Monday, November 28, 2011

Southeast Shuffle

In a span of two hours, Guy Boucher became the longest tenured coach in the Southeast Division. Both Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and Paul Maurice of the Carolina Hurricanes were fired. Replacing them were Dale Hunter and Kirk Muller (rumored) respectively.

First, for the Capitals-- I guess if you give the people what they want, like old colors, jerseys, and players-- then you let the prisoners run the asylum. That said, if there's a hard-ass guy to get the team to pay attention and give effort-- it's Dale Hunter.

That said, Bruce Boudreau probably wasn't the guy to get the Caps over the hump after four seasons of trying. He lost the room and wasn't getting the effort from the guys that he needed to. When you have your star player who's signed long-term and your coach at odds-- the coach always loses out. Though Boudreau's tenure yielded the revitalization of the Capitals, he just never seemed to have the killer instinct needed. Going 201-88-40 will only give you so much reputation before the dismal playoff record comes up. Best of luck to Boudreau, who did a lot of the Caps in the long-run.

When it comes to the new coach, Dale Hunter is a legend in the Caps history. He's a guy who was a hard-nosed player and will probably be a hard-nosed coach. Yet, it's going to be a learning curve for a guy who hasn't coached a NHL game before. Sure, he was the fastest coach to win 300 and 400 games in the OHL and is only 49 away from 500; but it's two different dynamics. That said, I think he'll bring a different message to the room; holding more guys accountable and really laying into them because his number is hanging in the rafter and seems to care a lot about the franchise. We'll see how it goes.


As far the Hurricanes are concerned-- fool Jim Rutherford once, shame on you; but if you fool him twice, shame on him. It seems that the second tenure of Paul Maurice ended as fouly as the first....but like every jokester on Twitter noted-- he'll be back for a third.

Though it won't be confirmed until later, replacing him with Kirk Muller should be a good idea, as he seemed to be groomed to take over the Canadiens coaching position, but then went to the Nashville Predators organization to coach the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals, who are 10-6-1 this season. Muller is a guy who seems to have a great grasp of the game behind the bench and should be able to take over the Hurricanes pretty easily; whom are second to last in the Eastern Conference at 8-13-4. Muller will have a lot of younger guys who have some experience due to their runs in the playoffs-- but getting the most out of them on a nightly basis will be the key.


These were changes that were going to be made sooner or later and I guess they let their coaches give thanks and then can them like so much cranberries. Now, it's time to put these new coaches under the microscope and observe every movement.

Absurd Goalie Monday: Phil Myre

The ultimate goal in life for a player is to get their name on the Stanley Cup. While this week's AGM did get a ring and was in the team picture, he didn't get on the Cup. Then two seasons later, he was off on a journeyman's career. This week, the profile of Phil Myre.

Myre started his career in the 1964 playoffs with the QMJHL's Victoriaville Bruins, going 1-1 in two of those games, then 0-1 in one Memorial Cup appearance. In his first full season in Victoriaville in the 1964-65 season, Myre played 21 games and finished up 14-7-0, then going 7-2 in nine playoff appearances, while going 0-3 in the Memorial Cup play-down games. Victoriaville moved to Shawinigan for the 1965-66 season, where Myre would go 38-6-0 in 44 games, then 8-4 in 12 playoff games and 11-4 in 15 Memorial Cup play-down games.

Myre was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1966 Draft, which was also a year that Myre went to the OHA's Niagara Falls Flyers starting in the 1966-67 season, leading them to a Memorial Cup championship following the 1967-68 season.

Turning pro in 1968-69, Myre played in the Central League for the Houston Apollos, going 24-19-10 in 53 games, then going 0-2 in the playoffs.

The 1969-70 season allowed Myre to play in 15 games for the AHL's Montreal Voyageurs before getting the call-up to the Canadiens, where he would play in 10 games with a 4-3-2 record. Myre stayed in Montreal for the 1970-71 season, playing in 30 games with a 13-11-4 record, but would be relegated to back-up when Ken Dryden made his mark in the league. While the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup that year and even though he qualified to be engraved on the Cup, the team left him off, even though he did receive a ring for his efforts. Myre only played nine games for the Canadiens in the 1971-72 season, going 4-5-0 in his efforts.

