Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Summertime Hockey

Wow, so The Minnesota Wild apparently listened when their fans complained this off-season.
Several million dollars later (and one trade that is a wait-and-see), the team is completely different.
Suddenly there is an offensive-defenseman in the form of Kim Johnsson.
There is a "Banger" in the form of Keith Carney.
Down and dirty forward? They signed Mark Parrish.
All of the youngsters are back as well.
If there is a questionable move, it is the Pavol Demitra trade. I understand that this was done in order to make Marion Gaborik re-sign, but Patrick O'Sullivan was considered one of the best prospects in the NHL. Not in the system, but in the entire league. Demitra, though very talented, is 31 years old, and he has been getting injured more frequently (a concussion, a leg injury, and an eye injury most recently).
If O'Sullivan goes on to be like Ovechkin, and the Wild miss the playoffs again, then the system will have to be completely overhauled. However, if Demitra returns to the form he showed in St. Louis, and the Wild beat up on the Northwest division, then all is right as rain...except for one thing:
Guys....Unless you make the playoffs, do NOT raise ticket prices again. I'm not sure the fans will respond to that very well.
Maybe I should start a blog a la
Batgirl about the Wild...what do you think?
Other strange news in Hockey.
Neil Smith.
You've probably never heard of him, but he was the general manager of the New York Rangers when they won the Stanley Cup in 1994.
He was fired and replaced, so he went on to be an announcer.
Recently the New York Islanders (a team I really dislike) hired him. When I say recently, I mean 40 days ago.
So how odd is it that after the draft and the free agent signing he has helped complete, he was
fired today and replaced by a goalie on the team. Garth Snow, the back up goalie, retired and took his place.
Now this is strange for several reasons.
1. Many Islander fans are now wondering what the hell is going on. The team made several positive moves in the last month and seemed to be heading in a good direction.
2. Snow is one year older than my sister (He's in his 30's). I wonder if the owner of the Islanders (Mr. Charles Wang) is hoping for the same miracle that happened to the Boston Red Sox (Theo Epstein is a very young man as well).
3. Neil Smith has won a Stanley Cup. Don't overlook that. Yet, here is a guy who has never done been a general manager, and he is expected to help a team return to greatness (in the mid 80's, the Islanders won four Stanley Cups in a row).
Now I look at it this way:
Think of the staff of a typical office (let's use a paper company like on The Office). You have the executives, the middle management, and the "grunts" or workers. The "grunts" take care of the warehouse, the middle management balances all the numbers, and the executives oversee the whole operation.
This is the same thing in hockey. The "grunts" are the players, the middle management are the coaches, and the executives are the GMs and the owners. Got it?
Now, imagine this business. One day, the president hires a new VP and says, "I have complete confidence in you."
After one month, the president looks at what the VP has been doing and talks to the workers. The workers say, "We like him, but he was out of management for a long time...seems strange. Still...he's really good."
The president says, "Interesting." Then, he fires the VP after only a month.
Instead of promoting from middle management (who might know the job or understand exactly what to do), the president takes one of the "grunts" and says, "You have the job now. Good luck." The "grunt" the president picked is younger than all of the middle management, has only been with the company for a few years, and has never done the job expected of him (has no training).
Looking at this company, do you have confidence?
This is why most Islander fans are now wondering what happened? My take? Wang is a VERY controlling owner. It's possible that Smith was not doing what he wanted and so he was fired. Plus Mike Milbury is still with the Islanders, and he is a control freak.
This bares watching. If the Islanders make more moves and are terrible then Snow will be roasted. If, however, they do nothing else and play amazingly, the fans will probably say, "Hey Smith did a great job."
In the end I feel bad for Snow (who, by the way, lost his last five decisions in goal). He may be hit harder than Isiah Thomas in New York.
The last two Stanley Cup Champions have been in the Southeast part of the country (Tampa Bay and Carolina).
That's troubling.
No wonder the Canadians are angry. It would be like the Toronto Blue Jays winning the World Series every year.
I guess this means that Phoenix has to win this year. A hockey team in the desert....Go figure.


Anonymous said...

Nobody will be roasted more than Isaiah. Seriously- the Post probably has their own portable grill outside his house. And for what he's done to the Knick franchise. He deserves it. Great player, lousy GM.

Yes Hockey in the desert is plain wrong. (Though some Canadians have a theory that the Tampa By win over Calgary was fixed possibly even by the President as his brother's state wanted a STanley Cup Champ- how weird is that?


cat said...

I too am excited to see what the Wild are going to do this year. I am optimistic that they are gonna be good. (Unlike the Vikes who I think are gonna stink it up this year, but I still love them as always). I sometimes think that ALL sports are rigged... I do not know though... sometimes I think they aren't. I just do not know on that at all... Well, have a good day and continued good luck with that GORGEOUS Poozer of yours!

Admin Worm said...

I'm very excited for the hockey season and am very excited the Wild is finally getting their outdoor stadium.