How should the Devils find Martin Brodeur's successor?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions about the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals

The stage is set for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.  The Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins will meet and one of them will snap a long championship drought.  It has come to my attention that some people may want some insight into the series, so here’s a little FAQ for you, with the likely answers you’d get from a pro.


Who is going to win the Finals?
I have the Heat winning, but the Mavs are gonna make it a series……oh, wait, those Finals...say, who’s playing?


Can Luongo be the difference for Vancouver?
Many people would argue that if Vancouver wins the Stanley Cup, it would be in spite of Luongo.  Vancouver is facing a difficult goaltender in Tim Thomas.  Luongo must be on his A-game, barring that Keith Ballard doesn’t cut off his hear…


Is Ryan Kesler the best American hockey player in the world?
He’s the best *sober* American hockey player in the world.


Isn’t it ironic that Vancouver has been carried to the Stanley Cup Finals by an American and two Swedes?
Shhhhhh!  Don Cherry is listening…


Can Sami Salo stay healthy for 7 straight games?
I don’t know, can you juggle four tennis balls constantly for 7 days?


Will Manny Malhotra be able to play?
If he does, I sure hope his vision is 100%.  You need to be aware when Zdeno Chara is on the ice…not that he’s that difficult to see…


Who is David Krejci?
He’s Phil Kessel in disguise.


What’s something most people don’t realize about the series?
A former Islander is guaranteed to win the Cup (Luongo, Chara) and a former Canadiens coach is guaranteed to win the Cup.


Who has the better goal song, Vancouver or Boston?Is Zombie Nation even a song?


Can the home crowd be a factor?
Of course not, unless two clever men dressed in green spandex suits show up…


Who has the edge in the series?
Vancouver, simply because they can afford to take double the minor penalties as Boston just to balance power play goals.


Which team would Gary Bettman rather see win the Cup?
Pittsburgh Penguins.


But…
Exactly.


True or false: Brian Burke is campaigning to get the Olympics held in Toronto since Vancouver made the Stanley Cup Finals the year after they hosted the Olympics?
False, he’s sly, but not that sly.


Finally, who is less annoying: Pierre McGuire or Mike Milbury?
Spongebob Squarepants.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 Preview - Lightning at Bruins

Tonight is the winner-take-all Eastern Conference Finals Game 7.  The winner will lose to face the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, but before that happens, let's take a look at some story lines for tonight's game.



  • Dwayne Roloson wants to appear intimidating, if not scary to the Bruins tonight, so he won't be wearing a mask.
  • A reporter asked Mark Recchi to dissect tonight's game, so Recchi pulled out his scissors and asked where he could find a surgeon's mask.
  • Vancouver is sending a scout to the game tonight.  Rumor has it he's got a twin brother.
  • Gary Bettman apparently had no idea that the Tampa Bay Lightning exist.
  • Tim Thomas has been practicing the butterfly, hybrid, stand-up, basically a style of goaltending, contrary to his normal practice routine which involves staring into space and sleeping.
  • Zdeno Chara hit his head on the roof of the team arena this morning, but he shook it off after ten minutes in the quiet room.
  • Martin St. Louis jumped, but couldn't reach the roof that Chara hit his head on.
  • Claude Julien said in his press conference that his hopes for his team tonight include having his power play not go off-season 36 times.
  • If Tampa Bay wins, Hart Trophy finalists St. Louis and Sedin (one of the two) match up.  If Boston wins, Vezina finalists Thomas and Luongo match up.
  • Translation of the above, if Tampa Bay wins, all 7 games move to Versus.  They might even start at 2 a.m.
  • Joe Thornton may steal Shawn's jersey and suit up tonight in the hopes that he can discover what a "Stanley Cup Final" is.
  • Bill Daly intends to bring Sidney Crosby to the trophy presentation after the game, since he's the only player willing to touch that trophy (and the Penguins won the Cup that year).
  • Martin St. Louis was kicked off the team bus from the airport after playing "Shipping Up to Boston" for the 26th time.  He tried to wave a taxi, but nobody saw him.
  • Sean Bergenheim doesn't realize that "doubtful" means "probably not playing," contrary to his Google translation from Finnish, which he meant to say "yes."
  • Pierre McGuire is expected to be in attendance.  Bring your sunglasses, the arena lightning may shine off of his head.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are you a Canadian hockey fan (the full test!)?

