Author: Tom Wakefield

Out of Town Notebook: Dead Teams Walking 1

Out of Town Notebook: Dead Teams Walking

As we wind down the 2011-12 NHL season, it’s only fitting to take a moment and pay our respects to the “dearly departed” – those teams we know will be golfing in a couple of weeks. Here now is a quick look at each of the teams looking ahead to 2012-13 already,  in reverse order of today’s standings. Columbus Blue Jackets What went wrong: Pretty much everything. James Wisniewski’s 8-game suspension crippled the team out of the gate. Coach Scott Arniel tried switching his team’s approach from an aggressive to conservative style mid-season, but the results were too poor to save...

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Out of Town Notebook: Patrick Roy vs. Ken Dryden and the Eastern Conference Playoff Race 0

Out of Town Notebook: Patrick Roy vs. Ken Dryden and the Eastern Conference Playoff Race

The Globe and Mail report that Patrick Roy is waiting in the wings to take over the Montreal Canadiens after this season is not unexpected. Rumours for months have made it seem like a Quebec-centric bidding war has developed between the Habs and prospective Nordiques franchise over the services of Mr. Roy. Interestingly though, yesterday’s news turned my inbox into a debate over the merits of Patrick Roy. Not necessarily his merits behind the bench or in the executive suite, but on the ice. The question was – who was a better goalie, Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy? It’s the type...

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Out of Town Notebook: Could Calgary’s Red Mile Be Returning? 1

Out of Town Notebook: Could Calgary’s Red Mile Be Returning?

Yes, this is the week of returns in the NHL, with Sidney Crosby playing against the Rangers on Thursday and all signs pointing to Alex Radulov returning to the Predators in the near future. And yet if you take a step back, what you’ve really got in the NHL right now is an epic race for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. As of Wednesday morning, there were five teams separated by a single point in the standings for the final two playoff spots in the West. Which of these teams will make the playoffs? Which of these...

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Out of Town Notebook: They Paid Grabovski What? 5

Out of Town Notebook: They Paid Grabovski What?

It seems these days not a day goes by that there isn’t something about the mediocre Toronto Maple Leafs that’s making the headlines.  At first blush, the signing of Mikhail Grabovski to a five year, $27.5 million contract seems rather ludicrous. We’re talking about high-end salary for a streaky scorer that’s never put up 30-goals or 60 points.  But is the contract really that far out of whack? Let’s do this arbitration-style, and look at some comparables. Comparable #1: The 2004 NHL Entry Draft – Part 1 Grabovski was drafted 150th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2004 NHL...

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Out of Town Notebook: Picking Contenders out of Deadline Mix 2

Out of Town Notebook: Picking Contenders out of Deadline Mix

Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m still not convinced Columbus’ interest in dealing Rick Nash wasn’t a creation of TSN and Sportsnet. The two networks needed a big name to speculate about to drive up ratings for their annual Trade Deadline TV marathons. Sadly for those networks, Nash remains a Blue Jacket at least until the draft, where the hype will be built up all over again. I am giddy with anticipation (and by giddy I mean hitting my head with a shoe to make the idea of 24 hour coverage of “The Rick Nash Trade –...

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Out of Town Notebook: Caps The Contender That Never Was 1

Out of Town Notebook: Caps The Contender That Never Was

One game does not represent an entire NHL season.   But Washington’s 5-0 loss to Carolina Monday night was another of the growing number of nails being hammered into the coffin laying rest to the Washington Capitals – 2011-12 edition. Make no mistake, this Washington team is taking after Monty Python’s dead parrot – it’s bereft of life, destined to rest in peace. And to think just 24 months ago this was a team destined to transform and dominate the NHL landscape. There are two reasons why the juggernaut Washington Capitals of 2009-10 have transformed into a Cinderella-sized pumpkin.  ...

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Out of Town Notebook: It’s Time Hitch Wins the Jack Adams 1

Out of Town Notebook: It’s Time Hitch Wins the Jack Adams

Ken Hitchcock has more than 500 wins, a .590 career winning percentange and a Stanley Cup to his credit. But he’s never won the Jack Adams Award for NHL Coach of the Year. With all due respect to the great work John Tortorella, Dan Bylsma, Kevin Dineen and Mike Babcock are doing with their respective teams, Hitchcock should win his first Jack Adams Award this year. The impact he’s had on the St. Louis Blues has been incredible. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at how each of this season’s coaching changes have played out. Ken Hitchcock Pre-hiring: St. Louis...

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