j torts

Thoughts on Thoughts” is a feature that looks at Elliotte Friedman’s terrific weekly post “30 Thoughts.” Justin Bourne selects his 10 favourite tidbits, and elaborates.


Friedman’s column, March 12th: Canucks brass much resist panic


Elliotte’s opening is dose of common sense applied to a franchise losing their grip on reality: maybe don’t fire the coach and GM who both have four years left on deals you just gave them?

Here’s where he really hit it out of the park, referring to what ownership should be asking itself:

And the biggest, most important ones: How bad are we, really? Are we playing the right way to maximize our talent? Did the Sedins, almost point-a-game players last season, simply fall off a cliff? If, for example, they changed coaches right now, is there someone who can make an appreciable difference?

Ownership is nervous. I get that. The Heritage Classic was a financial disappointment, and Canucks fans have a history of staying away when things go bad. Ticket renewals were delayed and there is concern revenue will drop if no human sacrifice is offered.

What’s worse is firing someone just for the show of it. Bad, panic decisions lead to worse, panic decisions. Then your ticket renewals are more than a one-season problem.

Yup. The team is having a tough go of it right now. But the terrible, terrible decision to ever, EVER, give any coach a five year deal was made in the summer, so you can’t just cut ties and jump. When you commit to a deal like that, it’s a bit of a marriage – you’ve committed to thick and thin. Leaving at the first hint of “thin” is more of a reflection of your own weakness.

10  Thoughts

3. It is believed the six teams to which Kesler would accept a deal at the deadline were Anaheim, Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Only two — the Ducks and Penguins — were really in it, though.

I’m pretty impressed that Colorado has worked its way back into the conversation with teams like these. It shouldn’t be surprising – Denver is one of the best cities in the US, they have a good fan base, hockey actually matters there, there’s some history…they just fell off so hard there it wasn’t guaranteed they’d get it straightened out. They’re a new jersey away from being a top destination for guys again.

4. Canuck rumour III: That ownership is courting Trevor Linden. Verdict: God only knows. We interviewed Linden for our piece on the 1994 Canucks, and off-handedly asked him about being a GM. He didn’t seem that interested.

I have no idea what Trevor Linden’s level of hockey interest is, but most of the ex-players I know become casual watchers of the sport. They catch a game when they can, enjoy it, and don’t think about it too much. It’s weird to me that so many teams seem to be moving towards the thought process “This guy was a cerebral, popular player, lets hire him to pick our personnel.” That’s not commentary on Linden so much as me being skeptical that all these ex-players are as immersed in hockey as people seem to think.

6. The Islanders have until June 1 to let Buffalo know of their intentions regarding the first-round draft pick the Sabres acquired in October’s Thomas Vanek trade. That way, both teams will know exactly where the selection falls in the lottery. If New York does not send this year’s choice to Western New York, Buffalo gets 2015′s.

I briefly had this debate on Twitter the other day, but if you’re picking in the 1/2 spots, even the 3 hole, you never pass that up for the next season, because who the heck knows where you’ll finish that year? Maybe a healthy Tavares/Strome/Okposo/Grabner/Nelson/Nielsen and so on aren’t such a bad team.

I’m not saying the Islanders won’t be bad next season, I’m saying if they fall anywhere within the draft lottery this season, they’ve gotta take the pick. Reinhart, Ekblad…kinda handy prospects to have. You can’t plan on being bad after rebuilding for whatever it’s been, a decade. I don’t care how strong the 2015 draft is.

9. Jets fans are getting nervous because Paul Maurice has yet to begin contract talks with the organization. He told Scott Oake and Kelly Hrudey on After Hours that this is intentional, as he will need to discuss the situation with his family after the season. The team is comfortable with this arrangement and, as I understand it, Maurice is signed to your typical NHL contract, which lasts until June 30. That gives everyone plenty of time to work this out — if both sides choose to do so.

Hi Jets fans. He’s walking. He’s absolutely walking. I’m so sorry.

I have no inside info or anything, but the concept “not negotiating in-season” was created by people who want a better gig. It’s been perfect for Maurice – get back in the league, prove you’re still a good coach, go into summer as a “UFA” of sorts, and pit organizations against each other to jack up your salary while picking the team/city/term you prefer.