That's strange...the Jets have never won a championship...well, since the 1968-69 New York Jets, anyway.  Also strange: the crowd shown is in...Montreal.  Well, anyway, Winnipeg has reportedly gotten the hockey Jets back (barring name approval).  So Canada would now have 7 NHL teams, while the U.S. still has 23, but it begs the question: how many Americans are as passionate as Canadian hockey fans?  You can check yourself by taking the full test below.  *Disclaimer: I am not intending to insult either country or fans from either country.



Do you paint your face before you attend an NHL game of your team?

(a) No, I'm too busy wearing a green, spandex bodysuit.
(b) Yes, every game.  It hides my identity while I throw tasteful breakfast foods onto the ice.
(c) I've outgrown face-painting.
(d) I only paint my face when I'm starring on a sitcom and wearing a Devils jersey.


How many homes games to you attend per season?

(a) None, I don't live near my team's arena.
(b) As many as I can on my budget.
(c) 41!  I'm a season ticket holder!
(d) More than 41!  My team is a perennial playoff team (in which case, you're not a Leafs or Oilers fan...).


How do you celebrate when your favorite team scores?

(a) Stand up and scream like idiots until the next faceoff.
(b) Throw my hands up and hi-five my friends.
(c) Sit in my seat and wonder if the team is hurting its chances to land the 1st overall draft pick.
(d) Umm, my team never scores, we play the 1-2-2.


What song does your team's arena play after a goal is scored?

(a) Zombie Nation
(b) Gary Glitter's "Rock n' Roll"
(c) Satriani's "Crowd Chant" or a similar sounding song
(d) I'm not sure.  The crowd is too loud cheering.


What do you usually do after a win?

(a) Hang out with my friends at a nearby bar.
(b) Go home and celebrate.
(c) Haha, win...that's funny.
(d) A group of us rage through the city, breaking into stores and burning police cars.


What are you doing on June 24th?

(a) Attending my team's Stanley Cup parade.
(b) Attending a barbecue with friends.
(c) Attending our team's annual 1st Overall Draft pick party for Draft Day.
(d) I'll be sitting on the beach, just like Gary Bettman.


What event are you anticipating this summer for free agency?

(a) Glen Sather giving Brad Richards a ridiculously absurd contract just to make the Kovalchuk contract look good.
(b) The Bruins re-signing Tomas Kaberle, and I'll be laughing at them if they do.
(c) Gary Bettman fining Lou Lamoriello for saying "status quo" 8,000 times.
(d) Brian Burke acquiring Jeff Carter for Phil Kessel.


Who is the best dressed hockey person?

(a) Kevin Weekes
(b) Patrick Sharp
(c) Henrik Lundqvist
(d) Don Cherry


How many road games do you watch on TV?

(a) None, I'm at them all.
(b) A few, whenever I'm home or available.
(c) Versus is blocked in my home, so not many.
(d) All of them.  I plan my life around my team.


What's the first thing you do when you wake up on Tuesday and Friday mornings?

(a) The usual: coffee, then work.
(b) Look at the clock and then fall back asleep.
(c) Watch ESPN SportsCenter.
(d) Run to a computer to read Down Goes Brown's new blog post.


Check your answers:

  • If you're like a Canadian hockey fan, you chose (in order): 1 - B, 2 - D, 3 - A/B, 4 - D, 5 - D, 6 - C, 7 - A/B/C/D, 8 - D, 9 - D, 10 - D.

