“Quoth The Maven” is a weekly column where Stan Fischler touches on the three local teams plus other hot NHL items.
1. One game sometimes can provide a portent of things to come. The Rangers‘ trashing of Nashville Monday night made the Blueshirts look like Cup-winners and the Preds out in Round One.
2. We’re in the NHL’s Speed Age and that never was more evident at The Garden when the Blueshirts averaged 30 m.p.h. and the Preds half that rate.
3. Ever since we met in September, I remained a fan of Chad Johnson, the person. I kept hoping I’d love Chad the goalie. So did Garth Snow.
4. But after watching Johnson against Carolina last Saturday, Snow did the smartest thing possible: He dealt Chad and replaced him with Michal Neuvirth.
5. Trade Deadline Winner #1: St. Louis — Doug Armstrong added defense depth with Zbynek Michalek and Robert Bortuzzo, plus Olli Jokinen up front.
6. More than a bazillion rumors about the trading of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf proved to be that many smoke rings; no more, no less.
7. If you’re wondering why Glen Sather is a candidate for GM of the Year, check out Kevin Hayes’ stats. Or the acquisition of Keith Yandle. Or that Slats boasts the best six-man defensive core in the whole wide NHL.
8. Trade Deadline Winner #2. Chicago — GM Stan Bowman replaced injured Patrick Kane and Johnny Oduya as well as could be hoped. He beat the pack, nabbing Antoine Vermette and a fresh Kimmo Timonen.
9. On the other hand, Chicago’s loss is New York’s gain. That is, Kevin Hayes — ex-Blackhawks draftee — who’s another version of Chris Kreider. The latter, by the way, is showing a healthy-nasty side.
11. Trade Deadline Winner #3. Anaheim — The additions of James Wisniewski and Simon Dupres solidifies the Ducks’ defense. Plus, earlier adds of Jiri Sekac and Tomas Fleischmann provide depth all-around.
12. No matter what happens to the Panthers, Lou Lamoriello‘s unloading of Jaromir Jagr was done at the right time, with the right team with LL getting an A-1 return.
13. The Hockey News cover photo depicting Phil Kessel as a prison convict in a Maple Leafs uniform was accompanied by the caption “COACH-KILLER?” The more accurate caption should have been “GOALIE-KILLER.”
14. Trade Deadline Winner #4. Detroit — Ken Holland added the speed and physicality of Erik Cole and a gritty, right-shot defense vet in Marek Zidlicky. Don’t underestimate Zid’s offensive side.
15. There’s never been so intense a demand — and need — for backup goalies than this injury-riddled season. I blame the “Butterfly” style for causing so many of the pulled muscle-tears — alias “lower-body injuries” — which never happened in the pre-butterfly net minding years.
16. The most overworked line employed by heavily sought players prior to the trade deadline was authored by Arizona Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle: “I take everything day-by-day.”
17. Trade Deadline Winner #5, Islanders — Not only did Garth Snow excel with his Chad Johnson heave-ho, but did mighty fine plucking speedy Tyler Kennedy, hockey’s version of a water bug on a pond.
18. Things Nobody Ever Sees But Me Department: It seems as if Peter Laviolette is putting on weight. On the other hand, Pistol Pete is not falling away to a ton.
19. There’s a chant that’s become absolutely infectious and it all started in the upper reaches of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. This gem follows an Islanders goal and goes precisely like this: yes, yes, Yes, Yes, YES, YES, YESSS!
20. Not-so-confidentially, the last three YESES, give the SRO crowd a collective case of goose-pimples.
21. Trade Deadline Winner #6: Montreal — Right-handed defenseman Jeff Petry was the most sought-after-available Oiler. Kudos to the Habs GM Marc (The Spark) Bergevin for nabbing him and earlier ex-Duck, Devante (Double Dip) Smith-Pelley.
22. After three-quarters of the season, I’m delighted that the Devils retained a pair of my favorites, Scotty Gomez and Jordin Tootoo.
23. My buddy from Detroit, Tommy Murray, writes that the Penguins are the league-leading “whiners” when it comes to calling — or not calling — penalties. (Do you agree or disagree?)
24. If you’re a Sharks fan, you’d better start worrying about the perennial playoff-folding San Jose lads not even making then post-season this spring.
25. We might even have to include Boston in that category provided that Roberto Luongo and Jagr can make beautiful music together in Sunrise.
26. Now that Islanders blue-liner Nick (Likeable Laddy) Leddy is signed to a long-term deal, all eyes turn to his defensive partner, Johnny (My Boy) Boychuk. Boy, oh, boy, would that ever be a Garth Snow inking My Boy to a Leddy-like deal.
27. After much speculation about moving Jordan Eberle all year long, GM Craig MacTavish made the right choice keeping him.
28. The Rangers have done more then stay afloat during the absence of Henrik Lundqvist, they’ve excelled. Cam Talbot started all but two games in the month of February with the Rangers suffering only two regulation losses along the way.
29. Speaking on behalf of the Mats Zuccarello Marching and Chowder Society, “Thanks, Glen, for keeping The Little Man Who’s Always There.”
30. While Ottawa and Philadelphia are still in the picture, expect the battle for the final playoff spot in the East to come down to Florida and Boston.
31. Trade Deadline Futures Winner: Arizona Coyotes. Plucking Anthony Duclair is HUGE for Don Maloney along with other draft beauties such as a first-rounder from Chicago.
32. Finally: In the Games That Figure to Be a Classic Department, it’s got to be Rangers at Islanders next Tuesday!