One of the teams had to end their winning streak last night when the Rangers hosted the Kings in Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately for Kings fans, the team that extended their streak was the Rangers. The Rangers remain tied for first place in the Atlantic division and the NHL (with the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins). The Kings remain in first place in the Pacific division, but drop from 2nd to 5th in the Western conference.
Definitely not the best game to attend as a Kings fan, but there were up sides to not getting credentials from the Rangers. I got to talk to more fans (Kings and Rangers alike). I also didn’t have to talk to the Kings after the game and somehow I don’t think they were in the best mood – especially with their upcoming flight to Detroit immediately following the game.
As a Kings fan, I was definitely in the minority at Madison Square Garden, but I did see quite a few Kings fans. I talked to almost all the Kings fans I saw before the end of the game. One of the fans hasn’t lived in LA for years (he’s spent most of that time overseas serving our country), but he still manages to follow his favorite team. One of the fans is from Philadelphia, but he’s been a Kings fan most of his life. Apparently, he really liked their earliest purple jerseys and chose the Kings as his team as a result.
Everyone watching the game saw Brian Boyle (a former King) score his first goal in a Rangers jersey. Considering how little the Kings face the Rangers, it’s pretty surprising that he scored his first goal of the season against the Kings.
Special teams were definitely a problem for the Kings last night. The Kings’ penalty kill (tied for 27th in the league going into last night’s game) was already struggling, but the power play had been tied for 4th. The Rangers fan next to me turned to me to say that the Kings were making the Rangers look good near the end of one of the Kings’ last power plays of the game – and he was right. I couldn’t keep track of all the times the Kings passed the puck to the point without looking to see if there was someone there and cleared the zone for the Rangers (the Kings did this when they weren’t on the power play, too). Los Angeles was 1-7 (14%) with the man advantage and only stopped one of the three Rangers power plays. If I had to guess, I’d say the Kings will spend a lot of money working on their power play and penalty kill in upcoming practices.
Erik Ersberg was in goal for the Kings, since they face the Red Wings tonight in Detroit. His save percentage of 81% is definitely not what he would have wanted, but two of the goals scored against him were scored on the power play (one with a two man advantage), which clearly made his job more difficult.
The Kings hadn’t had a four game winning streak since about 2 months before the end of the last season and hadn’t started out with a record of 4-1-0 since the 1992-1993 season (the year they went to the Stanley Cup Finals and lost to the Montreal Canadiens) and ties with the best 5 game start in Kings history. It’s too early to be super optimistic if you’re a Kings fan (especially since Kings fans have seen their team start out well and finish way out of the playoffs before), but I do think that the team Dean Lombardi has put together is on the right track and will finish in the playoffs this year.
Tags: Brian Boyle, Canadiens, Dean Lombardi, Erik Ersberg, fans, Hockey, Kings, Madison Square Garden, NHL, penalty kill, Penguins, playoffs, power play, Rangers, Red Wings, special teams, Stanley Cup, Stanley Cup Finals
When the NFL kicked off their season on Thursday, September 10th, there was one game that night. The Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Tennessee Titans at home. That game was the only game on opening day. It was nationally televised and well advertised. They showed the ceremony with the fireworks and the Steelers started off their season with the NFL world watching them celebrate their championship a bit before the game started.
As the MLB kicked off their season on Sunday, April 5th, the only regular season game that day was played by the World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies as they faced the Atlanta Braves at home. This opening game of the season was also available for all baseball fans to enjoy as the Phillies celebrated their win with their fans one last time before starting the new season.
The NBA started off their season last year on October 28th with a double header on TNT starting with the NBA Championship Boston Celtics hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers. The second game of the double header featured the first regular season game for the number one draft pick in the 2007 NBA draft.
All of these leagues have a few things in common. The reigning champion of the league gets to start off the next season. The start of the season is a well advertised event with countdowns on public websites. The opening game and pre-game events are nationally televised in HD for anyone in the country to see without a special sports package. The national TV coverage of the games happens on a channel that everyone with cable gets (I realize that TNT is a cable channel) for free. They don’t need to purchase a sports package (as I do in order to get Versus) and the channels are all on DirecTV (which Versus is not as I write this – I’m still hoping they’ll work that out before I move, since I really want to change back to DirecTV when I’m able to get it). These games also all take place in the United States of America.
