The Maple Leafs and Canucks got an early jump on the off-season. Some thoughts:
-Toronto did the right thing in firing Paul Maurice. It gives him the whole summer to find a new job, and it also gives the new GM a free hand to name his own bench boss. It appears as if they Leafs will have that new GM in place before the draft. Obviously Dave Nonis is a candidate, but I'd also look at Doug Armstrong and Dave Taylor.
-The Canucks named player agent Mike Gillis, who seems eager to put his stamp on the roster. From his comments that the Canucks are, ..."not close at all" to a Stanley Cup, it seems any player not named Luongo could be dealt. I expect Gillis to try and make a big splash, either in free agency or at the draft-or even both.
-Anyone else think that the Leafs are considering Keith Acton for the head coaching job because he resembles Verne Troyer's character in "The Love Guru"?
-It's a lot of fun for me as a Flyers fan to read that they were lucky to beat Montreal and Washington. I suppose there will be sore losers in any group. For the most part Habs and Caps fans were gracious in losing and gave the Flyers some credit. The ones that didn't still babble about luck.
-The Florida Panthers continue to be a joke. Owner Alan Cohen is a prime example of a bad team owner-meddlesome, myopic and constantly making knee jerk manuvers with his hockey personnel.
-It was kind of surprising to me that Joel Quenneville was let go as Colorado's coach, but after hearing some Avs fans, he apparently stifled the team's best youngsters-and one even said they made the playoffs in spite of him, not because of him. I don't know. I know that under his hand Paul Stastny has been a breakout player, Jose Theodore had a semi-rebirth, and a team with more injuries than Pickett's Brigade at Gettysburg made not only the playoffs, but got to the second round. Some blame has to land on GM Francois Giguere's desk. He didn't do much at the deadline to fill holes-adding an obviously injured Peter Forsberg and an ancient Adam Foote.
-Did Paul Holmgren really get Braydon Coburn for Alexei Zhitnik?
-Is it just me, or does Versus do a piss poor job of covering the sport? Why do they show close ups of guys' faces and the bench DURING gameplay? Makes me yearn for the heady days of Fox's robots and glow pucks.