If you answered like a Canadian:

  • 10 - You either have way too much time on your hands or you're "employed" by your team, or something like that.
  • 7-9 - You're passionate, but you probably shy away from what seperates Americans from Canadians.  Perhaps rioting is one of those things.
  • 4-6 - You're a pretty big fan of hockey, but not quite crazy enough.  You probably watch too much ESPN and may have another priority, such as...basketball.
  • 2-3 - You aren't really a crazy hockey fan, but you care...if your team is relevant and not golfing in May.
  • 1 - You're probably either a newer hockey fan or still a hockey fan prospect.
  • 0 - You know that they aren't using golf clubs and tennis balls on the ice, right?

Monday, May 23, 2011

When is it time to give up on a team in the playoffs?

Before the 2010 NHL Playoffs, there were few who believed that their team could overcome a 3-0 series deficit and win the series.  The Philadelphia Flyers did just that, coming back and beating the Bruins last season.  This playoff season, Chicago and Detroit have both overcome 3-0 series deficits, only to each lose their respective Game 7s against Vancouver and San Jose.  Now, the Sharks are down 3-1 to Vancouver, while the Bruins and Lightning are tied in their series, 2-2.  Here's a guide on when to give up on your team.


YOU KNOW YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE WHEN:

  • Joe Thornton cancels his annual Caribbean getaway for the last week in April.
  • Two men dressed in green bodysuits are seen in your arena...assuming it's not Nashville.
  • Gary Bettman owns your team and insists that he won't let it relocate despite a devistating financial crisis.
  • Your goalie is getting AARP papers in the mail.
  • Pavel Datsyuk is on the ice.
  • Barry Trotz still has a hair on his head.
  • Chelsea Dagger isn't constantly playing in the background.
  • Your GM tells the team to keep trying to win and not tank (unless the GM is Brian Burke, in which case, it's because he traded his first round pick...).
  • Your team trades AWAY Jamie Langenbrunner.


YOU KNOW YOUR TEAM IS DONE WHEN:

  • Chris Pronger's elbow is bothering him, making him completely ineffective.
  • They hire John MacLean as the team's head coach.
  • Alexander Ovechkin is constantly on the phone with Team Russia's head coach at the World Championships.
  • Alex Kovalev is your best defensive forward.
  • They go up 3 games to none against the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Mark Recchi decides that your player embellishes hits into stanchions.
  • Marian Gaborik starts to play defense...and gives pucks to Jason Chimera in the process.
  • Carrie Underwood is seen crying.
  • Your players are packing for a very cold Canadian city after spending time in Atlanta.
  • Your team's goalie puts on a Flyers jersey.
  • They are planning their annual 1st Overall Draft Pick Party in December...again.
  • Teammates are watching the NBA.
  • Your team trades FOR Jamie Langenbrunner.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Complications of moving an NHL franchise

Picture taken from: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=486249&page=5 

It isn't exactly breaking news that the Atlanta Thrashers are close to moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba as soon as possible.  Why, you ask?  There are actually several factors that have led up to this decision for the NHL.  Ownership has been awful to the arena and team, it's not worth the financial losses that the Thrashers swallow every season and there's an extremely small fan base that is more concerned with...umm, let's just say anything and everything BUT the Thrashers hockey team.  However, moving an NHL team is not as easy as it sounds.



Problem: The NHL has a commissioner that likes to explore "non-traditional" hockey markets, such as the southern United States, and views the annual financial losses taken by each of those franchises as an "investment."
Solution: Fire Gary Bettman.


Problem: Moving a hockey franchise from Atlanta, Georgia to Winnipeg, Manitoba would be a smart business decision, and thus completely irrational for the NHL to consider.
Solution: Fire Gary Bettman.


Problem: Strangely, a $25.1 million relocation fee appeared on the transaction for the new Thrasher ownership, which is actually more than they lose every year.
Solution: Damn you, Bettman...


Problem: Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine suggested that he wants the Thrashers to stay in Atlanta.
Solution: Hey, you spent 5 years in New York.  Go to a Islanders Rangers game.