In contrast, the NHL starts their season with four games on opening day (Thursday, October 1st). Two of these games are nationally televised (including HD) on Versus – the Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins (7pm) and the San Jose Sharks at Colorado Avalanche (10pm). The other teams playing on opening day are The Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and Calgary Flames. None of the teams playing on opening day were even in the Stanley Cup Finals last season. In fact, only three teams out of the eight playing on opening day made it out of the first round of the playoffs. They (the Capitals, Bruins, & Canucks) were all eliminated in the conference semifinals.
The Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins play their first game the second night of the hockey season. They play the 8th game of the season and will have all the fanfare of raising the Stanley Cup Championship banner with only local audiences (Pittsburgh & New York City) as well as those of us who have the NHL Network (a pay channel on my cable service). I am hoping the NHL Network shows the Pittsburgh feed of the game. Center Ice normally airs the home feed for home openers and I’m hoping the NHL Network will do the same. I’m also hoping that when entering the info someone just forgot to check the box to select that the show is in HD, since as of this morning the repeats on the NHL HD Network are going to be in HD, but the live feed will not. I think it’s horrible that the first game of the reigning champs isn’t nationally televised on a channel that’s easily accessible to all sports fans. Those wanting to see the raising of the banner living in New York will most likely have to settle for YouTube replays or watching it on the Penguins’ website, since the NHL Network feed will be blacked out in NYC due to the MSG telecast. I’m sure the Rangers will do the same thing the Ducks did when they played in the Penguins’ first home game a few years ago and cut out anything fans of the Penguins would want to see of the opening of the season and local fans will not get a choice.
The NHL messes up a lot of their marketing (or lack of marketing, as it were). Their not acknowledging the reigning Stanley Cup Champion is just one of many errors. The NHL continually tries to compete with the NBA (which will always be more popular in most parts of the US). This competition makes it difficult for some people (especially those in southern California and other areas where local basketball teams were doing well) to find a bar that will show the games if they’d like to go out with friends to enjoy them (or, as in the case of my one friend, didn’t have cable and needed to find someone willing to show hockey that had Versus – at least Versus and DirecTV didn’t have their battle until the playoffs ended). If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Bettman was brought in to lower the NHL’s ratings and prove that it should eliminate some teams. A lot of the choices he’s made seem more like the choices networks make when they want to kill a show’s ratings. I could talk about different errors in judgment the NHL makes for ages like most hockey fans.
Southern California residents not attending the Ducks’ season opener (also their season opener), which is the same night as (and only a half hour apart from) the Kings’ season & home opener, will be disappointed if they’d like to watch it later. It’s one of the few games airing on KDOC instead of Fox Sports Prime Ticket or West, so it will only be aired in standard definition. I’ll be at the Kings game that night and was disappointed that the Ducks’ first game of the season will not be televised in HD. I think this is another bad marketing choice, though this one was probably made by FSN & KDOC, not the Ducks. I’m sure the Ducks would prefer all of their games to be aired in HD. Who wouldn’t? It makes fans happy and that’s the goal, isn’t it?
I know fans of all sports complain about choices those running the league make, but how is it possible that all the other major league team sports in the country have figured out that celebrating the reigning champion is a good idea and the NHL still hasn’t understood this simple fact? It doesn’t take a brilliant mind to figure out that having one (or two) game(s) to open the season and making a big deal out of the opening night with the current champ as well as nationally televising that game (and the game after it, if applicable) is a good marketing strategy. For all of Bettman’s talk about expanding interest in the NHL in the United States, he doesn’t seem to make choices supporting the concept.
Tags: Braves, Cavaliers, Celtics, Center Ice, Ducks, FSN, Gary Bettman, HD, Hockey, Kings, marketing, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, NHL Network, Penguins, Phillies, Rangers, Stanley Cup, Stanley Cup Finals, Steelers, Titans, TNT, Versus, YouTube
As a Yankees fan, I was disappointed that the NHL chose to have the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston instead of the brand new Yankee Stadium, but I’m still interested in watching the Bruins play the Flyers outside on New Year’s Day. I haven’t attended a Winter Classic yet and will always regret not getting to Buffalo for the first Winter Classic with the Penguins and Sabres. I know I’ll get to a Winter Classic someday, but since I missed the first one I might as well wait for a Winter Classic that means a lot to me or works around visiting friends and family in another part of the country.
