Do You See What I See, volume II

lookingglass

Yes it is still relatively quiet around Hockeytown up here in Canada, but there is lots going on in hockey and the sports world.

>> A source close to the Oilers revealed to me that the Oilers have interviewed five coaches: Pat Quinn, Marc Crawford, Todd Richards, Rob Daum and Tom Renney. I still see Daum as the head man in Springfield next year, so I wonder if his interview was for the Oilers’ job or more of a “See where his head is at” type of conversation. Now that Geoff Ward’s Bruins are out expect him to get an interview soon, and Scott Arniel will get one when his Moose are done in the AHL playoffs. I wasn’t able to get confirmation whether or not the Devils will let Brent Sutter interview for the job.

>> Last year I was told by a few different scouts that the Springfield blueline was one of the worst they’d ever seen in over 20 years of covering the AHL. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. The Oilers are well aware of this blatant weakness and will address it over the summer. The signing of Johan Motin is a decent first step. Motin signed a three-year deal for a cap hit of $637,500.00. Motin won’t bring a lot of offence but reports are he is a decent first passer and a solid stay-at-home guy. Don’t expect to see him in Edmonton next year, but if he progresses the way they expect him to he might play a few games in 2010/2011.

>> I think Ovechkin is the best player in the game. He scores, hits, brings raw emotion and most of all he is the most entertaining. But Sidney Crosby’s performance in the playoff’s has put him right back in the conversation. Crosby is a better playmaker, and is just as competitive if not more.

The area he lacks, and this has nothing to do with greatness, but is hugely important from an entertainment aspect. Ovechkin is way more marketable and gives fans a glimpse of who he is. Crosby never seems happy. He rarely smiles or jokes during an interview or even in the game. Crosby’s personality makes him hard to like. He is great, but needs to show that he enjoys the game a bit more.

Lebron James’s persona is larger than life. Casual fans are attracted to that. Peyton Manning’s acting made him more acceptable in many fan’s eyes. Crosby needs to relax and let his guard down now and then. He is well on his way to being considered one of the all-time greats, but he needs to become more personable. More importantly the league needs it. If hockey wants to keep growing in the States, even at a turtle’s pace, they need their best players to be just as exciting off the ice as they are on the ice.

>> Say What? On Tuesday I had PJ Stock on my show, and he threw out this comment, “I don’t think Crosby is in the top-five best players in the game right now.” I know that guys like to be controversial at times, but there is no way Crosby isn’t a top-five player in today’s game. No way.

>> Say What Part II? Also on Tuesday, Bill Watters said this about Erik Cole, “He’s a perfect playoff type player. Hard and gritty.” I have no idea how people see Cole as this great playoff player. He has a whopping three assists in 15 games this year, and now has a sub-par six goals and 12 points in 40 career playoff games. How is that the perfect playoff performer?

Which begs the question, Is Wanye related to Bill Watters? Because they both are drinking the Cole-Aid.

>> The last year there wasn’t at least one player with two OT goals in the playoff was in 1999/2000 when there was a paltry nine OT games the entire playoffs. This year there has been 14 OT games, but no one has lit the lamp twice so far.

>> Does the winning goaltender of the Eastern conference final become the 3rd goalie for Canada at the 2010 Olympics? Cam Ward and Marc-Andre Fleury will both be making their 2nd Stanley Cup final if they win.

>> The teams with the least wiggle room under the cap heading into the summer are:

  • Philly is committed to 19 players at $53.9 million. (although if Rathje can’t play then they have 18 at $50.4 million.)
  • Detroit is committed to 16 players at $51.2 million.
  • Ottawa has 20 players at $50.9 million.
  • Pittsburgh has 14 players at $46.8 million.
  • Boston has 14 players at $46.7 million.
  • Washington has 14 players at $45.9 million.
  • San Jose has 13 players at $46.7 million.
  • Edmonton has 18 players at $46.9 million.
  • Calgary has 15 players at $46.8 million.
  • Buffalo has 15 players at $45.5 million.
  • The Rangers have 11 guys at $42.8 million.

