Friday, March 29, 2013

New Hurricane Duds

Lost in the Jarome Iginla trade talk and the Memorial Cup race (which by the way, will not include either Saginaw or Swift Current as of today) was the flap over the Lethbridge Hurricanes' uniform from this season.  No, it's not the one you see, as that will be the look beginning next season.  Now, as to why this change is taking place, one only needs to look at the tweet from Darrell Romuld of CTV from March 21:

President: The Lethbridge Hurricanes have been handed a timeline to change their uniforms by the Washington Capitals; Complained likeness.
In case you're wondering why the Capitals would go after the Hurricanes on this matter, here is what the Hurricanes wore this past season:

 Looks similar to the Capitals' duds, doesn't it?  Keep in mind that the Windsor Spitfires also utilize the same uniform design, but employ a logo that makes them stand out from the NHL counterparts.  Meanwhile, the Hurricanes, who have had trouble settling on a logo for a while, have what is widely considered a horrible ripoff of the Capitals' logo.

This brings me back to what the Hurricanes will be wearing next season.  Looking at the first picture, I previously wrote about it when the Hurricanes broke it out for a game in November to honor the troops.  That third jersey gained more ice time later in the season, and now, it looks as though it will be here to stay.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Memorial Cup Burials

The first wave of teams to be eliminated from Memorial Cup contention began yesterday.  In the QMJHL, the Saint John Sea Dogs and Sherbrooke Phoenix were both swept out by the Halifax Mooseheads and Baie-Comeau Drakkar, respectively.  The remaining six series in that league continue tonight, with Acadie-Bathurst (against Blainville-Boisbriand), Rimouski (Gatineau), Chicoutimi (Quebec), Moncton (Victoriaville), and Drummondville (Rouyn-Noranda) all needing a win to live another day.  Val D'Or and Prince Edward Island are tied at two games a piece.

In the OHL, both Sarnia and Kingston saw their seasons end at the hands of the Plymouth Whalers and Barrie Colts, respectively.  Defending champions London Knights have a chance to close out Saginaw tonight and Kitchener (Guelph), Oshawa (Niagara), and Sudbury (Brampton) all have a chance to go up 3-1 in the series tonight. Both the Owen Sound and Sault Ste. Marie and the Belleville and Mississauga series are tied at two a piece.

The WHL sees the Saskatoon Blades and Prince Albert Raiders getting swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels, respectively, though the Blades will be playing in the Memorial Cup this year due to them being the host.  The Blades' exit was particulary shocking, as not many gave Medicine Hat a chance in this series while the Raiders' exit was expected, since they struggled late in the season.  Calgary has a chance to advance against Swift Current tonight, and Kamloops (Victoria) and Spokane (Tri-City) will look to go up 3-1 in their respective series.  Kelowna staved off elimination at the hands of Seattle last night and will look to extend their season at home while Edmonton looks to end Kootenay's season.  Portland resumes their series against Everett tomorrow with the intention of going up 3-1.

Iginla to the Igloo

As of this morning, Jarome Iginla has a new address, as the Calgary Flames have traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  In exchange, the Flames will get the rights to Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski, as well as the Penguins' first round pick in 2013.  The cynic in me is asking, "Who did Calgary really get?"  If you're in the know about the Penguins' top prospects, then you know that neither player was even in the top ten prospects on the team according to the Hockey News Future Watch issue, and given that the Flames could have asked for any among the likes of Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, Scott Harrington or Brian Dumolin, this immediately looks like the Flames got the short end of the stick once again.

To fill in the blanks on what the Flames could be getting, Hanowski was a third round pick of the Penguins in 2009 and is currently a senior with St. Cloud State.  Agostino was a fifth round pick of the Penguins in 2010 and is currently a junior with Yale University.  As for that first round pick the Flames are getting, that will bear watching, as the Flames have mostly whiffed on the first round pick since 1989.  As for the Penguins, they get a player whose best days are likely behind him, but you never know what putting him on a line with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin will do.  Even if he gets put on a line with third center Brandon Sutter, Iginla has already won, as Sutter is no slouch when it comes to being a good two-way forward.  This is Iginla's best chance to win a Stanley Cup since 2004, and certainly, the Penguins want it all this year, having already traded for Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray, adding grit to go with an already talented offense.

