Questions In Need of Answers

Been too long my fellow hockey fans, but I am currently halfway through my MBA; so cut me some slack. Every time I think I have more time to dedicate on here, it never happens. I guess I jinx it.

Anyway, we are pretty much a month away from the Trade Deadline. Oooooo, so excited! There are some questions that need to be answered. Here is my new approach. No longer will it be “Challenging Mikster”, but something else which I will try to think of by the end of this column. All while listening to my Zune playlist. And yeah, it rocks.

Today’s topics! …… My cousin Vinny. Jay Bo. Coaching, and the such….

All to your liking. So, speak your mind out. Let’s see what you have to respond to what I have to say.

Will Vincent Lecavalier be traded? Will he be dealt to Montreal?

Most likely, no. Trading Lecavalier is like flipping a coin on whether it turns out good or bad. The good: The Bolts make a hell of a trade, acquire good players, and the team returns to playoff action shortly. The fans and sponsors will end up prefering the playoffs rather than their star player. After all, you are cheering your team, not just a player. The bad: The Bolts make a mediocre trade, have long ways to go to build for the playoffs, and you could see the team fold.

To Montreal? You know, I hardly believe that Montreal is actually, seriously interested in acquiring Vinny. I know Habs fans would adore him and treat him like a god, but let’s come back to reality. It would be irresponsible for Montreal to attempt trading for Lecavalier. Why? Here is the answer. TEN! You know what TEN stands for? The number of unrestricted free agents that Montreal has this year. TEN!!!! You want to include restricted free agents as well? Ok. SIX!!!! TEN……..PLUS……SIX……. SIXTEEN! SIXTEEN free agents for this year. Lecavalier will start earning $10M per season starting this fall.

What does this mean? Goodbye to Komisarek. Koivu. Lang. Higgins/Plekanec. Begin. And possibly other players. First of all, you have the trade, which means that Plekanec and, or Higgins will be heading to Tampa. Maybe even Markov? Who knows? Maybe both Kostytsin brothers? Then losing Komisarek, Koivu, maybe even Tanguay to free agency. Think about it folks. Is this really worth it for Montreal? I think not. So, I don’t believe it will happen. The Habs are already facing a lot of questions for next season. Who will they lose and keep? What will their defense look like next season? Tough….very tough decisions just to keep the team’s main core together. So how could any one expect Gainey to acquire Lecavalier?

Will Jay Bouwmeester be traded? If so, when?

Will he be traded? Yes. When? Not this season. The Florida Panthers are on the verge of having their best playoff race since nearly a decade. However, anything can happen where a team makes an insane offer and the Panthers bite it. Hardly will happen, though. So, here are the scenarios:

1) The Panthers maintain the 8th spot race for the next month and will look to acquire a player or two for help to make a better playoff run; thus, they do not trade Jay Bo and would most likely trade his rights before July 1.

2) The Panthers slip behind by a few points and see a lesser chance of making the playoffs; thus, they trade Jay Bo for the most they can get in a trade that helps them next season, the future, and possibly a player to help make a jump to regain the 8th seed this year.

3) They keep moving up the standings, have a decent playoff run, and re-sign Jay Bo at all costs.

Now, you may think that the third scenario is impossible since my dear friend Al Strachan made a statement on HNIC this past Saturday that Jay Bo made it known that he will not re-sign with the Panthers. FALSE. Jay Bo has never, ever, gone to the media and publicly stated that he wants out, especially this year. Jay Bo may be realizing how stable the franchise is becoming with Head Coach (and if he makes the playoffs he must be considered for the Adams) Peter DeBoer. The younger prospects shining with Michael Frolik, and Jacob Markstrom at the WJC. You never know what could happen.

What I expect? Jay Bo’s rights will be traded in June. Will the Panthers get less by taking this path? Yes. But, the playoffs are more important at this stage than to get less in return for Jay Bo. Do not listen to Al Strachan. He basically made himself look like an ass on Saturday trying to take cheap shots at Milbury. Do not listen to Eklund’s sources telling him a bunch of lies as well. His sources for the Florida Panthers have always been wrong. They were wrong on Jokinen, on Horton, and on Jay Bo right now. I don’t blame Ek, after all he is just doing his job. But, his sources are to blame. DeBoer publicly said that they won’t be sellers at the deadline. He wants Jay Bo for the playoffs, he will have him.