The Canadiens left Myre unprotected in the 1972 Expansion Draft, allowing the Atlanta Flames to pick him up. In that 1972-73 season, Myre tallied a 16-25-3 record in 46 games, while he went 11-16-6 in 36 games in the 1973-74 season-- in which he played in the team's first playoff series, going 0-3 in three games. Myre played 40 games in the 1974-75 season, finishing in with a 14-16-10 record; while in the 1975-76 and 1976-77 season, Myre went .500 in both seasons, with a 16-16-4 and 17-17-7 record respectively. Myre would only play nine games for the Flames in the 1977-78 season, going 2-7-0 before being put on the move.

Myre was traded to the St. Louis Blues in December of 1977 and would play 44 games for the Blues, going 11-25-8 in those last games. Myre return with the Blues in the 1978-79 season, going a dismal 9-22-8 in his 39 appearances.

Myre was traded to Philadelphia in June of 1979 and join a tandem with Pete Peeters for the 1979-80 season, with Myre going 18-7-15 that season, a season where he and Peeters had a 35-game unbeaten streak-- a NHL record. It wasn't a great for Myre in the 1980-81 season, as he would go 6-5-4 in 16 games before being on the move again.

The Flyers traded Myre to the Colorado Rockies for cash, in which Myre would play 10 games to end out the year and compile a 3-6-1 record. After the '80-'81 season, Myre played for Team Canada in the World Championships, but would go 2-5-0 in seven games. Myre returned to the Rockies for the 1981-82 season, playing in 24 games, finishing with a 2-17-2 record. Myre would also spend time that year with the Central League's Fort Worth Texans, playing in 10 games with a 4-5-1 record.

Myre signed with the Buffalo Sabres before the 1982-83 season, spending a majority of the season with the AHL's Rochester Americans, going 28-8-5 in 43 games, while playing in five games with Buffalo, going 3-2-0. Myre returned to Rochester for the 1983-84 season, going 19-9-1 in 33 games before hanging up his pads for good.

Post-playing career, Myre went into coaching, being an assistant with the Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings and then as a goalie coach for the Red Wings and also later as goalie coach with the Florida Panthers. Myre also got into some blogging (before it got hacked) and public speaking. Currently, Myre is working with the Montreal Canadiens in a scouting capacity.

While he had his hand in two big team trophies, he was only recognized for one, then started to bounce around from menial team to menial team-- which could have hurt his mentality in the long-run. He kept to it though and made himself a good life after his playing career was finished.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Logos Aplenty

That logo above is for this year's Thanksgiving Showdown. To me, not only does it give the Bruins/Red Wings game a title, but it shows that the NHL love logos. They'll make a logo for any kind of event and will often make reasons to have their design team come up with something.

With that in mind, and the fact we're awaiting the player draft logo for this year's All-Star Game, a list of my favorite event logos that the NHL has rolled out with-- in no particular order, of course. (Thanks to for all the logos anyone could ever ask for.)

-Draft Logos 2001-2009: The reason these stand out is because there's not templated design like we see now. The identity of the teams were well represented in these logos, which gave it a personalized feel for the events in terms of the host city and allowed plenty of freedom for designers. Now, with the templated work they have now, it's basically just adding small elements of the host city in the already made main logo.

-2009 Winter Classic: While many of the Winter Classic logos do have elements of the host city into it, the iconic use of the Wrigley Field scoreboard helps set this one away from the rest. Plus, it's the only logo in the Winter Classic cluster that is tilted to give a three-dimensional appeal to it rather than just being flattened.

-1994 All-Star Game: New York City is one of, if not the most, iconic city in the world. Their skyline is one of the most memorable, so when you combine that with an All-Star logo, you're basically yelling for it to be a fantastic one. While the jersey selection disappointed, the logo itself is one of the more fantastic logos of any ASG.

But, I couldn't let the NHL have all the fun....

-1999 ECHL All-Star Game: Sure, it's not the NHL, but the incorporation of the coast line and the lighthouse element is pretty damn fancy for the ECHL.

-2011 AHL All-Star Game: Where to start-- the Bear slapping a Hershey's Kiss; the HersheyPark roller coaster coupled with the Hershey's chocolate factory, coupled with the Giant Center in the top silhouette; the team logo inclusion-- it all makes for a fantastic event logo.

