspective, he might turn out to be the best thing that could have happened to the Boston Bruins – just as good as any Read More »from Bruins on the attack: Jaromir Jagr traded to Boston
  • Three Periods: Flames fumbled Jarome Iginla for years; Sharks test trade waters; 'Canes comfy with Alex Semin gamble

    Nicholas J. Cotsonika's weekly Three Periods column will appear on Thursdays. This week's topics: Calgary Flames’ failure on the Jarome Iginla trade has been years in the making; San Jose Sharks considering all of their buy/sell options with NHL trade deadline just days away; Carolina Hurricanes ready for risk-reward ride after Alex Semin’s rich extension; Mike Keenan on Miikka Kiprusoff’s intentions; and another relocation rumor haunts the NHL-owned Phoenix Coyotes.

    FIRST PERIOD: Flames fiddled around with Jarome Iginla for far too long

    Former Flames captain Jarome Iginla at his farewell press conference in Calgary. (Reuters) The Calgary Flames should be embarrassed. Deeply, deeply embarrassed. Because this goes beyond the obvious – that they waited far too long to trade captain and icon Jarome Iginla, that they let one team believe a deal was done only to have him waive his no-trade clause for another team, that they got far too little in return. Let’s not lose sight of why they had to trade Iginla in the first place.

    This has been a misguided and mismanaged

    Read More »from Three Periods: Flames fumbled Jarome Iginla for years; Sharks test trade waters; 'Canes comfy with Alex Semin gamble
  • Jarome Iginla trade to the Penguins an improbable move that isn’t supposed to happen in today’s NHL

    This is not supposed to happen in the NHL.

    Jarome Iginla (Getty Images)The Pittsburgh Penguins are not supposed to be able to add Jarome Iginla, not when they had already added Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray. Not when they already had last year’s Hart Trophy winner and this year’s presumptive MVP. Not when they already had a supporting cast that included other top scorers and character players and a Norris Trophy candidate and a Stanley Cup-winning goalie. Not when they were already on a double-digit winning streak.

    Thanks to the hard salary cap, there aren’t supposed to be teams like the Detroit Red Wings of the early 2000s, who blew out their budget and stockpiled future Hall of Famers. There aren’t supposed to be teams like the New York Yankees of legend or the Miami Heat of “The Decision.”

    Thanks to the hard salary cap, there isn’t supposed to be room on the payroll or the roster. The talent is spread evenly throughout the league. The standings are tight, if not from top to bottom, then close to it.

    Read More »from Jarome Iginla trade to the Penguins an improbable move that isn’t supposed to happen in today’s NHL
  • NHL Trade Deadline Preview: The biggest names who could be on the move

    Imagine you’re Jim Rutherford, the general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s a week before the NHL trade deadline. Your team has suffered key injuries and is stuck in an 0-5-1 funk. Still, you’re three points out of a playoff spot, with a game or two in hand on the teams ahead of you.

    Playoff bubble teams such as Carolina must decide if they're buyers or sellers. (USA Today)What do you do?

    Better put: What do you do in this market?

    “I’ve been trying to get [a defenseman] for six weeks,” Rutherford said. “Can you get a defenseman? Yeah. Do you have to pay too much for him? Possibly.”

    There is an unusual dynamic this year creating fewer sellers, higher prices and reluctant buyers.

    The lockout shortened the season from 82 games to 48. It also pushed back the trade deadline from late February or early March to April 3.

    Few teams are out of the race at this point, and more than half the league is on what you might define as the bubble. Sixteen teams are within five points of a playoff spot – plus or minus – seven in the East, nine in the

    Read More »from NHL Trade Deadline Preview: The biggest names who could be on the move
  • Penguins paid dearly for run-down version of Brenden Morrow – and it's the right move

    The Pittsburgh Penguins did not trade for Brenden Morrow, at least not the Brenden Morrow we remember. They did not acquire the kid who went to the Stanley Cup final in 2000, the captain who carried his team to the conference final in 2008, the Olympian who won gold in 2010 or the guy who scored 33 goals in 2010-11.

    Brenden Morrow had been in Dallas his entire career, arriving the season after the Stars won the Cup in 1999. (USA Today)They traded for a player who is 34, an old 34, someone who has racked up the mileage, who has slowed down considerably, who has slipped as low as the fourth line this season. There are legitimate questions about how much this Brenden Morrow has left.

    But that’s OK. Even at the price they paid.

    Because the Penguins knew what they were getting and what they were giving up, and this is what you do in today’s market to make a run at the Stanley Cup, if you have put yourself in position to do so.

    They don’t need a captain or a top scorer; they need a complementary piece to fill a specific role. They could afford to send defense prospect Joe Morrow, a 2011

    Read More »from Penguins paid dearly for run-down version of Brenden Morrow – and it's the right move

Pagination

(881 Stories)