NHL Power Rankings: Deadline reshuffling


NHL Power Rankings: Deadline reshuffling

By JoeHaggerty

With the NHL trade deadline having come and gone, there are clear winners and losers.

The Washington Capitals added a group of veterans with playoff experience, and a little size up the middle in Jason Arnott. The Bruins got the key to their power play in Tomas Kaberle and important role players in Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly.

The Los Angeles Kings might have pulled off the biggest move of the week when they landed Dustin Penner from Edmonton, and may have finally found a sizeskill player that can be paired with Anze Kopitar.

Teams like the Canucks and Flyers made few roster additions, and the Lightning obviously addressed their biggest weakness with Dwayne Roloson earlier in the season. All in all, though, the high number of teams still in the playoff hunt curbed many of the players available, and therefore the deals werent plentiful on Feb. 28. There were only 16 trades on deadline day, and thats a mere fraction of the deals finalized just a year ago.

So now more than ever, teams simply have to make due with the roster their GM constructed, and thats what each NHL hopeful will be doing over the final 20 games of the regular season.

Without further ado, here are this weeks power rankings:

1. Philadelphia Flyers (40-16-6, last week: 2) The Flyers continue to enjoy the exact opposite of last season while cruising through the regular season. But will their goaltending once again be their Achilles heel during the playoffs? That is the question. Theres starting to be a troubling trend of Sergei Bobrovsky coughing up at least one bad goal in just about every game hes playing down the stretch.

2. Detroit Red Wings (39-18-6, last week: 3) The Red Wings got back on track with wins over the Sabres and Kings, and have locked up goalie Jimmy Howard with a two-year contract extension. They still look to these eyes like the class of the Western Conference. The Wings are an offensive machine.

3. Vancouver Canucks (40-15-9, last week: 1) The Canucks cruised a bit into the trade deadline, and fell to the Bruins in a statement game for both teams. Vancouver needs to get their D healthy before the playoffs. Itll be interesting to see what Maxim Lapierre adds to the Vancouver mix.
4. Boston Bruins (37-19-7, last week: 8) Cam Neely said earlier this week on the radio that he believes the Bruins are one of the top four teams in the NHL, and Im inclined to agree with him (even if Felger doesn't). Top five in goals scored, leading the NHL in goals against average and the best stats in the third period are some pretty good credentials.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (37-19-7, last week: 5) The Bolts are finishing up strong, and have to hope that grizzled playoff veterans Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier and Dwayne Roloson can carry an inexperienced Tampa Bay roster.
6. San Jose Sharks (37-21-6, last week: 6) The Sharks have won seven in a row and are playing their best hockey of the season. San Jose didnt do much at the trade deadline, but didnt really have to.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins (37-21-7, last week: 7) Sidney Crosby is still battling with concussion symptoms. That sound you hear is Pittsburghs season slowly circling down the drain.
8. Washington Capitals (34-20-10, last week: 10) Alex Ovechkin is finally coming alive with 10 goals in his last 18 games, but there are some holes on this team. Picking up Dennis Wideman, Marco Sturm and Jason Arnott didnt have the Wow factor, but they do get bonus points for aiding in the former Bruins relocation project.

9. Los Angeles Kings (35-24-4, last week: 12) Kings GM Dean Lombardi went out and got his big forward in Dustin Penner, and now its up to the young Los Angeles hockey team to put it all together. They need to start showing more than just promise.
10. Chicago Blackhawks (34-23-6, last week: 17) Nice of the Blackhawks to finally show up this season. Jonathan Toews has seven goals and 16 assists over his last 14 games, and leads the NHL in scoring since Jan. 25. Looks like Captain Serious is finally tossing Chicago on his back.

11. Montreal Canadiens (34-23-7, last week: 13) The Habs continue to hang in without Andrei Markov, Jaroslav Spacek and Josh Gorges, but no depth deals at the deadline could come back to haunt them. Montreal is limping to the finish.

12. Phoenix Coyotes (33-22-10, last week: 15) Shane Doan and Ryan Whitney are both getting it done individually for the Desert Dogs, but theyve lost four straight and need a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

13. Calgary Flames (33-23-9, last week: 9) Miikka Kiprusoff threw a shutout at the Blues in Calgarys last game, and has hit the next gear with Calgary over the last month.

