It’s the Penguins’ world and everybody else is just living in it.
Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero went out on successive days and nabbed gritty, veteran winger Brenden Morrow, who has been a warrior during a number of lengthy Dallas runs through the playoffs, and hulking, physical defenseman Douglas Murray.
While Morrow is the bigger name of the two players, it is Murray that could be a giant difference-maker during the postseason. While never the most mobile guy around, the Penguins had a huge hole on their roster where they needed a hard-hitting, shot-blocking defenseman. Truthfully, they’ve had that hole on their roster since Hal Gill left town after winning a Cup with Pittsburgh.
So now the Penguins have addressed a pair of big needs, and it’s Boston GM Peter Chiarelli’s turn to make something happen. Will it be Jarome Iginla and an offensive defenseman like Ryan Whitney of the Edmonton Oilers?
Could it possibly be Marty St. Louis or Jaromir Jagr if the price is too high for Iginla’s services? Only time will tell, but Chiarelli is working the phones to get the best deal possible for a Black and Gold club that needs some offensive finish but isn’t looking to deal away their entire cupboard of young prospects.
Here are this week’s power rankings:
30. Florida Panthers (9-18-6, ranked last week: 30) – How much does it stink for the Panthers that they don’t even have healthy rental players to deal off for assets? Ouch.
29. Tampa Bay Lightning (13-18-1, ranked last week: 23) – Where do you go after you fire your James Bond villain of a head coach? I would have kept Guy Boucher on the job and just asked him to work “liquid hot magma” in every one of his press conferences if I owned the Bolts.
28. Colorado Avalanche (11-16-4, ranked last week: 28) – Joe Sacco’s players are going to bat for his job. Words are nice, but winning games would be a much bigger help.
27. Philadelphia Flyers (13-16-2, ranked last week: 25) – Who will Paul Holmgren trade away in a fit of pique this year? Is he on the hot seat? There are some hard questions that still have to be answered in Philly?
26. Phoenix Coyotes (13-15-4, ranked last week: 20) – The Desert Dogs have lost six in a row, and it’s probably time to start selling off the players and the office furniture. Next stop Seattle or Quebec City.
25. Calgary Flames (12-14-4, ranked last week: 6) – I couldn’t hoodwink Jay Feaster into making a trade last week despite ranking the Flames sixth overall. Let’s see if the opposite method works.
24. Edmonton Oilers (11-13-7, ranked last week: 22) – What a disappointment. Seems to me the Oil needs to change the nucleus a little bit because the All-Star group of prospects just isn’t working.
23. Buffalo Sabres (13-15-4, ranked last week: 29) – A three-game winning streak for Buffalo could set up to be more with both Tampa and Florida on the docket for this week.
22. Columbus Blue Jackets (13-13-6, ranked last week: 24) – Sergei Bobrovsky is looking pretty good in Columbus? That must sting a little bit in Philly, eh?
21. New York Islanders (14-15-3, ranked last week: 18) – So decidedly mediocre yet only one win out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Can’t expect them to be big sellers at the trade deadline now.
20. Carolina Hurricanes (15-13-2, ranked last week: 12) – A five game losing streak and a five-year contract extension for Alex Semin are two reasons why the Hurricanes are doomed this year and beyond. The phrase “stupid money” in NHL terms will now forever be known as “Semin Money.”
19. Washington Capitals (15-16-1, ranked last week: 27) –Alex Ovechkin has 16 goals and 31 points in 32 games. Washington has also won three games in a row. So much for him being done, I guess.
18. Nashville Predators (14-13-6, ranked last week: 26) – It’s put up or shut up time for the Predators as they cling to the bottom rung of the playoff ladder along with other bubble teams.
17. Winnipeg Jets (17-14-2, ranked last week: 14) – The Caps are coming on strong, but Winnipeg looks like they might have the playoff mettle to get in this year. That rabid fan base deserves a round or two of the playoffs.
16. New York Rangers (15-13-3, ranked last week: 17) – The Rangers have some decisions to make. They should make the playoffs, but it’s saying something that Marian Gaborik might be available at the deadline.
15. San Jose Sharks (14-11-6, ranked last week: 18) – Their key home-and-home series with the Ducks started out on a winning note Monday night. Good sign even though they’ve dealt Douglas Murray.
14. New Jersey Devils (15-11-7, ranked last week: 15) – There are still whispers of David Clarkson being available at the deadline. The Devils clearly aren’t serious if they do something like that.
13. Toronto Maple Leafs (17-12-4, ranked last week: 16) – The Leafs finally knocked off the Bruins, and bought themselves some self respect. That could be big if these two rivals face each other in the playoffs.
12. Los Angeles Kings (18-12-2, ranked last week: 10) – Dustin Penner with the gratuitous swipe of Tim Thomas prior to LA’s visit to the White House today. I knew I liked that guy for some reason.
11. Detroit Red Wings (17-11-5, ranked last week: 10) – Detroit just keeps on chugging along and holds a three-game winning streak despite a cold stretch from Damien Brunner.
10. Dallas Stars (15-14-3, ranked last week: 21) – First Brenden Morrow is traded away. You've got to expect that Jaromir Jagr is coming next as the Stars begin to peel away their veterans and build for next year.
9. Ottawa Senators (18-9-6, ranked last week: 7) – Paul MacLean should already have his Jack Adams Award speech sewn up no matter what happens from here on in. What a job they did in Ottawa to keep that injury-riddled team together.
8. St. Louis Blues (16-10-2, ranked last week: 15) – The Blues have won five of six with rookie Jake Allen in net and vaulted back into the top 10 after some mid-season struggles.
7. Montreal Canadiens (20-6-5, ranked last week: 5) - The Habs probably deserve to be ranked higher, and Wednesday night's tilt for the Northeast Division bragging rights with Boston should settle things.
6. Vancouver Canucks (17-9-6, ranked last week: 13) – How does Gillies keep his job when he goes through an entire season with the Luongo/Schneider situation? Seriously?
5. Minnesota Wild (19-10-2, ranked last week: 9) – Hats off for finally gelling during the regular season, but this team has “easy mark” written all over them once the playoffs get going.
4. Boston Bruins (21-7-3, ranked last week: 4) – The Bruins saw the cracks in their foundation going 1-3 while scoring six goals on their last long road trip of the season. Now they need to fortify them with some deals.
3. Anaheim Ducks (22-6-4, ranked last week: 2) – The Ducks are still in great position, but they’re starting to look a little more human now that Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are all taken care of.
2. Chicago Blackhawks (24-4-3, ranked last week: 1) – The record is gaudy and the Blackhawks still look like the team to beat in the West – even riding a two-game losing streak.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (25-8-0, ranked last week: 3) – Penguins GM Ray Shero once again goes bold and nabs Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray ahead of everybody else. Murray is the hulking, physical stay-at-home presence that the Pens lacked in the defensive end. He makes them a complete team headed into the postseason. Watch out.