Commentary

This week's news and views

Updated: January 23, 2008, 10:45 AM ET
By Ken Campbell | The Hockey News

One of the beauties of the Internet is that, with a couple of clicks, you can look up the lyrics to "Blinded by the Light" by Manfred Man and finally discover the exact words of those two lines that go:

"Some baritone Andy Sack from the rolling stone preacher from the east,
Says 'Dethrone the Dictaphone, hit it in its funny bone, that's where they expect it least.'"

Then you can wonder exactly what the hell they're talking about.

Another beauty of the World Wide Web is that you can read 30 or 40 newspapers a day without creating a fire hazard or getting ink imbedded in your fingertips.

With that in mind, I thought I'd supply some news and views from the print hockey coverage in North America.

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Here goes ...

News: Panthers' Matthias opening eyes (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Views: There aren't many clunkers in Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland's player personnel decisions, but trading Shawn Matthias and a second-round pick to Florida for Todd Bertuzzi at the trade deadline last season is one of them.

Matthias, a great second-round find for the Red Wings in the 2006 entry draft, is impressing the Panthers in a brief call-up and continues to give every indication he'll be a very good NHL player.

In return, the Red Wings got Bertuzzi, who contributed almost nothing to their run to the conference finals and he walked as a free agent after the season.

Kudos to Florida GM Jacques Martin for not only undoing one of Mike Keenan's worst trades ever, but also for recognizing the Red Wings can scout players.

News: Hip, Hip Hooray! Flexor be damned, Alfie expects to play in Florida and in the All-Star Game Sunday (Ottawa Sun)

Views: All right, a little wordy, but in a league where the All-Star Game is viewed as nothing more than an annoyance by many players, Daniel Alfredsson actually gets it.

The easiest thing for him to do would have been to beg off the midseason classic (insert joke here), but Alfredsson seems to be one of the few players who realizes that if this "partnership" between the players and owners is going to work, the players will have to actually do their part.

The easiest thing for the Senators would have been to order Alfredsson not to play, but instead they're leaving the decision up to their captain and have every confidence he'll make the right one.

News: For now, trade talk remains on hold (St. Petersburg Times)

Views: The time to talk trade passed a long time ago for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are destined to miss the playoffs this season because they seem to be the only ones who don't recognize they will have to trade one of Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards or Vincent Lecavalier if this franchise wants to move forward.

If the Lightning sign Dan Boyle in the summer, they will have roughly half of the upper limit of the payroll tied up in four players, with Lecavalier coming due at the end of the season.

The problem is the Lightning have not drafted well enough to fill their numerous holes on defense and in goal, and instead of developing those players, they will have to acquire them in trades.

Until then, the Lightning will be nothing more than the first casualty of the salary cap.

News: Maple Leafs miss McCabe (National Post)

Views: Let's get this straight here. McCabe spent the first part of the season with his head in the clouds and was a disaster in his own end without providing much in the way of offense. Then, he basically dumbs his game down to the lowest level, becomes a guy who chips the puck off the glass for a cap hit of $5.75 million per season and now the Leafs are missing him?

My word.

News: Big jump to first place comforting and vexing (Denver Post)

Views: Yes, that was the Colorado Avalanche in first place in the Northwest Division earlier this week.

That the Avs have been able to even hang in the Western Conference race with long-term injuries to Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny qualifies as one of the feel-good stories of the season so far.

And go directly to the head of the class and collect a gold star if you predicted they would do it with Jose Theodore in goal.

It's probably a stretch to suggest Theodore is actually worth his $5.3 million cap hit (after all, he's got a ton of making up to do), but there is little doubt Theodore is playing his best hockey in years.

News: Kane Hawks' key shootout weapon (Chicago Tribune)

Views: The Chicago Blackhawks have won three of their past four games, all by shootout, and Kane has scored in all three wins.

The Blackhawks have been involved in five shootouts this season and have won four. Kane has scored in each game they've won and missed in the only one they lost.

He has also shot first for the Blackhawks each time, giving them a huge advantage by scoring first.

When the writers are filling out their ballots for the Calder Trophy this season, it's something they would do well to take into account.

Since the shootout was introduced after the lockout, it has been viewed as an afterthought, but players such as Kane are proving how valuable it is to be good at it.

Ken Campbell's "Campbell's Cuts" appears every Monday only on thehockeynews.com.

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