THE GM SEARCH
It's the new cool to fire the general manager in the NHL, with the Canucks (Mike Gillis), Penguins (Ray Shero) and Capitals George McPhee) all doing so. Of course, that just creates more speculation and options for new Canucks President Trevor Linden. And the speculation has been somewhat rampant. But let's quickly look at Shero and McPhee before I drop the bomb.
The easiest thing to criticize about Shero is his drafting record. He was hired as Penguins GM in May of 2006. Here are his drafting "hits" since then:
-Jordan Staal, 2nd overall, 2006 Entry Draft.
-Robert Bortuzzo, 78th overall, 2007
-Jake Muzzin, 141st overall, 2007
-Simon Depres, 30th overall, 2009
-Beau Bennett, 20th overall, 2010
-Joe Morrow, 23rd overall, 2011
-Derrick Pouliot, 8th overall, 2012
-Olli Maata, 22nd overall, 2012
No, not very impressive, but not terrible either. I thought Josh Yohe from the Pittsburgh Tribune really summed it up nice when he said:
Shero’s draft record isn’t great. In particular, the Penguins have struck out mightily in later rounds. Is this Shero’s fault, or are the Penguins in need of a revamped scouting staff? You be the judge. But the fact is, the Penguins never have a high draft pick. On the one occasion that they did – the Jordan Staal trade made that possible in 2012 – they selected a player in Pouliot who the organization absolutely loves.
And really, was Ray Shero’s job ever to concern himself with the long term, with the future? Absolutely not. When the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009, it became clear that the future had arrived. And, it had. Shero responded by giving the Penguins a roster to compete for a Stanley Cup from 2010-2014. And that’s exactly what he did.
Yep, Shero is famous for firing Michel Therrien prior to the 2009 playoffs and promoting Dan Bylsma, who led to the team to a Stanley Cup win in 2009. But even more impressive was his trade history in those times. Examples, via NHL.com:
Feb. 26, 2008: Shero trades forwards Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen, the rights to forward Angelo Esposito and a 2008 first-round pick to the Atlanta Thrashers for forwards Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis.
June 22, 2012: Shero trades forward Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin and the eighth pick of the 2012 draft, which was used to select defenseman Derrick Pouliot. Later that night the Penguins draft defenseman Olli Maatta with the No. 22 pick.
Here are 2 dud deals:
Did you know that:
June 14, 2013: Shero is named the NHL General Manager of the Year. Wow. It doesn't take long to name a sacrificial lamb does it?
More on Shero deals and more at NHL.com.
He has Canucks ties. From his Wiki page:
In 1992, McPhee landed his first major NHL management position, starting as vice president and director of hockey operations as well as alternate governor for the Vancouver Canucks, assisting then general manager Pat Quinn. With McPhee, the team made the playoffs four times, won a division championship, and played in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, which they lost to the New York Rangers.
He became the GM of the Capitals in 1997:
When McPhee joined the Capitals in 1997, the team was looking to turn around its long storied history of being a regular season juggernaut, only to fold in the playoffs. Things started off great, as McPhee engineered the club's first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first season (where they got f*cked by the Wings). The team has played well under the general management of McPhee, having won seven Southeast Division championships (1999–2000, 2000–01, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2012-2013), had eight 40-or-more win seasons (1997–98, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10 and 2010–11, 2011-12) and a franchise record 121-point season (2009–10).
Damn he was in Washington a long time. So let me give you a list of names of players that were drafted by Washington on McPhee's watch:
-Nick Boynton (1997), Krys Barch (1998), Brian Sutherby (2000), Matt Pettinger (2000), Johnny Oduya (2001), Steve Eminger, Alexander Semin and Boyd Gordon (2002), Eric Fehr (2003), Alexander Ovechkin, Jeff Schultz, Mike Green (2004), Nicklas Backstron, Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth and Mathieu Perrault (2006), Karl Alzner (2007), John Carlson (2008), Braden Holtby (2008), Marcus Johansson (2009).
