Originally, I thought I’d be able to do one of these a week. And then I sat down to write this piece last week, and I had nothing! What was there to talk about? Nothing new had happened since the previous week. So I won’t lie, I’m going to pick and choose when I can do these, not going to write just for the sake of writing, I do have a BIT of a life. This week however….this should be a good one. Well, a lot to talk about…who the hell knows how the writing will be! I’ll try.
As you can imagine, I’m starting in Edmonton (and settle in, because I need a few paragraphs for this one), where it is officially time to hit the panic button.
A home shutout to the DEAD WINGS?! After you’re already that far behind the eight ball?! Describing it as “pathetic” doesn’t do that performance justice. I still can’t believe what I saw in that hockey game. And now I’m wondering if the coaching staff is in trouble. The team doesn’t look engaged a lot of nights, and the specialty teams look horrific. That’s probably 80-90% coaching. And quite buying the ridiculous excuses. It’s not because they dealt Jordan Eberle, Eberle was awful on the PP last season and wasn’t on the PK. It’s not because they dealt Taylor Hall (by the way, analytics guys…your solution for getting a defenceman was signing Jason Demers, so don’t act like you knew better than the Hall trade, you wouldn’t have dealt him, but your solution wouldn’t have made the team any better). It’s not because Benoit Pouliot got bought out and they brought in Jussi Jokinen. The best excuse might be because they’re slow. It’s not because they’re “slow”. Weird…now that the Kings are rolling, you don’t hear anyone talking about their speed. And last year, all you heard about was the Oilers speed. First game of the year the Oilers weren’t slow. But now, neither team much different in team speed, the Oilers issues are because they’re slow, yet the Kings, Blues, Sharks, none of them are slow. Apparently for those three, team speed just dramatically increased despite not adding any speed. But the Oilers, they’re slow. FUCKING SPARE ME all you idiots believing that. Like, we are intelligent enough to understand that the Oilers have more speed on their roster than those teams do…right? Not to suggest the Oilers can’t get faster, absolutely they can and need to. But they aren’t 4-8-1 because they’re “slow”. If you believe that, I bet you also believe Scott Hatteberg was the reason for the 2002 Oakland A’s being good and it had nothing to do with having three of the best pitchers in baseball and the league MVP at shortstop. Nope. All Hatteberg.
Anyway, back to the Oil and the coaching.
I’ve ripped Peter Chiarelli a lot for his carelessness. But he has a playoff calibre team out there, and every single one of you believed that going into the season, and especially after opening night. Yet they’ve looked like absolute dog shit most nights. You might think Milan Lucic has a bad contract, but that bad contract didn’t force Todd McLellan to play him in a three on three situation in Pittsburgh. This is a poorly coached hockey team right now. I’m not saying the coach is poor, but the coaching staff is doing a horrendous job right at the moment. Not the only problem. Cam Talbot has been very inconsistent, Oscar Klefbom and Matt Benning are shells of what they were last season just to name a few other issues. But there is just too much of this that points towards coaching. They look like the Dallas Eakins Oilers, only with Connor McDavid in the lineup. I had the Oilers struggling their way into the playoffs this season, but the hole is getting too big to climb out of, and if you can’t show up for a must win home game against the Dead Wings, I’m not sure you’re capable of climbing. This team needs a 2-1-1 road trip or better this week. 2-2, you’re probably just delaying things. 1-3, and this season will be on life support which would likely paralyze Peter Chiarelli’s ability to make a move.
Initially when I thought about doing this piece this week, I was pumped to talk about how great the Jets have been playing. 7-1-2 over their previous 10 heading into Saturday night’s game at home against Montreal, 4-2 lead in the 3rd period annnnnnnnnd they lose in OT. One of the worst teams in the league with their backup goaltender in and you don’t finish that game? Awful. Hopefully for the Jets it’s just a hiccup and not a fall back to where they were. It looks as though Connor Hellebuyck has taken a step and is ready to be legitimate number one starter. If that’s the case, they’re definitely a playoff team.
