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Year End Questions And Answers

Nicholas J. Cotsonika’s weekly Three Periods column appears on Thursdays. This week’s topics include the changes that could be coming to teams that missed playoffs; how hard it would be to replace Brendan Shanahan as NHL disciplinarian; why the Red Wings’ 23-season playoff streak might be the most impressive in NHL history; and, why the PHWA should not embarrass itself in postseason all-star voting again.

FIRST PERIOD: Now that Mike Gillis is gone, who’s next?

- Washington Capitals: George McPhee has been the Caps GM since 1997. They made the Cup final in his first season, but they haven’t been out of the second round since. Sniper Alex Ovechkin and coach Bruce Boudreau made the Caps a high-flying, successful and popular team, but failures in the playoffs sparked changes in philosophy and changes in coaches – Boudreau to Dale Hunter to Adam Oates. The Caps haven’t been the same since. Oates has made Ovechkin an elite goal-scorer again but hasn’t been able to solve other problems – and he just called out Ovechkin for quitting on a play defensively and goalie Jaroslav Halak for not wanting to play against his old St. Louis Blues. Ovechkin has his faults, but instead of expecting him to carry the team, the Caps need to surround him with a stronger supporting cast. If McPhee and Oates are fired, they likely will land elsewhere – McPhee as a GM, Oates as an assistant coach specializing in the power play.

SECOND PERIOD: If Shanahan leaves for the Leafs, who replaces him?

Don’t know what you got till it’s gone? People might realize that about Shanahan if he leaves his role as NHL disciplinarian to take over the Leafs. For all the grief he has gotten over the past three seasons, who would do the job better?

Who would replace him, period?

Shanahan has tried to set up the department of player safety so it can function without him. He has often spoken about the next person to do the job. He didn’t want to stand in front of the camera to explain suspensions in his first season – that was commissioner Gary Bettman’s idea. He later just did voiceovers without introducing himself. He also had others do them. Even though he made the final call and was accountable for it, he wanted the focus on the process, not the person.

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For all the grief he has gotten over the past three seasons, who would do the job better?

Love this crap.  All due respect to Shanahan, he hasn’t exactly been a beacon of consistency.  Is it really so impossible to think someone else might be able to look at two different players throwing the exact same hit and respond by giving out the same fine or suspension?

Posted by Garth on 04/10/14 at 06:51 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Is it really so impossible to think someone else might be able to look at two different players throwing the exact same hit and respond by giving out the same fine or suspension?

That depends both on severity and history. Saying the hit is the “exact same” doesn’t mean one wasn’t worse than the other.

I agree, though. There were some issues with consistency. However, I also feel that Shanny did a far better job at attempting to be consistent than we got with Colin Campbell and what appeared to many outsiders to be his baffling “wheel of fortune” style to doling out discipline.

It is fair to say that someone else could potentially do the job better. I could do the job better. You could do the job better. Matt Cooke could do the job better. But until someone actually holds the position, those are simply empty statements.

Shanahan has done a good job, in my honest opinion. If the reports are true that he’s moving into the Toronto front office, then the NHL is losing a very good director of player safety.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 04/11/14 at 05:46 AM ET

TheFreak's avatar

Stu Grimson for Shanny’s job. Though Stu might not want to ruin his reputation he’s rebuilt since leaving the NHL.

Or that guy who Bertuzzi ended his career - Steve Moore?. Maybe someone who’s career was affected by the dirty actions of another player. Maybe they would apply the discipline needed and send the message. Or how about Marc Savard?

Posted by TheFreak on 04/11/14 at 08:08 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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