Thursday, December 18, 2014

Erie Examiner: Stumbling to the Finish

In the weeks before holiday break, the Erie Otters are not playing their best hockey right now.  The week began with a 7-4 loss Tuesday at Kitchener in which the Otters couldn't do much on defense.  That would be the theme of the week, even in a 6-4 win at home against Saginaw on Friday.  Saturday, they had no answer for Oshawa in a 5-1 defeat.

In the last games before break, the Otters will at home Friday against Niagara before heading to Guelph on Saturday in the first meeting since the Western Conference Finals last year.  After that, the Otters won't play until December 28, and they are likely to be missing Connor McDavid due to World Junior Championship duty, which should provide the Otters an idea of where he is in his recovery.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Another Oil Change

At this point, it seems that the best way to describe the Edmonton Oilers in the last nine seasons or so is best captured by a cat sticking out its tongue.

The big news coming out of Edmonton is that Dallas Eakins has taken the fall for the Edmonton Oilers' dreadful season and is out as head coach.  The plan, according to Oilers' brass is that Craig MacTavish will fill in as head coach with Todd Nelson expected to eventually take over during the season.  If any of that doesn't make sense to you, you're not alone, as while Eakins didn't do his job of getting the Oilers moving forward in terms of progress, now, there's going to be no less than three coaches within a season.  In case you're wondering what will become of the upper management (read: MacTavish and Kevin Lowe), they're still sticking around for now, as nothing else was announced.

Just another day in Edmonton, as nothing really changes here except for the coach.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Well, That Didn't Work...

The experiment that was the Brad Robson/Drake Berehowsky era drew to a close yesterday.  Both men were given their walking papers by the Lethbridge Hurricanes after another season of dreadful hockey.  The Hurricanes have not seen postseason hockey since the conclusion of the 2008-09 season, and have not finished higher than fourth since that time.  Robson was hired to be the General Manager prior to last season while Berehowsky was tabbed head coach in that time, and both replaced Rich Preston, who had both roles the previous four years.

Both men are out of a job after a 6-19-3-2 record this season that followed a 2013-14 season that saw the Hurricanes become the only team in the league to finish under the 30 point mark.  Peter Anholt was named both General Manager and head coach, effective immediately, and while he has only been with the team since June (as assistant General Manager), he does bring head coaching experience from his time with Prince Albert, Red Deer, Kelowna, and Seattle.  Prior to coming to Lethbridge, he was a scout for the Thunderbirds.

Winterhawks Weekly: Almost Break Time

The Portland Winterhawks are still playing well, and with a recent trade involving the Kelowna Rockets, they will have to step up their game.  Tuesday, the Winterhawks headed to Vancouver Island to take on the Victoria Royals, and in a wild one, the Winterhawks managed to win 6-4 for their sixth straight victory.  However, that winning streak would come to an end on Friday, as Vancouver would score three goals to open the game, and despite a comeback by the Winterhawks, they could not complete it as they fell 3-2.  The Winterhawks came home on Saturday hoping to start a new winning streak, and on Teddy Bear Toss night, the Winterhawks not only made it rain teddy bears, but they also held off the Everett Silvertips in another wild one 5-3.  Sunday, the Winterhawks proved to be rude hosts to the Medicine Hat Tigers, as the Winterhawks handled them 4-1, leaving the Winterhawks with eight wins in their last nine games and just three points back of Everett in the U.S. Division standings.

Yesterday, the Kelowna Rockets made a big trade that could impact what Portland does in their quest for five straight Conference titles, as the Rockets picked up Josh Morrissey and Gage Quinney from Prince Albert in exchange for Austin Glover and Jesse Lees, plus some draft picks.

As for the Winterhawks, they play at home Friday against Spokane before finishing the week on the road against Seattle on Saturday and Sunday against Tri-City before the holiday break.

Monday, December 8, 2014

MacLean-ing Out the Closet

In an attempt to shore up some defensive holes in their game, the Ottawa Senators relieved Paul MacLean of the coaching duties and promoted assistant coach Dave Cameron to head coach.  In three and a half seasons as the Senators coach, MacLean led the team to two playoff appearances, both in his first two seasons, and won the Jack Adams Trophy in the lockout shortened 2013 season.  However, it is the last season and a half that proved to be his undoing, as the defense couldn't stop anyone and communication was an issue.

The job of turning the Senators' season around now falls on Cameron, who will be looking to do better with a team that is four points out of the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.  Cameron has been on the coaching staff since the day MacLean was hired, and had previously coached Binghamton of the AHL and the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (now the Mississauga Steelheads) of the OHL.

Erie Examiner: Rough Times on the Road

The Erie Otters started out the week well, but then they had to go out on the road, and the results weren't all that great.  Wednesday, the Otters needed a strong second half, highlighted by newcomer Nicholas Baptiste's two goals to hold off Owen Sound 4-3 at home.  Saturday, the Otters began a three game stretch where they hit the road, and it started in Belleville, where they managed to get a point in a 3-2 shootout loss.  Sunday, the Otters traveled to Oshawa, where they were throroughly outclassed in a 4-1 loss.

The Otters finish the road trip Tuesday against Kitchener before coming home for games Friday against Saginaw and Saturday against Oshawa.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Happy Trails to the 'Stache

One of the more famous mustaches in recent NHL history has decided to call it quits.  George Parros, who was known as one of the better enforcers and for having one of the most recognizable mustaches in the league, retired today after nine years in the NHL.  Before you ask, yes, I deliberately chose the photo you see above.

Silliness aside, Parros was actually a graduate of Princeton, and had toiled in the AHL with Manchester for three years after that.  He made his NHL debut with Los Angeles in 2005, and would go on to play in Colorado, Anaheim, Florida, and Montreal in his career.  However, it was in Anaheim that he became a recognizable figure, as he would become the team's top enforcer.  Like most well known enforcers, his offensive contributions were a drop in the bucket, but it was his toughness, as well as his off-ice work that endeared him to fans, and his personality made him popular among teammates.