Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Around the Rink 11.21.06

It seems that the race for the Columbus Blue Jackets' coach is down to Ken Hitchcock and Andy Murray. Now, either one of these choices right now would be good to whip the team into shape. Whether or not it creates a mutiny in the room is a different story. The Jackets really haven't had a hard-nosed coach, per se, but with either Murray or Hitchcock coming into the fold, that's going to change real quickly.

The main thing that needs to change is scoring, or the lack there of. Rick Nash leads the team with six goals on the year and are currently last in the NHL in goals for with 40. Something needs to kick-start the talent on this team and a coaching chance should be good for what ails them.

Speaking of Hitchcock, his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers, announced that they have extended the contract of new coach John Stevens. Stevens won a Calder Cup with the Philly Phantoms two seasons ago and the hope is that Stevens can try to salvage any part of this season for the Flyers.

Granted, we're only 20 games in, but let's not kid anyone in thinking that the Flyers will make a dramatic comeback. They only have one regular who is not a minus and that's Randy Robitaille who is an even rating; and that's discounting Todd Fedoruk because he hasn't played a game yet in Philly. We'll see where this takes them, but with Stevens knowing his job is safe for now, it could open up a whole lot of chances.

Marc Denis is in full free-fall mode, much to the dismay of many Tampa fans. Denis hasn't won since October 26th, has let in at least six goals in two of his last three starts, and could have his position plucked from him by Johan Holmqvist. Denis was brought in to stop the bleeding for the Bolts in net, which hasn't happened.

You know, I sat here in the summer talking about how underrated Denis was and he's not making me look good at all. Is it because the Bolts miss Pavel Kubina that much?? Is it because they don't have many stay-at-home defensemen?? Is Denis just that bad?? Personally, I couldn't tell you; but it doesn't look good in any light when it hits the bottom line.

Some WHL news as Dustin Slade, one of the top goalies in the WHL, quit the Vancouver Giants to persue a pro career. Apparently, Slade was unhappy with sharing time with Tyler Sexsmith in net, which led Slade to talk to coach Don Hay about it and ultimately leaving the team. The Giants had moved two players, both overagers, to keep Slade on the roster.

News flash to Slade, welcome to life as a goalie. There's going to be situations whereas you have to see what the other kid is going to do and then split the games if need be. If you're winning, that shouldn't be an issue; though I see where a competitor would want to play every game. Bottom line, you're name is not Martin Brodeur, Miikka Kiprusoff, or Olaf Kolzig. You're going to have to come to the realization that you're not going to get every start because someone is equal to the task.

I guess in the end, sitting on the bench in the ECHL or some other minor league making a bit of change is better than playing for a small stipen in the WHL.

With trade talks heating up, you better stay tuned to the Face Off Hockey Show blog, the Face Off Hockey Show, the FOHS Podcast, and the FOHS Message Board so you don't miss a single deal.

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