Looking at it Rationally


Maybe I’m just the guy that pisses on everyone’s parade.  I don’t mean to be, but that is what this feels like.  But it’s what I believe.  And what I believe is that Tim Tebow just isn’t a good QB.  Might he become one?  He might, I don’t think he will ever be elite.  Nobody will kill himself more than Tebow to become as good as he possibly can be.  But right now he isn’t a good QB.

Look at who he has beaten.  Chumps.  The top 3 teams he has started against this season, he is 1-2 against them.  He got crushed by the Lions at home, and just today was only able to put up 23 on one of the league’s worst defenses.  I haven’t checked this (I should, but I haven’t) but I would guess this Pats D was the worst one he has seen.  I heard Phil Simms say late in the game “Tim Tebow sure has answered a lot of questions today.”  Ummm, I know Phil has forgot 5 times as much about football than I’ll ever know, but Tebow only put up 23 against a BAD defense.  That answers nothing.

The 1 win (I promise you I’m not making this up to support my argument), he beat the Jets on a short week when experts all said previous to the game it would be very difficult for the Jets to game plan for such a unique offense on a short week (it was a Thursday night game).

Another part of this is that the Denver defense has come together.  “Well why didn’t they with Orton at QB?”  Some of it is playing hard for Tebow and buying into him being the guy no doubt.  But Denver had been running a 3-4 defense and John Fox uses a 4-3.  Its going to take some time for 3-4 guys to get used to playing a 4-3, especially with no OTA’s this year and a shortened training camp.

This especially hurt a kid like Von Miller who not only is trying to figure out the ways of the league as a rookie but was a 3-4 guy (rush end).  Very different being an outside LB in a 4-3 than being a outside LB in a 3-4.

Denver has to run an option offense to get the most out of Tebow’s abilities.  Gimmick offenses have a shelf life in the NFL.  Remember the 08 Dolphins running the wild cat?  They went 11-5 and won the AFC East that season running the wild cat which the NFL had not seen in a very long time.

But the next season it didn’t work, and it was completely scrapped by most teams come the 2010 season.  Coaches get film on things, study it a ton during the offseason, and figure out how to stop them.  The option offense isn’t exactly new…in fact it’s as old as the sport.  These coaches aren’t stupid, if the option had a shelf life more of them would be using it.

Then on top of this you add in running QB’s have a history of success until coaches get film on them.  Take Vince Young.  VY has a terrific win/loss record in his NFL career.  Out of the gate he was outstanding, led Titans back from the dead in 06, to the playoffs in 07.  Yet by 08 he was benched for Kerry Collins.  Came back in 09 to once again lead the Titans back from the bottom of the league, and was benched once again in the 2010 season, cut in the offseason.

Tebow isn’t Vince Young.  He will improve as a thrower.  But if he needs to play in this kind of offense the rest of his career to just be ok, then I doubt he starts for very long in the NFL.  You have to completely overhaul your roster to find guys to fit this system, not to mention find backup QB’s that fit it which isn’t easy to do.

A Look at the 2012 Edition of Team Canada

Well my roster that I would have picked wasn’t exactly like Don Hay’s.  Of course I would have had Brett Connolly and Devante Smith-Pelly (the latter is a HUGE addition weather I include the pun or not!), but at the time I wrote my first blog on the team I wasn’t aware they would be made available.  And my whiff on forgetting about Brendan Gallagher and putting Tyler Toffoli on the team was embarrassing.


What I do like is that there is, as I said in my previous blog about the juniors, a LOT more skill.  It’s a pretty sick top 6 up front and a pretty great top 4 on the backend.   But I do have some concerns with Hay’s team.


First let’s know that it’s not just Hay picking this team.  I’m pretty sure Don gets the most say in who is on the club but make no mistake there are a lot of politics going on to help separate these kids and a lot of guys getting there opinions in.  But back to the team…


First of all to me the biggest shock was Ryan Murphy being cut.  This is a kid that nearly made the team last year, in fact a lot of pundits said he should have been on the team.  He brings a lot of offense, a lot of speed, and was the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft.  I was stunned, but after hearing that they were looking for safe guys before the final cuts were made I said to a friend “it will be interesting to see what happens with Ryan Murphy”, and sure enough…


3 other cuts got made that I flat out HATE.  Matt Dumba (one of the first cuts), Brad Ross, and Tyler Bunz.  I will start with Dumba who I really believed wouldn’t just make the team but would really leave his mark before the tournament was done.  I would have had Dumba as the 7th d-man.  Don’t let his size fool you, while only listed as 6’0, 185 pounds he is a brick on skates.  A punisher who brings a ton of energy and offensive ability.