>> If the Wings sign Hossa like many assume they will, and they get him for a $6 million cap hit, that puts them at the limit. Not only will they lose Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Kocepky to free agency, they will have to sign and trade Jiri Hudler and probably one of their top four D-men. Brad Stuart will be the most likely to move.

Although maybe someone is willing to take Brian Rafalski and his $6 million ticket. This will be the first summer that Ken Holland will have to part with players he’d rather keep.

>> Some “character” free agents that should interest the Oilers, and any team that needs grit, and wouldn’t cost much include Dan Hinote, Rick Rypien, Travis Moen, Chris Neil, Scott Nichol and Ian Laperriere.

>> Players who should take a pay cut: Brian Gionta. Since his 48 goal season he has followed with 25, 22 and 20 goal seasons. He made $4 million last year, so I can’t see the Devils or anyone offering him that money again.

Alex Tangauy: Will someone pay him $5.25 million again? What about Saku Koivu at $4.75 million or Kovalev at $4.5 million. I can’t see how anyone signs them for that money. Erik Cole will take a home town discount from Carolina and will probably get les than the $4 million he made. Martin Havlat will be sought after, but I don’t see someone giving him $6 million again, but he’ll get something close.

>> And it looks like one of the best to ever play will hang them up this summer. Andy Lindahl from KOA radio in Denver said this yesterday on Just A Game on the TEAM 1260, “It sounds like Joe will retire once the Stanley Cup is awarded. He doesn’t want to take any of the hype away from the playoffs.” For my money Sakic is a first ballot hall-of-famer, and one of the classiest guys to ever play. He will be missed.

  • Ogden Brother

    Chris wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    Don’t mind me brother… I’m always cynical and bitter this time of year. Once the new coach is hired, and the hammer falls on a few deals, I’ll drink up whatever KoolAid Tencer, and Tambellini serve…
    If Cole were to sign a six year forty million dollar contract, and Tambellini traded Hemsky for his rights… I’d somehow convince myself that Cole needed to be on the FIRST line RW… and Hemsky was poison… and Tambellini is a genius… and, and, and…
    At least till Christmas anyway. This year I’m trying EXTRA hard to not swallow the B.S. hook, line, and sinker; hence my negativity.

    Ha – ha, no worries.

  • Ogden Brother

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Ogden Brother wrote:
    So what’s the % then? Remember, each time you bump the coaching credit/blame notch up you reduce the 20 players actually on the ice.
    I dont know what’s fair to give to the coach. If coaching wasnt important teams wouldnt be firing them so often for under-performing. The coach has a lot to do with systems in general, but less to do with individual faceoff %. A new coach wont come in and all of a sudden Hemsky will double his shooting %, but he might increase his offensive chances. I dont want to take away blame from the players. But I dont want to complain that Hemsky doesnt get enough chances if even he feels that he’s been handcuffed by his coach.
    How are the Oilers supposed to know which problems are related to coaching and which are player short comings if they never tried a new coach? 3 of the 4 conference finalists have fired their coaches this season. A tactic that the Oilers apparently decided they would not do. There have been a non stop carousel of players in here for the last 4 or 5 years but that hasnt seemed to fix anything. So, like I said, how many of the problems us fans have had with these players were really a product of player ineptitude or coaching ineptitude?

    I'm not saying it wasn't time for a change, it clearly was. It's the constant imply that MacT is an incompetent coach.

    People want to lump the whole 8 years together and claim he was a horrible coach, but the reality is their were multiple years where the team over achieved vs what they had on paper, including 07/08.

    In fact, take a look at what the Blues did this past year vs the year before and what the circumstances were… that got Andy Murray a Jack Adams nomination. Now look what the Oil did 07/08 vs 06/07 and the circumstances around that season.

