No fans deserve more to rant than the loyal souls in Columbus. And we start there this week with a couple of beleaguered Blue Jacket fans.
osufanatic64: Ok, I'm going to try to be as calm about this as possible...you know what never mind. WHAT IS SCOTT HOWSON THINKING?!?!?! First of all, why Steve Mason still is in net for the Jackets is baffling to me. Clearly his rookie year was an anomaly. I'm not saying Mason is the ONLY reason for the Jackets horrendous start to the season...but 4 goals in 11 shots against St. Louis and then 7 goals against Philly? On top of that, our brilliant GM decided not to get any sort of backup goalie for security. At least last year we had Matty Garon to steady the ship (until he ultimately sank with the team). And last, but certainly not least, is Arneil even trying anymore? There is no reason we should still be so bad with a man advantage, not to mention how bad we are on the PK. I won't say this season is lost (yet...I still want to see Jeff Carter play more than 5 games), but this is a joke. Thanks for making an optimistic Jackets fan dread checking the score every night...
AND STEVE MASON?!?!?!?!?
artmabrey: Pierre, pretend you’re a Blue Jackets sales person trying to get me to renew my season tickets, how do you ask me to renew? I have seen some terrible play over the years, but just when I think they have hit the bottom out comes Saturdays 9-2 loss. Give me a few reasons why I should renew next year.
My take: Well, I’m not sure I’m that good a sales man. There’s ugly, and there’s the Jackets right now. I would like to see what this team can do once Jeff Carter is finally healthy. I’d also like to see what they could do with a goalie than can make some saves. Steve Mason won’t be the starting goalie next season when you renew your season tickets. That much I can tell you.
jmcleod512: What's with the Blackhawks PP? They have one of the best 5-on-5 offenses in the league. Kane and Hossa are red hot, and Toews, Sharp, Brunette, and Bolland cap off an offensively loaded team. But they have an atrocious power play which, among many other things, cost them dearly against Vancouver on Sunday. Why can't they get it together, a top-5 PP last year?
My take: It is stunning to be sure, but I think the numbers are a little deceiving as of late. I think there have been better looks on the Hawks PP lately, which usually precedes a breakthrough. I’d be shocked if this was a long-term issue.
bjmiller12: why can't the avalanche win at home. please tell me why we can't do it. we score and play great on the road but can’t do crap in our Pepsi can. are we just tired of the air or what? i am going nuts trying to figure this out. the entire avs fanbase is trying to figure this out.
My take: When teams struggle at home, I turn to this answer the most often because it’s what coaches have always passed on to me, especially for young teams: They deviate from the game plan and try to put on a show at home. What works on the road, staying within the game plan, playing a more patient game, etc. often goes out the window at home when younger teams sometimes feel the pressure to put on a show for the fans.
Heirarch: I'm a Carolina Hurricanes fan, and frankly I'm tired of a decently talented roster struggling to perform and not offering any solutions or changes that would benefit our team. Paul Maurice is a below-average coach who focuses way too much on dumping and chasing the puck instead of moving it the right way. I suggested Sheldon Souray at a discounted price last season and everyone jumped down my throat; now he's doing well. Eric Staal has been playing atrociously, and the only people who seem to show up to play hockey are Ward, Skinner and LaRose. We need to rectify our hockey team and play like we want to win, instead of playing with no heart.
LegitSportsGuy: Pierre, after being at the Stars vs. Canes game on Sunday, I am personally discouraged right now to be a Canes fan. Our G.M. has still yet to make a move after seeing us drop 3 out of 4 and give up 10 goals in 2 games while only scoring 2 goals in those 2 games. What needs to give, Pierre? Fire Paul Maurice? He consistently uses the dump and chase method and it’s not working. I heard rumors about trading offense for defense but right now we could use that offensive weapon now more than ever. Especially a winger for Eric Staal! So tell me Pierre what has to give to turn my Canes around?
My take: Well, my friend, my sources indicate your GM is trying to help your team as we speak. The Hurricanes have been chatting up the trade phone lines. I think Jim Rutherford is trying to get something done. I think Paul Maurice is OK for now, but that leash won’t last all season long if the Hurricanes continue to struggle.
CDiercksen: Pierre, what is so hard to understand about your proposed (and oft dismissed) point system? 3 for a reg. win; 2 for an OT win; 1 for an OT loss; 0 for a reg. loss.
