Petr the Not-So-Great
Don't worry for Petr Nedved, tossed on the waiver list by the panicking Philadelphia Flyers. Somebody's always willing to give Nedved another chance, willing to believe that they'll be able to harness his ability and make him play hard consistently. That's what the Coyotes thought coming out of the lockout. That's what Philly thought last season after picking him up from Phoenix, and they believed it some more this past summer when they signed him to a new contract worth $2.4 million per. Of course, that's what Vancouver first believed when they took Nedved second overall in the 1990 draft. No matter how many times this chronic underachiever demonstrates he's not willing to give it his all, some team is always willing to buy into the tantalizing appeal of his talent. It will likely happen again, but clearing waivers and being sent to the minors may make it harder. He has to go through waivers again to be recalled to the NHL, and if any other team claimed him, the Flyers would have to still pay half his salary . . . This we now know. MLSE valued Tie Domi's 1,000th game far more than Mats Sundin's 500th goal. Tells you a lot of how the organization understands and appreciates talent. And why is it whenever MLSE tries to hold a ceremony to honor somebody, it always seems slightly awkward? . . . Seven games in and Bryan McCabe looks very tentative out there, yet the tough-love approach used on Jeff O'Neill and Matt Stajan seems not to apply to the Leaf defenceman. A blind behind-the-back pass in the neutral zone that led to the killer goal in a 4-1 loss to Colorado might have landed some Leafs on the bench. Not McCabe. JFJ is looking good for his hiring of Paul Maurice, his acquisition of Andrew Raycroft and his signings of Pavel Kubina and Mike Peca. But as noted emphatically at the time, paying McCabe at the level of a Norris Trophy winner in the hopes he will become won was a terribly misguided notion. They gave him money, term and a no-movement clause and will regret all three . . . The consensus was that the Leafs didn't work hard enough in losing to the Avs. Don't think so. Looked more like the Avs were the smarter, more conservative team and simply kept the game close knowing that Toronto's error-prone blueline would provide the crucial chances to win the game. Look for more teams to adopt that approach . . . A change in the power structure in the Western Conference is clearly underway. Not only is Detroit not running away with its division, it got smacked hard in Anaheim Wednesday night . . . The rest of the NHL's rookie class had a two-week head start on Evgeny Malkin. Assuming he stays healthy, he'll now easily pull away from the pack with few challengers. Boston's Phil Kessel, on the other hand, has yet to score and is looking overmatched at the NHL level. Most teenagers are. On the other hand, many suggested Anaheim winger Dustin Penner could be a serious Calder candidate because he was more mature at age 24 and played so well in last spring's playoffs. So far, Penner has one goal, the same as Malkin after one game. Washington's Alexander Semin, 22, would be a great challenger to Malkin, except he's not a rookie after playing 52 games in the 2003-04 season.