“Needs to discuss the situation with his family.” Like he couldn’t do it during any of the free eight hours hockey people have most days.

11. We did a feature with Martin St. Louis in 2004, on his day with the Stanley Cup. He talked at length about how great it felt to score the winning goal in Game 6 of that series, an overtime score that prevented Calgary from lifting the Cup on home ice. Why? Because the Flames gave up on him in 2000. It was at that moment I realized the size of the chip on his shoulder, a motivation that’s made him who he is. He never forgets.

He’s pretty much a Michael Jordan-level psychopath. Remember Jordan’s Hall-of-Fame induction speech, where he basically went all high-school bully on people who he perceived to have doubted him in the past? That’s St. Louis here. You’d think that proving yourself over and over would quench that thirst to prove your worth, but…it doesn’t really seem like it does.

12. I have some of that in me too, so with 20/20 hindsight I can see how the situation in Tampa devolved. Even though Steve Yzerman was trying to do the right thing by everyone, in St. Louis’s mind, being added to the Olympic team later does not suppress your original feelings. He thinks, “I’m not appreciated here, why bother? I’ll just go closer to home and play where I’m going to enjoy myself.” If you don’t have someone you trust who has the power to say, “Are you really thinking here? Do you understand what this is going to mean?” your thoughts are like a runaway locomotive. They can’t be stopped.

Elliotte, I love you, but just because you can relate to his brand of “tilt” doesn’t make it okay. Steve Yzerman tried to do right by everyone – tried to pick the best team Canada, tried to make Marty happy, eventually agreed to trade him just where he wanted to go…but nope, to hell with that guy, he didn’t pick me the first timeSt. Louis was completely unreasonable. Here’s my full article on that.

14. One former teammate on Steve Yzerman: “I’ve seen him angry before… but never that angry.”

Because, eff that guy. Tampa was having a killer year, and this guy, your captain, put himself ahead of everything because he got his feelings hurt. That’s some “shoulder chip,” and I don’t think it needs to be excused.

15. There was a theory going around that the Rangers, knowing the St. Louis deal was a possibility, basically made a decision between Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi, knowing they couldn’t keep both (with no-trade clauses). If the two were locked in, it may not have been possible to make the St. Louis trade for cap reasons. After looking into it, this doesn’t seem accurate. Callahan and the team just couldn’t seem to find common ground until too late.

Because Callahan was being a donkey too. The whole thing was a mess. You’ve got the chance to be the captain of the New York Rangers, which is worth god-knows-what on its own, but you wanna drive a harder bargain because you believe you can? Byeeee.

Ryan Callahan is a good guy who’s good at hockey that got brainwashed by whatever smoke his agent was blowing up his backside. He’ll get his 6×6, but some contract negotiations aren’t just about the raw dollars.

22. Heard a couple times now that Edmonton took a long look at Buffalo’s Tyler Myers. That’s getting shot down. Think the name came up, but it was decided pretty quickly there wasn’t a match.

A team like the Oilers need to make some smart moves in their transition from rebuilding to Real Team, and maybe Myers and his contract don’t fit in that category, but man – they need to start doing something with that roster. I’d be tempted to scrap everyone who isn’t a part of the core, or at least everyone who’s been there for any length of time and isn’t under 25. This isn’t working, so they need to trying something, anything else. I say purge the roster outside the core. It can’t get worse…can it?

27. Got to give Brian Burke credit for the retained salary idea. How many of the deadline deals would have happened without it? Think it was 10 trades that involved some retention. Among them: Edmonton kept money on Ales Hemsky and Nick Schultz,  Philadelphia on Andrej Meszaros, and Carolina on Tuomo Ruutu.

He deserves credit for that, and he actually deserves credit for pushing the idea of the “bear hug” maneuver that would allow forecheckers to wrap-up the player going in after the puck to avoid plowing them neck-first into the boards. I mocked it a bit at the time, but the players have apparently asked to be allowed to interfere a bit more in the interest of slowing the game down a touch. D-men going back on the puck are doing so knowing guys behind them have a full head of steam, and that’s a bit dangerous. I’m not in favor of slowing down the game, but he was definitely at the forefront of an issue players apparently have.