8. Special teams
Hey isn’t it weird that the Columbus team that couldn’t kill a penalty or score on the power play for a huge chunk of the year went 66.7 percent on the PK and and 16.7 percent on the PP in that Caps series that they lost? Ah, well it says here John Tortorella was their coach, so probably not that weird. Oh well.
7. Hiring Bill Peters
If you get a chance to get the guy who’s 54 games below .500 in 328 games (137-138-53), you gotta take it!
Honestly, this is an insane thing, right? The Flames think they’re improving their coaching situation with this guy? I’m interested to see whether The Peters Formula — crap shooting percentage, crap goaltending, good possession numbers — follows him to Calgary because they certainly have the horses to pull off all three as it stands right now.
But Glen Gulutzan wasn’t a particularly good coach either and we have literally no evidence that Peters can be successful. And look, I’m a “process” guy and Peters’ underlying numbers in Carolina were solid, but at some point you have to take into account the fact that their four-year PDO (98.0) is the worst in the league, behind two teams that actively tanked for multiple seasons in that time. And it’s not just because Cam Ward couldn’t stop traffic by walking into it: The Hurricanes also have the second-lowest shooting percentage of the last four seasons.
Gaudreau and Monahan plus the 3Ms will probably keep that number up a little bit, but how much, given the Flames’ depth? And is Mike Smith going to be reliable next season? Great question!
6. Trying to figure out who’s the Conn Smythe winner right this second
I made a joke in WWL the other day about “Oh this guy’s the Conn Smythe leader right now” and then I saw a bunch of people discussing it seriously. And it’s like, uh c’mon folks.
If you’re really, really, really lucky, performance from the second round will be counted in any and all Conn Smythe voting. Usually you gotta have a guy go off in the Conference finals for any voters to even remember that any games happened before the Cup Final. If, like, the Bruins get to the Final and Pastrnak isn’t scoring nine points in two games anymore or whatever, will anyone remember the thing that happened six weeks prior? I gotta think the answer here is a pretty clear: “Nope.”
Gotta file something, though, I guess.
5. Bringing back Carlyle
I guess I can see why the Ducks would bring back Randy Carlyle. They finished second in a competitive-if-not-great division. But the idea from Bob Murray seems to be, “We learned a lesson here about how the NHL works these days.”
The claim — and it’s about as credible as your average Bigfoot sighting — is that the team will get faster and more creative this summer. With Randy Carlyle as the coach. And this core as the engine for that faster, more creative play.
Did anyone watch a Carlyle team in the past 10 years before making this announcement? How about a Ducks game from the past two? Just wondering.
4. Throwing beer
Seems to me that Philly fans love to throw things when sports stuff doesn’t go the way they want it. Anyone want to discuss that at length?
3. Re-signing Bednar
I like the one-year deal for Jared Bednar.
I think you can chalk a lot of the Avs’ success up to MacKinnon having a PDO of approximately 185 this year, and also Semyon Varlamov being pretty damn good before he got hurt. But also, Bednar has done a perfectly credible job (not just making the playoffs) with a team that’s not particularly deep or skilled.
So you throw out his first year on the job, which was a disaster far beyond his control. And in the second, well, he got a little lucky but also found his way into the playoffs through the contributions of two high-end players. Fair to say that’s an earned one-year extension.
Excited to see what he does with it, mainly because I can see this team really going either way next season.
This big fella is looking real good, eh?
I think I said it a while ago but isn’t it amazing how good this team can look when it gets even semi-competent goaltending? Maybe should’ve tried it out before this season.
1. The Chuck Fletcher defenders logging on
The Wild won’t bring back Chuck Fletcher and a lot of media people aren’t happy about it.
Which is interesting because this is a guy whose team averaged 98.4 points over the last five seasons and hasn’t gotten out of the second round. In fact, it hasn’t gotten out of the first in the last three years. And from the response from Good Hockey Men, you would think this guy built a team that regularly gets to the Conference final but got fired in the middle of the first round.
I honestly do not get it. The Wild have problems, and I wrote something for Deadspin in the year of our lord two thousand and fourteen saying “Yeah they signed Parise and Suter and they’re gonna make the playoffs then lose pretty quickly every year as a result.” If this much was obvious to me — a person you all think is a moron who doesn’t understand the sport — four damn years ago, why does it not even occur to Smart Hockey People now, after four years of me being proven extremely right.
Like, this isn’t something that should need to be hashed out. The Wild spend a lot of money, they do OK in a competitive division, then get clubbed. The fact that Winnipeg surpassed them was probably enough of a stark example of how the Wild have been treading water basically since 2013. If there’s no real improvement here and no one would have ever seriously described this team as “competitive” then what we are talking about really?
(Not ranked this week: Slava Voynov.
Apparently, they’re saying in Russia that Slava Voynov has been in touch with five NHL teams about coming back to this hemisphere. Really bad!
Not really sure why people started saying they wouldn’t mind Voynov back in the NHL these days, but hey, that’s a bad idea and if you’re trying to logic your way out of that fact, it’s probably because your team has a need for a good right-shot D and you have no morals!
It says something about the league, of course, that the only reason he’s not still in it is because he was legally not allowed to be in the United States anymore, but that’s a different argument. If Mike Ribeiro can get a job from Nashville after the stuff he was accused of — never forget about that one from David Poile — Voynov, who’s definitely a better hockey player, is always gonna be treated like a guy who made a mistake. Unfortunate but true.
Anyway, I hope I never have to see Voynov on TV again. He sucks and so does anyone who, like Mike Milbury, would try to paper over what happened.)
(All statistics via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)