I remember when Ross was drafted and I seen the label “dirt bag” next to his name.  Trust me, that was a complement.  And he hasn’t let up since he has been drafted.  A Darcy Tucker type player, a PERFECT guy for the 4th line role.


What I don’t like about these 2 getting cut is that they would have been big spark plugs that the last 2 teams (both good teams but facts are facts, they didn’t win gold) lacked.  Jordin Tootoo (03), Dion Phaneuf (04, 05), Steve Downie (06, 07), P.K. Subban (08, 09) brought big time life to there teams.  In my opinion (one that the Team Canada brass clearly doesn’t agree with), when you can get your hands on these types of guys you take them.  I wasn’t at the camp, I can’t say if either guy had a good camp or not, but there body of work speaks for itself.


And then we had Tyler Bunz.  This is going to be short and sweet with Bunz.  He has been the best out of this bunch in the CHL for the last year and a half.  I read today he didn’t have a great camp and Wedgewood did.  Awesome job by Scott Wedgewood to rise to the occasion, and if he is given the chance I hope he makes this argument irrelevant.  But I really don’t know how you can take a guy based on 4 days work.  Especially when you consider Bunz reputation of being a battler and rising up when challenged.


But that’s all in the past now.  This is the team Don Hay has to roll with.  It’s a very safe team, much like how last year’s was built.  2 scoring lines, 2 checking lines, last 3 d-men picked are all safe stay at home guys, as many 19 year olds as they could fit in.  If they win, awesome!  I won’t give a damn that they didn’t take some of the guys I thought they should and will be more than happy to admit I was wrong.  It will be tough.  The Americans and Russians will be tough outs, but I would put Team Canada as the slight favorites.

Great Tenders…or Great Tippett?

 Great TITLE…high five.  Anyways, the topic at hand.  Ilya Bryzgalov signs in Philly just before the draft this past summer.  FINALLY the Flyers have solved that pesky goaltending issue that’s hung around that organization for a mere decade or 2…or 3.  Big market/no money Phoenix couldn’t afford to re-sign him.  Instead they went and got Mike Smith who has been injured and inconsistent since when?


Oh that’s right, since he was in Dallas.  And what did he do when he was in Dallas?  Well by the time he was dealt to Tampa in the Brad Richards deal Smith was considered one of the top young tendy’s in hockey and an elite backup.  The kid was putting up unreal numbers.  But they had Marty Turco.


Turco had been putting up unreal numbers his whole career.  He took over as the number 1 guy in 03, the same season Dave Tippett stepped behind the bench for the Stars.  Turco was an elite NHL goaltender from 03-08.


Then came 2009.  Dave Tippett is fired, Marty Turco’s game goes into the tank.  Turco is really terrible in 2010, his first full season without Tippett behind the bench.  Meanwhile in Phoenix, Dave Tippett gets his 2nd head coaching gig and he gets as his new starter Ilya Bryzgalov.


Bryzgalov has a reputation at this point of being a kook who is very inconsistent and while having talent isn’t really a guy that you can rely on to really carry a team.  In 2010, he becomes an elite goaltender.  Sets the world on fire, a top 3 tender in the league.  2011, more of the same.  Maybe not top 3 tender, but very similar to what 2010 was, and top 5 for sure.  Both seasons he carries a Phoenix club that has virtually no talent to the playoffs.


Now as I stated before they got Mike Smith for 2 years/4 mil.  Because it’s Tampa and people pretty much only pay attention to them when they’re good, but people forget that Mike Smith was a bust for the “ning”.  This kid was the big get in the Richards deal for my good buddy Jay Feaster (another sweet move Jay).


The Yotes once again with virtually no talent, going through the mess of the Kyle Turris holdout, going through yet another season where it’s a guarantee they will move, are hanging tough (shout out to NKTOB) in the Western Conference.  How has Smith been?  Outstanding.  How is Bryz doing in Philly?  Inconsistent though much too early to tell either way.  Solid for the most part…so was Bobrovsky last season, Ray Emery, Martin Biron, Robert Esche, Roman Cechmanek, Brian Boucher, John Vanbiesbrouck, Sean Burke, Garth Snow, Ron Hextall, Tommy Soderstrom, Dominic Roussel, and Ron Hextall.


