DROP PASSES

By: Rich Miller (@pensbender)

A LEGACY NOT FORGOTTEN

sheros

Fred Shero was known for leaving notes on the chalkboard for his players.

“Win today, and we walk together forever.”

That was the quote on the locker-room blackboard before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins back in 1974.  The Flyers won that game, the Cup, and then did it again the following year.

Shero will be inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame this Monday.  His legacy of course includes the Cups and the quotes, but he is also remembered for evolving the way the game was played.  Before Shero, teams weren’t practicing on game days.  They weren’t watching film on their oppositions.  There were no playbooks.

“A teacher can never truly teach unless they are also still learning.”

His coaching career began in 1959 with the St. Paul Saints.  Shero’s practices were long and repetitive.  He preached common-sense hockey with a focus on getting the puck out of your own end.  He had a rule-book for his players which listed simple guidelines for playing successful hockey.

Most of all, Shero challenged his players to make the most of their abilities.  His teams were know as the Broad St. Bullies.  However unlike the current version of the Philadelphia Flyers, more precedence was put on actually winning games over fighting and glorifying toughness.

A quote taken from The Star’s piece on Fred Shero…

“Freddie never once told us to fight,” said Crisp. “He just said make sure you have each other’s backs and make sure you don’t get run out of any building. We stuck together on the ice and off the ice. We were a team, we were a family.” – Terry Crisp (former player and assistant coach under Shero)

Fred Shero’s illustrious career unquestionably is long overdue for it’s place in the Hall of Fame.  Shero died in 1990.  His family – including his son, Penguins GM Ray Shero – will be present at the induction on his behalf.

A VIEW OF THE METRO

Sean McIndoe took a look at how atrociously bad the Metropolitan Division actually is.

“In matchups against teams in the other three divisions, the Metro is just 24-36-8, a 67-point pace. Those are draft lottery numbers. And remember, we’re including a very good Penguins team in all of this.”

Don’t look now though, the Capitals, Rangers, and Hurricanes are all on multi-game win streaks.

As of Saturday evening…

Pittsburgh (22 points):  Tough loss in New York Wednesday night and a big test looms Saturday night in St. Louis.  The Pens still have a four-point cushion, but they begin a stretch of four games in six nights next week.  All signs point to Beau Bennett returning Saturday.  James Neal may not be far behind him, which is great news for Evgeni Malkin who hasn’t scored a goal in nine games.

Washington (18 points):  Alex Ovechkin is back scoring goals in bunches again and it really great for hockey.  Reaffirming his rivalry with Sidney Crosby could be something to watch as the season goes on.  The Caps lead the league in goals scored with 53 and are currently riding a four-straight game winning streak.

Ovi did this to Tom Wilson after Wednesday night’s win…

ovi

Bullying in the locker room if you ask me.

NY Rangers (16 points):  Rick Nash is still out due to a concussion.  He’s skating and that’s somewhat encouraging, but he still doesn’t appear to be coming back anytime soon according to Chris Johnston…

“We’ve clearly reached the point where this can be considered a serious and significant injury. Concern about Nash’s condition has grown throughout the hockey world in recent weeks – largely because so little is known about his status and that often hasn’t boded well for hockey players recovering from a concussion.”

Carolina (15 points):  Justin Peters is coming off two solid starts.  Carolina is going to need him to play on a Cam Ward-like-level if the Canes have any chance of hanging around in this race.

NY Islanders (15 points):  They’ve lost two straight and are struggling to score goals.  Go figure some are already questioning the acquisition of Thomas Vanek.  Jack Capuano is very confused about the power play.

“I don’t know what it’s about right now with the power play.”

New Jersey (13 points):  Cam Janssen’s fourth goal in 313 games won them their fourth game of the season.  Believe it or not, they are actually 2-1-2 at home – which I guess is something to hang your hat on.   Jaromir Jagr still keeps them watchable.  It’s only a matter of time before Martin Brodeur trade rumors start. Oh wait, they already have.

Philadelphia (11 points):  The Flyers won Saturday against the Oilers, AND CLAUDE GIROUX SCORED A GOAL.  All caps so you know it’s true.  Clearly whether or not you talk to the media after a loss as zero implications on what actually happens on the ice.  Still, they are a bad team and this story by John Saquella of the Hockey Guys basically sums it all up.

“The Flyers are the worst offensive team in the NHL. Their power play is near the bottom. They look about as dangerous as the average “Mites On Ice” team taking the ice during intermissions. The worst part is, there is no way that the Flyers should be this inept. They have talent on the roster. But they have no cohesion, no confidence and quite frankly are embarrassing.”

Columbus (10 points):  Wasn’t this supposed to be the year the Blue Jackets had a realistic opportunity to be contenders for the Cup?  They are 5-10 and have lost five straight.  They are now the worst team in the NHL’s worst division.  Panic has set in.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Iyla Bryzgalov:  Is now an Edmonton Oiler.  For the Oilers, it’s a safe and sensible move to add some depth in net.  Who knows, maybe Bryz can solidify the position for them.  What doesn’t make sense is that they moved defenseman Ladislav Smid to Calgary to create cap room to sign Bryz.  Seeing that the Oilers main issue has been defense trading away a defenseman doesn’t really make sense.  Unless they start getting a lot more out of their current blueliners, or their young forwards quickly pick up the concept of backchecking, the move probably will not solve their problems.

Nail Yakupov:  Is not going to be traded.

“I wanted him to know that all of these reports in the media, the people making up trades about him are absolutely, 100 percent untrue.” – Dallas Eakins

He’s still playing awful though.  Three points in 16 games, awful.

Florida Panthers:  Are a mess.  They Fired head coach Kevin Dineen today.  Owner Vinnie Viola offered a public apology to the fans.

Something had to be done there.  Firing the coach will ultimately be inconsequential.  Simply put, this just isn’t a very good team.  Perhaps it will help them move forward in a new direction, but the pieces that are there now are not going to win more games than they’ll lose.  Not now.  Not any time soon.

Also, another suspension worthy hit occurred Thursday night and it was the Panthers Jesse Winchester on the Bruins Chris Kelly…

winchester

Not only does Winchester lead with his out-stretched elbow, he also clearly jumps to make the hit.  He will likely see multiple games for that one.

PK Subban:  Is being benched toward the end of close games.  Coach Michel Therrien wants Subban to improve his defensive play.  It leads one to wonder what the reaction in Pittsburgh would be if Dan Bylsma did the same to Kris Letang.  TSN’s Darren Dreger called Subban a “long shot” to make the Canadian Olympic team.

Adam Pardy:  Had a rough night Wednesday.  Some guy ripped his helmet off his head while his wife dumped her beer on him.  Because, of course Pardy wanted to go through the glass and land in the crowd.

helmet

This was only funny because nobody got hurt.  These two idiots were promptly removed from the arena.  Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune found the helmet thief.

Pavel Datsyuk:  Is so dirty.

dats

 

HEY THE PENS PLAY IN LIKE A HOUR – GO PENS.