Though, you always have to have a logo to show during the breaks and to promote a product (read: All-Star Fantasy Draft), some times it's a bit this game and the event I mentioned in parenthesis. Yet, at the same time-- logo nuts like me will clamor for something like these to come out because we enjoy the aesthetics of it all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ovechkin/Crosby Post #3,297 of the Day

When Greg Wyshynski revealed that Alex Ovechkin was asked what he thought about Sidney Crosby's triumphant return, then it found its way on Twitter-- you could hear the collective grinding of teeth from Caps fans at the audacity of the question.

That's something I could understand, the Caps had just broke a four-game losing streak with a gritty win over a tough Western team and yet still-- the Ovechkin-Crosby debate raged on, I'm sure to many people's dismay.

While Crosby coming back was a notable thing, the fact in 48 hours people were already sick of it and wanted it to end. Crosby looked like he had never left from the ice, though the team he played against had a rookie making his first NHL start in net and aren't that good to begin with....but what better way to actually build his confidence over a team that's not going to pose too much of a threat-- as the two goal, two assist night would show you.

Yet, back to the question asked of Ovechkin-- it seems a little bit of a craptastic thing to talk about, especially since the Caps didn't play the Penguins and Ovechkin was on the ice playing his own game as the hype in Pittsburgh reigned on. Maybe to give Ovechkin a bit of time to watch the highlights from the night and then ask at practice today-- then it could actually be a legit question and get a better answer than "good for him."

That's my only complaint about it. Sure, Ovechkin has mired in a slump and Caps fans are getting restless with the team's lack of production and the attention their superstar has been getting because of his slump-- but the Ovechkin/Crosby thing will live on until one of them retired. They'll be forever linked and it's something that the fans on both sides will have to live with.

And is that such a bad thing?? Sure, it's gets annoying at times, but so do each of the team's fanbases when it comes to defending their superstar. I'm sure every team gets that way, but these two particular teams have fans that go over the rationality line. In any case, Ovechkin and Crosby being pitted against each other will step their games up accordingly, I'm sure. While the magnifying glass will be even bigger around both of them and will annoy everyone else-- it's good for the game to have these two prolific players put to the forefront, though one of them is off his game and the other is coming back from a serious injury-- as the games go on, you have to hope they'll both pick up their games throughout the rest of the season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Denis DeJordy

This week, the focus on the AGM is for a guy who kind of changed the way the game is played-- yet not for his on-ice prowess, per se. What he did after his career has changed the way goaltending is handled today and made many discussion topics should things in net start to go wrong. Not to say his playing career wasn't shabby, but he could be a little more remembered for his first gig post-retirement. This week, the profile of Denis DeJordy.

DeJordy's first presence was with the Junior B Dixie Beehives before really making a name for himself in the 1957-58 season with the St. Catherine Teepees, going 32-14-6 in 52 games, while getting in one game in the AHL with the Buffalo Bisons, which was a loss. Returning to the Teepees in the 1958-59 season, DeJordy went 40-10-3 in 53 games, then 2-4-1 in the playoffs, as well as being named to the OHA First All-Star Team. DeJordy would also get the call by the Peterborough Petes for the 1959 Memorial Cup, but would go 1-4 against the Winnipeg Braves in the Finals.

Starting in the 1959-60 season, DeJordy moved to the new Eastern Professional League to play for the Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds where he would play 69 games and finish that year with a 27-31-11 record. The 1960-61 season had DeJordy start out in Sault Ste. Marie for 33 games (16-14-3) before moving up to the AHL and the Buffalo Bisons, playing in 40 games and finishing there with with a 20-18-2 record, then going 0-4 in the playoffs.

The 1961-62 season saw DeJordy return to Buffalo, where he would go 36-30-3 in 69 games, while then going 6-5 in 11 playoff games, losing to Springfield in the Calder Cup finals. DeJordy had his sights set on a championship when he came back to Buffalo in the 1962-63 season, going 37-23-7 in 67 games, then going 8-5 in 13 playoff games, helping the Bisons win the Calder Cup that season. DeJordy racked up the awards, too-- winning the Hap Holmes Trophy for fewest goals-against; the Les Cunningham Award for AHL MVP; and named to the AHL's First All-Star Team. Also in '62-'63, DeJordy made five appearances for the Chicago Blackhawks, going 2-1-2 in those games.

