The "Island" is turning into a creepier version of the Michael Bay movie.
Garth Snow as the new GM - I had to do a double take to see if it was April 1.
One of the most difficult challenges of being successful is knowing when you have done enough, and it is heartening to see that Calgary Flames coach/GM Darryl Sutter understands this quite well. Sutter will be handing over head coaching duties to his capable protege Jim Playfair today and will concentrate rightly on managing the franchise. He has done an admirable job in both roles but, the fact remains, he was working two full time jobs, either of which have shown to be too much for most men to handle one at a time. Thus, except for temporary situations, the era of the NHL coach/GM is over in the NHL, and anyone who tries to do it from now on is an arrogant idiot in over his head.
Wayne Gretzky should take note the next time he attempts to both coach an NHL club while managing an Olympic team.
Speaking of the Olympics, the Flames will also announce the arrival of Wayne Fleming to the coaching staff. Fleming was a key contributor to past Olympic hockey programs, including
the 2002 gold medal team, and is considered one of the brightest and most innovative minds in the game. There isn't a single franchise in the league who wouldn't be delighted to have this man on their payroll and Calgary is quite lucky to have him.
Donovan, Simon and Leopold out. Tanguay, Friesen, Zyuzin, McLennan and Fleming in. This team is shaping up well.
I was very happy to see that good old Shaky was up to his old tricks and posting some trash again. I actually held off on writing anything on the subject in the hopes that someone would do it first. Well, as they say, the seal is broken now.
José Théodore is simply pure trash. He and Paris are actually a great pair and really deserve each other.
The Théodore / Hilton affair has been a major headline in the Montreal tabloids and it's not about to stop.
Of course, the editorial cartoonists have been having a field day and the best of the lot is, without a doubt, YGRECK. Here's the best one he's done on Paris and Théo:
There are also these...
...and then some more risqué ones can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Forgive me father, it's been almost two weeks since my last post. To make up for my absence, I will write the longest post ever. You've been warned.
So I leave the blogosphere for a few days (Canada Day weekend + tons of work + great weather = less blogging time) and I come back to the new "new" NHL. Serves me right for leaving town on deadline for UFA signings. Is it just me or was there more movement than usual? Hell, it's not even over.
Before I comment on the major moves, though, I want to comment on what was the biggest story of them all: the retirement of one of the classiest athletes of all-time.
Steve Yzerman hung up his skates this week and the NHL, as well as the entire sporting world, will miss him deeply. Yzerman was not only one of the games most skilled players, he was one of the most respected and well-liked players in the game.
Stevie Y has always been one of my favourite players, but I've always had a difficult time giving him a label. You could say he was a finesse player, because he was one of the most skilled players in recent memory, but he was also one of the grittiest. You could say he was a gritty player, but that would be too limiting. He never shied away from the physical aspect of the game, but he couldn't be classified as a power-forward. He was just a great, all-around player that was a born leader and never, ever, quit.
In the end, he doesn't need a label. He's Steve Yzerman: a 22-year veteran (20 years as Captain!) of what is perhaps the most grueling team sport we know. He is 6th on the all-time points leaders list and has lead his team, his ONLY team, to three Stanley Cup victories. Not to mention that he has also won the Conn Smythe trophy, the Lester B. Pearson trophy and an Olympic gold medal.
After his final game in May, Rob wrote a great piece on Yzerman right here on Puck This! It's a great read and, if you haven't read it, I suggest you do: Last Dance of Stevie Wonder.
Now, onto some comments on all the movement in the last week...
They might have changed their name but the Anaheim Ducks have become a mighty good hockey club with the addition of superstar Chris Pronger in a blockbuster trade today. Along with perennial Norris favorite Scott Niedermeyer and emerging talent Francois Beachemin, Pronger gives the Orange County Quackers the most potent blueline corps in the league, surpassing even the Chara-less Senators and the still-vaunted Flames. In fact, there is every likelihood that all three will be featured on the next edition of Team Canada, a feat of notable recognition.
For Pronger, the Oilers pick up some awesome young talent as well as a pair of valuable draft picks. Joffrey Lupul, the Edmonton native who burst onto the NHL scene during the post-season, will help out immediately, but the Oil will have to develop hotshot prospect Ladislav Smid, the 6'3", 204-lbs defenseman picked 9th overall in 2004, as well as their future 1st and 2nd round picks they got from SoCal.
So, don't bet on the Lube Jobs getting back to the Cup finals anytime soon, but you won't be writing these guys off for long.
Unless they come against the Ducks this season, of course.