NHL 2020-21 Recap Week 7 – Fired Flames Coach, Angry Inept Sabres, Jerky Tom Wilson
Another week, another NHL head coach has been fired. This time after a big 7-3 win against the Ottawa Senators. Apparently, playing the Ottawa Senators will lead to your coach being fired no matter the outcome. This one is also a head-scratcher, albeit for different reasons. The Calgary Flames’ last real coach was Bill Peters, who was a jerk. Because of his jerkiness, he was canned, and Geoff Ward was named Interim coach. He probably wasn’t anyone’s first choice, but he did pretty good as interim coach, so they just made him the coach. After a .500 record, they decided to part ways. I don’t have a problem with the move, but they aren’t exactly playing terribly, and it’s during a pandemic season. The problem is who they replaced Ward with, Darryl Sutter.
Sutter has been an NHL coach for 20 years and then retired. He should have stayed retired. While he did take the Flames to a Stanley Cup Final and won two Stanley Cup Finals as the Kings’ coach, it’s more about how it ended with the Kings. It became so bad, Sutter was locked out of the dressing room by garbage cans. The players tuned him out and didn’t want to listen to another tirade. I don’t think a verbally abusive coach is much better than a racist and physically abusive coach. The Flames need better coaching, but the organization’s people don’t know how to find them.
Things I like
1. Have I mentioned how much I love overtime hockey? On Friday night during the Chicago Blackhawks vs Tampa Bay Lightning’s overtime, there were three breakaways and three two-on-ones in succession, and that was just in the first two minutes. It bogged down a bit after a penalty, and then they went to the shootout. Lame. They really need to make overtime ten minutes.
Things I don’t
1. I’ll admit I don’t follow the Buffalo Sabres much. But they’ve been in the news a lot lately. Jack Eichel possibly requesting a trade. Other teams inquiring about him regardless. General Manager Kevyn Adams said he’ll evaluate the head coach because he’s angry. The Sabres thinking of starting the rebuild over. If you never finished the first rebuild, do you really need to start another one? It’s evident to me this team has no idea what they are doing. You start with building a team through the draft. Other than Jack Eichel, who was a pick no one could screw up, they haven’t gotten much else right. They keep spending big money on free agents that never pan out. But if you can’t evaluate players to draft, logically, you wouldn’t be able to evaluate free agents properly either. But they shouldn’t even be spending money on free agents. You acquire free agents when you are a couple of players away. Not when you are rebuilding. Taylor Hall should never have gone there. It would be ironic if the coach got fired because that was the only reason he came.
2. The NHL suspended Tom Wilson again. This time for seven games for his brutal hit on Boston Bruin Brandon Carlo, hitting his head flush with the boards. This is now the fifth time he’s been suspended by the NHL. This doesn’t include all the other questionable hits he wasn’t given a suspension. You wonder why he’s still in the NHL. He clearly isn’t learning from his mistakes. He also has the most penalty minutes since entering the NHL in 2013. There’s the door Wilson. Don’t let it hit you on your way out.
3.I had been looking forward to the string of Toronto Maple Leafs vs Edmonton Oilers games. The top two teams in the division going at it and top stars like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl vs John Tavares and Auston Matthews. But the games were duds. The Oilers scored one goal in three games, and the Maple Leafs scored 13. The Oilers have come along way, but they lack the depth, firepower, and experience the Maple Leafs have. This isn’t a good omen for their potential second-round playoff match-up. The Maple Leafs looked to be running away with the division, but they dropped two to the Vancouver Canucks, who seem to have some life left.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
A good slate of fights this week. I picked the wildest ones.
Dylan Cozens vs Ryan Lindgren
Tom Wilson vs Jarred Tinordi
Ryan Reaves vs Kurtis Gabriel
Goats of the Week
Joel Kiviranta – Dallas Stars
This was one of the worst plays ever. I don’t know what Kiviranta was trying to do. But he passed it right to a wide open Oliver Bjorkstrand in front of the net. You can guess what happened. The Stars lost by one, 3-2.
Tristan Jarry – Pittsburgh Penguins
Although the Penguins won two of three from the Philadelphia Flyers, they should have won all three. On the game tying goal, Jarry doesn’t know what to do with the puck. He eventually passes it to the Flyers who take advantage of him not being set. He should have stayed in his crease.
The game winning goals wasn’t anyone’s fault in particular but a few Penguins had a few chances to clear and didn’t. This completed the comeback by the Flyers who were down 3-0.
Stat Line of the Week
03/01/21 Vegas 5 vs. Minnesota 4
The Vegas Golden Knights have made a lot of great acquisitions over the years but Mark Stone has been the best. Stone dished out a primary assist on every Vegas goal in their game against the Minnesota Wild. The Golden Knights did would they usually do in the third period, make a comeback. They tied it with 52 seconds left and won it in two minutes into overtime. Stone is seventh in the NHL in assists (21), surrounded by some pretty good company.
3 – Straight shutouts for Andrei Vasilevskiy
1 – Second left in overtime when Victor Hedman’s blast was tipped by Alex Killorn for the game winner against the Chicago Blackhawks
1 – Retirement by Brent Seabrook who won three Stanley Cups with his defensive partner Duncan Keith on the Chicago Blackhawks
7 – Unanswered goals scored by the Montreal Canadians against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday
6 – Unanswered goals by the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Blackhawks on Sunday
1 – Fairmont Hotel abruptly closing down due to COVID related bankruptcy that sent the Vegas Golden Knights homeless during their trip to San Jose to play the Sharks
2 – Really bad calls by the refs in the Calgary Flames vs Ottawa Senators overtime on Sunday. Senators deserved at least one power play not zero.
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
March 01, 1977 Boston rookie defenseman Mike Milbury had four assists while teammate Gregg Sheppard scored his third hat trick of the season (and the 4th of his career) in the Bruins 8-3 win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings.
March 02, 1993 Teemu Selanne scored 3 goals to break the NHL record for goals by a rookie. His 54th of the season broke the mark set by Mike Bossy for the Islanders in 1977-78. Winnipeg Jets lost 7-4 to the visiting Quebec Nordiques.
March 03, 1990 Flyers’ Tim Kerr became the 4th player in franchise history to score 350 goals as a member of the Flyers. The milestone came when Philadelphia lost 5-3, at Edmonton.
March 04, 1980 Vancouver’s Stan Smyl had two assists to establish a new club record for consecutive point scoring streak (12 games) as the Canucks beat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1. Smyl scored 5 goals and 17 assists during the streak.
March 05, 1992 Mats Sundin had five goals (his third career hat trick) and added two assists as Quebec won 10-4 over the Whalers, at Hartford. It ended the Nordiques’ team-record 33 game road winless streak (0-25-8) from the start of the season.
March 06, 1979 Bryan Trottier scored his 100th point of the season (for the second year in a row) when he picked up an assist in a 3-2 Islanders’ loss to the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
March 07, 1988 St. Louis Blues obtained right winger Brett Hull and Steve Bozek from Calgary, in exchange for defenseman Rob Ramage and goaltender Rick Wamsley.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
2. NY Islanders
5. Tampa Bay
28. San Jose
27. New Jersey