14. Dallas Stars (34-23-6, last week: 14) The Stars picked up a big win over the Coyotes, and have decided to go playoffs or bust with Brad Richards this season. Hard to believe they would have done anything else.
15. Nashville Predators (32-23-9, last week: 11) The Predators have lost twice to the Oilers this season. That should be enough to bar Nashville from the playoffs if the season were graded on style points.

16. Anaheim Ducks (33-25-5, last week: 16) Todd Marchant snapped a 71-game goal-scoring drought when he picked up a score in Anaheims win over the Avalanche. Now thats a dry spell.

17. Minnesota Wild (33-25-6, last week: 15) Dont you just get the feeling that the Wild arent quite going to cut it this year? Brent Burns and Martin Havlat might not be enough.

18. New York Rangers (33-28-4, last week: 18) Looks like Henrik Lundqvist might become the iron man between the pipes for the Rangers after Martin Biron broke his collarbone. The loss to the Sabres Monday night really hurt the Blueshirts.

19. Columbus Blue Jackets (31-24-7, last week: 20) With the B.J.s longest-tenured player in Rostislav Klesla dealt at the trade deadline to the Coyotes, its a brave new world for Columbus. Just not sure its better.
20. Buffalo Sabres (30-25-7, last week: 23) Good to see Brad Boyes get a chance at the playoffs after the trade from St. Louis. Hes one of the all-time good guys and it appears the Sabres are headed that way.

21. Carolina Hurricanes (30-25-9, last week: 19) Its all hands on deck Thursday night when the 'Canes take on the Buffalo Sabres in a game with all kinds of playoff ramifications.

22. Toronto Maple Leafs (28-27-9, last week: 25) Phil Kessel has turned things around since finally potting a few against his old Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Can you say turning point?
23. St. Louis Blues (28-26-9, last week: 21) A tough ending for the Blues after they started out of the gate with so much promise before injuries hit them hard.

24. New Jersey Devils (28-31-4, last week: 22) Its a long shot, but the hot Red Devils are within single point digits of capturing a playoff spot, and need to keep the pedal to the metal.

25. Atlanta Thrashers (26-27-11, last week: 24) The Thrashers have added a lot of new pieces to the Atlanta fold, but theyre still skidding with two wins in their last 10 games. Looks like theyll be out of the playoffs again.

26. Florida Panthers (26-30-7, last week: 27) Dale Tallon took a stick of dynamite to the Panthers, and hell start over again from scratch. How many more times will the Florida hockey fans put up with that?
27. Colorado Avalanche (26-30-8, last week: 26) I guess Peter Stastny isnt going to be invited to the Avs golf tournament after the regular season is over.

28. New York Islanders (24-32-9, last week: 26) The best story going on the Island right now is youth. Al Montoya might have finally found an NHL home, and Michael Grabner is dynamite for the Isles.

29. Edmonton Oilers (21-35-8, last week: 29) Give the Oilers credit that theyre continuing to fight and scratch. Thats a good sign for a young team way, way out of contention.

30. Ottawa Senators (21-33-9, last week: 30) It appears the Craig Anderson deal to the Sens was a stroke of inspiration by Sens GM Bryan Murray. But the rest of the Ottawa roster is virtually unrecognizable.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Patriots reportedly deal Derby to Broncos for fifth-round pick


Patriots reportedly deal Derby to Broncos for fifth-round pick

The Patriots pulled off a rare deal with a rival on Tuesday. 

According to ESPN, they've sent tight end A.J. Derby to the Broncos in exchange for a fifth-round pick. 

Derby played in 33 offensive snaps over four games this season for the Patriots. A sixth-round draft choice in 2015 out of Arkansas, Derby spent most of his rookie season on injured reserve. 

One of the stars of the preseason for the Patriots, Derby caught 15 passes for 189 yards in four exhibition games. A former college quarterback for Iowa and Arkansas, Derby was named a practice player of the week by the Patriots when they were hurting for healthy signal-callers early in the season during Tom Brady's suspension.

The deal leaves the Patriots somewhat thin at the tight end position. They now have now true tight ends behind Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. They do, however, have fullback James Develin, who meets with tight ends on a daily basis. On the practice squad, the Patriots have another fullback in Glenn Gronkowski. 

In Denver, Derby will compete with tight ends Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman and John Phillips for time.

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf


Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a CSNNE.com report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”