Ramblings: All-Star Snubs, Blackhawks Trades and more (Jan 11)

steve laidlaw

2018-01-10

 

It is a bit of a surprise that we are this deep into the season and haven’t yet seen a coach fired. Not that I think firing your coach mid-season always makes a difference. There are clear success stories like when the Penguins brought in Mike Sullivan mid-season, changed their playing style and won back-to-back Cups. However, there are plenty of success stories that can be chalked up to regression more than anything. As I always say, things have to go unsustainably bad for a coach to get fired. We certainly have examples of things going unsustainably bad, but either through patience, or random confluence of circumstances, no team has yet found the justification for firing their coach.

I’d consider this a step in the right direction, if it weren’t that I don’t give general managers much benefit of the doubt. Over a third of the league has a coach in his first full season with his team, so many of the GMs have already played the coaching card, they just played it last year. There are also many GMs who are apparently up for a new contract this summer, so ownership may be disinclined to allow these GMs to make a change, if they might be replaced themselves. There’s also the matter that many of this season’s underachievers have previous success to hang their hat on like Sullivan in Pittsburgh and Joel Quenneville in Chicago.

Of course, there is still plenty of time for axes to fall and heads to roll. This is a league where Jon Cooper is now the second longest tenured coach and he hasn’t even made it to five full years. A coach will get fired, it just hasn’t happened yet. Peter DeBoer was the odds-on favourite to be the first coach fired heading into the season, but appears safe. Maybe it’s a good sign that I haven’t found any current odds for this sadistic bet.

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The NHL released the full All-Star rosters yesterday. I have some quibbles, but it’s impossible not to under a format where every team needs to have a representative. You also have to accept that this is a showcase event so star players will be shoehorned in whether they are deserving or not. This is at the crux of my #1 quibble:

1. Sidney Crosby over Phil Kessel.

From a marketing standpoint I understand where this pick is coming from, but from a merit perspective Kessel is the choice. He leads the foundering Penguins in goals and points and has been their most consistent offensive option.

2. Braden Holtby over Sergei Bobrovsky.

It’s not even like Holtby is a big star that had to be shoehorned in. Nor is it a case where he’s the lone representative for his team. Alex Ovechkin is the freaking captain for the Metro. No, they just decided that Holtby has been better for reasons I cannot explain. Because he has more wins? Bob was a no-br