The 1963-64 season had DeJordy not playing much, as he play only one game with the Central Professional League's St. Louis Braves (a loss) and then only six games with the Chicago Blackhawks, finishing 2-3-1. It picked up in the 1964-65 season, as DeJordy played 30 games in Chicago, going 16-11-3-- as well as seven games in Buffalo for the Bisons, going 3-4-0 in that time. However, DeJordy was relegated to the Central Pro League with the St. Louis Braves in the 1965-66 season, playing 70 games and compiling a 30-31-9 record in the regular season and 1-4 record in five playoff games. DeJordy was named to the CPHL's First All-Star Team that season.

DeJordy returned to Chicago for the 1966-67 season, splitting duties with Glenn Hall and finishing with a 22-12-7 record in 44 games, then 1-2 in four playoff appearances. DeJordy and Hall would win the Vezina Trophy for the season, in a time where both goalies were rewarded for fewest goals-against in a season. Starting in the 1967-68 season, DeJordy got the majority of the playing time in Chicago, as he would play 50 games that season and finish up with a 23-15-11 record, then compiling a 5-6 playoff record. DeJordy struggle in Chicago during the 1968-69 season, playing in 53 games with Chicago, going 22-22-7, but would be sent down to the Central League's Dallas Blackhawks for 15 games, going 8-4-3 in those appearances. DeJordy started the 1969-70 season with Chicago, playing in 10 games with a 3-5-1 record, but his time there would be short.

DeJordy would be traded to the Los Angeles Kings late in the season, playing in 21 games to end the season and have a 5-11-4 record to show for it. Getting a full season with Los Angeles in the 1970-71 season, DeJordy would play in 60 games and finish with an 18-29-11 record. The 1971-72 season saw DeJordy only play five games, all losses, for the Kings before being on the move again.

DeJordy was traded to the Montreal Canadiens after those five games, which brought Rogie Vachon to Los Angeles in return. With a short stint, DeJordy went 3-2-1 in the seven games with the Canadiens.

DeJordy was on the move again, getting traded in the Summer of 1972 to the New York Islanders, but would never play there-- as he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings before the 1972-73 season, where he would play 24 games and wrap up an 8-11-4 record. He would always be sent to the Central League's Fort Worth Wings for ten games that season. The 1973-74 season had DeJordy play with the Baltimore Clippers of the AHL, going 21-13-6 in 42 games, named to the AHL's Second All-Star Team. DeJordy played only one game in Detroit that year, a loss. DeJordy retired after that season.

Immediately following his retirement, DeJordy became the first ever goalie coach in the NHL, as he would be in charge of Jim Rutherford and Doug Grant starting in the 1974-75 season. Also, during his playing days-- DeJordy owned a sporting good store in Quebec in the off-season.

Though his playing career didn't seem to leave a huge mark, the fact he pioneered the goaltender's coach position allowed more one-on-one direction to the goalies and actually give them the attention they need to focus on the game. Even so, DeJordy had a solid career and learned enough from his time to pass onto others.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Maple Leafs' European Scouting Adventure

In an interesting story, it seems that the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to expand their network even more. From the IIHF website, the Leafs and the Zurich Lions now how a working agreement and will work closely together when it comes to scouting players from the Swiss league. The Leafs also have an agreement like this with German team Alder Mannheim.

While players who are draft-eligible aren't able to be plucked by the Leafs, all players who are older than 22 can be plucked up by the Leafs if they deem them to be worthy enough. Not only that, but Zurich and Mannheim can compare notes with the Leafs about other teams and players in their respective leagues.

First, I haven't heard this happen with many other teams-- so you have to respect the Leafs and GM Brian Burke for picking up this kind of idea and running with it. Though, it should be something expected, as Burke has gone for untapped markets before, mostly the US college ranks, and work to some success. Second, with the Swiss turning out some pretty decent NHLers (Jonas Hiller and Mark Streit) and prospects (Nino Niederreiter and Sven Bartschi), it seems like it could be the next, to pull a US college sports reference, "mid-major" country to be on the big map for development. Of course, many thought that Germany was going to be the next big thing and it fizzled a bit.