Where is the fairness in Ottawa?

There is none. Shame on Melnyk hiring Muckler in the first place, and further shame in hiring Murray as his replacement. Why do teams keep hiring this guy? Have they not noticed that he ruins teams? He did this in Anaheim as well, and left that team in a cowardly manner by lleaving them a mess of bad contracts. He helped the team make the Finals, which they then lost to the Devils. He then did not make a qualifying offer to Paul kariya claiming it was to expensive, but then went out to sign an aging Sergei Fedorov, and then Prospal. What happened then? They were out of the playoffs. Once again, killed a team.

He runs away to Ottawa as a head coach. He becomes the GM. He now has built a team of mediocre goaltending, below average defense, and kept a one-line team. All after attending the Cup Finals two years ago.

I cannot blame Craig Hartsburg much. I am sure he had his flaws, but I doubt any coach could push this team beyond 10th in the East. I sure as hell am happy that Murray chose Hartsburg over DeBoer in the end. I expect that the season will remain status quo for the Senators. I do not see him doing anything significant for March. I will tell you this, though. GM Murray will be fired after season’s end. And if not, well….sorry Sens fans, but your owner is an idiot.

Who has been the ……….. so far this season?

Who has been the best coach this season?

Without a doubt, Coach McLennan from the San Jose Sharks. He applies the same tactics of the Red Wings, and this year the Sharks are just downright scary. They are big, fast, strong, smart, experienced, energetic, and have a very good goaltender.

Who has been the most overrated coach this season?

Randy Carlyle of the Anaheim Ducks. Such a talented team and only three games above .500? Leaves my head scratching. Oh wait…..I have lice, that’s why. No I’m kidding. I actually have a shaved head, skinhead look. Works well in Florida.

Who has been the most underrated coach this season?

Without a doubt, Pete DeBoer of the Florida Panthers. He has good goaltending and a strong defense, but look at the forwards and it leaves you scratching your head as to how he has them scoring and winning games. I am watch the best Panthers hockey ever since coming to South Florida. He implemented the kind of style that suits this team’s assets. A good coach is one that understands his roster, and implements the kind of style and system that brings out the best in it. There is a fine line between such a coach, and another coach that has one system and one philosophy only, no matter what kind of roster he has. The Panthers play fun hockey. Good job Pete. Keep it up. South Florida loves you.

Who has been the most disappointing coach this season?

Tom Renney. I was split between Tom and Vigneault from the Canucks. How about a tie? Renney is a hell of a hockey person. Talk about one of the smartest hockey people in the world. He is a good coach, don’t get me wrong. He has done a good job, for the most part, with the Rangers. However, there is always an ending to every story. So…., sorry Tom, time’s up. Remember how I just previously stated that there is a fine line between a coach that makes the best use of his roster by giving them the right system and a coach that is a one system/phylosphy only? Renney is quite narrow-minded and does not exactly work out for such a Rangers squad. An example is the 1-0 loss to the Bruins. While it looks good since the Bruins are so far ahead, it was actually tragic. How can you play a defense-first style for 40 minutes of hockey, trailing 1-0, and then let your players go on the offense in the last 15 minutes of hockey or so? What happened in the 3rd period? The Bruins were badly outplayed and lucky not to have been scored upon. So, I was sitting there scratching my head as to why can’t they start games like this? Why not start with an offensive push, using the speed and skill that this team has, to get a lead? I can’t tell you how many times the Rangers allowed to be scored upon first this season. This is the kind of team that thrives on speed and energy, with good skating defensemen, yet they are sitting back waiting for the opposition to make an error.

And what’s with Renney hating Petr Prucha so much? He never liked the kid from the beginning. And no, it’s not because he is lazy or does not have a good personality. In fact, he is one of the hardest workers on the team. Every day he comes to practice with a smile giving 100%. Yet what does Renney do? Benches him, scratches him. And it’s funny because twice when Prucha came back from being a healthy scratch for God knows how many games, he scored. And every time he comes back, Drury plays better. But, Renney dislikes him for some stupid, odd reason. He prefers to punish Prucha over Dawes making a bad play, such as the one that led to Boston’s goal.

