The pressure is mounting in the playoff races and the fans are cracking! Great rants this week:
amy4240: As an avid Phoenix Coyotes and hockey fan, I am absolutely heartbroken at the prospect of the Coyotes relocating. Is there anything that the fans can do to help Glendale in its fight against the Goldwater Institute? Is there any way to reach out to the NHL and convince them to give us more time to get a resolution? I feel like the Goldwater Institute is back-dooring us.
My take: Amy, it's not over yet! Things are dire, yes, but it's not over yet. The NHL and City of Glendale were going to give this one last shot. If I were a Coyotes fan right now, however, I'd organize a rally! It can't hurt! Show your passion, Yotes fans!
GO_WINGS2009: I am going to rant against my Red Wings, again. Yes Pierre, you gave me crap for it a few weeks ago, but I warned everyone. This team is not defensively sound. They gave up a 4-1 lead in one period!! Even "Z" didn't agree with his coach's comments about them playing too fancy and not making the easy plays. Not even one of the best players agrees with him, so how can you tell me Babcock truly has this team under control? C'mon man, you know I love this coach, but he's gotta lay the smack down and start benching these guys for a few periods if they're not going to play the defense that he knows they're capable of. I'm sorry, but this crap has to stop. I'm sick of seeing them rattle off four to five wins and then reverting back to letting up four to five goals. We gave up way too many goals on this trip!
My take: That was not an impressive road trip, I'll give you that. And you're right in saying there's something not quite right in early March with this club. But again, history shows these guys will get on a roll. Patience, my friend.
flyersrock08: The Flyers are driving me crazy! I know you hear and no one has sympathy for me or the team. I keep hearing "this is good for them, it builds character, this will teach them how to rebound." I think that's all excuses, which is why the Flyers are struggling! There’s always excuses about how Sean O'Donnell had his helmet slip down so he couldn’t see for a second or two, or the flu has stricken the team. I went into a building fire with the flu! (I am a firefighter just to let you know haha). The point is, I'm tired of excuses!! We lost to four teams that are battling for a playoff spot!! All while NJ is sitting there winning, fighting the teams we lost to!! So my point ... are they throwing against these "sub-par" teams so that the Devils can't gain ground? That would be the only acceptable excuse! It still doesn't make sense to me either way!
My take: The Flyers got bored, in my opinion. Happens often with first-place teams playing it out until the playoffs. The motivation lacks. Vancouver had a similar hiccup although not as pronounced. Now that the Flyers have allowed Boston, Washington and Pittsburgh back into the race for first in the East, I think you’ll see a more focused Flyers team from here out.
acMIDD28: Pierre, at what point do people start adding Jonathan Toews in Hart Trophy conversations? Is this an award for flashy, goal scoring stat machines, or is this for the best player? And right now there is none better than 19.
My take: Um, check this out.
wmryan96: Care to give an updated take on the impact of the shootout? Earlier in the year you lambasted the GMs who wanted to diminish the impact of the now-dated gimmick on the strength of anecdote (low percentage of games going to shootout relative to last season), but now it's obviously picked up steam as the numbers have evened out with a greater sample. So, have at it then: The shootout is going to have a major hand in deciding playoff seeding/qualifying. It's garbage.
My take: Must have me confused with somebody else my friend, I am on record saying I want the shootout abolished or minimized in any way. But you should know that the shootout will lose some of its vigor in a month when the regular season ends. If there are any tiebreakers needed in the standings, shootout wins are disregarded from the overall win totals -- new this year after the GMs implemented it last summer.
cbstve: Pierre, what is the answer in St. Louis? I mean not only has this been a disappointing season filled with costly injuries, but now it looks as if the team has just given up! I really hope for the fans' sake that there is either a major addition this offseason or this team decides to see what actual potential they have. I'm also praying that the individual who is going to finally lead the Blues to a Stanley Cup season is actually born, because I don't think I can wait another 20 years in hopes of winning the Cup.
My take: Big win last night over Columbus! OK, I know the season is over. I truly feel the injuries sucked the life out of this team. Every team has injuries, but losing David Perron for the season and then T.J. Oshie for much of it was a double blow they couldn't survive. My one concern with this team moving forward to next season is Jaroslav Halak. After a superb start to the season, he's really struggled in the second half before getting injured. Which Halak will the Blues get next season?
gatorterp04: Time to fire Pierre Lacroix and the stooge of a GM we have in Colorado. They have destroyed the team: Cohen, Stewart, Shattenkirk, for very little in return. They do not know how to build a team. The scouting department is also pathetic. Years of average drafting at best. Need to clean up the offices and put a real hockey man in charge. Kronke, now that the Carmelo situation is solved, time to look at the Avs.
My take: Absolutely stunning to see the second-half collapse in Denver. Yes, injuries played a huge part, but why the trades then? Listen, if Erik Johnson lives up to his first overall draft billing, then this trade works out just fine. But if not, it's a disaster. I'd like to have some comforting words for Avs fans right now, but I don't. Should be an interesting offseason.
evilbouncyball: You DROPPED Boston a spot? Hello? Six-game win streak, including against your No. 1, the loss in overtime, having fought back to capture a point, and all of this with Kampfer being hurt and Bergeron not in the lineup Sunday. Meanwhile, you put Chicago ABOVE Boston?
I understand they are on a run right now, but so is Boston. In addition, Rask and Thomas have been on FIRE the last few games. You won't find a better 1-2 punch in goaltending anywhere else in the league, it's why Boston ranks so high in GAA. Finally, Philly has been on a complete downfall as of late, and you brought the Caps up FOUR spots with a less impressive streak then the Bruins. The B's deserve AT LEAST the third spot, if not the second.
My take: Yes I heard from many a B's fan Monday and Tuesday. I just shake my head at how much fans care about the Power Rankings. The top six teams are all interchangeable in those rankings, they're all terrific.
joeochs3333: Pierre, I'm a big fan of your work, and an even bigger fan of my beloved Boston Bruins. I love the makeup of this team and the attitude they bring to the ice. I see a young, gritty and physical lineup with depth at forward and top-notch goaltending. My only concern (and a relatively minor one at that) is the lack of a top-notch forward. Bergeron's all-around game is crucial, and Looch has been lighting the lamp, but I don't see a guy on the team who can take over should the B's fall behind in the playoffs. I guess my question has three parts: 1. Will the Bruins make a run at Brad Richards in the offseason? 2. Will contract talks with Kaberle prevent this from happening? 3. If not Richards, who are a few other UFAs the Bruins could flirt with?
My take: Thanks, Joe. As for the UFA crop among high-end forwards? Richards is the only true 1A type on the list. A really weak year for UFA forwards. You've got the likes of Alexei Kovalev, Tim Connolly, Jason Arnott and Simon Gagne, but nobody in the class of Richards. Teams looking to really upgrade offensively this summer are going to have to do it via trade, not through the UFA market.