As for the team they lost to, they won again in Chicago 2-0 last night thanks to a brilliant performance from Charlie Lindgren in goal. Is it actually possible that the Habs season is going to be saved by Carey Price getting injured?! It’s possible, because we’ve seen it before how something like that can make or break a team. Down 4-2 in Winnipeg, no Price, they could have easily folded the tent. But all that adversity seemed to galvanize them. Those are two VERY big wins for the Habs. And hey, I always talk about needing to see Oilers/Flames in the playoffs. Well we need to also see Habs/Leafs in the playoffs, so let’s hope this is the start of something.
Speaking of the Leafs….they’re now 8-7. You had to know they were going to roll all season, but this slide is a little unexpected. And hey, I said they wouldn’t make the playoffs! But, tough stretch going on the road playing who are currently the two top teams in the West, not to mention San Jose. By the way…weird….Leafs are faster than all of those teams and lost all three games….Anyway, the Leafs. Rough stretch, but they’ll be fine. Vegas, Minny, then back to back with Boston this week. I’d expect them to go 3-1, easily could go 4-0. They’ll be fine.
Once again Saturday night, a Leafs game went over. Unfortunately, my picks ended up only going 2-3, but I got that one right. Problem is, the Leafs and Avs (who are now on a seven game streak of eight or more goals…bet the over on the Avs!) are the only teams where there are goals being scored. Scoring is going WAY down….as are slashing calls…as are penalties in general. This mother f***ing league is so mother f***ing predictable….
Of course, I’ve left the big news for last and that’s the Matt Duchene deal they went down late yesterday afternoon.
I’ll go team by team here and start with the Sens. What are they doing?! Matt Duchene is in no way Shane Bowers, a 1st and a 3rd better than Kyle Turris. And then Turris immediately signs for six times six with the Preds. So long term, you save zero dollars over Matt Duchene, and Duchene is up after next season and he’ll likely cost them a lot more than six times six. I like Duchene a lot, but at best he’s a fringe first line centre, and at best Turris is a fringe first line centre. I just do not see the big upgrade here. I seen James Duthie say on Twitter that the Sens did well not to give up Colin White, but that in no way justifies pissing away assets to slightly upgrade at centre.
As for the Preds…I love this for the Preds. Losing Kamenev hurts, but you’re gaining Turris for six seasons. So there wasn’t going to be much room for Kamenev anyway. They lose Sam Girard, but they got a very similar player in the draft last year in David Farrance. They arguably didn’t give up their best two prospects which would be Dante Fabbro and Eeli Tolvanen, nor did they give up their first round pick. How they gave up the same….perhaps even LESS than Ottawa is insane!
And finally the Avs. It shows you how messed up they are when Duchene had to be pulled from the game. If the deal is close, healthy scratch him. If the talks didn’t start until the game began, then tell Dorian and Poile that you can’t do it until after the game! Don’t hurt and distract your teams chances to win!! What a garbage thing to do to your guys. Having said this….I can’t believe I’m saying this….they did amazing. Three picks, in a good draft (not great, but really solid), and three very legitimate prospects. That is a terrific haul for Duchene. He’s not an elite player, so you were never going to get an elite prospect for him. But I follow the draft and prospects closely. Vladislav Kamenev is very close to playing. I’d say his ceiling is a high end second line centre. Shane Bowers got compared by a lot of people including myself to Brandon Dubinsky. Probably only a third line centre, but one who’ll be in players faces all night. Tough type of player to find. And finally, Sam Girard probably would have been a first round pick in last June’s draft or this one coming up. The ’16 draft was tough for him because of how many good puck moving D-men there were with better size. A lot of people liked him as a mid-late first rounder going into that draft though. He’s very legit and exactly what the Avs need moving forward. Some will say they got “magic beans”. I also saw someone refer to the “mystery box” for the Avs. Look…I love that Family Guy joke as much as anyone. But they got three damn good prospects, and if they draft wisely, they got two or three more coming thanks to this deal. And you don’t have to keep all these assets. You can always use them in deals to plug other holes. That kind of thought is always lost on a lot of fans and media. You need assets to make moves. It’ll be another long season in Denver, and probably a long time still before they’re to be taken seriously. But this deal could be the catalyst for the long climb back for the Avs.
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