What about creativity/imagination? Minimal. It has been so obvious to knowledgeable Rangers fans that the team needs a sized forward on the wings for the top two lines with such a system. The Rangers are a small team up front, with the exception of Dubinsky and Orr. Sure Voros is tall, but the guy is barely 180 pounds. So why not try putting Dubinsky on the LW? He tried to do that after 50 games. In the third period. Against the Bruins. He, as reported by NYPost’s Larry Brooks, tried 14 distinctive line combos in a spand of under 15 minutes, in the third period. That is just insane.

Anyway, expect Renney to start showing some more desperation, and use a similar tactic to last year where he fumed in the last 25 games or so, and the team played good hockey all the way. He will not be fired this season, but if the Rangers face an early 1st round exit, then expect it.

Will the Detroit Red Wings acquire Vesa Toskala?

No offense to anyone who has asked that question, but ………… WHY? This is a Cup worthy team. Why go after an inconsistent goaltender? Why spend $4M on an inconsistent goalie for next season too? Ok, so you ask who they will go after? Beats me. Maybe they will take a wild chance on Gerber, Dan Ellis….? It’s time to goalie shop this summer for the Wings. And you know who they should really look into, who is a young UFA? Erik Ersberg of LA. This youngster’s got something special.

This is it for now. It’s not easy to just come up with stuff to wright about, so in times of trouble the best thing to do is ask yourself questions. If you have any questions that you would like me to answer (because my opinion is so incredibly important and vital to your hockey knowledge!), you can always leave me a private message. I will then post the questions in my next article and answer them. We’ll see how that goes.

Thanks for reading as always,

Micki Peroni


10 Responses to Questions In Need of Answers

  1. LeafsNation91 says:

    Great assessment, I loved reading it. Mclennan is a good coach, and should be up there. I think your dead on with Renney, and more him then Vignault. Just look at the roster of the New York Rangers. Zheredev, Drury, Gomez, Naslund, and so much more, and the best they can show is likely sixth in the East? Tom Renney has been a major dissapointment.

    Alongside Mclennan, or DeBoer, there should be Julien as well, besides the fact his Bruins are tops in the East, he led the team to an unblelievable season last year as well.

    Just, good artice.

  2. ranger_fan says:

    Honestly what are the Wings doing with Jimmy Howard? There is the solution. LONG TERM solution. And if he struggles, then address the need at the deadline or in the offseason.

    Renney benching Prucha is very discouraging. Renney not playing Fritsche for 22 games in a row was discouraging. Renney not keeping a 7th defenseman for over half the season is discouraging. Renney not being able to make up his mind on what the identity of this team should be is discouraging.

    Is it all Renney's fault? I don't think so, but jesus fire Pearn. 27th in the league in PP %? Honestly, I would approve of Dolan if he cleaned house. Sather buried this team in the offseason and neither him or Renney will ever get the job done. I'd approve of anyone not named Neil Smith and Brian Trottier right about now..

    Murray is a joke. Right on with that one. I guess my only other question to Mikster is who replaces Renney? Dictator? Like Pat Burns? Who was a defensive minded coach who doesn't take any crap? Do you see if Schoenfeld will step in? Al Trawtwig? Guy Hebert as GM?
    In all honestly, I'm not sure. You could gage Ulffy Sammuelsson's interest. Peter Lovolette, though he had a poor PP too. Ted Nolan would love to get back into the conference I'm sure. Bob Hartley?

  3. ranger_fan says:

    Just so people don't take it the wrong way – I just found out that Pat Burns has cancer again, and my suggestion earlier wasn't a joke.  I wish Pat well, and hope that he does make a full recovery – and then leads the Rags to the promise land. Al and Guy were meant as a joke.

  4. reinjosh says:

    san jose's coach is named mclellan not mclennan

  5. Bure96 says:

    Really good article.

    Is anybody else wondering whatever happend to Jimmy Howard in Detroit? He's playing good in the AHL, and has been considered one of those elite goalie prospect for years it seems, but they've never given him a chance. I think next year he'll be on the team, or else the Wings will just get rid of the kid. This is his 4th year in the AHL!

