I'm going to assume that the reason for the delay in officially announcing Alain Vigneault as New York's next coach is because it was Father's Day Sunday. I would guess that there would be an announcement today. I don't guess that his presence will help Brad Richards any. And Rick Nash would probably get 75 next year with any coach - no coach can get much more out of him. It's some of the other players who will benefit from a new voice in the room - guys like Del Zotto.
I do have a tiny concern over Brassard. After all, he was flying under Tortorella. Messing with that could change things (and often does).
Remember Bill Thomas? Never got going, as you know. He finally gave up on the NHL and signed to play in the KHL.
Line combos last game for Boston, if you didn't catch them:
Horton - Krejci - Lucic
Marchand - Bergeron - Jagr
Kelly - Paille - Seguin
Daugavins - Peverley - Seguin (again)
These were the most common combos, per Frozen Pool. I thought Paille was fantastic. In fact, I thought he was great in the Pittsburgh series as well - not to mention that he had three points in the New York series. I remember being very interested in him as a prospect, and he actually had 19 goals and 35 points in 2007-08. But he never built on that and instead became a defensive specialist.
Line combos last game for Chicago:
Saad - Toews - Hossa
Sharp - Handzus - Kane
Shaw - Bolland - Bickell
Bollig - Kruger - Frolik
One loss and Coach Q bumps Bickell of the Kane line… as would any of us, given that they're running out of games to get it right.
No word on whether Mark Arcobello's one-year contract is a one-way deal. Generally when that news is hard to dig up, the answer is 'no'. The 24-year-old is another in a long list of small, skilled guys that I root for to get a shot. But it's not like the Oilers have a group of young forwards with high upside…plenty of room for him I'm sure. Yep.
I heard a sports talk radio host harping on how great Corey Crawford is. And later in the segment he scoffed at the notion of Ray Emery starting and getting them this far. We can forgive his ignorance - as a sports host he needs to know about a variety of sports and thus is not exceptional in any one. But Crawford is an average goalie behind an elite coaching system. It's cut and dried - you don't need any more proof than what is staring you in the face. The radio host gave the answer outright, even if he didn't know it - Ray Emery's numbers were almost exactly the same. Why is that? They're not the same person, right? They're not equal in terms of talent, according to Mr. Radio Host. Yet the numbers match. Because it's the coaching style!
Coaching style and talent is a huge influence on a goalie. Do you think if Mike Smith went to Toronto instead of Phoenix, he would have had the same success last year? No, he thrived in Phoenix. He and Bryzgalov weren't magically turned into elite goaltenders in Phoenix. Coaching.
Nashville is another example. I mean - every goalie they brought on board was magically awesome? Chris Mason? Dan Ellis? That's why I've been able to identify good fantasy goaltenders in advance. I see the coaching system, and I see opportunities. Here are some guys I picked off in advance:
Jimmy Howard - Actually, I identified him a little early and he ended up sitting on my bench for two years before he got rolling. But at least he got there. The Red Wings were without any other options in their system, so even though he was unspectacular, I knew.
Pekka Rinne - The Preds were riding Mason and I knew that wouldn't last forever. Mason had his moments, but again he was an average goalie in a great system. I knew Rinne would be a part of that. Not to the extent that he has been, but yes I scooped him up in advance.
Opportunities that I see now:
New Jersey - You know I've been watching these prospects like a hawk, waiting for 'the retirement'. But the only one who has stood out is Scott Wedgewood.
Phoenix - If Mike Smith goes, does Mark Visentin get in? It's too early for Visentin and I didn't like how he got injured last year. Will that happen again? Smith, Labarbera and Chad Johnson are all UFA's this summer. The Coyotes will sign two goalies and I'll be watching if the starter is a Band-Aid Boy.
Buffalo - Matt Hackett. Get on him like a fat kid on a smartie. Of course, you'll get screwed if the Sabres extend Miller…
Calgary - Of course. Assuming Kipper retires, Karri Ramo and Reto Berra are the goalies
The Isles (Poulin) and the Wild (Kuemper) are other situations I'll be watching. Two weeks into free agency, I'll re-do this list with the situations much more clear. NHL teams will be playing musical goalie in July, no question.
Did you see this? Jagr's favorite player growing up? Haha