On the surface, this looks like Christian Ehrhoff: version 2.0.  If you remember your history, prior to the 2009-10 season, the Vancouver Canucks traded for Ehrhoff and sent to the Sharks their 2007 first round pick Patrick White and another player.  Ehrhoff put up his best numbers in a Canucks uniform and was an integral part of the team's 2011 Finals run.  Meanwhile, White never suited up for the Sharks or their affiliates, as he went to Europe after finishing his college career.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In-Semin-Ated for Five More Years

Last Summer, the Carolina Hurricanes took a one-year flier on Alexander Semin, as he had trouble finding a long term deal as a free agent.  With 22 assists, 30 points, and a plus-18 rating, the Hurricanes have decided to give Semin that long-term deal he had sought, with a new five-year deal that will be worth $7 million a year, or what he made this season.  Currently, the Hurricanes are in a struggle for a playoff spot, and considering that Cam Ward is out for the season, Semin's offensive output is a welcome sight for the Hurricanes as they are only four points out of the division lead and a single point behind the Rangers for the eight spot in the playoffs.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Winterhawks Weekly: Tied at One

Friday began the Portland Winterhawks' attempt to break through to the Memorial Cup for the first time in three tries.  Their first round opponent is the Everett Silvertips, and many (including this guy) expected the Winterhawks to roll over the Silvertips in both games.  It didn't exactly go as planned, as the Silvertips took game one 4-3, thanks to a big effort by the Silvertips' Austin Lotz.  58 shots were fired upon him, yet he managed to save 55 of them, and the Silvertips found an offense that had been lacking for much of the season en route to a shocking win.  Game two went more like many expected, with the Winterhawks taking a 4-1 decision on Saturday and the series will shift to Everett for games three and four.

And now, the coaching hat gets put on for both teams.

For Portland to win, they have to keep the pressure on Lotz and maintain a defensive pressure that was present for game two.  For Everett to win, Lotz has to keep his team in the game and somehow hope that the Silvertips will have some offense to go with it as it was in game one.  The Silvertips don't have a lot of pressure to win, so playing hard is something that they have to keep doing, as you never know what will happen.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Trading Places: Ex-Winterhawks Edition

The first major domino in the playoff race fell today, as the Dallas Stars sent Brenden Morrow and their 2013 third round pick to Pittsburgh.  The Stars will get defensive prospect Joe Morrow and a 2013 fifth round pick.  Brenden Morrow was a first round pick in 1997 who played his junior hockey in Portland and was on the team that last won the Memorial Cup in 1998.  Joe Morrow was the Penguins' first round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, and like Brenden, was a Winterhawk when he was drafted.  Joe was on the Winterhawks squad that came within a win of making the Memorial Cup in the last two seasons.

What does each Morrow bring to their new teams?  Brenden brings some leadership qualities on a team that is strong in that area, and as a left winger, the Pens could put him on a line with either Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby or even Brandon Sutter.  The Pens are notoriously thin on wing, and Morrow can add offense at that spot.  Joe will bring some offensive element to a Stars team that sorely needs an offensive spark plug and though he is still trying to round out his game, Morrow has a chance to be a player that could be on the Stars for years to come.  However, the Pens were stocked on the blue line, and their pipeline reads like a who's who, as Derrick Pouliot (a current Winterhawk), Scott Harrington, Olli Maatta (both members of the London Knights), and Brian Dumolin (acquired in the Jordan Staal trade last Summer) are all awaiting their opportunity to play with Pittsburgh, thus making Morrow expendable.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WHL Playoffs: Western Conference Preview

Yesterday, I covered the Eastern Conference of the WHL playoffs.  Today, it is the Western Conference.


(1) Portland Winterhawks vs. (8) Everett Silvertips

On their way to breaking nearly every record and having an offense and defense that are equally superior, the Winterhawks are out to prove that they deserve to be the WHL representative in the Memorial Cup.  Having fallen short by one game the last two years will serve as motivation.  Their top line of Brendan Leipsic, Nic Petan, and Ty Rattie were the top three scorers in the WHL, Seth Jones and Troy Rutkowski are defensive stars, and the tandem of Mac Carruth and Brendan Burke are guys you want in net for the big games.  Everett limped into the playoffs with a pop gun offense (dead last in the WHL) and are without Ryan Murray, who was lost in November to injury.

