I purposely stayed as far away from twitter and other internet sources of hockey news this past holiday weekend in order to clear my head and digest everything that is going on. Between the Stanley Cup finals starting, the Amateur Draft a few weeks away, and the Atlanta to Winnipeg fiasco, I felt I had to avoid all further input. A re-evaluation ... an attitude adjustment of sorts ... that and I had a lot of yard work to do. After skimming through things that went on this past weekend, it looks like others should have done the same thing I did. I'm just not sure my weekend was long enough.
Via a Sunday afternoon tweet from Detroit Red Wings Marketing and Communications Department:
"Former Wings assistant coach Brad McCrimmon has been hired as the head coach for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League."
And that's it. End of story. Literally nobody in the hockey world has commented and no one has been interviewed. Brad McCrimmon would rather be Head Coach of a KHL team as opposed to Asst. Coach of the mighty Detroit Red Wings ?? What does this say about Detroit or Mr. McCrimmon's judgment ?? Will his career blossom like Todd McLellan's or tank like Dave Lewis's ?? I think I need another quiet weekend to digest that one. I had a beer here somewhere ...
Bait & Switch ??
Finally, the formal announcement came this afternoon that the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg's True North Entertainment Group is final. While some are sad to see Atlanta lose their team, we all have to remember this is the second time it has happened. Expansion brought the Atlanta Flames to town in 1972 and they lasted just 8 short seasons before they picked up and moved to Calgary. Why the NHL chose to return to Atlanta in 1999 is a mystery.
Does anyone remember Benjamin Franklin saying "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results " ?? I guess not because we now have 10 teams in extremely warm weather climates that really don't belong there (yes, I'm including LA). For one thing, a warm climate is not conducive to any thoughts of hockey. Secondly, the ice in the buildings flat out sucks and is dangerous for the players health. The puck bounces like a superball and you can't complete 2 passes consecutively to save your ass. It's amazing hockey in the south has lasted as long as it has considering the poor quality of the game. Which brings us to the original team we all thought would be headed back to Winnipeg ... the Phoenix Coyotes.
One more season in Phoenix and you know they're gone. Anyone with half a brain can see it coming, but where will they move to ? Quebec City ? Seattle ? Anyone that thinks the warm weather cities of Kansas City or Las Vegas are viable choices needs to have their heads examined thoroughly. Unfortunately, the NHL has a Commissioner that cares more about money than the actual game itself, and it's money that is driving these relocation choices, not hockey knowledge or passion. Bettman wasn't going to get a "relocation fee" out of Phoenix so the Coyotes stay put for another season.
Who's next on the list ? Florida ? Carolina ? Columbus ? Nashville ? Give it time ... the subject of league contraction will soon rear its ugly head again. And realignment will be all the rage this coming season as well. Winnipeg playing in the Southeast Division this coming season is going to be a joke. Will the True North Entertainment Group get a kickback from the NHL to cover the extra travel expenses ?? Will CBC cover any or all of Winnipeg's road games without subsidy fees from the league ?? This move creates more problems than it solves and I think I this too calls for another long holiday weekend to sort out. Damnit ... where's my beer ???
For those of you that are excited about Atlanta's move, Kuklas Korner has conveniently posted video clips of the press conference and a short interview with Commissioner Bettman on one page. No doubt, there will be much more chatter on CBC tonight during Game One of the SCF.
...and if you are of the opinion that playing in the weaker Eastern Conference for one season could be to Winnpeg's advantage as they go UFA shopping July 1st, this article by CapGeek.com's Matthew Wuest lays out all of their options.
Potential Upside ??
Scott Campbell over at The Scouting Report.com has posted an incredibly detailed article on the 2011 NHL Draft Top 100 Skaters.
Here's to hoping these kids know what they're in for if they're drafted by a warm weather climate team.
HA !! Found my beer !! ewwwww it's warm ... off to the store for another 6 pack before the game starts.
Tomorrow ... has the influx of European players over the last couple of decades helped or hurt the NHL ?? This has Don Cherry written all over it, doesn't it ??