The World Cup of Hockey 2016

Team USA’s exit from the World Cup of Hockey is something I have mixed feelings about.

On one hand, I’m sorry for the players. They did as they were told and as they had been selected to do. They were chosen for grit and for the physical aspects of the game. They played to those guidelines. It wasn’t enough.

So on the other hand, I hope that this will help spur the future Team USA management groups into considering all aspects of the game as opposed to only the physical ones. Coach Quenneville once said something that boiled down to: if a team is focused on hits, that means they don’t have the puck. The self-congratulatory way the Team USA management proclaimed that they had built a team to be gritty failed to take into account a need to score goals.

They decided that skill players could be interchanged for players that liked to play a physical game, and players on the blue line should be big and imposing as opposed to players inclined to moving the puck forward. How did they expect that to go? You can play a physical game all you want, but if the opponent is simply faster than you, how are you going to hit them? How do you catch them to get the puck back?

To me, after looking at the roster, I was skeptical, but it was really the coaching decisions that made me feel like the ending was inevitable. Starting Quick over Bishop? Byfuglien is the healthy scratch? I mean, okay, yeah, maybe, but you have to play smart. You have to make creative plays and you have to move fast. Just playing a gritty game isn’t going to win it for you.

And while Team USA going out is sad, it’s not surprising.

Team North America going out? Now that’s disappointing beyond imagination. This team is something unprecedented.

The amount of raw talent on Team North America is unreal. Not only are they fast, they’re creative. They’re willing to try plays and combinations that some of the more experience players won’t. Chris Chelios rightfully said that they’re willing to try things because they don’t see them as being impossible yet. The talent of this team, the unique blend of speed and skill is something we won’t likely see again. Even if the NHL does a World Cup with another Team North America, and McDavid, and Eichel, and Matthews are all still eligible, it’d be insane for their respective nations to allow them to play for anyone but their own country.

McDavid has already said he wants to play for Team Canada in the next one. And Team Canada would be foolish to not allow it. I would expect similarly with some of the other younger guys. If they even have another Under 24 team for the next World Cup.

Team North America was fascinating to watch. Dynamic, fast, smart, enthusiastic. It’s incredibly disappointing that we won’t get to see them play further.

I hope Team North America understands how much the hockey community appreciated them. The fastest game in sports, and they not only made it faster, but they played it with so much skill and genuine love for the game. This is the future of hockey, and it’s beautiful.

team-north-america

To Team North America: Thank you. It was an absolute pleasure watching you play.

And to Team USA: what did you expect lol

-Caitlynn

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It’s Just Business

I realize everyone has already done their analysis of the complete malarkey that happened on June 29th. I decided to take some time to cool off. Think it over.

And after some consideration, I’m still furious.

Some are lauding those roughly 30 minutes as the craziest in league history and it’s hard to argue that they weren’t. Those two trades were some of the most bizarre 1-for-1 trades the league has seen. And in terms of PK Subban and Shea Weber, downright insulting.

Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson was bad. And even after signing Milan Lucic yesterday, the hole left in the roster is far from filled. While that trade is extremely lopsided, they did at least trade a forward for the defense they needed. As Peter Chiarelli said, defense is costly right now. But Taylor Hall? First overall draft pick from 2010? The Taylor Hall that has been at least second in points on the Oilers since he was drafted? That Taylor Hall? For Adam Larsson. Eh, it happens. Chiarelli is no stranger to making bad trades with the 2010 draft picks. (Thanks for Seguin, Chiarelli.)

Which brings us to the abysmal PK Subban-Shea Weber trade. My first criticism is that, if sources and rumors are to be believed, Bergevin was approached by Edmonton for Subban. And clearly, they were willing to pay big for a top level defenseman. (Just imagine a Taylor Hall playing in front of Carey Price. Picture it. I guess thank the Lord that it didn’t pan out that way, but come on now.)

If the trade had been announced that morning PK Subban for Taylor Hall, yeah it would have still been a risky trade, but at least the apparent value in player would seem more reasonable. It also always seems more reasonable (at least in my amateur opinion) that you trade players of different positions, i.e. a defense for a forward. Instead, we have a one-for-one defenseman for defenseman trade of arguably one of the best defenseman still in his prime for the veteran Shea Weber.

Now, Weber is a good player. (We will all ignore his performance in Game 7 against the Sharks.) Weber and Subban play similar games. Strong defense, strong shots, good at getting points. Weber, though, had his place in Nashville. That was his home, his team. He was captain of that team. It’s hard to argue against the idea that Shea Weber and Roman Josi were one of the most dangerous d-pairs in the league. While numbers are just numbers, Josi and Weber had good ones.

Weber’s career should have finished out in Nashville. Period. And while that’s my opinion, I feel very strongly about it.

