Tuesday, November 29, 2016

No Sunshine State

The Florida Panthers weren't supposed to be just 11-10-1 as the calendar turned to December, yet that is where they stand. While that isn't normally grounds to fire your head coach, the Panthers upper brass evidently thought so, and and after losing to Carolina on Sunday, relieved Gerard Gallant of the head coaching duties. General Manager Tom Rowe will be the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

The firing comes in the midst of the Panthers falling a little short of expectations, as they were supposed to be near the top of the Atlantic Division after making firewagon changes to the roster, adding Keith Yandle, Jason Demers, and James Reimer in the off-season. As to why Gallant would possibly be fired this soon, the special teams would be a culprit, as they were the team's downfall last season in their first round exit against the Islanders, and continued to be a problem area for the Panthers. Rowe, who previously coached in the AHL and KHL prior to becoming the General Manager for the Panthers, will get the chance to help turn around the team's problems on special teams.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Please Refrain from Golden Shower Jokes

For all the time that the Las Vegas team that will be starting play in 2017, there was a lot of hype and misdirection far as what the name of the team was going to be, given owner Bill Foley's penchant for fake copyrights. Last night, the suspense ended when the team announced that they will be known as...

The Vegas Golden Knights.

I don't know about you, but that's not very inspiring. Between Foley's insistence on having the Knights somewhere in the team name to not having the Las in Las Vegas in the name, there was some sharp criticism to be found. Mine will largely stick to what was presented, as the logo isn't going to jump out at you in any manner. It's almost as though they copied the Atlanta United FC template for logos:

As you can see for comparison purposes, neither looks inspired in either design or color scheme. The Las Vegas team's color scheme is steel, gold, black, and red, though the red isn't found in the primary logo. Not exactly intimidating on the ice unless you plan on boring the opposing team to death, though I will wait to see what they trot out for uniforms. If steel and gold aren't their primary sweater colors, it will have been an even bigger wasted opportunity.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Catching Up

It's been some time since I last put something on this blog, and predictably, there's items that should be addressed, so let's get to it.

  • First, the picture you see is Wayne Gretzky in Simpsons form, as he will be lending his voice and likeness to a December 11 episode of the Simpsons. Where I really give the animators props is the fact that they even got the right side of the sweater being tucked in, a long-time Gretzky trademark in his playing days.
  • Connor McDavid scored his first NHL hat-trick in Saturday's 5-2 win over Dallas that also saw the Oilers get off the losing streak. While it took McDavid a little longer to get his hat-trick compared to Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, there is the matter of him missing half the season last year.
  • Evander Kane is still a Buffalo Sabre. The long-rumored Kane to Vancouver deal fell through, according to sources, when the Canucks balked at the Sabres' asking price. It was thought that the Sabres were going to try and recoup some of what they lost, value-wise, in the deal they made with Winnipeg to get Kane.
  • Dylan Strome got returned to Erie from Arizona. The move came a day after the Otters named Kyle Pettit the captain for this season, a role Strome held last season. It will be interesting to see what happens with Strome and the Otters and whether the Otters decide to move Strome, as the Otters are actually doing well and they may be looking to try and sustain their current run of success for a little while longer. Hamilton may be an option, since Dylan's younger brother Matthew currently plays there.
  • It's the Trans-Canada Highway bottleneck in the East Division of the WHL, as Regina leads the way with Swift Current, Moose Jaw, and Brandon all just behind them, and Saskatoon and Prince Albert are bringing up the rear. Prince Albert likely conceded the season, as they traded Brendan Guhle to Prince George for three players and draft picks.
  • SKA recently had a 15-game winning streak snapped against Avtomobilist.
The hockey season is still young, and there is still more to happen. For now, I get to rest a little.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Marek Svatos passes away at 34

Fans of the Colorado Avalanche in the times since the lockout of 2004 will undoubtedly remember Marek Svatos. Unfortunately, this piece is going to be more of a remembrance, as he was found dead in his Colorado home over the weekend. He was 34.

A former seventh round pick in 2001, he played his junior hockey with Kootenay of the WHL for two seasons before joining the Avalanche's then-AHL affiliate Hershey in 2002. He made his debut with Colorado in the 2003-04 season, but was still considered a rookie when he played his first full season with the team in 2005-06, where he posted career bests in goals (32) and points (50). He also posted 26 goals in the 2007-08 season, and unsurprisingly, that was when the Avs made the playoffs in that decade. However, things were not quite as good in his later time, as conflicts with coach Joe Sacco in the 2009-10 season led him to being a healthy scratch for some games before he took his game to the KHL for the following season. That time would be short-lived, as he eventually found his way back the same season with Nashville and Ottawa. He would go on to finish his hockey career in his native Slovakia, where he played two seasons.

He leaves behind a wife and two children, and there is no official word on the cause of death.

Friday, October 28, 2016

All Together Now!

Before the start of the season, the Anaheim Ducks were without Rickard Rakell and Hamphus Lindholm, both of whom were still unsigned as they were awaiting their new contracts while under the restricted free-agency tag. Given the Ducks' salary cap problems, namely that they are up against it, it was thought that the Ducks could lose one or both players.

Somehow, the Ducks managed to get both signed to long-term deals, as Rakell was the first to come off a few days ago. Yesterday, Lindholm followed suit and is now under the Ducks' control for six more years. So, what move or moves could the Ducks make to get under the cap? Simon Despres is headed to long-term IR, meaning his cap hit won't count until he's ready, whenever that may be, as concussion issues are what's sidelining him at the moment. Also, to make room for both players, Shea Theodore and Emerson Etem were sent down, and while it is still possible that Theodore could be called up again, the likely casualty would be Clayton Stoner. As for the newly signed players, their contributions will be welcomed by a team that has begun slowly, yet is just now finding their way with a recent stretch that has seen them win three in a row.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mavericks Report: Nothing like Home Cookin'

The road so far hasn't been kind to the Missouri Mavericks two weeks into the season, and never was that better illustrated than this past weekend, when the Mavericks were dropped 4-1 Friday by the Wichita Thunder and their home opener the following evening, where they had better success against the Indy Fuel in a 2-1 win.

The Mavericks will need to find some spark on the road, as the schedule takes them to Quad City on Wednesday before two games in Brampton, ON on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mavericks Report: Stumbling out of the Gate

The Mavericks Report is back, although much like my laptop charger decided to take a dump over the weekend, so too did the Mavericks. In their season opening weekend in Allen, TX, the Mavericks picked up where they left off. Unfortunately, the last anyone saw of the Mavericks, they were getting kicked out of the playoffs by the Americans, who would go on to win the Kelly Cup. The Mavericks were never truly in the first game despite two goals from Radolslav Illo and a goal from Dane Fox, as the Mavs fell 6-3 on Saturday. Sunday wasn't much better, as the Mavs couldn't muster a goal in a 4-0 loss to the same Allen Americans.

The Mavericks play tomorrow at Wichita before coming home to open that portion of the schedule against the Indy Fuel.