Point I’m making obviously is that Tippett’s system is clearly a huge reason for these goaltenders performing so well yet it doesn’t seem to get recognized as such.  The man is a tremendous head coach, in my opinion a top 5 coach in the league despite his teams being very “Lemaire” for entertainment.


And as for the Flyers sinking that much coin and that many years into a kook like Bryzgalov…I hope for the Flyers sake it isn’t yet ANOTHER swing and miss by Philly management at a legit number 1, but that possibility is definitely real.  We will find out in April just how much of it was Tippett.

Trading Block: Bobby Ryan


Wow.  This is a bit of a stunner, but even Ryan said he thinks he will be dealt.  The question is why?  We are talking about a 24 year old, 6’1, 210 pound, 35 goal scorer here.  These guys don’t grow on trees.  But if this is for HOCKEY reasons I can see it being legit.  The Ducks have a lot of size on there top line already in Getzlaf and Perry, not to mention a 19 year old power forward already on the roster in Devante Smith-Pelly and 2010 1st round pick Emerson Etem is obliterating the WHL right now.  So they have the pieces and can afford to move him.  But if it’s for prospects, I don’t get it at all.  Sure Bob Murray COULD be thinking with the team struggling that it would be a good time to maximize an asset that while incredible, isn’t a necessity going forward.  But I just got to believe he is dangling him out there to see if he can upgrade somewhere else for now.

First thought I had that would upgrade both teams and is an even deal?  To Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal.  Pens get a power forward to pair with Sid, Ducks get a great number 2 centre to play behind Getzlaf, Ducks save about a million on the cap, maybe Pittsburgh sends a guy like Steve Sullivan in the deal as well, and the Pens have Dustin Jeffrey who can take over as the 3rd line centre.  But that makes WAY too much sense…so I look elsewhere.

The Leafs will be interested.  Winger isn’t where the Leafs are weak, but they have a very soft top 6 that Ryan would drastically upgrade.  Cody Franson is a pretty good d-man who isn’t playing much at all in Leaf land, and they have a lot of candidates for a forward to add (Grabovski, Kadri, Kulemin though Leaf fans will say Kulemin is too much with Franson but it would be worth it).

The Rangers could use a power forward in the top 6.  The Rags have a lot of assets to play with here, but I don’t think they could do a “hockey” deal.  They could do a future’s deal.  Dubinsky (need salary going back), Krieder, and either a 1st or McIlrath.

Montreal is yet ANOTHER good candidate.  They should maybe be the team that pursues him more than any other.  Clearly the Habs wanted to address there size issue in free agency that’s why there front office got smashed on July 1st and gave a broken down, hasn’t been great in 5 years Erik Cole the world.  Here is the problem for the Habs…they got too much tied up in terrible contracts to take on Ryan’s.  They have the assets.  Leblanc, Tinordi, Beaulieu, all there picks, but a team like Anaheim isn’t going to take on one of Erik Cole, Brian Gionta, or Scott Gomez.  So unless they could dump one of those albatrosses elsewhere they can’t fit him in.

And finally I go back to the blog I did on the Calgary Flames, specifically where Jarome Iginla would be a great fit AND the Flames would get a great return,Chicago.  Well, they could go this route too.  Ryan is much younger, putting up nearly as good of numbers the last 2 seasons, and is less of a cap hit.  But again, if the Ducks want to do a “hockey deal”, I don’t see this working.  The Hawks aren’t giving up anything off there roster.  But if they could add Ryan and give up kids like Olsen, McNeil and Kyle Beach, it’s a big price to pay but may be well worth it.  Add some salary into that package of course, but point is that the Hawks are prospect rich, could afford to add a power forward in there top 6, and will have cap space going forward.

It’s a VERY intriguing one to follow.  Ryan is a premiere power forward in the league and will get a lot of calls from more than the teams I have mentioned.

Update: 24 hours after posting this of course the Ducks fire Carlyle and hire Boudreau and basically kills the Bobby Ryan trade possibility.  However Pierre Lebrun says that this could gain steam again before the trade deadline if the Ducks don’t get back in the playoff race.