June 12 2013 01:51PM
Image via Wikimedia Commons
He was a surprise late entry to the group, but John Tortorella brings what fans and media in this town have wanted for so long. He's a brash personality that holds players accountable. He has Stanley Cup experience. He has a grizzled, no-nonsense attitude and he doesn't speak French. Clearly, everything fits.
You got the sense in the Eastern Conference this year that the New York Rangers, Torts' old team, weren't really into it. After the big offseason acquisition of Rick Nash, the Rangers stumbled out of the gate, kept stumbling through midseason, stumbled into the playoffs and tripped over their own sticks in a seven-game playoff win over the Washington Capitals. Their only post-first round victory came thanks to Tuukka Rask stumbling all over himself and letting in the reelist blooper you'll ever see.
So the Rangers weren't good last season. The Rangers have banked on their goaltender and their goaltender alone for two straight playoff runs, winning three rounds in two seasons, but that ultimately resulted in John Tortorella getting fired... Read past the jump for more.
May 30 2013 10:45AM
The Globe & Mail called it a "ludicrous spectacle". The Philadelphia Flyers were hollering insults at the Tampa Bay bench, but as Harrison Mooney noted at the time, "the Lightning aren't afraid of the puck; they're clearly afraid of Guy Boucher." Most importantly, the Flyers' "stall tactics" verus Tampa Bay one fateful November night sealed the future of both Boucher and the Tampa Bay Lightning organization, as well as the 1-3-1.
For most hockey fans, the above image is the lasting reminder of the 1-3-1 systerm employed by Boucher in the 2010-2011 season. It's easy to forget now, given how poorly Tampa has finished over the last two seasons, that back during the spring of 2011 the Bolts came within a goal of the Stanley Cup Final, losing 1-0 on a late Nathan Horton tally in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins. They were a Cinderella team, but not a super unlikely Conference Final opponent. They won 46 games and were the 5th seed in the East, and were 23-12-6 after the acquisition of Dwayne Roloson, a goaltender who had a very strong half season with Tampa.
May 28 2013 01:29PM
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Of all the names that have surfaced thus far in the search for the next Vancouver Canucks coach, Lindy Ruff is one of them. And it's odd that his name keeps coming up. There's no shortage of NHL teams that are run like a banana republic in regards to coaching, where the name on the coach's office is often printed in masking tape rather than anyone splurging on a $10 engraving that you can get done at the mall. Yet it took more than a decade for any of the major faces in the Buffalo Sabres organization to face the proverbial firing squad.
Ruff, who failed to turn a team with new money into a team that made the playoffs, took the bullet, but most analysts could probably deduce that the issue in Buffalo was the frivolous spending of general manager Darcy Regier. After years of icing competitive teams on a budget nowhere close to the cap, Regier wasn't a scrupulous with Pegula-bucks, spending buckets of money on Ville Leino and Christian Ehrhoff, trading for Robyn Regehr, opening the books to re-sign Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford, and then throwing it all away by trading for Steve Ott last summer.
The team stunk. Awful, awful, awful, and Ruff bit the bullet, though through no fault of his own. Read past the jump.
May 24 2013 03:43PM
When the NHL came out of the last lockout, Markus Naslund hit unrestricted free agency for three days. The Vancouver Canucks got him under contract—three years, six-million per—and the city breathed a sigh of relief.
Nobody, I guess, told then-general manager Dave Nonis that you can't bank on 32-year-old players to bring you the same Art Ross-level scoring touch. With Naslund locked up through his 34-year-old season, a 30-year-old Todd Bertuzzi and a 30-year-old Brendan Morrison, the general feeling in Vancouver was that this team, at the end of their prime years, would get a couple more kicks at the can under Nonis, who spent his first offseason keeping together the same group that Brian Burke had assembled.
May 03 2013 12:30PM
Quick observation on faceoffs based on Game 1. This seems to be the target for Vancouver Canucks observers and I don't particularly get why. Any microanalysis on faceoffs I don't like to trust. For one, the NHL is inconsistent in properly rewarding winners and losers of draws. For two, virtually anybody who looks at faceoffs on a macro-level usually finds inconclusive evidence that teams that are good at winning and losing draws help teams win a lot of games.
There's some evidence to indicate that faceoffs have a hand in puck-possession, but it's not the thing. Vancouver, New Jersey and Ottawa all seemed to do well at overall possession, calculated by shot differential statistics, this season without being particularly proficient on faceoffs. Boston, San Jose and Chicago are good at draws.
It's a thing but it's not the thing.