Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Rant answers: Wings search for complaint; Sabres fans have reason to be unhappy
By Pierre LeBrun
Folks, just a reminder this is a rant blog, so it’s meant for rants! Too many posts asking me about trade possibilities. Keep those questions for my weekly chat on Wednesday (2 p.m. ET). Luckily, there were some good rants. Let’s take a look:
tj703: The Red Wings road play is getting beyond old at this point. Twice now in the last month they have decided when one of the super stars couldn't play against Eastern Conference bottom feeders that they should all take the night off. It is embarrassing to watch a group of proud pros give no effort whatsoever. We have been spoiled in Detroit for a long time, but for this team to be sub .500 on the road at this point in the season is inexcusable. It is great they want to play hard against the big teams, but two points is two points. The effort in Montreal and Long Island this past month was disappointing. The Cup parade won't be happening in Detroit unless they can figure out a way to play outside the Joe, they are eventually going to lose a home game and right now that streak is hiding a very average team once the wheels go up on the plane when it leaves Detroit.
My take: Well, I guess beginning the post-All-Star break in first place of the Western Conference isn’t good enough for you. Yes, Detroit’s 13-14-0 road record isn’t impressive, but neither is Chicago’s (10-9-2) nor St. Louis' (8-10-3), two divisional rivals battling the Wings for the conference lead. I have confidence the Wings will turn that trend around in the second half. I wouldn’t overreact to it. Another important factor to note is that only Calgary (28 games) has played more road games than Detroit’s 27 at this point in the Western Conference, so the Wings will spend a bit more time at home anyway in the stretch run.
bruinsYea: I am truly disappointed and disgusted with Shanahan right now. His job is hard, I know. But as a Bruins fan, I stood by his somewhat aggressive stance against the Bruins because they are a physical team, and sometimes do cross the line. But when one of our players (Horton) suffers a clear hit to the head, and nothing happens really angers me.
The Bruins' franchise has suffered so many injuries to star players (Neely, Bergeron, Savard, now Horton), I just feel like nothing is really being done to protect our players. The league sees us as the boogey man and couldn't care less.
My take: I’m not going to say Brendan Shanahan has been bang on with every decision this season; there were a couple I disagreed with. But to suggest he somehow has it in for your team in particular is ridiculous. Did you forget that Milan Lucic got nothing for running over Ryan Miller? Or that Zdeno Chara didn’t get suspended for his hit on Max Pacioretty last season? Take the blinders off!
dschust1: I have stuck by Ruff for the past several years despite the disappointment that has always come at the end of the season. Everybody has figured out our gameplan and they skate circles around us. We need a change at the helm, so I am going to say he is gone. With the profile Pegula has given the Sabres, we could get a pretty solid coach I think and not some nobody. As for other changes, I would move Derek Roy, he is a bum, and see if we can give him and something else for the big scorer the Sabres desperately need.
My take: Given that coach Lindy Ruff signed a multiyear extension last offseason (believed to be for four years), I’m not sure how he gets replaced until owner Terry Pegula really wants to eat up some dough. Mind you, if Ruff quickly gets another NHL job, the Sabres would get off the hook financially -- that’s what the Ducks are hoping with Randy Carlyle. Still, at this point, I don’t see Ruff’s firing on the horizon.
jtconline: My rant is Tim Thomas' explanation at the All Star weekend. He tried to explain it all away by saying that it was a personal thing, and not about the NHL or the Bruins, and therefore we should all let it drop. EXCUSE ME! The day at the White House was totally about celebrating the NHL and the Bruins. Thomas is the one who brought politics and his own personal views into it. And, because of that, he shouldn't get off with anything less than an apology, at least to the rest of NHL fandom if Bruin nation doesn't care, for his extremely poor judgment for raining on the celebration with his politics. Once he does this, dropping it and forgetting about it is 100 percent in order.
bs32290: On the story of Tim Thomas, or rather what should be a non-story of Tim Thomas. When can we stop hearing about the White House? I love the Bruins beyond belief but it kills me to see so much attention getting put on the White House snub. A United States citizen has a right to not go where he doesn't want to and to voice his own opinion. The club knew about it for three months ahead of time, so really it should be no issue. And in other sports... for example, baseball. Tony Larussa and Albert Pujos both did not attend the White House event with their team that had won the World Series. Can we finally hear the end of this?