Prediction: Winterhawks in 4

(2) Kelowna Rockets vs. (7) Seattle Thunderbirds

Kelowna was a beast at home, as their 23-game winning streak will attest.  They are a balanced squad, but they will also be without captain Colton Sissons, who will miss the playoffs to injury, and that will bear watching on how that impacts the Rockets going forward.  Seattle is the anti-Silvertips, as in their defense is wretched.  Only Vancouver gave up more goals, but the Thunderbirds at least put up respectable offensive numbers.

Prediction: Rockets in 5

(3) Kamloops Blazers vs. (6) Victoria Royals

The Blazers got off to a fast start, but cooled off in the middle of the season.  They seemed to rediscover some of that glory late in the season, and certainly their offense is a major reason for success.  Colin Smith, JC Lipon, and Tim Bozon lead the way.  The Royals are a dark horse team, in that no one is really talking about them, yet they put up respectable numbers on both ends of the ice.  This could be an upset alert in the making.

Prediction: Blazers in 7

(4) Spokane Chiefs vs. (5) Tri-City Americans

This is unquestionably the best matchup in the first round of the WHL playoffs.  Both teams are evenly matched, and it could go either way.  The Chiefs have a balanced scoring attack, but only average goaltending.  The Americans don't nearly have the firepower they possessed last year, but they still produced pretty good numbers and have overcome the loss of goaltender Eric Comrie to injury.  X-factors for both teams are Alessio Bertaggia of the Chiefs and Justin Feser of the Americans.

Prediction: Chiefs in 7

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

WHL Playoffs Preview: Eastern Conference

With the Ed Chynoweth Cup Playoffs starting this week in the WHL, today is a preview of all eight matchups.  So, let's get to it.:


(1) Edmonton Oil Kings vs. (8) Kootenay Ice

Edmonton once again dominated the Eastern Conference in the regular season and are looking to repeat as Ed Chynoweth champions.  Michael St. Croix is the team's engine on offense, but the Oil Kings make their living on defense, and with players like Griffin Reinhart, Henrik Samuelsson, and David Musil, they are a tough team to play against.  And we haven't even gotten to the goaltending duo of Laurent Brossoit and Tristan Jarry yet.  Kootenay is primarily Sam Reinhart and everyone else.  He's a guy to watch for in the 2014 NHL Draft, but he won't get Kootenay past Edmonton.

Prediction: Edmonton in 4

(2) Saskatoon Blades vs. (7) Medicine Hat Tigers

Saskatoon will host the Memorial Cup this year, so they will be assured of playing in May.  However, their recent 18-game winning streak suggests that they aren't willing to settle for that.  Led by the stellar goaltending of Andrey Makarov, the Blades are a tough team to score against, and both Dalton Thrower and Duncan Siemens are getting hot at the right time.  Their offense is led by Matej Stransky.  Medicine Hat is led by Curtis Valk and Hunter Shinkaruk.  However, there isn't a heck of a lot beyond those two.

Prediction: Saskatoon in 5

(3) Calgary Hitmen vs. (6) Swift Current Broncos

Calgary is a team that will undoubtedly be motivated by the success of the rival Oil Kings.  Led by Cody Sylvester, Jake Virtanen, and Victor Rask, the Hitmen have a formidable team, and Chris Driedger is capable of stealing a few games.  The Broncos aren't a team that will wow anyone, but their steady pace got them here.  Led by Graham Black and Adam Lowry, the Broncos could surprise here.

Prediction: Hitmen in 7

(4) Red Deer Rebels vs. (5) Prince Albert Raiders

The Rebels aren't known as an offensive team, as evidenced by their leading scorer only having 59 points (Rhyse Dieno).  However, their defense is what will carry them.  Led by Matthew Dumba and goaltender Patrik Bartosak, the Rebels can match the Oil Kings in that category.  Offense is a concern, though.  The Raiders started off hot, but tailed off pretty bad down the stretch, losing their grip on the East Division.  Mark McNeill leads the team, but the real question is if the Raiders can rediscover their early season mojo.

