It is supposedly the most wonderful time of year if you are
a hockey fan, particularly of the NHL, but not every city in the league or
their fans, are feeling the ‘festive season’.
My team/city is one of them, and has been for some time now.
Nobody in Toronto (or anywhere near the area) should be
happy with the way things have gone this season but by no means are we the only
ones who are left so badly out in the cold that we actually have to pick
another team for whom to follow during the next 2 months or so.
Here is a brief list of some of those teams that need more
work than a high-schooler’s resume.
SAN JOSE SHARKS:
I thought my Leafs were a mess until I wrote a blog about how messed up San
Jose is internally. The players on the ice seem to be fine (sort of), but when
you start with the man behind the bench (for now), Todd McLellan, and then
everybody behind him, or on top of him however you choose to look at it, the
Sharks aren’t biting anyone these days. They did have Stanley Cup hopes last
season when they had the eventual champs, LA, down 3-0; then the astonishing
thing happened and they collapsed harder than a cheap tent. Some say GM Doug
Wilson is the problem and he probably is, especially when McLellan apparently
wants to get fired just so he can get out of the mess, which stems around
Wilson and former captain Joe Thornton. Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski are
just some of the other big shots on the team that has forgotten how to win.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS:
is this really what Brendan Shanahan knowingly signed up for? This is going to
test him in every way imaginable, and it just got a little worse this past
weekend, when the Leafs came 4th in the NHL draft lottery. This
means they will not only get nowhere near Connor McDavid (Erie Otters OHL) in
the summer, but they probably won’t get anywhere near next-in-line Jack Eichel
(Boston University Terriers)….or even Dylan Strome (Erie Otters OHL), either.
All this mess is something Shanahan needs to fix up, then he
probably needs to do something with 2 stellar netminders in the dressing room
(James Reimer, who has actually won playoff games with the Leafs, and Jonathan
Bernier), then he needs to trade a couple big-time contracts simply for the
sake of doing so (Phaneuf and possibly Phil Kessel), AND THEN Shanahan needs to
find someone who actually wants to coach this mess into something respectable
On top of all of that, Shanahan also has to replace the
other guy he just fired, GM Dave Nonis, as well as most of Peter Hornachek’s
assistant coaches, if not all of them.
The Leafs join the Sharks are being 2 teams that are
probably going to both need a new head coach and GM.
the Bs are probably the only team that I did not think they would ever make a
list like this one. They aren’t that bad, are they? Four years following a
Stanley Cup victory in 7 games, followed by being one goal away from another
Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final (vs Chicago), Boston does not make the playoffs
this year, it should be noted that making the playoffs at this level of the
game, is never something that should be taken for granted, after all Boston
missed on this year’s dance by 2 points, which means that going back to October
or November, take one of those losses and turn it into a win and the Bruins are
Anyway Peter Chiarelli just got fired, there is a 50/50
chance that head coach Claude Julien will be next, half of the current roster
is either broken down, or just tired (Zdeno Chara, Todd Marchand, David
Krecji), they do not have the mental batteries to do this hockey-in-the-spring
every year. There was plenty of speculation at the trade deadline that Chara
may actually be on his way out. He is 37 or something, he’s already got a Cup
so it’s been good for him, but he could probably fetch quite a bit in a deal to
just about anywhere.
where of where on earth does anybody, sane or insane go with this one? The
Edmonton Oilers are as bad as the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, and I can’t think of
a basketball team or baseball team that’s as comparably as bad at their sport
as the Edmonton Oilers have been.
They have had 3-4 #1 draft picks at the Entry Draft and they
are about to get another one! Taylor Hall was a #1 pick (2010), Ryan
Nugent-Hopkins was too (2011), and Nail Yakupov was in 2012….and now they are
about to choose #1 yet again….when is this going to end? Ales Hemsky was their
#1 draft pick in 2001. Jordan Eberle was a first-round pick too, but was
selected 22nd overall.
: They will get what they want with a shot
at the No. 1 pick but GM Tim Murray won’t sit still this summer.
certainly have a new look behind the bench after coach Ted Nolan was fired less
than 24 hours after the season ended. That had been on the table for a long,
The Sabres have
been listed as a team that will make a push for Coach Mike Babcock, if he goes
to the free agent market.
They likely will
because owner Terry Pegula isn’t afraid to spend money. Once a coach is in
place, though, he needs some players. Binghamton’s Luke Richardson is another
Murray’s plan has
always been simple: Get a top selection in the draft and then build around him.
There are going to be teams -- Boston and Chicago to name a couple -- who are
going to have cap issues and may want to move some top end players. If that’s
the case, expect the Sabres to be a player.
The plan isn’t to
finish last forever. Pegula and Murray want a winner in fairly short which
means they’ll do what it takes to compete for a playoff spot.
Labels: Jeffrey P. S.