Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Why it has to happen

   Glen Sather is considered to be one of the best GM's the NHL has seen. He was able to build a dynasty in Edmonton acquiring players such as Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri and Esa Tikkanen. Although the lack of resources finally caught up, Sather somehow found a way to make the Oilers successful. The success he had drew the attention of the New York Rangers as he was hired to become their 11th GM in franchise history in 2000. In his thirteen years as the GM of the Broadway Blueshirts, he has had mixed results. After firing Head Coach John Tortorella, the ownership group should consider firing Sather. Here is why.
    Although he has made some great draft choices such as Michael Del Zotto, Ryan Callahan, Henrik Lundqvist and Marc Staal, he has made some terrible choices in terms of signing veteran free agents. Before the 2004-2005 lockout, he decided to build his roster with veterans that he overpaid such as Eric Lindros, Pavel Bure, Bobby Holik and Darius Kasparaitis to join Brian Leetch and Mark Messier. After realizing that he was not getting the results with the veterans he signed, he decided to build the roster through the draft. However he has made the same mistakes as he did in the past. He greatly overpaid to sign Chris Drury, Wade Redden and Scott Gomez. Although he managed to get something from Gomez (trading for Ryan Mcdonagh), both Redden and Drury's tenure did not very long based on injuries and poor play. Another example of veterans that he brought that failed happened this very year as he traded Marian Gaborik to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Derek Dorsett, Derek Brassard and John Moore. Gaborik just like the previous mentioned players struggled greatly in the Big Apple based on being injured for most of the time. The last example of a veteran not succeeding is Brad Richards. He signed a nine year deal prior to the 2011-2012 season with the hope of developing instant chemistry with Gaborik. That did not happen as he had his struggles which led to him being a healthy scratch for the Rangers last two playoff games. It is also rumored that the Rangers will use their final amnesty buyout on him based on what has happened in his brief two seasons. Sad to say but the only veterans that Sather brought in that had success were Brendan Shanahan and Jaromir Jagr.
     If the Rangers really hope to have success down the road, ownership has to fire Sather. It is simple, he has not used the resources efficiently to build a winner like he did with the Oilers. If he had decided to not build his team with highly priced veterans, would I be writing about this subject or would I be writing about how much of a success he would of been had he built the Rangers the proper way.

Monday, 27 May 2013

History Repeating Itself once again with another Canadian team

    Let's go back to the early part of the 2000's. The Ottawa Senators were a dominating force in the NHL and were always considered to be Stanley Cup contenders. The only problem was that they could not translate their regular season success into the playoffs as they were often eliminated in the first or second round of the playoffs. The only times they got past the second round was in 2003 (losing Eastern Conference Finals to New Jersey) and in 2007 (losing Stanley Cup Finals to Anaheim). After that, things started to slowly fall apart in the Nation's Capital due to salary cap constraints that would see Zdeno Chara, Wade Redden and Anton Volchenkov leave along with multiple coaching changes. Although they are slowly rebuilding, they are no where near the dominating force they were a decade ago.
   The same thing is slowly happening again, but with the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks always had a good team however the only problem they had was acquiring a goaltender. That problem was resolved during the 2006 draft when they acquired Roberto Luongo from the Florida Panthers. Since then, the Canucks have been a force in the Western Conference by winning the Northwest division in six of the past seven seasons and two President Trophies. Although they lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to Boston in 2011, the Canucks like the Sens have not had great success in the playoffs as they have been eliminated in the first or second round during this period. If the Canucks hope to avoid a downfall like Ottawa, there are going to simply have to rebuild their core. GM Mike Gillis somehow has to find a way to trade Luongo but most GM's would hesitate to acquire him due to his large contract (12 years). If Gillis cannot trade him, he will probably have to buy him out but it is rumored that Gillis will use the amnesty buyouts on Center David Booth and Defensemen Keith Ballard. The Sedin's and Ryan Kesler still have something to give, but the Nucks simply need players who can play under a more physical style rather than playing under a finesse style. That challenge is left for whoever replaces Alain Vigneault as Head Coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

What to do to avoid disappointments like these

   After a unexpected yet terrific shortened 2012-2013 regular season, the Montreal Canadiens were a disappointment in the playoffs as the Ottawa Senators were able to defeat them in five games -- largely thanks to Craig Anderson's performance in nets and Ottawa playing a much more physical style. If the Canadiens want to avoid these disappointments, here is what GM Marc Bergevin has to do to make his team better for playoff time.
   Like what plagued the General Manager's before him (Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey), the Canadiens are too small. They rely on guys such as David Desharnais and Brian Gionta. Although they are capable players it is a lot easier for teams to intimate them based on their size. To avoid being intimated, they need big power forwards like Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf as well as character guys like Matt Carkner, Zenon Konopka and Wayne Simmonds to join Brandon Prust. With that mix into the lineup, the Canadiens would be less intimated playing teams like Boston, Philly, Ottawa and teams from the West because they would be able to hold their own, the have great abilities to score and be less worn down as the playoffs would continue to move forward.
    So if Bergevin wants to see glory restored in Montreal, he will need to find ways to get these type of players on his roster if the Canadiens are to make any sort of progress for the playoffs down the road.