    I think the Panthers are a nice sleeper pick this year. We say that every year, but this is the 1st time they've looked like a real playoff team in a long time. J BO has became oe of the best defenders in the league, and they must keep this guy. He's a 7 million dollar player, and I can see him staying in Florida if they do well in the playoffs.

    Great article once again though. I always enjoy reading your articles mikster.

  6. leafy says:

    There are varying opinions on Bouwmeester, but I strongly believe that Florida would be making a huge mistake if they don't trade him for assets before the deadline.

    There are several reasons for this:

    1. Florida is not winning the Stanley Cup this year. In fact, they will likely lose in the first round to Boston, New Jersey or Washington.  Therefore, this playoff argument I keep hearing lately is pretty lame.

    2. Bouwmeester is too valuable to lose for nothing in July.

    3. Trading his rights in June will likely not give the Panthers nearly as much in return compared to trading him at the deadline.

    So again, holding on to J-Bo and losing him for nothing would be a HUGE mistake.

    Re Ottawa, agreed that ownership and management has been bad, but the coaching under Hartsburg has not been good either. This is a case where everybody's right.

  7. leafy says:

    To spice things up, this is my long-term forecast for the Panthers, which is highly relevant for J-Bo rumors.

    I notice they have a pretty tough schedule coming up after around Feb 10th. I'm predicting that they'll tail off by the beginning of March.

    I don't think there's a goalie in the league who sees more rubber than Tomas Vokoun (or Craig Anderson).  It's finally going to catch up with them (Vancouver anyone?).

    God knows I've got nothing against Florida. Just giving my honest impartial thoughts.

  8. paulieplatypus says:

    I feel some Rangers fans including you Mikster, have just horrible attitude towards the Rangers.  Believe it or not, in spite of their very respectable record and place in the standings, New York is rebuilding!  During this rebuilding process, Sather and Renney have continuosly lead this team into the playoffs going on four straight years now.  Look at the roster, just about every play on it (including many prospects in the minors, college, and abroad) will no doubt continue to improve each and every game they play.  All of these young players have very big upsides and the ones that don't develope as planned, will quickly get passed on the deep depth chart.

    For example, one of the many prospects that Sather has "never" delt away at the trading deadline, Artem Anisimov, was recalled from AHL Hartford and played on a line with Voros and Korpikoski in todays practice according to several columnists including Ranger Rants at  .  In addition, it was pointed out that Drury centered a line with Zherdev and Dubinski-on his left wing.  So now it looks like Dawes is going to sit out every game from now on with Prucha, unless someone gets injured or they don't play well.  Anyway it's just another example of a player getting passed in the depth chart, a nice problem so few teams are lucky enough to have. 

    What do you think of the problems that you just pointed out with Montreal, as well as with most other teams it seems, is having signing players?  Good thing Sather has every single player on the roster locked up for as many years as he wants to keep them!  And who has better knowledge of all the players in the system then Renney… You?  Peter Prucha was clearly passed in the depth charts a long time ago.  Just like Dawes was now passed, as well as Rissmiller and Fritsche were earlier in the year.  Not to mention Shanahan.

    Anyway Mikster, to make a short story long… I respectfully disagree with you about the Rangers.  I don't see how you could expect Renney or any other coach for that matter, to come up with a sytem based on the players they have on the roster, when just about every player on the roster is still having their talents evaluated?  Sather and Renney are clearly rebuilding, but yet are still one of the better team in hockey.  But all I hear are complaints and not any complements for a team that I'm extreamly happy with.  I really like the direction this team is going in and I'm shocked over how so many people seem so blind to this.   

  9. paulieplatypus says:

    I apologize, looking back it's not my intention to take such a stronge agumentative approach to your comments over such a small point.  I truly have nothing but the highest respect for your hockey knowelge as well as your many contributions to this site.  I very much, as always, look forward to your next postings.   

  10. mikster says:

    Thanks for the compliment, i highly appreciate it.

    I wouldn't call that group of forwards a bunch of top notch players. They are good, but not great. Still, you can expect Gomez scoring 70, Zherdev 70, Naslund 55, Drury 50…

    It's not so much their position in the East, but their performance on the ice.

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