Prediction: Rebels in 6

Monday, March 18, 2013

Winterhawks Weekly: Operation: 16W Begins Now.

With the regular season wrapped up yesterday, the Portland Winterhawks hope to continue the momentum from the last few games.  Wins in back-to-back games with both Victoria and Seattle, as well as a win against Spokane included a team record for most points in a season, most road wins, and Brendan Leipsic and Nic Petan sharing the scoring title, though Leipsic would win because he has more goals.  The third place scorer in the league?  Ty Rattie, who missed a few games to injury and the WJC tournament.  The Winterhawks will begin their playoff run on Friday against Everett, with a game to follow on Saturday.  Games 3 and 4 will be in Everett on the 27th and 29th, and if needed, game 5 will be in Portland on the 30th, game 6 will be in Everett on April 1, and game 7 will be at home on April 3.

WHL first round predictions will be coming soon.

Peterborough Express: Missed it by that Much

Yesterday marked the end of the season for the Peterborough Petes, as they fell one point short of the playoffs.  It was a furious comeback that had a lot of "what ifs" and a brighter future with Jody Hull at the helm.  Needing to win all three of their games and some help, the Petes beat both Mississauga and Kingston, though both needed extra time to do so, thus giving both Kingston and Mississauga that extra point to leapfrog Peterborough in the end, as both teams won their last game (against Ottawa) while Peterborough could not beat Brampton in their season finale.

It will be another long off-season for Peterborough, as they will likely need to find a replacement for goaltender Andrew D'Agostini and leading scorer Brett Findlay, as both will be graduating.  Where there is certainty is coaching, as Jody Hull got the players to buy into the system and got them from fighting for the first overall pick in the OHL Bantam Draft at the holiday break to almost making the playoffs.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rutkowski Goes to Ottawa

With everything wrapped up in time for the playoffs except for who they will face in the first round, the only bit of news for the Portland Winterhawks this week centers around captain Troy Rutkowski and where he will play next year.  Originally drafted in 2010 by Colorado, he never signed with the team, and as a result, could have opted to re-enter the NHL Draft this year.  Instead, he signed a three-year entry level contract with the Ottawa Senators that will start next year.  An overager, he has had a career year offensively with 61 points and set the team record for most games played in a career and most consecutive games played streak.  What that means for Ottawa is that with Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen coming back from injury and Cody Ceci in the system, Rutkowski will likely be plying his trade early on in Binghamton, meaning that Ottawa now has improved their system depth on the blue line, which is being tested this year with various injuries.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Everett or Seattle? Prince George?

Now that the Portland Winterhawks have wrapped up the number one seed in the Western Conference, all that remains is to figure out who they will face in the first round of the WHL playoffs.  It will either be the Everett Silvertips or the Seattle Thunderbirds, neither of whom are really that good if you look at the team stats.  The Prince George Cougars are also in the hunt, but expecting them to make it isn't the safest bet.

Everett goaltender Daniel Cotton
Currently, the Silvertips would be facing the Winterhawks if the season ended today, and with a league worst 161 goals for, it's not much of a stretch to figure out why the Silvertips made a mid-season coaching change. Of course, having less than sterling goaltending has done the Silvertips no favors, as they have given up 255 goals, which is a -94 goal differential.

Seth Swenson (21) and Connor Honey (14)
The Seattle Thunderbirds currently hold the number seven seed in the Western Conference, but are only ahead of Everett by a point and Prince George by five.  Their offense has been better, with 193 goals to show for it.  However, their goaltending has been atrocious, surrendering 269 goals.  Part of the problem is that the goaltenders face a lot of shots, as starting goaltender Brandon Glover has seen over 1800 shots.  By comparison, Kelowna's goaltending has seen just a little more than that...combined.  Yes, their goaltending is terrible, but so has the overall team defense.

Klarc Wilson
Currently, the Prince George Cougars sit four points out of the last playoff spot with 50 points.  They have the second worst offense, with 169 goals, and have given up 250 goals.  Like Everett, the Cougars struggle to score goals, and clearly since their numbers are similar to one another, I don't envision Prince George catching up.