Problem: Thrasher fans are planning a rally to keep the team in Atlanta.
Solution: Call the Atlanta Police Department's largest unit...and tell them to take the day off while the backups handle the masses.


Problem: Okay, well, what if the rally draws a bigger turnout than expected?
Solution: Bring in a second police car.


Problem: Some players have been with the Thrashers organization for a number of years, and Winnipeg might be a sudden climate shock to them.
Solution: It's okay, they were born in Canada or the northern United States, they can handle it.


Problem: The NHL rejected a $100 million contract last year for another former Thrasher, who's to say they won't reject another big contract?
Solution: Luckily, this is the Thrashers that are moving, not the Leafs.


Problem: If the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, there will be an uneven number of Canadian hockey teams for Hockey Day in Canada.
Solution: It's a shame every other market is thriving and there are no other teams that should be relocated.


Problem: The Thrashers don't have a marketable superstar right now, so marketing the team in Winnipeg could become a problem.
Solution: Atlanta's farm system has produced two NHL teams now (Calgary, Winnipeg), and both have relocated to Canada.  Problem solved.


Problem: The Thrashers mascot threatens to steal another zamboni and drive it on the highway if the franchise is moved to Winnipeg.
Solution: Oh well, zambonis are a dime a dozen in Canada...


Problem: Atlanta was a poorly fun NHL franchise that made the playoffs just once in their history.
Solution: Well, it's not like Canadian markets such as Edmonton and Toronto are perennial playoff teams, either...


Problem: What to name the Winnipeg NHL team.....?
Solution: Jets.


Problem: The NHL has a commissioner that makes things like this a bigger deal than necessary.
Solution: Fire Gary Bettman.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is it time to panic for the San Jose Sharks?

The San Jose Sharks were slaughtered by the President's Trophy winners, the Vancouver Canucks, in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals last night, and they now find themselves down 2-0 in the best-of-7 series.  As NHLNet's David Amber points out, no team has overcome a 2-0 series deficit since the 2005 lockout.  So, is it time for the Sharks to panic?  Today, I offer San Jose some advice.


  • They might want to take some advice from Philly, Chicago and Detroit by losing Game 3 and then winning out.  More teams have overcome 3-0 series deficits than 2-0 since the lockout.
  • When Patrick Marleau is gutless, the Sharks win, so Marleau has to stop checking, scoring and certainly stop fighting for San Jose to have success.
  • Somehow, the Sharks have awakened Vancouver's twin-giant, the Sedins.  Therefore, at least Ben Eager tried to shut a Sedin down by drilling him from behind last night.
  • Antti Niemi needs to remind the Canucks who he played for last season and which team beat them for the past two playoff seasons.
  • The Sharks need to stop playing Green Day on the team bus en route to Rogers Arena.
  • The Sharks have scored first in both games, which is good.  Their defensemen now need to stop imitating Jason Demers and actually clear pucks from the crease.
  • Todd McLellan also needs to remind his team that Kevin Bieksa is, in fact, not a forward.
  • The Green Men may not have been at the game last night, but that doesn't make it acceptable to take dumb penalties.
  • Even though Joe Thornton sent his down payment for his annual May resort house, his team is still playing hockey.
  • Any San Jose Shark watching reruns of the game on TV might be confused that this is actually the playoffs, since Pierre McGuire's expertise has been blatantly missing on Versus.
  • Any San Jose Shark that the last comment applies to should scan the arena and locate Don Cherry's colorful suit, which would reverse the previous comment.
  • Finally, the Sharks might be confused that the Conference Finals didn't begin in San Jose, but that's simply because Vancouver is a higher seed.  Maybe they think the series starts in Game 3?
  • Hey, look at the bright side, at least the Sharks know that they won't have to relocate this summer...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

DGA Exclusive - Q&A with Devils' prospect Brandon Burlon

In the past, I've had some...well, let's call them "fake" interviews with some people in the hockey world.  This is not the past.  Today, I am excited to bring you a first for DGA: something serious.  This is the first Q&A with the Devils' 2nd round draft pick from 2008, who has recently announced that he will leave Michigan after his junior year to turn pro with the Devils, Brandon Burlon.  Thanks to a friend, I was able to send him some questions I've always wanted to ask a young, up-and-coming hockey player.  After hearing Burlon's answers, I am very excited to watch him, either in AHL Albany or NHL New Jersey next season.  Enjoy!