HOW IS IT MORE CONFUSING THAN EVERYONE BEING at or around .500? I don't know who's bad anymore (except Columbus, bless their hearts)!
Now I love me some Brian Burke, but his whole "that's confusing" comment makes me want to hunt down his elementary school math teacher and staple headphones playing banjos covering Nickelback on repeat to his/her ears. Hockey is about EARNING what you get, and I don't see how this current system that rewards teams for almost winning fits into that landscape. at least with your system it's balanced.
My take: Thank you, my friend. I’ve been pushing for that point system for a long time, ever since it first came up at a GMs meeting in Henderson, Nev., in February 2004 (which I covered). It just makes so much sense. Three points for a 60-minute win would reward the better teams in this league and help the cream rise to the top as it deservedly should. That’s my opinion, and I won’t change it.
woobx: Pierre, can you please explain to me what exactly is going wrong with the Anaheim Ducks, because it seems like they have the perfect combination of veterans and young talent. Watching this 7-game road trip was so demoralizing then they put the cherry on top by not even showing up in Detroit. You can tell that frustrations are starting to set in with Selanne getting a game misconduct in Detroit. I'm starting to feel bad for the guy now because it seems like he's the only person on that team that wants to win and shows up every night.
My take: I know the Ducks are privately disappointed in Jonas Hiller this season (.902 save percentage), but to me, it runs deeper than that. Teemu Selanne is a sure-bet Hall of Famer and one of my favorite people to ever play the game. But at 41, it’s not a good sign when he’s far and away leading your team in scoring with 14 points with Correy Perry, last season’s NHL MVP, five points back for second and Ryan Getzlaf six back. Bobby Ryan has only six points, and that’s fourth in team scoring. The big boys have to wake up.
awoundedzebra: While the Lightning have shown resiliency the past couple of games by coming back from 2 and 3 down, I don’t like how they are giving the other team the lead so early in the game. How can they fix this, especially since two of their top d-men are getting hurt (Ohlund and Hedman), does Stevie Y need to look outside the organization or can they turn this around? I fear that they won’t be able to comeback for a lot of the games this season.
My take: Well as I reported earlier this season in one of my Rumblings blogs, Steve Yzerman has been working the phones in the search of help on defense. It may take a while because Yzerman wants to add a top-four type -- that’s a major transaction. But that’s his goal, whether it happens before Feb. 27 or waits until the offseason. They need help on the blue line; they give up way too many chances.
ssawas47: The Dallas Stars have been riding high and have been overlooked by many because of the loss of Brad Richards. They have shown everything you want in a championship contender with their strong physical play, outstanding goaltending, and new life on the blueline (post Zubov). Let’s not forget that the Stars have new ownership on the way. So what do the Dallas Stars have to do get some credibility in their play as of late? Would you consider the Benn-Erikkson combo being one of the most underrated top line players in the NHL? Where is the love, LeBrun??
My take: Well, my friend, I ranked them second overall in the Power Rankings on Monday. Is that not love? I remember talking to GM Joe Nieuwendyk during training camp and he told me point blank people were vastly underrated his team. It wasn’t the usual spin you get from a GM about his team. It was matter of fact. He was surprised people were overreacting so much to the loss of Brad Richards. The Stars added seven players in the offseason and have more depth than last year. They may dip a little at some point, but I think they’re playoff-bound.
CAR2687: So with the Blues making the move to release Payne from his coaching duties, and hiring Hitchcock, it seems that the organization isn't happy with the way things are going. As a fan, I'm extremely frustrated. I felt with a full season of Stewart, Perron hopeful to return by Jan 1, and the new veteran leadership that STL would make a strong push not only to the playoffs, but a sleeper in the Central. Special teams and a bad Halak have hurt that cause. Do the Blues need to make a move? Will Hitchcock light a fire under the guys, especially Halak? I love how Elliot is playing, but I don't know if I can rely on him to be this way for the full season. It's frustrating to have really good games against good teams like Van and Phi but then stink out the joint against Calgary.
My take: Know this: The whip is coming out in the form of Ken Hitchcock. The young core on this Blues team doesn’t know what’s coming at them. Hitch will be tough on them and make them accountable. If that doesn’t work, expect GM Doug Armstrong to make a trade or two. They won’t sit on their hands this season and allow the core to disappoint.