As for games left, Seattle has a home game against Tri-City tonight and a home and home against Portland on Friday and Saturday.  Everett has a home and home against Victoria on Friday and Saturday before closing out the season at home against Tri-City on Sunday.  Prince George has a road game at Spokane tonight, a road game at Kelowna on Thursday, and a home and home against Kamloops on Friday and Saturday.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Winterhawks Weekly: Regular Season Champions

A week after losing all three of their games, the Winterhawks did the exact opposite, winning both of their games en route to claiming the Scotty Munro Trophy as the regular season champions, which means home ice throughout the playoffs is theirs.  Tuesday, the Winterhawks avenged their loss to Everett from the previous Saturday by doubling them up 6-3 behind a three point effort from Seth Jones.  On Sunday, the Winterhawks beat Victoria 5-2 thanks to a hat trick by Chase De Leo.  The Winterhawks have four games to close out the season, and will undoubtedly be facing the question of whether to rest star players or play for momentum going into the playoffs.  The Winterhawks have a game Tuesday in Victoria, a home and home against Seattle on Friday and Saturday before closing out the season Sunday against Spokane.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Peterborough Express: This is it!

Entering the final week of OHL play, the Peterborough Petes find themselves two points behind both Kingston and Mississauga.  Peterborough needed to win out this past week, and they did, beating Kingston 4-1 on Thursday, and Ottawa today 7-2.  Their last three games are at home on Tuesday against Mississauga, and they will hit the road against Kingston on Friday and Brampton on Sunday.  Meanwhile, Kingston has games against Belleville, Barrie, Peterborough, and Ottawa and Mississauga has games against Peterborough, Belleville, and Ottawa.  Peterborough has a great chance to sneak into the playoffs with Brampton being the only team to have clinched a spot left on their schedule.  However, both Kingston and Mississauga have a game against Ottawa, so Peterborough needs to win out here to have a shot and hope either Kingston or Mississauga falters.  Currently, it looks like Mississauga is the one faltering, as they have lost eight in a row, with two of those losses being in the shootout.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

More B-Movie Madness

Just when you think it's safe to watch another B-movie, Alan Spencer returns with B-Movie Attack, the sequel to the wild B-Movie Reels.  And just like the first book, you can expect a lot of gore and many outrageous movie characters coming to life.

B-Movie Attack picks up where B-Movie Reels left off, only this time the main characters are a down-on-his-luck director, a parking meter maid, his live-in girlfriend, and his best friend.  The scene also changes from a small town in Kansas to Chicago, where the possibilities grow, and the characters that survived from the first book (flying lesbian vampires, in case you're asking) devise a plan to put the living on the same level as the dead.  It starts with the director playing one of his movies, and soon, flying lesbian vampires, a deranged baker, zombie construction worker with bulldozer, and several psychotic schoolgirls with weapons such as maces and axes, among other movie creatures come to life and begin taking out the citizens of Chicago.  It is up to the director, parking meter maid, and his friends to stop the monsters from killing off Chicago before it is too late.

Alan Spencer follows the formula from B-Movie Reels and adds to it on B-Movie Attack, which is no easy task, considering that Chicago is much larger than Anderson Mills, KS (the scene of B-Movie Reels).  Yes, the reason for the movie characters attacking the living is a little convoluted, but it falls in line with just about any B-movie you can think of, right down to the hokey logic.  The gore is certainly there, and it is actually amplified in this novel, as Spencer gets outrageous with characters such as a guy who has his intestines attack people and a 500 foot hooker (undoubtedly inspired by an actual movie).  If you enjoyed the first book, then you will enjoy B-Movie Attack, and even if you're unfamiliar with either book, if you watch a lot of B-movies, then reading the books should be high on your list.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Eight More Years...with High Risks

In a move that will give the Anaheim Ducks a sense of stability for next season (and beyond), they gave center Ryan Getzlaf a contract extension.  The deal, 8 years with an average salary cap hit of $8.25 million, or a $66 million deal, not only sees the Ducks keep their captain for the foreseeable future, but also sets a template for how they could work on the deal with Corey Perry.  With nine goals and 18 assists this year, Getzlaf has experienced something of an offensive resurgence in what would have been his walk year.  However, this is also the first time since he was named captain in 2010 that he has produced to his capabilities.  Obviously, having Perry as a teammate takes some of the pressure off, and should the Ducks not resign Perry after the season, this is a move that could backfire on the Ducks in a big way.  Keep in mind that the Ducks have to lose Teemu Selanne to retirement some time, and their defense is not exactly top notch, and given that Jonas Hiller could be traded, that would leave a significant hole in net.  The Ducks went all in on Getzlaf...they better hope it turns out to be the right decision.

