The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are facing the reality of having to sell at the deadline, while their neighbors in down south Florida have rocketed up the standings after finally getting fully healthy. Also, Jonathan Toews is doing his best to put to bed the narrative that he’s over the hill.
DECISIONS IN TAMPA BAY
.@JSportsnet: “Is there a more popular player at the trade deadline than Brian Boyle? We know the Oilers are very interested.”— Michael Stuart (@MikeStuartTLL) February 22, 2017
The Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith talks about the complicated decisions ahead for Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman the following week. Smith notes help on defence is amongst the biggest needs for the Tampa Bay Lighting, but they won’t be in the market for a rental according to Yzerman. The Lightning have serious cap concerns and need to sign all three of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin this summer. The Lightning have Ben Bishop and Brain Boyle to potentially move as rentals, with Toronto, Edmonton, and Columbus showing interest in Boyle. Bishop is playing some of his best hockey as well, but Smith also ponders if keeping Bishop might be the Lightning’s best hope to make the playoffs.
Hexy wouldn’t confirm he will be in sell mode at the March 1 trade deadline. Said he needs to see what happens in games before that. #Flyers— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) February 19, 2017
SHOPPING ON LONG ISLAND
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 22, 2017
COMPUTER BOYS COMING THROUGH
If you’re not rooting for the Panthers to make the playoffs then you’re rooting against Jaromir Jagr and therefor you are a terrorist
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 21, 2017
They were always a team to play the long game with. The Florida Panthers got off to a terrible start this season, and many were quick to blame their front office analytics renaissance for the disappointment. But realistically, the Panthers were struggling with injuries to key players and the adaptation to multiple new players and a brand new system, and now that they’re healthy and firing on all cylinders, they’re rocketing up the standings. Not too long ago the Panthers seemed like a write off, but now, at the rate they’re going, they could challenge for the best record in the Atlantic Division.
TOEWS ISN’T DONE YET
So that talk about Toews not being as good anymore… #Blackhawks
— Tracey Myers (@TramyersCSN) February 22, 2017
— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) February 21, 2017
It wasn’t too long ago that hockey Twitter was convinced that Jonathan Toews was over the hill. The “Toews is bad” and isn’t anything more than a middle-six centre anymore made their rounds as the three-time Cup champion had a slow start to the season in terms of production. I mean, to be fair, Toews’ production had been dipping over the span of a few seasons, so there was reason to believe he was declining, but since coming back from injury, Toews has been excellent. Now he’s got 42 points in 51 games, good for 26th among centres. Sure, it isn’t good for somebody who costs $10.5 million annually, but I think we can pump the breaks on Toews being over the hill.