If any, which NHL star of the past did you idolize growing up?
Bobby Orr, growing up in Canada and being a defenseman there are always guys who idolize the big hitters or the guys with the big shot, but I appreciated Bobby, because he didn’t do one thing amazing, he just did everything really well. He also revolutionized the game for defenseman.


Take me back to draft day. You hear your name called by the New Jersey Devils. What are your emotions throughout draft day?
I was obviously very emotional, after having my childhood dream realized, and having all my hard work result in something like that was the greatest moment in my life. It was a new experience for me, and I realized it was just one small step towards a bigger goal.


What effect did Red Berenson have on you as a college hockey player?
Coach Berenson gave me the opportunity to play at one of the best universities in the country and while his guidance on the ice helped me as a player, my experience with him off the ice helped me as a person too.


I know players don’t like to compare themselves to veteran professionals, but if you had to pick one current NHL player to compare yourself to, who would it be?
If I would compare myself to anyone it may be Tomas Kaberle. The way he skates well, moves the puck and seldom makes mistakes. I really like the way he plays and hope I can become the player he is someday.

DGA edit: Personally, I couldn't agree more with that comparison.


Two of your Michigan teammates were David Wohlberg and Jon Merrill, both also drafted by the Devils. Did you ever think about your pro-future in college? Did you ever talk to the other two about futures with the Devils?
No and yes, both of those guys are very serious hockey players, and were very determined to help Michigan win a national title when they got here, although that might have been in the back of their minds, they were very focused on the present goals at Michigan. Sometimes we have talked about how cool the idea of playing with each other for the next 10 years would be, but that’s about it.


What’s the number one thing you’ve learned playing college hockey and what’s something you regret during college as a player, if anything?
I've learned that there's always players and situation that are going to challenge you, no matter what level you play, and especially at the higher levels. I don't regret anything about my college career.


What made you choose college hockey over playing in a Canadian junior league?
For me, playing for St. Michaels, I had a great support group of alumni, and a lot of them said that there was nothing like playing college hockey, especially at a prestigious hockey program such as Michigan, so it seemed like the right path for me


At what point did you decide that you were ready to turn pro? Did you know entering junior year that you would turn pro before becoming a senior?
I made the decision based on many things, the possibility of injuring myself in college, having known a guy who made a similar decision, and the excellent opportunity I had with the Devils. My main decision came down to my talk with Nick Boynton (from my hometown Nobleton, ON) he called me and gave me some great advice and basically told me that I shouldn’t pass up an opportunity at playing in the NHL, and my family agreed with my decision.


What is your goal heading into your first season as a professional? Do you feel ready to try out for the NHL club?
Obviously I have very high expectations for myself, that being said, I understand how hard it is to make a team such as the Devils. I hope to play in the American Hockey League for some conditioning to prepare myself for the speed of the game, but I hope I can make the NHL roster by the end of the season. I feel that my 3 years at Michigan prepared me for the NHL, because I have had an extra 3 years to develop than other guys starting out of their draft year.


I would like to thank Brandon for doing this and wish him all the best as he prepares for his first season as a professional hockey player. Judging by scouts' feelings on him, it won't be long before he's playing for the Devils.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Signs of a good and bad playoff game

The 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs have been very entertaining, for the most part.  Some people felt that the 2nd round was slightly disappointing, but the 1st round was a tough act to follow.  Let’s take a look at what makes a playoff good and what makes a playoff game bad.


Good: Tomas Kaberle finally getting involved offensively for the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Which reminds me, I don’t recall Steve Yzerman ever acquiring Kaberle.
Bad: Any playoff game involving the Philadelphia Flyers…for an official scorer, that is. I’m not sure they leave room for that many goalies in one game on their score sheets.


