This has been on my mind for a while.
I constantly see people (mostly Detroit Red Wings fans) getting upset or in an uproar over Ken Holland’s moves or lack of production lately. The same can be said for general manager Lou Lamoriello in New Jersey. They haven’t seen the playoffs in a few years. At least Detroit has. As an eighth seed.
The case here is that everyone eventually goes down. It does not matter who you are or what you do. Everyone has to fall.
Ken Holland made Detroit years ago the place every top free agent wanted to play in a cap-less environment. They were like Chicago and Los Angeles are now. Even after the cap was put in around the 2005 lockout, they were still a powerhouse. Pavel Datsyuk was chosen in what round? Oh yeah, around the sixth round. Henrik Zetterberg was a seventh round pick. If you ask me those are probably the two best ever sixth and seventh round picks you will ever see.
Since then though the game has changed. His players have gotten older. Detroit is simply not the powerhouse it used to be and he’s clinging on to Zetterberg and Datsyuk really. Along with coach Babcock. I would say the move that crippled Holland’s team the most was Lidstrom retiring. He still had a few years left in him. They were around a fifth place team in the west with him there. Now they would be lucky to even be in eighth in the eastern conference. A player like Lidstrom is simply irreplaceable. Picture the Los Angeles Kings without Drew Doughty in the playoffs or Chicago without Duncan Keith. They would lose that fire on the blue line. It doesn’t matter who plays up front when you lose an anchor like that.
The same can be said for Lou Lamoriello. He was the best general manager in hockey in the late 90s along with Ken Holland. Brian Burke once claimed the Devils were the most well run organization in hockey. Now look at them. They cling on to more past their prime players than the Detroit Red Wings do. They passed the torch to Los Angeles and Chicago as well. They have no prospect pool or depth to speak of and the only thing going for them is getting Cory Schneider. I will admit as a Vancouver fan that that guy can play his ass off in net. He will be a top five goalie in the league soon enough. Getting rid of him was hard to take. But outside of him their roster is puke worthy.
This all shows no one stays on top forever. Coaches come and go and so do general managers. In ten years from now we may be complaining about Peter Chiarelli (Boston’s general manager) hanging on to past their prime players.
A question was recently brought up on if there are any NHL prospects that resemble the Big E.
There are not, no question about it.
His combination of size, speed, and skill may never be seen in the NHL again. Before the 2000-2001 season he was quite easily the best player in the league for a number of years.
How he never won a cup is beyond me. It’s a shame his career was cut short with injuries.
Although the game is getting a lot bigger and more gritty since the 2004-2005 lockout, I highly doubt we see someone with Eric Lindros’ physical attributes and talents ever again. There will be another Crosby but there most likely won’t be another Lindros.
A lot of pundits always complain about the Philadelphia-Quebec trade but looking back at it it was a good tradeoff.
A poster on a popular hockey forum recently reported that Gary Mason of the Team 1040 in Vancouver claimed that three scouts have said Jim Benning (GM of the Vancouver Canucks) is going hard after the first overall pick to take Vancouver native Sam Reinhart.
As someone who follows the Canucks closely, I say this is a smart move. The Canucks have no prospect pool and a core that may be dying. They don’t want to follow the Calgary Flames footsteps where they held onto their core for way too long and became a doormat in the league. When you look at the Flames roster right now it’s amazing they did not finish dead last in the league. Getting 13th in the Western Conference this year should feel like the Stanley Cup for their fans.
I don’t follow Sam Reinhart closely but he does look like he has skills. He is said to be the best prospect in the draft but that could be easily debatable with Aaron Ekbald (a highly touted defenseman from the Ontario Hockey League) in the running. Still, the Canucks don’t need that potentially number one d-man five years down the road. They are fine on the back end. They need some firepower up front. The Sedins were turned into shot blocking grinders by Tortorella and have lost their touch. Kesler is slacking.
That might be who they need to cut ties with in order to get the first overall pick or a better roster before it’s too late. Ryan Kesler or Alex Edler. I still want to give Edler a chance. Perhaps Torts system was a disaster…well for everyone it was.
Never would I say I could workout harder than an athlete in a gym or the weight room but this has to be one of two exceptions I’ve seen. The second being MMA fighter Tim Sylvia’s recent workout video.
I was watching TSN Sportscentre yesterday night and my eyes opened wide when the analysts were talking about how this top five (maybe even three) ranked prospect Sam Bennett from the OHL could not do one pullup. They even showed the video (which I could not find) and it was cringeworthy. Sorry, Sam.
Sports enthusiasts were quick to use the Kevin Durant combine example where he could not bench press 185 pounds. That is a bad argument as one would think benching 185 pounds at a height of 6’9 with long arms would be infinitely harder than a single pullup. Not being able to do a single pullup shows a lack of back strength or work being put in the gym quite frankly.
Someone said it best where you can teach a pullup but you can’t teach a saucer pass, a laser wrist shot, or to skate well. That is true. However in today’s NHL where the big boys dominate the league such as the LA Kings and Boston Bruins, two physical teams with most players being over 200 lbs, this guy will get exposed. A team that wants to model to play those two teams will not be interested at all in this kid unless he starts putting serious work in the gym.
How is he going to win the battles on the boards or throw people around when he can’t do one pullup?
My grandpa probably could.
Here’s his highlight below which shows he has skills but with the direction the NHL is being taken with big bodied teams dominating the postseason, he might not be able to make some noise.
Get in the gym Sam.