StarZoneX: Did the others go out of their way to post comments on Facebook or the media, making a political statement about why they are not going? I know others have declined, but I don't remember them making the polarizing statements that Thomas made.
My take: Well, one answered the other here. But I will add this, and it’s what I asked Thomas last Thursday night after the All-Star fantasy draft in Ottawa: Does he not realize that by not addressing his statement in full detail with the media he’s actually dragged this out himself? He did add a bit more during his media day availability Friday but still hasn’t really elaborated to the extent that’s needed. Had he done that the day after the White House snub with the Boston writers, the story would be all but gone now. Instead, it lingers because he won’t explain why.
luke.hamagiwa: I'm all for making the ASG a great experience and getting exposure for the game. My complaint is the location. Ottawa is a great city, but by being a LA Kings fan, I can't imagine the unknown toll that travel takes on Jonathan Quick. He is more than deserving of an All-Star Game, but couldn't a more central location be nice, or couldn't we just deal away with this meaningless event.
My take: Well I remember having to travel across the continent for the 2002 NHL All-Star Game in ... Los Angeles. I guess you see my point. The game moves around from market to market. Next year, it’s in Columbus. Tell Quick he’s going to have a long flight again.
Ludlumtc: OK, its great that the Senators and Blues are relevant again thanks to some great coaching and players buying into their respective systems. But with all due respect, when will Mike Babcock get recognized as really being the best coach (or among the best) in the NHL, if not professional hockey, with a Jack Adams award? He seems to get short changed because of the DRW label and seems like he pretty much has to win 63 games to get the nod. Its a feeling of when he does get it, it'll have a lifetime achievement award feeling.
My take: He’s definitely top five in the league on my coaches’ list and I’ve been on record numerous times saying so. The thing about the Jack Adams Award is that the voters are swayed by teams that have exceeded expectations. The Wings’ expectations are sky-high every single season. It’s impossible for Babcock to exceed them. Hence, he gets little Jack Adams love. But if you’re looking for him to get that kind of national recognition, I think he definitely got it after the 2010 Winter Olympics, leading Team Canada to gold under incredible home-soil pressure.
cgraham214: I have a rant about the Washington Capitals. So many talented players yet this year they can't seem to put it together. Ovechkin is having a mediocre year and Backstrom and Green are out for weeks. Will they go back to their usual winning ways or will they continue to be a lackluster team. Do they even have a chance at the cup?
My take: I just don’t see a Cup run in them the way they’ve been inconsistent all season long. Perhaps not having the same pressure on them because most people have written them off might help come playoff time, but I don’t see it at this point.
away0921: I'm just curious, are you as sick of certain fans complaining about their team not "getting enough love" as I am? Thanks.
My take: YES!
hockey989998: Sorry LeBrun, just not a clear enough response last week on the Michalek hit on Hendricks, when you basically said "can't please everyone". Tell me why there wasn't a suspension. This isn't an argument about whether the number of games was too high or too low; Hendricks almost got his neck broken and Michalek wasn't even fined.
Yes, Shanahan has improved transparency when players ARE suspended, but he needs to go all the way and explain why players aren't disciplined as well.
My take: Agreed. That hit was worth a game or two, no question.
tofusteak49: As a Preds fan, I gotta say I'm a little upset that Columbus has been given the ASG for 2013. Really, rewarding a franchise for ineptitude by staging the ASG there? Oh, that's right -- the League did the same thing for Atlanta in 2008. I hope Nashville gets consideration for 2014. The new convention center will be open by then (modeled after Boss Hog's outhouse) and Nashville has a great party atmosphere right outside the arena doors. This could really rock -- the League needs to make this happen.
My take: My understanding is that Nashville didn’t get it for next year because the convention center would not be completed in time . NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is on record saying Nashville will one day get one and in the not-too-distant future. There won’t be an All-Star Game in 2014 because of the Olympic break, but my money would be on Nashville for 2015.
wmryan96: How about some more coverage on the future of the Coyotes? One or two articles in the last couple months on that whole mess just ain't makin' it.
More part-owners (you know what I mean by that) ought to be quoted as well as several Glendale City Council members. This will be the third go-round for them in trying to keep the franchise, having already thrown $50M in tax money into the pit to do so.
Saying there is some secret group trying to buy them off the league's hands is nothing new -- been through that charade three or four times now. There is journalism to be had, so go get it.
My take: Guess you didn’t visit our site on Saturday; check out Scott Burnside's story here.