SUN Hockey Pool

NHL Saturday: Anyone want Kostitsyn?

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers backs up as Montreal Canadiens left wing Andrei Kostitsyn...

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers backs up as Montreal Canadiens left wing Andrei Kostitsyn moves the puck during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Buffalo, New York Feb. 17, 2012. (REUTERS/Doug Benz)

Chris Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:29 AM ET

Here we go with another week's worth of notes and quotes as we head into Monday's trade deadline and the burning question: "Is there a team out there that will take Andrei Kostitsyn off the Montreal Canadiens' hands?"

Word is he has been offered to just about everybody with no takers.

Anybody?

HEAR AND THERE: The Rick Nash talk is fuelling most of the deadline buzz and it's interesting that Stanley Cup contenders are pursuing a winger with only four games of playoff experience (one goal). He has two goals in 13 games at the Olympics with Team Canada. If he lands with a contender, will he produce in the playoffs? ... One of the more shocking stats from this season is the Montreal Canadiens' 11-14-8 record at the Bell Centre, tied with Columbus for fewest wins at home. Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said one of the things working against the Canadiens is opposing teams are pumped to play there. "You talk about home-ice advantage and I think it takes away from that because all the teams coming in to play in this building get a little amped up to play here because it's exciting," Gulutzan said. "They're the talk of the town and the players feel that vibe. I'm sure that it's not easy for the home team here because those teams are gunned up and ready." Well, that and the fact the Canadiens just aren't a very good team ... The Habs, by the way, woke up Thursday in last place in the Eastern Conference. They have never been last this deep into a season since the league went to a two-conference format in 1974-75. Ahh, don't you miss the Campbell and the Wales?

THE BUZZ: I liked the deal that sent Steve Downie to Colorado, Kyle Quincey to Detroit and a first-round draft pick to Tampa Bay. Downie is tough to play against and that's what the Avs need. Quincey -- like just about everybody who winds up in Motown -- will be good there, and the Bolts get a pick to bolster their thin organizational depth or to use to move up in the draft ... They're still talking in Minny about a scrap between the Wild's Matt Kassian and Boston's Shawn Thornton. It lasted one minute 25 seconds ... The feeling in Carolina is defenceman Bryan Allen won't waive his no-trade clause and is staying put ... The Wild went into Friday's game against the old North Stars in Dallas with an 0-10-5 record in their past 15 visits to the Big "D."

JUST SAYING: I understand people brushing off the value of a late first-round pick in some deals. "Oh, it will be the 29th pick," they say. Yes, but it also gives the team getting the pick another asset to try to move up in the draft, which shouldn't be underestimated ... The Vancouver Canucks likely won't make a big splash at the trade deadline but are apparently interested in Colorado's Cody McLeod ... Jay McClement is a centre who could move from the Avs to a team looking for some help in killing penalties ... The St. Louis Blues' loss Wednesday to the Boston Bruins was their first against an Eastern Conference team this season (12-1-2).

JUST WONDERING: So the Los Angelees Kings make the deal to bring in Jeff Carter. Fine. But why, then, are there immediately rumours they could deal captain Dustin Brown? Wouldn't that potentially be a step backward if the return is a pick or prospects? ... Just a coincidence: Eric Staal has 29 points in 22 games since the New York Rangers' Marc Staal was cleared for contact following his concussion likely suffered at the hands of his brother. Maybe it has something to do with Kirk Muller being behind the Carolina Hurricanes bench, too ... I know he has been banged up, but Carter has only eight hits. Eight! Reminds me of what Dallas defenceman Sheldon Souray jokingly said the other day, looking at his new, foam-covered shoulder pads. "I can go into the corner with two eggs and come out with three."

THE LAST WORD: Quincey didn't have much good to say about the environment in Colorado, not that it sounds much different than in most cities with the trade deadline approaching. "There are guys that have been talked about for two, three weeks - and I was, too, right?" Quincey told Yahoo! "That's all I'm saying. With guys getting talked about all the time, your mind-set kind of changes. It's tough there because they're in a dogfight. When you get talked about every day, it kind of wears on you. You start thinking, 'Where am I going?' " Turns out Hockeytown, which is not a bad spot to land.