  • myteammytown

    @ Archaeologuy:

    others such as the leafs, islanders, sens, thrashers, panthers, kings, sharks, flames,habs etc etc have also changed their coaches over the last few years and what did it get them?

    if your team is sh*t, the coach wont really matter.

  • Ogden Brother

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    @ myteammytown:
    I was referring to mid season changes. The changes that are most telling if that particular group was the problem or the coach.

    Rangers/Habs also changed coaches mid season and their teams sunk in the standings.

  • Ogden Brother

    Fun project: Look at what the Blues accomplished this past year vs 07/08 and the circumstances around the team. Look at what the Oilers accomplishd 07/08 vs 06/07 and the circumstances around the team.

    Andy Murray is up for the Jack Adams.

  • Hemmertime

    Screw the Ovechkin vs Crosby debate (clearly OV in my eyes), Crosby could be debatable to even be the best player on his team. Malkin vs Crosby debate is closer than Ovechkin, and personally, Id take Malkins size.

  • Archaeologuy

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    Rangers/Habs also changed coaches mid season and their teams sunk in the standings.

    And now those clubs have a better idea of where their talent stands. If Pittsburg's changes resulted in the same continued futility it would have been a sign to the club that some pretty large changes needed to be made. Turns out the players werent so much the problem. Now the Oilers needed to make some bigger changes anyway, but I for one am more comfortable feeling like i know which problems were the result of a bad/ineffective coach and which were from bad/ineffective players. The Oilers put themselves in a position not to know.

  • Hemmertime

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Rangers/Habs also changed coaches mid season and their teams sunk in the standings.

    Carbonneau had to be banging Gaineys wife on that one. I still dont understand it with what, 11 games left in season and in playoff spot.

  • Ogden Brother

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Ogden Brother wrote:
    Rangers/Habs also changed coaches mid season and their teams sunk in the standings.
    And now those clubs have a better idea of where their talent stands. If Pittsburg’s changes resulted in the same continued futility it would have been a sign to the club that some pretty large changes needed to be made. Turns out the players werent so much the problem. Now the Oilers needed to make some bigger changes anyway, but I for one am more comfortable feeling like i know which problems were the result of a bad/ineffective coach and which were from bad/ineffective players. The Oilers put themselves in a position not to know.

    That would be true if you could make a true evaluation in a couple of months.

  • J-Bird

    RossCreek wrote:

    Sorry to hear Pierre McGuire didn’t land the Minny job. Would’ve been interesting to see the people he surrounded himself with. Perhaps the Avs will give him a look.

    Me too, simply because I wouldn't have to listen to this joker anymore.

    myteammytown wrote:

    if your team is sh*t, the coach wont really matter.

    And that's why Kevin Lowe is the man responsible for the absolute MESS this team is in today.

  • myteammytown

    @ Archaeologuy:

    i would assume it would depend on the situation.

    im not a mact supporter by any stretch, but unless tambellini is able to overhaul parts of the roster this summer, things wont be that different next year, regardless of who is coach

  • myteammytown

    J-Bird wrote:

    RossCreek wrote:
    Sorry to hear Pierre McGuire didn’t land the Minny job. Would’ve been interesting to see the people he surrounded himself with. Perhaps the Avs will give him a look.
    Me too, simply because I wouldn’t have to listen to this joker anymore.
    myteammytown wrote:
    if your team is sh*t, the coach wont really matter.
    And that’s why Kevin Lowe is the man responsible for the absolute MESS this team is in today.

    i agree 110%, and have long been stating the bullseye should be on klowe for the way this team is built…

    mact played a role as well, and probably deserved to lose his job. KLowe should have been out on his butt right beside mact

  • Mikey

    @ myteammytown:
    How can you say that? If the team plays a completely different system and takes a different approach to the game things WILL in fact be different.

    My example of this is the Toronto Blue Jays. I know it's a different sport but the point remains the same. They have the same players. They have even worse pitching, on paper anyways, yet since getting Cito on board they have the 2nd best record in all of baseball. A different approach and different game plan can change alot more than people think.

