Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/10/14 at 07:08 PM ET
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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