San Jose Sharks

Morning Skate: All-Stars lament lack of Olympic participation

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Morning Skate: All-Stars lament lack of Olympic participation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while NHL All-Star weekend and Tampa certainly seem like a good fit.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details of the NHL All-Stars seeing the lack of Olympic participation this winger as a missed opportunity for the league.

*Speaking of Pro Hockey Talk, they also have the best, funniest and most heart-warming moments from the NHL All-Star skills competition including Brad Marchand embracing being the bad guy at the party.

*Speaking of the skills competition, what a show put on by Hilary Knight in the shooting accuracy as she wasted no time hitting all the targets.

*Brian Boyle has the best story of NHL All-Star weekend as he returns to his former NHL home in Tampa Bay for his first career NHL All-Star experience after battling cancer, and some scary health moments with his oldest child.

*Interesting piece on how Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill has turned the center position from an area of need into an asset over the last couple of years.

*Alex Ovechkin has become the first forward since 2002 to win the NHL’s Hardest Shot Competition. I still wish they had invited Zdeno Chara as an All-Star to defend his title. It really ups the interest level in the event when you have the best taking part in it rather than players that can’t even crack 100-mph with their shots.

*San Jose season ticket holders are voicing their frustration with the Sharks organization as attendance slowly ticks downward. Perhaps that’s why they’ve been selected as the host city for next year’s NHL All-Star game.

*For something completely different: Who couldn’t deny an oral history of the Homestar Runner cartoon that featured the legendary “Strong Bad” character.

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Should the Bruins jump on Paul Martin, who's available via waivers?

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Should the Bruins jump on Paul Martin, who's available via waivers?

The Bruins have long been in the market for a left shot defenseman that could eat minutes, bring a little experience and perhaps form a pairing with Charlie McAvoy that would allow Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo to reform last season’s shutdown pairing. Several hockey sources indicated to NBCSportsBoston.com that the Bruins had kicked the tires on Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole, but that the price for him was deemed too high at the time of those discussions. Well, another veteran left shot defenseman has become available with the San Jose Sharks placing 36-year-old Cup winning defenseman Paul Martin on waivers.

MORE - B's keep winning, McQuaid still waiting for his chance

Martin has been limited to three games this season due to an ankle injury with the Sharks, and San Jose failed to find any takers in a trade given the $4.85 million cap hit through next season for the graybeard D-man. But Martin played in 81 games for the Sharks as recently as last season while averaging a tick under 20 minutes per game, and is the kind of puck-moving, solid-defending D-man that they’ve been looking for in trade discussions. 

Martin finished with four goals and 26 points along with a plus-10 for the Sharks last season, and by all accounts should be able to still perform if given an opportunity to work his way into the Black and Gold lineup. 

Why not pick up Martin for nothing aside from his contract when he’s been a top-4 defenseman his entire career rather than trade for a guy like that’s never averaged 20 minutes per game during his entire NHL career? 

Here’s what Bruins President Cam Neely told the Season Ticket podcast earlier this season when asked what the B’s would be looking for at the trade deadline. 

“We’re always looking at the club and seeing where we can upgrade and I think we could probably find some depth on the right side up front and maybe on the left D side,” said Neely. “We’ve talked about ... a guy that can eat up some minutes—move the puck well, skate well—but not necessarily have to be that offensive defensemen.”

That certainly sounds a lot like a description of what Martin has been throughout his 14-year. 859-game NHL career with the Devils, Penguins and Sharks. 

Clearly the Bruins would have to do a little roster maneuvering to make it happen salary cap-wise, and might even have to deal off a useful NHL asset like Ryan Spooner or Adam McQuaid. But they could also finally lock in a top-4 left shot defenseman that would allow them to push Torey Krug down to a bottom pairing role more befitting his strengths and weaknesses, as well as reunite the Chara and Carlo shutdown pair. 

The real question is whether the Bruins believe that Martin has something left in the tank at 36 years old to give them two serviceable seasons before young D-man prospects like Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon or Urho Vaakanainen might be ready to step in and supplant him. If the Bruins think that Martin can still play and they are correct in that assessment, they could land the type of grizzled, proven D-man they’ve been looking for and give up nothing for him if they put in a claim and pick up his contract before noontime tomorrow.

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Morning Skate: Haggs' Atlantic Division All-Stars

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Morning Skate: Haggs' Atlantic Division All-Stars

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while grinding through the NHL bye week. Here are my picks for the Atlantic Division team getting sent to the NHL All-Star Game, where a deserving player or three are going to be hosed by virtue of the small rosters for each division, and because each team needs to be represented. Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak miss out on deserving All-Star bids and Andrei Vasilevskiy gets royally snubbed because you can’t stock half the team with Tampa Bay Lightning players. But clearly, the Bruins deserve to have two spots given how well they've played in the first half of the season:  

F Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
F Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
F Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
F Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
F Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
F Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
D Mike Green Detroit Red Wings
D Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
G Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
G Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Biggest snubs: Patrice Bergeron, Andrei Vasilevskiy, David Pastrnak, Frederik Andersen.

*With All-Star rosters due out later today, here’s the Pro Hockey Talk staff taking their stab at what those rosters will look like.

*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my radio hit with the Big Jab up in Maine this morning talking Bruins hockey during their bye week.

*Interesting piece on the new Carolina Hurricanes owner where it sounds like there might be an embracing of the Hartford Whalers past, including possible NHL preseason games back in Hartford. Wouldn’t that be cool?

*This Winnipeg/San Jose flap is causing some ripples around the NHL and rightfully so given what a punch line that Winnipeg is much of the time in NHL circles. I like the Peg, and for my money, Edmonton is colder consistently than Winnipeg.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are in last place in the Central Division halfway through the NHL season. It sure feels like a shakeup is needed after Brent Seabrook was scratched on Tuesday night.

*For something completely different: Proving the Patriots are truly in their kitchen, the Pittsburgh Steelers are already guaranteeing playoff victories over them while not even playing them this week.

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