James Mirtle in the Globe and Mail asked an interesting question Monday – which rebuild is better, the Leafs approach or the Oilers approach? Ultimately, the answer to this question can only come years from now, when the young promise on each roster has been fulfilled (or not fulfilled, for that matter). However, as the continued success of the Detroit Red Wings (and continued failure of the Columbus Blue Jackets) suggests, there are franchise factors that can have a major impact on the development of a successful team. Good ownership is one of these factors. Every fan wishes their team...Click here to read more.
Category: Out of Town Notebook
With the NHL Trade deadline a little less than a month from now, speculation is heating up. Actually, that is a bit of an understatement. Speculation isn’t just heating up, it’s already reached a good rolling boil. We’ve entered the silly season of trade rumours people, where Ryan Getzlaf could be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, you know, just ‘cuz. It’s not just fans or the media that can get swept up in the euphoria that is the trade talk. General Managers can too. With that in mind, here are the four worst trade decisions that could be made...Click here to read more.
Usually – you know, when the league’s marquee player isn’t in a snit and boycotting the All-Star game – the narrative surrounding the NHL’s mid-season classic (in this case classic is defined as “tired tradition”) is as follows: “How can we make this game suck less?” Ironically, 2012 represents the 25th anniversary of the best hockey that’s ever been played during an NHL All-Star event. Wayne Gretzky himself called it the fastest-paced hockey he had ever played in. Rendez-Vous ’87 , which pitted a team of NHL All-Stars against a team from the Soviet Union, was the brainchild of then Quebec Nordiques owner...Click here to read more.
Yesterday we took at look at the “real” Western Conference standings after 40 games. Here now is a look at the East. Remember, to learn a bit more about an individual team’s strengths and weaknesses, each squad was ranked in six categories*: Goals for (GF) and shots-for (SHF) were chosen to evaluate a team’s offense; Shots-against (SHA) and goals against (GA) were chosen to evaluate a team’s defensive play; Five-on-five (5-on-5) was chosen to evaluate a team’s even-strength/system play; Save percentage (SVPCT) was chosen to evaluate the team’s goaltending performance. Teams were ranked and then put into groups of five,...Click here to read more.
At the end of the 20-game mark, I took a look at the “real” NHL standings in the East and West. Now that every team has played their 40th game, it’s time to even the playing field once again and see what’s really been going on in the NHL. Last time, I made special mention of a team’s special teams, goals for and goals against performance for the season. This time, to learn a bit more about an individual team’s strengths and weaknesses, each squad was ranked in six categories*: Goals for (GF) and shots-for (SHF) were chosen to evaluate...Click here to read more.
If someone you know is in a car crash, the first thing you want to know is how badly hurt they are. The 2011-12 season of the Columbus Blue Jackets has been an epic car crash. But in the grand scheme of things, they’re not too badly hurt. Why? Just like someone struggling with addiction, sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to start your way back to the top. For the Blue Jackets, this year has been rock bottom – and the path to the top is pretty clear. Here’s why the future isn’t all that dark in Columbus:...Click here to read more.
In the spirit of the New Year, here are five resolutions the NHL should make for 2012: 1. Abandon the “game is too fast” narrative As the NHL concussion issue has grown, so too has the argument that the game is currently too fast. According to Ex-NHL’ers (most recently Eric Lindros) and several general managers (Carolina’s Jim Rutherford is the most vocal at the moment), putting the red line back in would slow the game down and reduce the number of concussions taking place on ice. This, naturally, is complete poppycock and a classic case of conservative, backward NHL thinking....Click here to read more.
Next year is the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens-Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Final. Don’t expect a repeat appearence from either team. Today, the Kings made it official, hiring Darryl Sutter as their new coach. We talked last week about how hiring Sutter might just be the least imaginative, worst-thought-out decision GM Dean Lombardi could make for his team. The Kings already defend well – it’s hard to see Sutter adding to this area. The Kings already had a coach who demanded accountability – and it’s doubtful Darryl Sutter will do this in a way that’s more innovative than...Click here to read more.
Things that make one wonder on a Tuesday: The Kings are in Trouble Has Dean Lombardi lost his mind? According to reports, the Los Angeles Kings are looking at Darryl Sutter as their next coach. Because the Lombardi-Sutter connection won championships in San Jose, right? Look, it’s not like the problem with the Kings isn’t well-known. They aren’t scoring enough goals (last in the league). Their point-producers, outside of Anze Kopitar, are all under-performing. How Sutter – a notorious “defense-first, -second and –third” coach – could be seen as the right person to create scoring is a mystery. Not...Click here to read more.
Five possible ways the sale of the Toronto Maple Leafs to Rogers Communcations and Bell Canada Enterprises will affect hockey fans in Canada. 5. Get ready to see a lot of Larry Tanenbaum. With rivals Rogers and Bell owning the same amount of the ownership pie (37.5% each) they’re effectively neutered in terms of power around the board table. They also have to try and sustain their relationship by playing nice with each other, which probably translates to focusing on turning their new content (Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC, Toronto Marlies) into greater technology sales. All of this is to say the...Click here to read more.