The Good Ol' Hockey Game

On Wednesday night, Stompin' Tom Connors died at his home in Ontario at the age of 77.  He was a country-folk singer who was well known in Canada, most notably for "The Hockey Song," a song that you undoubtedly hear at any hockey arena in Canada.  Connors carved out a pretty good career, but his legacy will forever be defined by a song that is synonymous with hockey.

And in case you have yet to hear "The Hockey Song," here you go:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Peters Signs with the Stars

If you were wondering where Portland Winterhawks center Taylor Peters was going to play next year (and I'm sure that means Mr. Peters' immediate family and Winterhawks fans), wonder no more, as he has signed a three-year entry contract with the Dallas Stars beginning next season.  An overager, Peters provides the Stars some depth in the center position, as well as a dependable player that will help out on faceoffs and be what Manny Malhotra was with Vancouver before the eye injury: a solid third liner that has the ability to help on the penalty kill.  As for the other two overagers on the Winterhawks, Mac Carruth will be in the Chicago Blackhawks system and Troy Rutkowski's destination remains unknown as of this time, though it is possible he could get drafted this year.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Peterborough Express: Now or Never

The Petes remain four points out of a playoff spot, behind both Kingston and Mississauga for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.  A win Thursday against Ottawa 4-3 was followed by a 6-3 loss at Sudbury on Friday and a 4-0 shutout at the hands of Sault St. Marie on Sunday.

The last five games will be the most telling in the Petes' quest for a playoff spot, as they take on Kingston twice (this Thursday and on March 15), Mississauga on March 12, Ottawa on the 10th, and close out the season at Brampton on March 17.  For those keeping score at home, that's three games against the teams the Petes are trying to catch up to, a game against the last place 67s, and the season-ender at a playoff team in Brampton.  If the Petes play well and can win all four games, it could mean a playoff spot by the time they play Brampton, but they absolutely have to take care of business on their own end.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Winterhawks Weekly: Needing Repair

This past week was not very kind to the Winterhawks.  Losing all three games in regulation for the first time this season, it could not have come at a worse time, as the Winterhawks need to be ready for the playoffs.  A 4-2 loss at Tri-City on Tuesday was followed up by a 4-3 loss at home against Edmonton.  Saturday saw the Winterhawks lose at Everett 4-2.

There's only six games left in the season, and the Winterhawks need to get things right if they want a long playoff season.  It starts Tuesday at home against Everett and continue Sunday on the road against Victoria.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Staying Put

Within hours of signing an offer sheet with Calgary, Ryan O'Reilly will be returning to the Colorado Avalanche after they decided to match the offer.  If you want to know the details of what Calgary was offering, read the previous piece.  Today is about why Colorado came out the big loser...and why they were losers no matter the outcome.

By matching the offer, the Avs eventually gave in to O'Reilly's contract demands, thus making general manager Greg Sherman looking like a complete doofus.  This is a deal that could backfire, as it is unknown as to whether O'Reilly will be happy upon his return.  If O'Reilly is unhappy, that means the Avs will have to deal with him for an entire year, as they cannot trade him until February 28, 2014.  That's a whole year of potential trouble.  The other side of the coin would be if O'Reilly was allowed to walk after the seven day period to Calgary.  Had the Avs let him go to a division rival in Calgary, it would have brought the same amount of vitriol to the team that they did not need any more of, as it would mean O'Reilly could have a minimum of five games to stick it to his old team.  In short, the Avs let it go for far too long, and I would not be surprised if both Sherman and coach Joe Sacco were given their walking papers at the end of the season, particularly if they don't get into the playoffs.