I’m very surprised that the games in Europe are being played at the same time the rest of the season starts in the US. It seems that this change will put more travel pressure on the teams involved in the games overseas, but I guess the impact of starting the season is hard to judge. The Penguins started in Sweden last season and won the Stanley Cup. Since they also lost in the Stanley Cup Finals (to the Red Wings) in 2008, the Penguins had the shortest off season and still managed to win the Stanley Cup. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think this weakens the argument that the Ducks’ first round loss to the Stars could basically be blamed on their starting in Europe and having such a short off season. Perhaps it was more of a Stanley Cup hangover. There always seems to be one team from the previous year’s finals starting in Europe (first the Ducks, then the Penguins, now the Red Wings). The teams are chosen early enough that this hasn’t been specifically chosen by the NHL. It’s just the way things have worked out so far.
I still firmly believe every NHL team should play every other NHL team twice each year (once at home, once away), but I’m glad that the teams all face each other at least once in the season still.
I haven’t had time to closely analyze all 30 team schedules, but skimming the combined schedule, it seems like the NHL has done a better job with the end of the season schedule this season. Though I see the Red Wings playing the Flyers on April 4th, most of the games in the last couple weeks seem to be within the same conference (and many in the same division). Though no one knows which of these games will be the most important for playoff standings, having teams play within their own conference should ensure that more games that affect the playoffs happen during the last couple weeks.
Tags: Bruins, Ducks, Flyers, Hockey, NHL, Penguins, Red Wings, Sabres, schedule, Stanley Cup Finals, Winter Classic, Yankees
What a game. I don’t know about all Penguins fans, but this Penguins fan has a sore neck. It’s amazing how stressful just watching a game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals can be… When watching the horrible game 5 at Diesel on the south side in Pittsburgh, Bryan Trottier mentioned that he was just watching this year as a fan and that it was very stressful to be a fan watching your team in the Finals. Hearing that from a guy who won the Cup six times (4 with the Islanders, 2 with the Penguins) as a player and once as an assistant coach (with the Avalanche) was pretty surprising.
In Pittsburgh, it would have been simple to pick a bar for watching game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and you probably couldn’t have made a bad choice. Every bar was surely filled with fans wanting the Penguins would win and the fact that the NBA wasn’t playing tonight didn’t matter as much to Penguins fans in Pittsburgh as it did to hockey fans in southern California. Here, most people care more about the Lakers than they do two out of town teams in the NHL Finals. Heck, even if the Ducks or Kings were in the Finals, I’d bet a lot of money that more people would care about the Lakers being in the Finals.
I went to my favorite local sports bar (The Corner Office) with a friend figuring there were bound to be other hockey fans there watching the game and I was right. I left work a half hour early and we just barely got there in time to get one of my 5 favorite booths in front of the big screens. There was another fan in a Penguins jersey (also Mario Lemieux), a fan in a Red Wings jersey, one in a Red Wings t-shirt, etc. More people in the bar seemed to want the Penguins to win, but there were fans on both sides. The Corner Office even put the sound on for the game, which I didn’t expect. Could we hear it most of the time? Not really, but the bar tried and I think that was really nice of them.
Game 7s don’t happen every year in the Finals, but they are a lot of fun when they do. The Penguins/Red Wings series was an exciting one, in spite of the blow-out in game 5 (where the Red Wings won 5-0). The 7th game lived up to my expectations. The game wasn’t over until the buzzer sounded. It was exciting and Penguins fans everywhere went crazy. I’m sure many of them worried when Sidney Crosby went down, but Max Talbot was amazing and gets the Stanley Cup winning goal, which he definitely deserved. Marc-Andre Fleury made some amazing saves, including one highlight reel save that will even show up on ESPN over and over, I’m sure. Dan Bylsma came a long way in a short period of time. From assistant AHL coach to Stanley Cup Champion head NHL coach. It must seem like a bit of a blur for him, but he’s done an amazing job and deserves a lot of credit for the turnaround the Penguins made this season.
Sidney Crosby may not have played much in game 7 (he didn’t even get to 10 minutes, due to his injury), but he was still the youngest captain in NHL history to lead his team to a Stanley Cup victory and raise the Cup. Evgeni Malkin became only the 5th player in history to win the regular and Stanley Cup playoff scoring titles (he also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP). Marc-Andre Fleury proved he can play with the best of them and Marian Hossa chose the wrong team. Of course, there’s always the question of whether the Penguins would have been able to keep the necessary players (like Brooks Orpik) or afford the late season additions that allowed them to win the Cup this year. The NHL Network mentioned that Maxime Talbot specifically said he wanted to meet up with Hossa in the hand shake line and tell him he picked the wrong team. Clearly, he got to do that and I’m sure he enjoyed it as much as he thought he would.