Yet, at the same time-- when it comes to European, undrafted players-- it hasn't turned out completely well. Both Fabrian Brunnstrom and Jonas Gustavsson have given less than stellar returns for the hype they got, which could turn some people off. Though, Burke is a guy who can sniff out solid talent, which could make these deal work more-- especially since he'll get notes and won't have to go on some hearsay and conjecture. Even so, you have to say that the put-off of what Brunnstrom and Gustavsson have brought could make this nothing more than a place for Burke to ship high-contract, underperforming players-- but that's just me.

All in all, it's another way for the Leafs, and mostly Brian Burke, to think outside of the box of professional scouting and also getting their foot in the door when it comes to untapped marketplaces for hockey talent. If this provides nothing of substance for the Leafs-- they still made the effort that other teams could be scared to do.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Ron Low

It must be a difficult task to go from a Memorial Cup team to the worst team in modern NHL history, but that's what this week's AGM had to endure. If nothing else, it got him prepared for not getting much support from his teammates and very lean years during his NHL time. Yet, it got him a coaching gig at the end of his career-- so he did something right. This week, the profile of Ron Low.

While Low came onto the scene in the 1967-68 season with the West Coast Junior League's Winnipeg Jets for sixteen games, he would spend the rest of that season with the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior League. Low would spend the 1968-69 and 1969-70 season with the Dauphin Kings, winning the Manitoba Junior championship each year and attending the Memorial Cup both seasons, but never winning it.

The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Low 103rd overall in the 1970 Draft, but Low would play in the Eastern League's Jacksonville Rockets for 46 games and then four games with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central League for the 1970-71 season. The 1971-72 season had Low spend it mostly in Tulsa again, going 21-18-2 in 43 games, then winning his only appearance with the Richmond Robins of the AHL. The 1972-73 season saw Low get the call to the Maple Leafs, playing in 42 games and finishing 12-24-4 for the season. That make the Leafs send him back to Tulsa for the 1973-74 season, where Low would compile a 23-23-8 record in 56 appearances.

Low was left unprotected by the Leafs during the expansion Draft, which left him open to be picked by the Washington Capitals. Low had the job of being on the worst team in modern NHL history, as he went 8-36-2 in 48 games with the Caps, actually winning all the games the Caps did that season. It fared no better for Low in the 1975-76 campaign, going 6-31-2 in 43 outings for the Caps, though the 1976-77 season was better for Low, finishing up with a 16-27-5 record

The rights to Low were traded to the Detroit Red Wings for the 1977-78 season, where he would play 32 games in Detroit, finishing with a 9-12-9 record in the regular season, then 1-3 in four playoff games. Low was sent to the Central League's Kansas City Red Wings for the 1978-79 season, where he'd finish up his 63 game season with a 33-28-2 record; then 1-4 in five playoff games.

Crazily enough, Low was left unprotected and picked up during the Expansion Draft by the Quebec Nordiques for the 1979-80 season, where he'd go 5-7-2 in 15 games before being sent to the Syracuse Firebirds of the AHL, playing 15 games and finishing up with a 5-9-1 record.

Low was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in March of 1980, and would play 11 games with the Oilers and finish with an 8-2-1 record. While he spent two games with the Central League's Wichita Wind (0-2-0), Low spent most of the 1980-81 season with the Oilers, going 5-13-3 in 24 games. Low played 29 games for the Oilers in the 1981-82 season, finishing with 17-7-1 record. The 1982-83 season had Low play only three games for the Oilers (0-1-0) before being sent to the AHL's Moncton Alpines for six games, though no record is available.

Low was eventually traded to the New Jersey Devils at the end of the season, playing in 11 games with a 2-7-1 record. Low stuck with New Jersey for the 1983-84 season, but would only post an 8-25-4 record in 44 games, while the 1984-85 season yielded only 26 games with a 6-11-4 record to show for it.

Low would spend the 1985-86 season with the Nova Scotia Oilers, but he would go 1-5-0 in six games before he would retire in his playing career.

After he retired, Nova Scotia immediately made him an assistant coach, before he was promoted to the assistant in Edmonton before becoming the head coach of the now Cape Breton Oilers in 1989. He would then be promoted again to Edmonton's assistant coach, the became head coach of the Oilers in 1995, where he stayed for four seasons before moving to the Houston Aeros head coaching position. In 2000, Low was named head coach of the New York Rangers and spend two season behind the bench before being relieved of his coaching duties and put in the scouting position. Low then moved to the Ottawa Senators as a goalie coach and scout, then assistant coach before being fired. Low is the only NHL goalie to head coach two different teams, as well as winning two Stanley Cups as an assistant in Edmonton in 1987 and 1990.

