In no particular order…
- Ever since the work stoppage, the average NHL club’s front office structure has begun to slowly mirror the corporate world. There are, now more than ever, presidents of hockey and of business and coaches have become middle managers. And like the corporate world, middle managers are often the scapegoat when a company fails. The Ken Hitchcock firing is another example of the middle manager being fired. It’s never senior managements’ problem or the workers’ problem, its always the middle managers’ problem. My expectation is that Hitchcock will be near the top of the list to coach Canada at the World Championships, but if and only if, Canada wins gold.
- The NHLPA search continues. They are still looking for that one person to right the ship and probably re-write their constitution. To me, it looks more and more like Donald Fehr, the former leader of the Baseball union, is going to be in that leadership mix. Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if he became the Executive Director himself.
- I know it’s not possible (so please don’t tell me how stupid I am, I get that at home already), but maybe the Sedin twins should be on the ballot for the Hart trophy together. They have been marvelous for the Canucks this season. What I like is that they appear to be playing with a great deal more edge, physically and verbally. Perhaps Alex Burrows is rubbing off on them, as much as they are helping him.
- I spent a few days around both Alberta hockey clubs this week. It is rather interesting to note that there actually might be a more positive attitude around the Oilers, than there is around the Flames. This despite the fact that Calgary is more than 20 points ahead of Edmonton. I would assume that is due to the residue of hope versus the expectation of the present. The trades the Flames made should help them score a few more goals, but it is probably a better testament on the play of Mark Giordano, who has grown in leaps and bounds this season.
- You know there is a very good chance that the Phoenix Coyotes will have more points by the Olympic break than they had all of last season. A true testament to Dave Tippett and his mentor, I mean assistant, Dave King and crew. By the way, did you notice one night last week, the Coyotes had about 12,500 in their arena, while the Avalanche had 11,500 in theirs? All the hockey fans in the valley of the Sun want is a winner. If they win, they will come.
- I spent last Saturday in Peterborourgh, Ontario watching the Ottawa 67s and the Petes play. A good size crowd, and even more great names in the rafters. Bowman, Yzerman, Redmond, Gainey, Campbell, Neilson. It is a great reminder that Canada is a great hockey country. And the game survives, and in fact thrives, from coast-to-coast-to-coast outside of the NHL.
- Finally, in watching the Chicago Blackhawks, I just don’t understand why there is any talk about them being involved in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade talk. Their forwards are young, fast and creative. They appear to have such great chemistry, I think adding a dynamic part like no. 17, would be divisive. Some of the best trades, Mr. McDonough and Mr. Bowman, are the trades you don’t make.
Happy Hockey Everyone!