GO FIGURE

91

The fewest points for a division winner since the NHL introduced the single point for losing in overtime for the 1999-2000 season. The Carolina Hurricanes were 35-26-16-5 in 2001-02. Currently, the Florida Panthers are on pace to win the Southeast Division with 92 points.

6

The number of times, during the 12 seasons since the NHL went to a six-division format, that the Southeast champion has had the fewest points among division leaders. This year's winner is poised to make it seven out of 13. The Northwest Division winners are next, having had the fewest points three times.

4

The number of times the Detroit Red Wings shut out the opposition over the course of their 23-game home winning streak. It started Nov. 5 with a 5-0 shutout of the Anaheim Ducks. The Wings also blanked the Edmonton Oilers (Nov. 11), St. Louis Blues (Dec. 31) and Buffalo Sabres (Jan. 16).

3

The number of times the Detroit Red Wings went to the shootout and saved their home winning streak before having it ended in a shootout Thursday. The shootouts they won came during a seven-game span against the Phoenix Coyotes (Jan. 12), Columbus Blue Jackets (Jan. 21) and Anaheim Ducks (Feb. 10).

TOP FIVE POINT PRODUCERS ON THE ROAD

Racking up points on the road is a quality teams covet in a player. There is a perception visiting rinks are more intimidating, which allows the home team to play bigger and tougher. Having players who show up and get points on the road is a key to having a winning team. Here are the top five point-getters away from home in the NHL this season, entering games Friday night (rank in overall scoring race in brackets):

1. Henrik Sedin (5), Vancouver Canucks. He's tops with 37 points, including a league-leading 29 assists on the road. So much for the perception the Sedin brothers are somehow not as competitive as some other top players.

2. Jason Spezza (4), Ottawa Senators. He has been a lightning rod at times in Ottawa, but he has put up 14 goals and 20 assists and won 50.8% of his faceoffs on the road.

3. Jonathan Toews (17), Chicago Blackhawks. Not a surprise here. Captain Serious is viewed as one of the game's best competitors. He has collected 33 of his 57 points on the road, with an impressive 55.8% faceoff percentage.

4. Evgeni Malkin (2), Pittsburgh Penguins. He has 32 points and is fourth in the league in road goals with 16 behind Phoenix's Radim Vrbata (19), Tampa's Steven Stamkos (17) and Ottawa's Milan Michalek (17).

5. Daniel Sedin (7), Vancouver Canucks. He has 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points, giving him almost an even split between home and road points. He had 63 points overall entering Friday night.

THE GROCERY STICK

Who is -- literally or figuratively -- heading for, or already in, that comfortable spot on the bench that separates the forwards and the defencemen?

It has been a brutal season for Buffalo Sabres forward Brad Boyes, which doesn't make him alone in that city. The former 43-goal scorer (2007-08) has just three goals this season in 47 games. The Sabres have tried to use him in the middle, even though he had his greatest success on right wing. He has one goal during the past 38 games and just one goal at even strength. Boyes, 29., has had nine goals and 28 points in 75 games (including playoffs) since being acquired late in the 2010-11 season from the St. Louis Blues for a second-round pick.

AMBULANCE CHASING

Injuries that are having, or could have, a big impact

You look at the stats and wonder if the loss of a winger with four goals and 17 assists will have a big impact on a top team, but that might be the case for veteran Jamie Langenbrunner and the St. Louis Blues.

Langenbrunner, 36, broke his left foot blocking a shot Sunday and will be re-evaluated in a month.

"It's not only his presence in the locker room but also the way he plays the game, the way he doesn't take shifts off," Blues teammate T.J. Oshie said. "He doesn't complain about shifts he doesn't get down on himself. When things go bad, he's always looking at the positive and looking forward to the next shift. I think with our young group that's going to be the thing (that's missed the most)."

SOMETHING SPECIAL

Winnipeg Jets

Power plays: 194

Goals: 37

Percentage: 19.1

Rank: 9

The Jets have climbed to the top of the Southeast Division and, to a large degree, their improvement is because of the power play. The Jets had scored on seven consecutive power plays before that streak was halted Thursday night against Tampa Bay. Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien each had a couple of power-play goals during that run. The Jets now have the top performing power play on home ice at 24.3% (26 goals in 107 attempts).

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @CJ_Stevenson


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