Low had a scary moment in March of 2010, when he was in Calgary and got mugged after seeing former teammate Dave Hunter. He made it to his hotel after the attack and called an ambulance to get him, which also required him to get surgery on his damaged organs. He has since gotten better.

He had to overcome getting squeezed out of positions, dealing with bad expansion teams, and then trying to find magic when he did play-- but he learned enough to move over to the coaching side and have a successful run there.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nashville's D-ilemma

It was mentioned on the 11.09.11 episode of the Face Off Hockey Show, which was the unknown topic of the masterful Lyle Richardson's article on The Hockey News' website-- but the Nashville Predators are in a tight spot with the signing of Pekka Rinne last week, but only in terms of trying to re-sign Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, or both.

If you look at the things both bring to the table, you have to wonder who has the edge. The knee-jerk reaction is to say Weber-- if only for the physical force he brings to the table, as well as the cannon of a shot. The fact that the Predators are not a high-offensively minded team and Weber is good for 15 goals on the back-line while Suter has no more than eight in one season (2006-07).

Yet, the Predators have always been know and probably will always be known as a defensive team. That's where I think Suter has the edge. As good as Weber is in the offensive zone, Suter has the edge in his own zone and is probably the more of a shutdown man in comparison. If the Predators want to stick to that same scheme of defense first, Suter has to be the right choice to say around.

Of course, you look at what has happened in situations before. Most notably, the Ottawa Senators when trying to decide between Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara. In the end, the Sens made the wrong choice in picking Redden, as Chara was a monster back then and still is now. That's where the Predators are and this is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. If you let Weber go, you let a physical presence go with a helluva offensive upside. If you let Suter go, there goes a guy who could shutdown a team in a key situation.

Another side of the situation is Ryan Suter being the only one of the two being a UFA in the summer, while Shea Weber is a RFA. The danger in this is that Suter can be left with nothing coming back in return, which will ramp up his trade rumors. With Weber, the Predators could have other team dictate what the Predators have to pay if he is signed to an offer-sheet in the summer.

David Poile is a magician as a GM. If there's anyone who can balance out this situation, it could be Poile. While he's not a guy who will spend over his own means in order to appease the fan base who'd love to have all these guys signed to long-term deals. He won't hand-cuff his team in order to keep some guys who may not be able to pan out to their contractual terms. All eyes will be on Nashville until the trade deadline, then starting up again in June-- and mostly not for the hockey.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Battle of the Blurst: Caps and Jackets Required

Depending on how things go, we could make this a running gimmick, but here's the deal. The Columbus Blue Jackets are bad, but could they be on pace to be the worst team to ever hit an NHL ice surface?? They need a lot of work and with guys coming back from injury; they could have some kind of reversal of fortune, but it's not looking good right now.

The Washington Capitals from the 1974-75 season hold the record for fewest wins, worst winning percentage, and fewest points in the modern era of hockey. The Caps went 8-67-5, which equals 21 points and a .131 winning percentage. Thanks to the NHL History Girl, Jen for reassuring me there was no one worst in the modern era, though I begged and pleaded for her to say differently.

Alright, so we're past the 14th game of the season with the Blue Jackets, so here's the comparison:

2011-12 Columbus Blue Jackets: 2-11-1, 5 pts., 31 GF, 53 GA
1974-75 Washington Capitals: 1-12-1, 3 pts., 28 GF, 72 GA

So, as you see--we're only looking at a one-win, two point difference, three goals-for difference, but 19 goals-against difference. Neither team has won a road games (Caps lost 39 of 40 road games, so maybe the Jackets will be better than that....) and looks like it won't get easier.

Granted, we're at a modern era were there's a lot more parity and there's a lot more skill on this bad team-- considering they aren't an expansion team-- and could hit a nice little winning streak to make people forget about the awful start of the season.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Derek Wilkinson

While you always hate to see a goalie have his career cut short due to lack of opportunities, the fact that this week's AGM was able to make it to the show and then make a solid name for himself after his playing days is always a good thing. This week, the profile of Derek Wilkinson.