Now let’s talk about poor PK Subban. Subban should have finished out his career in Montreal. Period. PK Subban who had a no movement clause that would have kicked on July 1st. There is not one other player I can think of who loved his team’s community more than PK Subban loved Montreal. And Montreal loved PK Subban. How do you not love a guy that donates $10 million to a children’s hospital and proceeds to visit the children in that hospital so much he had 1) an atrium named after him and 2) his own parking spot. It shouldn’t need pointing out, but $10 million is a lot of money. It also just so happens to be more than he makes in a year. So let that sink in. Just absorb that. PK Subban donated $1 million more than he makes in a year to a children’s hospital, visited those kids regularly (sources say almost weekly, isn’t that something), and now will no longer be calling that city home.

Forget the team, forget the business of it. Imagine the impact this is going to have on those kids. If you want proof that Bergevin doesn’t care about the ramifications and the impact this will have on Montreal the community, there you go.

And for just a second let’s talk about the reason he was traded: “character issues”. PK Subban, character issues? You’re got to be joking. Not only is PK Subban all over the media in the most positive ways imaginable (again, $10 million to a children’s hospital), they just signed two forwards who have been in the limelight for scandals. Andrew Shaw, Chicago’s bad boy who called a ref several slurs over a penalty he disagreed with, and Alexand Radulov, who was suspended in the NHL once for missing curfew (As a Predator with Shea Weber as his captain) and then, get this, hitting his coach with a hockey stick in the KHL. Yikes.

So, let’s move on to what the league said to smooth things over. PK Subban was traded because his “popularity” and “personality” did not fit in with what Montreal was trying to achieve.

Excuse me?

I’m sorry, let me get this straight: You DON’T want a player to bring your team popularity? PK Subban has the second most popular jersey sales for defense. I liked the Habs for two reasons: Carey Price and PK Subban. PK Subban probably just rakes in money for the Habs organization, but you don’t want his popularity or personality on your team.

I don’t buy any of it.

Michel Therrien had documented problems with PK Subban. To the point that, back in February, he placed sole blame for the Hab’s loss to the Avalanche on PK Subban losing an edge and falling before the game winning goal was scored.

Word for word: “Too bad an individual mistake cost us the game late in the game”.

It’s one thing to think that. It’s one thing to tell Subban that behind close doors. It’s one thing for Subban to take the blame himself. It is completely disrespectful and cruel for the coach to tell a room full of media that PK Subban lost them the game.

When you’re in charge of people, you need to understand how to tactfully handle disagreements. And calling someone who is essentially your employee out in front of media, and coincidentally the thousands of people who will watch or read what you said, is not the way you handle anything tactfully. Therrien has not kept it a secret that him and PK don’t see eye to eye.

This is our Patrick Roy-Mario Tremblay trade. This is what it looks like when the management and front office chose the coaching staff over the player. (Even after Bergevin flat out said he wasn’t shopping PK Subban. Funny how that worked out.)

Shea Weber is not going to be able to fill in for PK Subban. Not on the blue line, not in that city.

PK Subban is going to have a tough time trying to fill Shea Weber’s shoes in Nashville. He was their captain.

For the second time, in nearly the same season, Montreal has had a hand in taking the heart and spirit of a team and removing it entirely. They had a hand in the John Scott debacle, and now this.

And for me, this time, it is unforgivable.

Post Season Thoughts from Caitlynn

This season. There’s so much to say about this season. I’ll start with the fact that despite not going as far as everyone would have liked in the post-season, the Dallas Stars were not there by accident. Despite all the criticism of their style of play, the goal-tending, the unsustainable offensive, they made it because they deserved to be there.

Let’s take a quick look at some numbers:

Stars were ranked first for goals scored with 265 (Capitals in second with 248… Just a 17 goal difference, no big deal.)

Stars ranked first in assist with 433.

Stars ranked first in empty net goals at 24.

Stars only shut out once in the season. Only team to score in all games but one.

Stars ranked second in power play goals with 58.

Stars ranked third in shots on goal with 2624.

Stars ranked fourth on the powerplay, fifth in shorthanded goals.

I’ll go ahead and stop there, but those are some impressive statistics. So yeah, we didn’t go as far as we could have in the post season, but by God did we earn our spot there. By God did we earn top of the Western Conference, second in the league.

Some of my favorite moments from this season include:

-Niemi being the only goalie to ever post a shutout and record two assist in a game

-Seguin’s hat trick against Boston

-Eaves’ hat trick against Chicago

-Janmark’s first goal in his first game

-Johns first goal

-Jason Dickinson’s first goal in his first game

-Johns knocking James Neal into our bench

-Jordie scoring on the power play, getting two game winners in three games, and his fight against Selleck

-Also when he scored in Minnesota and they compared him to Yukon Cornelius and he posted it on Instagram

-Roussel’s goal against the Wild in the playoffs and his subsequent interview (“It was like a Sidney Crosby goal or something.”)

It was a good season. We lost some, but we won 50. Italia and I grew to pretty genuinely like (sometimes begrudgingly) our seat neighbor who annoyed us before. I look forward to the coming season. We have a bright future ahead of us, and I want to thank them for the season the just played.

It’s bittersweet for the it to end, but I believe in the Dallas Stars. I do.

-Caitlynn