Good: Any game that Doc Emrick announces.  He’s slightly more enthusiastic than say, Joe Buck.
Bad: A Lightning press conference.  One way or another, the phrase “1-3-1” will be brought up more times than Sean Bergenheim scored during that particular game.


Good: Any game that features goals from Patrick Marleau AND a Sedin.  It’s as if players listen to Jeremy Roenick once in a while…
Bad: Any time Don Cherry has to admit than an American and two Swedes are the core of a Stanley Cup contender.


Good: Overtime games!  Bonus hockey!  Unfortunately, every American hockey fan must be constantly concerned that Versus might interrupt the overtime in favor of some intense hunting program.
Bad: Blowouts.  The good news is that the Flyers are out of the playoffs, thus their goaltenders can’t allow any more ridiculously lousy goals until next season.


Good: Games where new stars are born.  P.S. I nominate Joel Ward to be on the cover of NHL 12.  You know what, scratch that.  It should be Mike Fish…er, Carrie Underwood.
Bad: Games where goalies try to pass the puck.  Yes, Jim Hughson, they are “booing,” not “Lou-ing.”


Good: Playoff games held in state-of-the-art, brand new arenas in strong hockey markets.
Bad: Unfortunately, none of that applies to the Islanders.


Good: Watching star players scoring goals, such as Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, James van Riemsdyk, Jordan Eberle and even Jaromir Jagr this time of year.
Bad: Well, that tournament was played in Slovakia.


Good: Knowing that the playoffs can cause strange things to happen, such as realizing that Tim Thomas has allowed the most goals of any goalie in the Conference Finals so far.
Bad: Games that are not tied in the third period.  Dammit, what team in their right mind would invent a defensive system that makes games boring in the third period…?


Good: The playoffs can also create a “Cinderella” type of team, a team that the entire country seems to rally around.
Bad: Canada usually has a team to rally around every year, just usually not the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Good: Good playoff games usually coincide with loud arenas and great playoff atmospheres.
Bad: This still doesn’t apply to the Islanders.


Good: Games that feature high-end offensive skill, such as dangling around a forward who’s playing defense and without a hockey stick.
Bad: Games where the team’s most popular player is popular just because of his wife.


Good: Having large hockey markets succeed in the playoffs.
Bad: Of course, I meant American hockey markets…

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A look at some 'free agent' NHL coaches

Five NHL teams (Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars) have either "relieved their head coach of his duties" or seen him retire this past season, meaning that five teams need a coach (or in some cases two or three coaches to finish a season) heading towards next season.  In today's DGA, I will take a look at some of the likely candidates to coach some team next year.


Ken Hitchcock 

About him - Ken Hitchcock won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999 (No, not a Superbowl, a Stanley Cup).
The case for him - He's won a Cup before and he could certainly be a good teacher for young players, such as teaching a young draft pick how to grow a moustache...and keep it all year long.
The case against him - He's a bit stubborn at times and wants to win, which won't coincide with Ottawa Senators fans constantly booing his decision to pull Brian Elliott for only allowing four goals in the first period.
The verdict - He would be a good fit in New Jersey, since he's already been fired three times.


Mike Haviland

About him - Haviland was the Blackhawks' assistant coach on their Stanley Cup team in 2010, so he's experienced a team blow up their roster immediately following a Stanley Cup championship.
The case for him - Hawks coach Joel Quenneville spent a few days in the hospital this past season, so Haviland has some extremely little head coaching experience.
The case against him - Don Cherry has played more NHL games than Haviland.
The verdict - As a minor league coach, Haviland's teams lost in the first round of playoffs perennially, which would make him fit right in with the Devils.