  • Mikey

    @ Mikey:
    And if you don't like the baseball comparison look at the Penguins this year. They were lights out after they got Bylsma. All they did was change their system and have a new take on how to play the game it did wonders for them. Sometimes that is all you need.

  • Ogden Brother

    Mikey wrote:

    @ Mikey:
    And if you don’t like the baseball comparison look at the Penguins this year. They were lights out after they got Bylsma. All they did was change their system and have a new take on how to play the game it did wonders for them. Sometimes that is all you need.

    They also brought in two quality wingers to address their otherwise horrid depth on the wing, as well as added their all star PMD.

  • J-Bird

    Mikey wrote:

    My example of this is the Toronto Blue Jays. I know it’s a different sport but the point remains the same. They have the same players. They have even worse pitching, on paper anyways, yet since getting Cito on board they have the 2nd best record in all of baseball. A different approach and different game plan can change alot more than people think.

    It's freeking May. Lets see where the Jays are in August.

    I like Cito, but the biggest thing he changed is getting hitters to look for their pitch, and hit it when it comes. Under JP's boys, they were just trying to run up pitch counts all the time, when often you get a fastball on the first pitch.

    As for Pittsburgh, Crosby and Malkin are on the Pens. Not the case in Edmonton. There is also the issue of Therrien's abraisive style wearing thin in year 3, which is right on course.

    Edmonton has too many smurfs on the team, and you can't fix that with coaching. And the smurfs the team has play like smurfs. Their monster in Penner plays like a smurf. Some moves personal wise are needed. They gotta get stronger big time.

  • Mikey

    J-Bird wrote:

    It’s freeking May. Lets see where the Jays are in August.

    I'm talking about since he took over last year. Since THEN the Jays are the 2nd best.J-Bird wrote:

    As for Pittsburgh, Crosby and Malkin are on the Pens

    They were there when Therrien was there too.

  • Ogden Brother

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    @ Mikey:
    No they weren’t. Therrien was fired Feb 15.
    Guerin was aquired Mar 4
    Kunitz Feb 27
    Gonchar came back Feb 14

    Oops, sorry. Thought you were talking about the additions they made.

  • myteammytown

    @ Mikey:

    does a new system address the issues the oilers have?

    – reliable 3rd line center that can kill penalties? nope
    – legit scoring forward? nope
    – shutdown d-man? nope

    the oilers, as of now, have to many holes. a coaching change might help a bit, but the holes remain

  • Chris wrote:

    Other than Ottawa (who has multiple high-end players they can move), and Buffalo (who beat the Oil 10-2) all the other teams were in the playoffs. There is nothing wrong with being at the cap if you are winning.

    Those teams that are close will have a hard time signing their own UFAs and RFAs…That was my point. I agree nothing wrong with being near the cap threshold, but it will interesting to see how much they fall by not being able to hold onto players they had this year.

  • Mikey

    @ myteammytown:
    I am aware of the problems that this team has. However, my post was in response to this:

    myteammytown wrote:

    things wont be that different next year, regardless of who is coach

    To say that a new system, or new coach for that matter, will have little to no impact on the performance of this team is false in my opinion. The performance may be better or it may be worse, but I would think there would be an impact on the team from the change.

  • Chris

    @ Jason Gregor:

    And my point was: Most of the teams you listed, who are up against the cap, are faced with the challenge of filling out thier rosters in order to continue thier success…

    Tambellini is up against the cap with the ADDED challenge of needing to signifigantly improve his roster.

  • Ogden Brother

    Chris wrote:

    @ Jason Gregor:
    And my point was: Most of the teams you listed, who are up against the cap, are faced with the challenge of filling out thier rosters in order to continue thier success…
    Tambellini is up against the cap with the ADDED challenge of needing to signifigantly improve his roster.

    Arrg, it's a numbers game. Those teams don't have their 13/14/15 … or whatever best players signed. They will, for the most part be making downgrades somewhere.

    Parity, this has been happening for a while now.