From there it's a bunch of possibles and wait and see's and fails. Not bad though, George.
Positivity in the rebuilding years:
.....after the Capitals started the 2008 season with a 6-14-1 record, McPhee fired Glen Hanlon on November 22 and replaced him with Hershey Bears coach Bruce Boudreau. The coaching shake up worked, and the 2007–08 season would end with an unprecedented comeback and an unexpected Southeast Division Championship. McPhee's prowess as a general manager would be verified in the trade deadline pickups of veterans Sergei Fedorov, Matt Cooke and Cristobal Huet, all of which would play a large role in leading the Capitals to their third Southeast Division Championship.
Yeah but they sucked in the playoffs.
Let's dip into McPhee's trading history, via Japers' Rink.
March 13, 2001 Caps acquired Trevor Linden, Dainius Zubrus and a 2nd round pick in the 2001 Entry Draft (later traded to Tampa Bay, Andreas Holmqvist) from Montreal for Jan Bulis, Richard Zednik and a 1st round pick in the 2001 Entry Draft (Alexander Perezhogin).
November 10, 2001 Caps acquired a 1st round pick in the 2002 draft and a 3rd round pick in 2003 from Vancouver for Trevor Linden and a 2nd round pick in either 2002 or 2003.
Sorry, let me remove my homer glasses.
March 19, 2002 Caps acquire Maxime Ouellet and 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks in the 2002 draft from Philadelphia for Adam Oates.
January 23, 2004 Caps acquired Anson Carter from NY Rangers in exchange for Jaromir Jagr.
Feb. 26, 2008 Caps acquired Matt Cooke from Vancouver for Matt Pettinger.
July 1, 2011 Caps acquired a 1st round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft and a 2nd round pick in the 2012 or 2013 Entry Draft from Colorado for Semyon Varlamov.
March 4, 2014 Caps acquired Dustin Penner from Anaheim for a 4th round pick in the 2014 Entry Draft.
There are a lot of other moves made by McPhee in that Japers' Rink piece.
I have already written an historic piece on Jim Benning here. Honestly, I think Benning is the better choice of the 3. And just to give you a heads up:
As others may have already mentioned, BOS asst GM Jim Benning had second interview with VAN's Trevor Linden this week.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 17, 2014
Linden has continued to interview others but Benning's interview reportedly went well. He remains leading candidate for GM, at this point.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 17, 2014
So yeah. Get 'er done, Trev.
THE HEAD COACH SEARCH
Wait until the GM search is over. You don't hire a new coach before the new GM. The GM will want a coach he can work with. And really, the coaching job could be anybody...really. Doesn't have to be an NHL coach. What I do find strange is that the Canucks did not fire the quiet guy, Glen Gulutzan.
IIHF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Kevin Bieksa-led team Canada is 4-0-1 in the tournament so far. They play Sweden in the preliminary round today. A lot of concern for Alexandre Burrows after being injured by a knee-on-knee hit by Italy's Joachim Ramoser:
Fortunately, Burr only sustained a charlie horse on the play and will return to action.
-All of the general team stats can be seen here.
-Here are the Canucks players' stats in this tourney:
1. Kevin Bieksa: 1 goal 1 assist, +4 and 22:23 ice time averaged over 5 games.
2. Jason Garrison: 4 assists, a +4 and 22:27 ice time over 4 games.
3. Alex Burrows: 1 assist, a -1 and 10:57 ice time over 5 games.
Former Canuck Cody Hodgson leads the team with 6 goals and 1 assist in 5 games. 3 of those 6 goals are game-winners.
A huge congrats to the Finnish Flash for an excellent career. But no offence, Teemu, my favorite moment of yours was this:
Not like Teemu gave a shit. He still scored 76 goals and 132 points in that rookie season.
Happy retirement Teemu! You're a beauty.