The Penguins didn’t make the playoff run easy for the fans. The Washington series was rough, but the Finals against the Red Wings were even more difficult. Pittsburgh has two reigning teams (the Penguins and Steelers). A friend of mine mentioned that the pressure is on the Pirates now, which is (of course – if you know anything about baseball) hilarious, since the Pirates are most likely to become the team with the longest streak of losing seasons in MLB history this year. Of course, the other end of the state (Philadelphia Phillies) is the home of the reigning World Series champions. Three out of the four top professional team sports – not a bad year for Pennsylvania sports.
Now, we can all look forward to next week’s NHL Awards ceremony and the draft.
Tags: Bryan Trottier, Dan Bylsma, Ducks, Evgeni Malkin, fans, Hockey, Islanders, Kings, Lakers, Marc-Andre Fleury, Mario Lemieux, Maxime Talbot, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, Penguins, Phillies, Pirates, playoffs, Red Wings, Sidney Crosby, sports bar, Stanley Cup Finals, Steelers
Another great game tonight in Pittsburgh and the Pens are now tied in the series with Detroit 2-2. Clearly, I’m very glad I was able to make the trip to Pittsburgh for the finals and lucky enough to have tickets and be a fan at games 3 & 4. I had an amazing time cheering for the Penguins and waving my towel (though I’ll never quite understand the need for giving out towels).
I think Marc-Andre Fleury completely deserved to be #1 star of the game, since he had a 94.9 save percentage and 37 saves against Detroit. I understand Crosby being named #2, since he had the game winning goal and an assist. I have NOTHING against Malkin (in fact, I bought this great “Got Milkin?” t-shirt yesterday complete with a puck being dunked in a glass of milk), but I do question the decision to make him the #3 star of the game. Yes, he had a goal and an assist, but so did Jordan Staal.
It’s my belief that Staal’s short handed goal at 8:35 in the 2nd period was the turning point of the game for the Penguins. Not only did he score the tying goal, but it was short handed! I’m not really sure how they could have skipped him in the 3 stars of the game. He is listed as the third top performer of the day for ESPN. At least he got listed there…
I find it interesting that the team shooting the most has lost every game in this series, all games have been won by two goals (perhaps that’s why Kunitz missed the empty net…), and the scores have been the same by city so far (both Detroit games 3-1; both Pittsburgh games 4-2).
As a side note… Does anyone know if they track missed empty net attempts? I don’t have time to look it up now, but it seems like the Penguins have more missed empty net goals than any team I’ve seen (in years). It’s clear that Kunitz is truly a Penguin now – he’s missed an empty net at fairly close range. Perhaps that’s part of the initiation to the team.
Saturday’s game should be amazing. It’s too bad NBC isn’t allowing the Penguins to show the game on the big screen outside. If you’re a Penguins fan, be sure NOT to record the game on NBC (or unplug the line that records that if you can – I know that’s not possible for those who have cable, but if you have DirecTV unplug the phone line) and go to a bar to watch the game. I’m all for higher ratings for NHL playoffs (especially the finals), but NBC’s reason for not allowing the game to be aired at the arena seems to be completely ratings based, so I think working to keep their ratings as low as possible is the best fans can do to show them how you feel about their enforcement of their contract.
Tags: Chris Kunitz, empty net, Evgeni Malkin, fans, Hockey, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury, Mellon Arena, NBC, NHL, Penguins, Red Wings, Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup Finals
It’s very different to attend a game as a fan. The last NHL game I had attended as a fan was game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Pittsburgh last year (May 31st, almost exactly a year ago). Same teams, same venue and also the only games I attended as a fan last season. Though I was kicking myself a little for not trying to get credentials worked out in case I could afford the flight back to Pittsburgh for the finals, a large part of me is glad. There’s something about being able to get your face painted and jump up and down and lose your voice cheering for your team. It’s a lot of fun. I’m not saying I don’t have a blast as a member of the media. I do. I’m very thankful for the access I have and really appreciate all the Kings, Ducks, Eklund, and many others have done for me in that area.
