NHL Coaches are Dropping like Flies

Ken Hitchcock Replaces Todd McLellan as Oilers Head Coach

Edmonton is off to a disappointing 9-10-1 start this season, and it is three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.

The Oilers also went just 36-40-6 last season and missed the playoffs after reaching the postseason with a 47-26-9 mark in 2016-17.

The 66-year-old Hitchcock retired in April after coaching the Dallas Stars to a 42-32-8 mark last season.

Hitchcock initially announced his intention to retire at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, but he was fired by the Blues during the campaign, which led to him spending one season in Dallas.

The 51-year-old McLellan spent parts of four seasons as Edmonton’s head coach, posting a 123-119-24 record with just one playoff appearance.

Prior to joining the Oilers, McLellan was the San Jose Sharks’ head coach for seven seasons, during which time he went 311-163-66 and reached the playoffs six times.

Mike Yeo Fired as Blues Head Coach, Craig Berube Named Interim

St. Louis announced it fired Yeo and gave the interim position to Craig Berube. The team will address the move with a Tuesday morning press conference.

This is another major coaching move in the first half of the season in the Central Division after the rival Chicago Blackhawks fired three-time Stanley Cup winner Joel Quenneville on Nov. 6.

Yeo had been with the Blues since he replaced Ken Hitchcock in February 2017. The team brought him in as a coach in waiting for Hitchcock—who planned on retiring after the 2016-17 campaign—but ultimately elevated Yeo to the primary job during the season.

Yeo tallied a 73-49-11 with St. Louis, although the team missed the playoffs last season after making it the prior six. According to Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the coach had just one more season on his contract after the 2018-19 one ended.

He was the head coach of the Minnesota Wild prior to taking the St. Louis job and posted a 173-132-44 record from the 2011-12 season into the 2015-16 campaign before he was fired.

Attention now turns to Berube, who has been with the franchise as an associate head coach since June 2017. He was the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2013 through 2015 and finished with a 75-58-28 record, and the team’s announcement pointed out he led the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League to a 44-19-13 record in 2016-17.

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Top 10 Most Disappointing NHL Players… So Far

The season is just starting, and struggling players can also write their wrongs. For now lets see who hasn’t lived up to expectations.

10. Jake Allen – St. Louis Blues

Allen isn’t the only issue in STL, actually he may not even be top 3. The problem is that he’s the player expected to do the best. He has so much upside and has no help right now, but also isn’t making the necessary saves. This can be easily adjusted and it will adjust with the Blues success. All these things depend on the other, its a viscous cycle.

9. Tuukka Rask- Boston Bruins

The Bruins goalie has a .902 save percentage and a 3-3-0 record (vs. 4-0-2 for backup Jaroslav Halak). Rask is #9 because its not the firs time this has happened and then he rebounded.

8. Max Pacioretty- Vegas Knights

He has dealt with an injury to himself and an injury that took away his center, Paul Stastny, after just three games together. But two goals for Pacioretty in 10 games with the Knights is the same start he had last season for Montreal, and last season was awful.

7. Erik Karlsson- San Jose Sharks

This isn’t a panic situation, but Karlsson has been average and that’s not a good thing. A lot of publicity has been put into this trade. Except this not to last, but man…if it did, that would be the story of the NHL.

6. Carolina Goalies

You honestly just can’t pick one, its a mess, and Carolina totally flipped their goaltending up side down in the off season.  Petr Mrazek (.887), Curtis McElhinney(.892) and Scott Darling (.903 in his first game back from injury) have produced an .884 team save percentage. Carolina is the surprise team so far this year, but need to get it together between the pipes.

5. James Neal- Calgary Flames

One of the most high-profile free-agent signings of the off season, Neal has two goals and one assist in 13 games. This rough start can be attributed greatly to usage, Neal for some reason isn’t getting top line shifts. Rather surprising move by Bill Peters.

4. Milan Lucic- Edmonton Oilers

Milan Lucic has one goal in his last 27 games and one even-strength goal in his last 60. That seems bad. To say he’s underachieving is an under statement.

