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Discussion Starter · #1 · Staff
10/13/2006 5:52:15 PM

Some juniors may not be long for the NHL, the Islanders have a prospect anxious to return to the fold and a checking Shark is getting a boost in quality ice time. Farm Report, Junior Report, Hot n' Not and the best in quotes, Chirping, in this edition of's Backchecking.

- According to the Columbus Dispatch, there are rumblings that the Blue Jackets could return 19 year-old C Gilbert Brule to Vancouver of the Western Hockey League. Brule's only played 6:17 per game, dressing in two of the first three games of the season. Brule, who entered training camp with a chance to play on a scoring line, was unimpressive and, because of Columbus' improved depth up front, could be on the way back to junior.

- Likewise, will the Montreal Canadiens keep junior-eligible rookie Guillaume Latendresse with the big club? He's playing only nine minutes per game on the fourth line right now.

- Newsday reports that Islanders winger Sean Bergenheim, who opted to play in Russia rather than accept what he felt was a lowball offer from the Isles, is willing to sign with the Islanders after quitting Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, where he opened the season with four points in five games. The paper reports that, if the Islanders will not sign Bergenheim, he may request a trade, but for now is looking to play in Finland in the meantime.

- The recent injury to Mark Bell has provided an opportunity for grinder Mark Smith, who has joined Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo on the Sharks' top line.

- With injuries dogging Sami Salo and Lukas Krajicek, physical defenceman Kevin Bieksa is seeing time on the Canucks power play.

- The Arlington Herald Daily Times reports that the Blackhawks had hoped veteran D Jassen Cullimore might hold some trade value later in the season, but with almost $4-million remaining on his contract, Cullimore's play is making it difficult to forecast a deal for him.

- Citing injuries on the Leafs blueline, most notably to Pavel Kubina, the Toronto Star looks at solutions with a few names for trade -- Florida's Steve Montador and New Jersey's Dan McGillis -- as well as a few veteran free agents -- Brian Leetch and Jason Woolley.

- If the Thrashers do need a proven centre, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests they look to Los Angeles, where Craig Conroy might possibly be had for young players and prospects.

- Leading Ducks forwards in ice time? Checking centre Samuel Pahlsson at 18:12. Though Ducks youngsters Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are getting some power play time, they aren't playing much otherwise, with enforcer Todd Fedoruk the only Duck seeing less ice time per game.

- Newly-acquired Hurricanes D Tim Gleason leads Carolina's blueliners in ice time, with 21:30 per game. As the 'Canes try to jumpstart their offence, look for puck-moving defenceman Andrew Hutchinson to get power play time. In his season debut, Hutchinson played 10:54 total, 7:42 of which came with the man advantage.

- Early on in Dallas, Jaroslav Modry has pulled ahead of Philippe Boucher on the power play defence depth chart.

- Little more than a solid depth defenceman in Ottawa, Brian Pothier is earning his keep in Washington, playing more than 28 minutes per game. Perennial prospect Kris Beech is also seeing quality power play time for the Caps right now.

- Steve McCarthy is the main power play quarterback on defence for the Thrashers, building on his solid performance from late last season.

- Sabres RW Ales Kotalik, who scored 10 power play goals last year, is 8th among Sabres forwards in power play time right now.

- In Chicago, Jeff Hamilton is only playing 9:20 per game, but leads the Blackhawks with 4:18 on the power play.

- The Blue Jackets defence pairing of Duvie Westcott and Ron Hainsey, which played so well last season, is being asked to do even more this year, with the pair getting power play minutes and combining to play nearly 49 minutes per game.

- This could be a breakout season for Kings RW Dustin Brown, who has seen nearly five minutes of power play time per game. The 22 year-old had 28 points last year and has two points in four games so far this year.

- Avalanche RW Marek Svatos is still trying to get back into the groove, but is playing just 12:20 per game, among the lowest on the team. D Brett Clark leads the Avs in ice time, and is the first blueliner off the bench on the PP.

- Predators D Dan Hamhuis, while leading the Preds defence in ice time, isn't seeing much power play time behind Marek Zidlicky, Kimmo Timonen and Shea Weber.

- The Flyers' lack of power play defencemen not only has them inquiring about Brian Leetch, it is giving veteran winger Geoff Sanderson plenty of power play time at the point.

- Lightning LW Ryan Craig is getting lots of chances on the power play because of his willingness to crash the crease and score ugly goals.

- One of the complaints about Pat Quinn's coaching tenure in Toronto was that he didn't play Mats Sundin enough. The early report on Sundin's ice-time this year? 21:45 per game through five games, up slightly from 19:58 last season.

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