Stanley Goes to Motown. Again.

Mike:  You can exhale, uncross your fingers and toes, uncover your eyes, put down the four-leaf clovers, and – for heaven’s sake – let the rabbit have his feet back.  The Wings’ Cup championship was well deserved;  they outlplayed their rivals from Steeltown, and it would have been an unjust result had they not prevailed.  There had to be a few million Maalox consumed in the Motor City, though, following the harrowing final seconds of the game, with Osgood down and a loose puck bouncing – like deja vu – to the right of the goal and a Pittsburgh attacker whacking away at it with his stick as the clock.  Ticked.  Slowly.  Down.

In other hockey news, the Leafs have apparently made Ron Wilson an offer.  The guy has put up some decent numbers with teams in the regular season, he was at the helm of the Capitals (failed) run to the final in 1998,  and he coached the U.S. team to victory in the 1996 World Cup, but it’s somewhat troubling to me that the Leafs – professing a desire not just to qualify for the playoffs each year, but to actually win the Stanley Cup – are hiring a guy that was just fired for, at least in part, not being able to get that job done.   I worry too that much of Wilson’s success came in the obstruction/holding era of the late 90′s.  On the other hand, Wilson’s teams have tended to be pretty good on both power play and penalty kill – two areas that were absolutely woeful for the Leafs this year.

Again I say, it’s almost impossible for an outsider – someone outside the dressing room – to really know whether a hockey coach is “good” or not.   So only time will tell, assuming Wilson takes the job, whether this was the right decision.  But Messrs. Peddie and Tanenbaum need to look over their blue and white clad shoulders – with 11 Cup championships now, the Wings are fast catching the Leafs in the “number of championships won” category.  I spent the early part of my life hoping that Mike Palmateer and Darryl Sittler would propel the Leafs past the hated bleu, blanc et rouge to the top of that list at some point in my lifetime;  now I just hope we don’t get passed by the likes of the cephalopod-waving juggernaut from Hockeytown.

3 comments to Stanley Goes to Motown. Again.

  • You have no idea the number of rabbits I’ve seen in the last couple of days here at work; visions of snares and foot removal had yet to play into it, though if they’d lost at Mellon, there would be fevered motions to provide blood sacrifices to the appropriate deities. Part of the superstition involves numerology of course: Detroit this playoff season have failed to wrap up a single series at home, so I didn’t like their chances in a game 7.

    Wilson’s a bit of an enigma to me; the rap on him is similar to Schottenheimer, who received le coffre prior to last season for never proving to be a playoff winner. And in San Diego, we suffered through the two months of ridicule with Norv before he showed he could win — granted, with the team that Marty had put together. The Sharks are in a similar proving year for GM Doug Wilson: with much the same player composition, will the coach make a significant difference?

    As for the Leafs I keep hearing that Ron Wilson is just the guy to lure in Brian Burke as the GM; now why you’d want Burke I can’t say (is it time to stop making fun of the moves he’s made to upset team chemistry, or has the fun just started?), but Wilson’s proven himself to be an able rebuilder, given a GM who’s willing to throw some bucks and loonies around to get some decent personnel on ice. My prediction, there’ll be a lovely 4-5 year arc of rising in the standings, a return to the playoffs (which will cause much joy to rain down on his head), and eventually, a search for a coach to take it to “the next level” despite highly competitive regular season teams. It’s just that it’s such a different atmosphere, the playoffs; whether it’s going (up to) seven games against the same team, and therefore intimately knowing all their capabilities and being able to adjust; or if it’s the frequent-travel grind; Wilson seems stuck with what worked in the regular season and doesn’t seem to adjust as quickly as needed.

    I also keep hearing about talk of new franchises, and in Sunbelt states, no less. How little does Gary understand finance? If six teams in Canada (20% of the total number of NHL teams) generate 31% of the total NHL revenue, why wouldn’t you find some way for some wayward Coyotes to find a path back to Winnipeg or Hamilton?

  • If six teams in Canada (20% of the total number of NHL teams) generate 31% of the total NHL revenue, why wouldn’t you find some way for some wayward Coyotes to find a path back to Winnipeg or Hamilton?

    I nominate Mike as the immediate replacement for Gary “can you guys see me over the top of the podium?” Bettman as league commissioner, assistant to the interim G.M. of the Maple Leafs, and – just to be safe – U.S. Ambassador to Canada.

  • I also wanted to point out Lord Stanley’s Washer for those of you who can make it out to Nova Scotia before Monday.