While he first busted on the scene in the 1989-90 season in Junior B and C hockey with the Windsor Bulldogs and Belle River Canadiens respectively, he broke out a bit in the 1990-91 season in Junior B with the Chatham Micmacs Jr. team, playing in 24 games with a 3.61 GAA in that year.

Wilkinson moved up to the OHL for the 1991-92 season with the Detroit Compuware Ambassadors, where he would play 38 games and go 16-17-1 in the regular season, with a 3-2 record in seven playoff appearances. The Tampa Bay Lightning drafted Wilkinson in the 1992 Entry Draft in the 7th Round. The 1992-93 season had Wilkinson in Detroit with the newly named Jr. Red Wings, going 1-2-1 in four games before getting traded to the Belleville Bulls-- playing in 59 games and finishing with a record of 21-24-11, then 3-4 in seven playoff games. Returning to Belleville for the 1993-94 season, Wilkinson went 24-16-4 in 56 games and then 6-6 in 12 games of the playoffs.

Moving up to the professional ranks in the 1994-95 season, Wilkinson spent the year in the IHL with the Atlanta Knights, playing in 46 games and finished with a 22-17-2 record, then going 2-1 in four playoff games. Wilkinson had the bulk of the 1995-96 season spent in Atlanta again, playing in 28 games and compiling an 11-11-2 record, then getting called up to Tampa Bay; playing in four games and posting a 0-3-0 record.

The Bolts changed affiliates to the Cleveland Lumberjacks in the 1996-97 season, where Wilkinson would be for most of the year-- playing in 46 games with a 20-17-6 record, then going 8-6 in the playoffs. Wilkinson got the call to Tampa Bay again, this time going 0-2-1 in five games. The 1997-98 season had a bit of a split, as Wilkinson only played 25 games in Cleveland (9-12-2) and then appeared in eight games with Tampa Bay (2-4-1). Wilkinson had another split year in the 1998-99 season, playing in Cleveland for 34 games whilst finishing with a 10-15-2 record; then moving up to Tampa for five games with a 1-3-1 record.

The 1999-2000 season had Wilkinson as a free agent, which he would serve the bulk of the season with the ECHL's Charlotte Checkers, playing in 31 games and finishing with a 11-13-2 record. Wilkinson would also play a game with the IHL's Chicago Wolves, were he would get a tie out of it. Wilkinson got signed by the Belfast Giants of the British Elite League for the 2000-01 season, playing 23 games there before hanging up his pads for good at the age of 26.

While he had his career ended early, Wilkinson was able to land on his feet afterwords, getting hired by the Charlotte Checkers as an assistant coach in the 2002-03 season, then moving to head coach in the middle of the 2003-04 season. Wilkinson would be the head coach in Charlotte until they moved into the AHL, in which he took over the role of Senior VP of Business Operations of the Checkers. He remains the winningest coach in Checkers history at 237-182-42.

It was a long road and it seemed that Wilkinson wasn't able to find his niche in the NHL, Wilkinson made his mark in the minors and then parlayed that into a coaching role and making a very successful run for himself. It was short and sweet, but he'll last forever due to this post.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Kyle Wellwood is so Phat

Who is this player and what has he done with Kyle Wellwood??

After signing with Winnipeg in September, Wellwood has been a house of fire for the new Jets. Through 11 games, Wellwood has five goals and eight points for the Jets; third in scoring and first in goals with the team.

Whether or not this stick the entire season remains to be seen, but his start is something that's promising for the lowly Jets this year. Even so, it's bound to be a career year for Wellwood, who's career high in goals is 18 (2008-09) and in points is 45 (2005-06). Barring an injury or major slump, he's well on his way to possibly being the most surprising player of the NHL this year, as well as finally following through on his promising junior career.

Yet, you have to wonder what happened with Wellwood and made him more motivated this year than years past. Was it his KHL excursion, letting him know how well he had it in the NHL and needs to actually work harder to stay there?? Is it the market he's in that made him motivated to do solidly, even though he couldn't muster that motivation in Toronto?? Did he want to shut up the Twitter hashtag for ever popping up again (try and stop us)??

Regardless of what happens, he's definitely a bright spot in a slow start to the Jets season. Again, if it continues or not, time will tell. Yet, considering the Jets probably didn't expect much from Wellwood when they signed him before the start of training camp, this is definitely giving them a lot of bang for their buck; even though it could also cause concern for their bigger name players out there who aren't as effective.