Kirk Muller

About him - He's the guy that stands next to Jacques Martin...you know, the guy with the iPod earpieces in all of the time.
The case for him - All three Devils Stanley Cup winning coaches have been former Montreal Canadiens' players and/or coaches.
The case against him - He often gets bored during games, so he puts his earpieces back in and listens to a constantly repeating playlist of the Bouncing Soul's "Ole."  Oh wait, that's just Habs fans serenading the other team.
The verdict - He's my pick for Lou Lamoriello to hire, once he fires the Devils' head coach in December.


Guy Carbonneau

About him - He's worked for CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, so he has access to expert advice from Donald S. Cherry.
The case for him - He hasn't yet played or coached in Ottawa, except for the occasional road game to Ottawa.
The case against him - I'm not sure how he would respond emotionally to seeing his best players get traded away every season, as the case in Florida and Ottawa.
The verdict - It could come full circle for Carbonneau if he goes to Ottawa, since he was fired in favor of a former Sens coach, Jacques Martin.


Bob Hartley

About him - He won a Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche, and although the Avalanche returned to the Conference Finals the following season, he was fired.
The case for him - He's one of just two coaches that's living proof that Ilya Kovalchuk has actually played in a playoff game before.
The case against him - He just signed a 2-year contract in Sweden.  With the healthcare benefits there, he's not leaving.
The verdict - He'll realize how much he misses coaching in the NHL someday, perhaps once he realizes that Sweden doesn't have a big silver trophy for the league's champion every year.  Then again, he wouldn't know about that if he became a coach of the Panthers or Senators either.


Michel Therrien

About him - He replaced Eddie Olczyk as the Penguins head coach after being fired in Montreal after the lockout.  He was Sidney Crosby's first NHL head coach.
The case for him - At the time of his firing in Pittsburgh, he was just four games coached behind Eddie Johnston for the most in franchise history.
The case agaisnt him - He was fired, replaced by Dan Bylsma, the man who led the same Penguins to win the Stanley Cup just months later.  That's pretty brutal.
The verdict - During Therrien's tenure with Pittsburgh, he took them from dead last in attendance to a top-5 team.  Trade Crosby to the Panthers and sign Therrien.


Mike Keenan

About him - Keenan has done something that causes most people to do a double-take.  He won a Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers as their head coach.  Not many people (since the existence of color TV) can say that.
The case for him - He coached the Flyers and Blackhawks through some of their great, though Stanley Cup-less years during the 1980s and 1990s.
The case against him - He hasn't been able to hold a job very long during any of his assignments.
The verdict - Judging by what I just said, he'll probably be released by Versus this summer.


Marc Crawford

About him - Crawford was a Stanley Cup winning coach with the Quebec Nordiques Colorado Avalanche in 1996.
The case for him - He has several accolades besides the Stanley Cup: he's won an Adams Trophy and coached the Canadian National team during the 1998 Olympics.
The case against him - He's never been fired.  He'd get eaten alive in New Jersey.
The verdict - Unfortunately, the Phoenix Coyotes are not searching for a new coach, since Crawford has plenty of experience with hockey-related lawsuits.


Craig MacTavish

About him - He was on the 1994 Rangers' Stanley Cup team, so like Keenan, he's experienced something few have since World War II.
The case for him - He was a teammate of Wayne Gretzky and had more penalty minutes than recently retired Sabres legend Andrew Peters.
The case against him - His head coaching experience is limited to the Edmonton Oilers, so unfortunately, he has no NHL head coaching experience.
The verdict - If the Oilers' rebuilding period doesn't go very well, I'm sure Steve Tambellini would consider re-hiring MacTavish, so we should know by 2025.


Ted Nolan

About him - Nolan had an unsuccessful stint as an Islanders head coach.
The case for him - Well, it's the Islanders.  He hasn't coached NHL talent since 1997, aside from the great Alexei Yashin.  Where is that Yashin nowadays?
The case against him - Quite honestly, he's a bit insane.  He claims that Rick DiPietro was their starting goalie when he was with them.  Full-time.
The verdict - He often gets overlooked, but he shouldn't.  Hasek won 59 games under Nolan and DiPietro won 58, both in two seasons.  That's a major accomplishment.