Tuesday, June 03, 2008


A match made in hell

Now that John Tortorella has been officially fired by the Lightning, it appears that the rumours that the Sens will hire him will gain steam. I'm pretty neutral on the firing: I don't think it's terribly outrageous that T.B. fired him, but agree that he's worth a try somewhere else. However, Ottawa just seems like the absolute worst possible place for him to land.

Yes, I spent the week following the 1st round arguing that the wrong coach can only plausibly cost a goalie so many saves, but if there is one coach in this league who has demonstrated that he doesn't deal well with uncertain or sub-par goaltending, it's John Tortorella. The Sens look like they'll start '08/09 with a couple of 1B goalies, at best.

Ottawa also has a comically top-heavy forward corps, with very dubious depth. Who does that sound like? That's right -- the team Torts just guided to the worst record in the league. His strategy seemed to be that, rather than cultivate a system or mentality that would cut down on scoring chances, i.e. permit his dubious forward depth to contribute to winning, he would have his squad trade chances and hope that his top end would carry the day. Again, that worked out poorly. He also bagged said top-end to past the point of diminishing returns, most obviously with Brad Richards.

Obviously, I am but a lowly blogger, and do not have all the pertinent information here. I'm sure my characterization of the Lightning's past season (and the previous two, for that matter) is unfair in some fashion. But still, it gobsmacks me that the Senators braintrust would look at Tortorella's body of work, then look at their roster, and decide, "Bingo -- he's the guy for us!"

San Jose seems like a much better match to me. They have an above-average, clear-cut #1 goalie, and they have a lot of quality depth forwards that Fonzie wouldn't be afraid to use. The Sharks, for their part, get a guy who has guided a quality roster to a President's Trophy and a Stanley Cup; he's demanding, but not a dick, and he has his players' backs (goalies excepted). This might just be the tonic the Sharks need. (That, and a couple more decent defensemen.)

All those good habits that Ron Wilson instilled in the Sharks -- and he surely did -- aren't going anywhere soon. If they get the right coach, next year really could be their year.
“It’s not like we didn’t have every opportunity. I believe when you do good things, good things happen. Just do good things again.”

That's more of the Zen of Babcock. As mentioned previously ten or two thousand times, I'm pretty sure he's right. The Penguins won that terrific game last night fair and square, but if anyone thinks that the pendulum might have shifted towards the Pens really hasn't been paying attention to the Wings. They really believe that quote above, and they play like it. They were so devastated by that late, tying goal that they came out to overtime and played... exactly like they played the 3rd period.

Of course the Pens can win the next two games. But book it -- there's no way they'll do it by outchancing the Wings (the shot counts from last night's game are hilarious). They'll need luck, and probably plenty of it.

Red Wings fans are understandably queasy today, but really, they have a 3-2 series lead and a clearly superior team. All in all, that's a rather favourable situation. Of course, maybe I'm just saying nice things to them because I feel bad... I got my 8-year-old out of bed with about 2 minutes left in the 3rd last night (recall that the puck had hardly left Pittsburgh's end in the previous 5 minutes) so he could -- that's right -- watch the Stanley Cup be awarded. Sorry folks.


I have updated the blogroll/sidebar a bit, mainly just removing those that hadn't updated in a long time or had retired. I'll take another run at it soon, meaning, if you have a hockey blog that's any good and is updated regularly, let me know and I'll throw it up there. I believe I have a few URLs in my Inbox already.


Shit! We haven't updated in a month — that better not mean CinO is getting the axe. You're our meal ticket!

It's not our fault the Oilers aren't in the playoffs. We swear.

I'd give Jonathan at http://coppernblue.blogspot.com/ a look. He's updating most often these days among Oilers blogs.

"Ottawa also has a comically top-heavy forward corps, with very dubious depth. Who does that sound like? That's right -- the team Torts just guided to the worst record in the league."

I was just thinking the exact same thing when I heard the rumours about Tort' to Ottawa.

Never thought of him to San Jose though. Guess that's what makes you a "lowly blogger." and me...not a blogger?

Good stuff as always Matt.

...seems I can't read, and it's already there.

way to dumbass, dumbass.

There's nothing more depressing than getting culled from a blogroll. Well-deserved, since my last post was on promising rookie "Cyclone" Taylor, but, still. Depressing.

It hurt to do it too, LB.

I don't disagree with you, but one thing that Torts would bring to the Senators is an insistence on accountability; something that seemed curiously lacking under both Murray and Paddock.

Still, there are plenty of no-nonsense guys out there, so I'm thinking it makes more sense to bring one in who has a history of success with this kind of roster.

The only thing I like about the Wings winning the Cup is that Babcock will finally get some credit for how good a coach he has become. I honestly believe he's become better every year since he started with Detroit, and I agree with his philosophy: Don't change what works. You've had some great posts on his style Matt.

Matt, I've gotta know, how long did you let the 8 year old stay up to watch overtime? I say this as one still bitter about his father making him go to bed at certain times, chief among them after the 2nd period of a certain all star game. Some guy scored 4 in the 3rd period of that one.

About halfway through OT#1, skinny. Would have been a different story if the Flames were involved, he would have made it partway thru #2 at least.

I have a similar memory -- sent to bed in G3 Rd1 1981 (CGY v CHI) after the 1st OT. Fortunately I was informed when I got up in the AM that Willi Plett had scored in 3OT, and the Flames were off to Rd2.

Talk about a match made in hell-this game is excruciating. Pittsburgh has one shot in the 3rd. ZZZZ. Where's Ales Hemsky when you need him?

That's more of the Zen of Babcock.

Babcock just impresses the shit out of me every time he opens his mouth. What a brilliant coach, class act, and all-around solid human being.

Battle of Alberta fans no doubt realize Babcock coached in two Alberta cities. No, not those two, but Red Deer and Lethbridge. He took the Red Deer College Kings to the provincial title, then in his only year at the U of Lethbridge took them all the way to a shocking University Cup triumph. The lowly Pronghorns, what a feat.

This long-standing fan of CIAU/CIS is always pleased to see somebody of that pedigree succeed on the big stage. Mike Babcock both played and coached at Canadian universities. It would seem he learned his lessons well.

As for the Zen of Babcock, the Red Wings didn't have 6 periods to repeat their Corsi number of +62 from Game 5, so had to settle for a measly +35 in Game 6. (+172 for the series) As Babcock forecast, it was tough to envision Pittsburgh stringing wins together in that environment.

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