I traveled all day to get to game 3 of the finals in Pittsburgh. (I left my house around 5 my time and had gotten very little sleep last night.) So, I’m not completely coherent, but we had a great time at the game tonight. My sister’s favorite player is Maxime Talbot. She predicted that he’d get a goal early and he scored within a minute or so of that comment. Naturally, she was totally thrilled that he got (and deserved) the number one star of the game. Not only did he get half of the goals the Pens scored tonight (true, one was an empty netter, but what a decisive empty net goal), but Talbot created a lot of other opportunities and hit the post once.
It was nice to see that there were fewer blatant missed calls in tonight’s game. With any luck, that will continue.
Jordan Staal had a very good game in spite of being absent from the score sheet. He did have 3 blocked shots. Evgeni Malkin increased his scoring lead from 2 to 4 points with his three assists (Sidney Crosby only had one tonight). I may not have a voice and my throat is definitely sore, but it was great to scream like crazy. I have a whole day to recover before I really need my voice again.
I really like that they had a special moment to thank Versus for allowing the Penguins to show the game outside on their big screen in front of TONS of fans. NBC is not allowing them to do that (not even for the finals) and I think it’s a very sad statement. Personally, I think Gary Bettman should have tried to iron that one out. I understand that it’s in NBC’s contract, but the NHL keeps talking about trying to expand the game and gain fans. The party atmosphere OUTSIDE the Mellon Arena for the game looks amazing (if the pre-game atmosphere was any indictaion). The fans are great and that’s what it’s all about. The Pens aren’t charging for the service, so I don’t understand NBC’s issue. If I were a Pens fan who wanted to do that, I would make sure everyone I knew did NOT watch at home, so I could lower the ratings as much as possible. I’d tell everyone to go to one location (a bar that would have it on anyway – Pittsburgh doesn’t have an NBA team, the only thing people care about around here is the NHL Finals – talk about a switch from southern California where it’s all about the Lakers) to watch the game and fight the urge to record. I know many people (like me) even record the games they attend, so they can watch certain plays again when they get home.
The Red Wings still lead the series, but the Penguins have definitely shown that they have life and I’m sure most Penguins fans are happy with the way the tide has changed a bit in Pittsburgh. Needless to say, Hossa got booed pretty much every time he touched the puck. I’m sure you could hear it on TV at times. Fans here in Pittsburgh have good reason for booing him and I’m not really against booing when it’s the other team’s player and with a good reason. (As many of you know, I always frown on booing a player on your own team.)
I hope you’re all enjoying the finals as much as I am.
Tags: booing, Evgeni Malkin, fans, fighting, Gary Bettman, Hockey, Jordan Staal, Marian Hossa, Maxime Talbot, Mellon Arena, NBC, NHL, Penguins, Red Wings, Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup Finals, Versus
I’m sure many will think my picking the Penguins to beat the Red Wings in 6 indicates that I’m biased by the fact that I’ve been a Penguins fan as long as I’ve been a fan of hockey (probably even longer, initially I was just a Penguins fan and I grew to love the game because of them). I maintain that I would pick the team that lost in this situation all the time (regardless of the team) even if they hadn’t been playing very well in the previous rounds of the playoffs. I think the team that lost the year before has a lot more motivation to win the Cup this year. The only member of the Red Wings who wants the Cup as badly as most of the Penguins do right now is Marian Hossa. Hossa and his comments might actually be extra motivation to the Penguins, but I won’t get into that whole mess.
When examining how the Penguins and Red Wings have played in the playoffs this year, I think it’s clear that the Penguins are more driven. They want the Cup and they’re determined to get there. They have the top two scorers in the playoffs (Crosby & Malkin are tied with 28 points, 1.65 per game). Their defense has been far from perfect, but the same can be said of the Penguins in the 90s when they won their last two Cups. They’re more likely to win 7-5 than they are 1-0, but as long as they win does it really matter?
Watching the Pens play the Hurricanes, it was clear that they are focused on their goal of winning the Stanley Cup. Losing it last year hurt and they don’t want to go through that again. They’re determined to win this year. The Penguins know what it takes. They’re not the same kids who lost to Detroit in the finals last year. They’re not going to be stunned when they go into Detroit and see the sea of red in the stands and the amazing fan support the Red Wings have. This year, the Pens started two of their first three rounds of the playoffs on the road, so they’re used to starting in enemy territory and they know they can win in spite of not starting in front of their home crowd.