3. Justin Abdelkader- Detroit Red Wings

The Wings aren’t great, so they need all they can get. Justin was supposed to be a bright spot, they locked the dude up til 2023. The 31-year-old forward has one goal and one assist in 12 games. The reason he’s #3 is because the length of his contract, he has a lot to live up to in a rebuilding time for Detroit.

2. Brian Elliot- Philadelphia Flyers

Honestly you have to had seen this coming, his numbers with the Blues were a scam. The Flyers got fooled big time. Moose has a .911 save percentage at even strength, but he’s at .889 overall with a 3-5-0 record, and the Flyers are last in the NHL in team save percentage.

1. Sergi Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets

2-5-0, with an .882 save percentage and a 3.58 goals-against average. Seriously those are his numbers, there’s also talk of him getting traded. This is the most unexpected start to a season, we’ve seen in a long time. Bob was a legit super star and is beyond struggling at this point.

Crosby is the Best Player in the NHL

Let me say it a little louder for the haters in the back…SIDNEY CROSBY IS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE. Stop this McDavid non sense, Crosby deserves more respect than that. McDavid is great and will be great, but Crosby has 3 cups and is still playing at an elite level. People spend their lives waiting for Crosby to “lose” it, some of these dummies are going to die before they see the day. It looks like Sid will win another cup, before McDavid wins his first. At this point it seems as though that’s his only goal, the individual rewards mean nothing after you’ve tasted that high of the Stanley Cup as many times as Sid. His goal to beat McDavid and crew the other night, sealed the debate, for at least this season on who’s the best. He comes up big when its needed the most and he does it with an insane sense of style. All these writers who make their money bashing Crosby better clean up that resume.

crosby-oilers-gamewinner

 

NHL THUG ALL STARS

This is the current NHL all Thug team, a Thug can be many things and its not a bad thing…sometimes. There’s no criteria here, guys can be Thugs because of penalty minutes or Thugs because they are pest on the ice or in some cases, rats.

Head Coach- John Tortorella

Really? Who the hell else would it be, the guys a nut job. He would prolly just coach for free if he had this group of guys.

Line 1

LW- Milan Lucic

C- Evgeni Malkin

RW- Tom Wilson

Lucic has calmed down recently, but that’s because guys are too scared to go at him, his Boston years he was an absolute beast. Malkin is skillful and just dummies guys, plus ole Gino is a real beauty, he deserves top line status. Agree with him or not, Tom Wilson is a true enforcer and terrifies just about everyone…except maybe rival Ryan Reaves. With his looks and (literally) killer skill, Wilson is a modern day enforcer.

Line 2

LW- Evander Kane

C- Lars Eller

Rw- Ryan Reaves

Kane is an animal, and currently leads the league in PIMs, he has skills and isnt afraid to smash someone. When he’s at his peak, hes among the leagues elite. If you need to know why Reaves is here then just check the game notes, he may be one of the most fun guys to watch in the league. When he gets mad, he untouchable, a real throw back guy who can still play in today’s league. His rivalry with Tom Wilson would make people tune in just to watch practice. Lars Eller has really started to come into his own, he did get crushed this year by Marchand, but that hasn’t stopped him from chirpin everyone. He said the Maple Leafs “aren’t anything special” gotta love the savagery.

Line 3

LW- Pat Maroon

C- Michael Haley

RW- Brad Marchand

Maroon is just an old school tough guy who has adapted his game to be success in the new NHL, those guys are a rarity. Michael Haley led the league in PIM and was the only player over 20 fights last year. Before the season he entered the NHL/NHL Players Association assistance program, so lets hope everything is ok. The 8 year vet is deserving to be among the thugs. Marchand should probably be a top liner, a great talent that just can’t stop licking people, guy is psycho. If you know anything about hockey, then Marchand is an easy choice and prolly an Alternate Captain.

Line 4

LW- Matthew Tkachuk

C- Max Domi

RW- Antonie Roussel

Every full season in the league Roussel is over 100 PIM, that’s what he does, one of the leagues toughest guys. The other 2 guys on this line are the next generation and have learned from their fathers. Their thuggery has been well documented, but teammates love them, that’s the ultimate thug criteria.

