1. More rumors, more denials
Hey is John Davidson coming to Calgary? No, says everyone involved, apparently. And yet the rumors persist, which is interesting especially given that his current employers, the St. Louis Blues, are going through a bit of a shakeup.
Despite all the "this didn’t happen" talk, would it really surprise you to see Davidson out job hunting? The Blues, under their new ownership, have seen more than a one front office guy get shuffled out, the latest being the team’s CEO over the weekend. Now, John Davidson is one of the dyed-in-the-woolest hockey guys on Earth, and one assumes that the Blues would be loath to 86 him, especially given the work he’s done in turning the Blues into one of the best teams in the league last season (disappointing playoff ouster notwithstanding, obviously).
It all makes sense. Ken King has largely been a failure at promoting a good hockey product in the past four years or so, and Davidson is an ultra-respected hockey guy with a proven track record. He also has an out in his contract that will allow him to do any old thing he likes if he chooses to walk away. The quotes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the new owner don’t exactly inspire confidence that Davidson thinks he’s long for the team, but I guess we have to take him at his word that he hasn’t had any talks whatsoever with the Flames about anything from a senior hockey ops job to the weather.
Would it be nice to get Davidson under the Flames’ umbrella? Sure. But I’m not holding my breath.
2. Can’t wait for this matchup
The Stanley Cup Finals began on Wednesday and I have to say I might be looking forward to it more than last year’s, and I was very much looking forward to last year’s.
These are two teams for whom I have next to no dislike, filled with players whose games I very much enjoy. This was the best possible matchup from any of the possible ones in the Conference Finals, as I would have been ill-tempered to see John Tortorella complain his way through as many as seven games in the Cup Finals (to say nothing of the largescale media bitchfest that would follow each of his pressers).
So help me, I just love Darryl Sutter hockey, and Pete DeBoer’s brand isn’t too bad itself. Both teams are aggressive in the forecheck, have dynamic two-way players on their top lines in Anze Kopitar and Zach Parise, both have strong defenses (obviously), both have excellent goalies, even if they’re going on opposite escalators to and from greatness — and I wonder if Jon Quick will ever come close to replicating this performance again.
I’m fully confident the Kings win, and I’m fully confident that, unlike their previous opponents, the Devils actually win more than once. But nonetheless, I’m very much anticipating these next six games or so.
3. Some thoughts on the Memorial Cup from an American, which you will surely hate
As a person who lives in America, you probably understand why I don’t get to see a lot of CHL games. Never mind regular season, and never mind the league playoffs, we didn’t even get a Memorial Cup game until the London/Shawinigan final.
So I watched it, for lack of any other hockey on television. And, well, the nicest thing I can say about it is that I hope that’s not representative of the entire CHL product. Obviously, the CHL is great for development of top-end players and can churn out some very good middle-of-the-road guys as well, but as far as entertainment value goes, that was some ugly, poorly-played hockey.
That’s not to say it wasn’t exciting. Low-scoring championship games that go to overtime are usually pretty watchable, but this was on the lowest imaginable end of that spectrum. I can’t imagine why people like this brand of hockey if it’s all like this, except that it’s what’s available in small towns like Shawinigan.
Maybe it’s the fact that I come from a part of the U.S. with five or six elite college hockey programs within three hours by car, and therefore I’m used to seeing the best non-professional 20-year-old players in the world on a nightly basis, but that game was ugly and borderline unwatchable. I was more than happy to change it to Game of Thrones at 9.
Please, tell me it’s not always this bad.
4. Thankfully, sanity from the Blackhawks
Yesterday, the Blackhawks held a presser to announce the re-signing of Johnny Oduya to a nice little three-year deal that should work out pretty well for both sides. And of course, this being what it is, the subject of Patrick Kane’s lost weekend in Wisconsin inevitably came up.
The team said they were disappointed in Kane, and that he had been made to fully understand that. And that was it.
No public excoriation for the supposedly shameful behavior the Chicago media had been crowing about, not idle threats about how it’s time to shape up or get shipped out. Just, "We’re obviously disappointed with how it played it out, and Patrick is aware of that fact. But at this point, it’s a private matter. I think, out of respect for Patrick, we’re not going to comment further. We’re going to look forward and try to focus on things in improving our team leading into the summer."
That’s how it should be. The kid, who by the way, won the team a Stanley Cup two summers ago, didn’t deserve the kind of beating he took in the media for partying with what amounts to kids his own age, in the offseason no less.
Good for Chicago.
5. Time for Happy Iggy Again