I really would pick any team who fought back to make it to the finals after losing the finals the year before. I think that team has to be more excited about winning the Cup than any team they would face. Historically, the team that makes it back to the finals is more likely to lose than win. However, as with all things, history doesn’t change the odds. It’s just like playing roulette. The odds of hitting any number are always exactly the same. They don’t change based on the pattern preceding it. The Penguins have the same odds of winning the finals this year as they would if they hadn’t been in the finals last year; though, I think they are more driven because of losing, which gives them a bit more of an edge. I don’t think it will be an easy battle, but I definitely think the Pens will persevere and beat the Red Wings this year to become the 2009 Stanley Cup Champions.
Tags: Evgeni Malkin, Hockey, Hurricanes, Marian Hossa, NHL, Penguins, Red Wings, Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup Finals
I know many will say “Finally? Therrien just took the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Finals last season!” However, I would argue that the talented team got Therrien to the finals and not the other way around. Sometimes, a team is just too talented to allow management to see that their coaching choice wasn’t the best. I’ve wanted Therrien fired for a long time (ask anyone who knows me well – they’ll all say I was the first to mention the idea to them. Therrien often said his team wasn’t prepared when the Pens didn’t show up for a game. As I’ve mentioned many times, that seems to be the number one job of a head coach – make sure your team shows up for each and every game. With a team like the Penguins (they have the #1 & 2 scorers in the NHL), this should not be difficult. Barry Melrose didn’t last long in Tampa Bay, but I’m guessing even he could motivate these guys.
I’ve always thought the way Therrien changes lines during each game was an issue. Though Colby Armstrong pointed out that the Penguins knew Therrien changed lines more often than any other coach out there before they promoted him to the Penguins head coach (from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, their AHL affiliate), I’m not sure they fully examined the down side of this approach at the NHL level. Perhaps it works better with young players, which would explain why it was initially effective for the Penguins.
I don’t see how a team with the two top scorers in the NHL (or two of the top three, since Ovechkin and Crosby have gone back and forth this season) can excuse having a power play that’s 6th worst in the NHL. While I understand that the Pittsburgh power play took a huge hit without Gonchar and Whitney earlier in the season, a team with so many talented players should be able to move past that obstacle. I also understand how important Colby Armstrong and Ryan Malone were to the Penguins. However, as in the days of Mario Lemieux & Jaromir Jagr, the Penguins should be able to move on and keep winning with qualified substitutions as other players move to other teams making more money than they may currently be worth.
Dan Bylsma may have better luck with the NHL Penguins than his predecessor. I’m sure all Penguins are hoping he will. If nothing else, the Pens should have the initial winning streak most teams experience when they get a new coach. The good news for all Penguins fans is that (unlike many teams in the past) the Penguins have made the move to fire Therrien in plenty of time to turn the down turn of their season around and make the playoffs. Shero saw the Penguins fall out of the playoff standings and took action. The Penguins are currently ranked 10th in the east, 5 points behind 7th and 8th.
With Therrien gone from the Penguins, the talk will certainly turn to who’s next to lose his job as head coach in the NHL. Will it be Tom Renney of the New York Rangers? Randy Carlyle of the Anaheim Ducks? Someone else? Time will tell. A few people I talked to tonight at the Ducks game think Randy Carlyle should be worried and I’m sure he’s thought about the possibility that he might lose his job, but I think there might be enough excuses in Anaheim to save him long enough for Tom Renney to be fired first. New York is also a much tougher market than Anaheim. The Ducks just don’t have the fan base the Rangers do and the intensity of the media coverage may be another factor in how long each coach can last. Of course, I did not think the Penguins (who gave Therrien a 3-year contract extension after they made the Stanley Cup Finals last year) would be the first to fire their coach, so perhaps the Ducks will surprise me and move more quickly than the Rangers. Either way, I think both coaches are probably thinking about what they plan to do after their current team fires them.
Tags: AHL, Alex Ovechkin, Barry Melrose, Colby Armstrong, Dan Bylsma, Ducks, fans, Hockey, Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux, Michel Therrien, NHL, Penguins, Randy Carlyle, Rangers, Ray Shero, Ryan Malone, Ryan Whitney, Scranton, Sergei Gonchar, Stanley Cup Finals, Tom Renney, Wilkes-Barre