Defense

PK Subban                                        Dustin Byfuglien

Travis Harmonic                             Kevin Bieksa

Rodka Gudas                                     Alex Petrovic

PK makes this team just like Geno, top tier talent, but not afraid to chip it up. He was among the top the league for defense-man last year in PIM, and can skate like the wind. Big Buff is obvious as it gets on this roster, he’s an absolute force, but still gets it done when he has to.  Harmonic has no problem dropping the mitts and his d partner (Bieksa) will super man punch anyone who steps up, this would be an all time tough guy d partnering. Rodka Gudas and Alex Petrovic aren’t as well known but both rack up the fights and PIM’s they are bottom defenseman who know their jobs.

Goalie

Ray Emery

This guy was an absolute legend and no current goalie can touch him. He would be the only goalie that could ever start for this squad. RIP

NHL’s All Young Gun Team

4 Lines, 4 sets of D, 2 goalies, under 25. Those are the requirements. Players don’t have to be in their normal positions, there are so many young elite centers. You could easily make another whole team of young stars, the league is full of promising stars.

Line 1

LW- Filip Forsberg- NSH

C- Conor McDavid- EDM

RW- Patrick Laine – WIN

Line 2

LW- Jack Eichel- BUF

C- Auston Matthews- TOR

RW- Mitch Marner- TOR

Line 3

LW- Matthew Tkachuk- CAL

C- Nathan McKinnon- COL

RW- David Pastrňák- BOS

Line 4

LW- Nikolaj Ehlers- WIN

C-Aleksander Barkov – FLA

RW- Brock Boeser- VAN

Defenseman

Pairing 1

Seth Jones (CLM)        Charlie McAvoy (BOS)

Pairing 2

Morgan Rielly (TOR)     Aaron Ekblad (FLA)

Pairing 3

Rasmus Dahlin (BUF)   Zach Werenski (CLM)

Pairing 4

Vince Dunn (STL)     Hampus Lindholm (ANH)

Goalies

Matt Murray (PIT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)

 

Its the Season…for Overreacting About Your Team

Maybe the best part about hockey season is the stupid ass fans, after one game teams are already booing. Last night during the St. Louis Blues game, fans started booing Jake Allen, after multiple defensive let downs. Boston fans already are calling for a goalie controversy after Halak got a shutout and Rask allowed 5 goals in the season opener.  Vegas fans have seemingly already turned their backs on Marc-Ande after he got pulled., but he obviously went out on the strip the night before with Gritty, cut the dude a break. There’s more than just goalie over reactions, William Nylander is getting attacked by Leafs fans for not signing a new contract and “taking a discount,” but as we’ve seen in football, these guys have to get paid while they can because you never know when an injury can end your career. Minnesota fans roasted their team after losing to Colorado and have deemed the season a failure.

I have a word of advice for all these “experts”….SHUT THE HELL UP, your hot takes don’t mean shit and no one cares. I don’t care if you’ve played hockey before either, “As a former player blah blah blah.” Oh you played hockey? What team did you play for?

IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT TEAM YOU PLAYED FOR!! Stick to beer league and fantasy hockey, you pigeons.

Then to all of you who never played and don’t even know what icing is, just some input for ya. Just because the goalie lets in a goal, doesn’t mean its his fault, sometimes the defense sucks. Get your head out of your ass and just enjoy the game.

 

Auston Matthews is the Greatest Player of All Time…on opening night

How bout this for some opening night stats.

October 12, 2016: 4 goals
October 4, 2017: 1 goal, 2 assists
October 3, 2018: 2 goals

The first game of the season is where Matthews shines, he’s absolutely unreal during the season too, but this is actually more a tell of his future than you think. Matthews coming out so dominate to start a season means that he is in mid season form to begin the year, he takes his off season so seriously that he’s already steps ahead of everyone else before the season even starts. In the long run this helps everyone around him, every young player the Leafs draft now gets to see how this monster trains and prepares.

After that performance and getting a win Matthews still had this to say, “They kind of outworked us. A lot we can learn moving forward.” This is a player that realizes one game means nothing and its the entire body of work. Plus the dude was in GQ, some people just have it all. He’s excited about having Tavares as a teammate and he seems comfortable with the Toronto media. The only question is if he’s on the same page as Babcock, lets just hope no one gives him Mike Commodore’s phone number.