What do you think about Jay Woodcroft’s firing? This seems VERY premature and ill-advised for a coach who has an incredible track record since arriving on the Edmonton bench. — @carter_macewen
I look at it as if you can’t fire everyone, so the coach goes for a success scenario. We’ve seen it before. We’ll see him again, probably somewhere this season, unfortunately.
Woodcroft was a good coach for the Edmonton Oilers, going 79-41-13 in 133 regular season games and 14-14 in 28 playoff games. His .643 points percentage in the regular season is the best in Oilers history. Moreover, Connor McDavid He said himself that Woodcroft never lost the team, never lost the room, that the players loved playing for him and trusted him as a coach.
But the Oilers were also struggling, and expectations are too high for that to continue. Could they have turned things around with Woodcroft and former assistant Dave Manson still in place? Maybe. We’ll never know, but they reached 13 games and had three wins and seven points. It’s already a huge climb for the Oilers just to get to third place in the Pacific Division. They are supposed to fight for first place. They couldn’t let what was happening continue, not when they were supposed to be contenders for the Stanley Cup, so Woodcroft and, by extension, Manson took the hit for the team not playing well enough. This doesn’t solve the Oilers’ problems. They need their goalies to be better and clean up their game in the defensive zone, tighten it up. They need McDavid at 100 percent and their depth players to step up and play bigger roles. The needs are the same under new coach Kris Knoblauch, who has a big job ahead of him, but the players take responsibility for the blow dealt by Woodcroft and Manson. This is not new. It is also nothing new that players will now step up and become better, and the scenario will change so that this is the boost they needed. This isn’t new either.
Patrick Kane return to the Rangers? — @SMAC1218
I’m skeptical of this idea for Rangers as I don’t see the need to bet on Kane and how much it will cost to sign him. Kane can still be an elite player if he returns healthy after hip resurfacing surgery on June 1, but you have to consider the cost of signing him and the ramifications on the current depth chart. For these reasons, I don’t think Rangers are the right fit.
For this to work, the Rangers would need to remove one of their top three right wingers: Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko and Blake Wheeler. Lafrenière fits well on the right side and is having a big season so far with 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 14 games, including seven points (three goals, four assists) in an active four-game stretch with at least one point, and he remains in line with Artemi Panarin. Kakko and Wheeler haven’t produced yet, but the Rangers are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games, both have been good defensively and they’ve taken turns on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider . 5-on-5 production hasn’t happened yet, but I see no reason why the Rangers shouldn’t stick with it. Wheeler only makes $800,000, so he could be ousted, but is the cost worth it? Kane could receive between $3 million and $4 million on a prorated basis.
He’ll expect Kane to want the Rangers, and his career and talent suggests he’s right to do so, a spot on at least one of the top three lines and on the power play. The Rangers shuffled things around to put him on the first power play unit last season after acquiring him on February 28, and it didn’t make a huge difference. In fact, it destroyed some of the chemistry of that unit. It was pre-hip resurfacing surgery, so maybe Kane will return pain-free, but breaking down the top unit on the power play would be crazy. The Rangers have a 33.3 percent power play and 10 of their 15 goals have come from first-unit forwards – Kreider, Zibanejad, Panarin and Vincent Trocheck.
Could the NHL eliminate neutral zone regrouping for attacking teams in overtime by awarding a penalty to that team if they leave the offensive zone with possession of the puck? This would create a forced attack and less skating. — @NathonMerasty
I answered this question last week by saying that I hadn’t heard of overtime consolidation as an issue worth exploring. I wanted to update this because this was specifically discussed Tuesday at the NHL general managers meeting in Toronto. There is growing concern that bunching or removing the puck from the attacking zone to reset it and gain speed for a new attack takes away the excitement of 3-on-3 overtime. are only in the discussion phase, but on Tuesday they discussed different ideas to eliminate the grouping. However, it is more difficult to determine the consequences if they refuse reunification, and what the unintended consequences are. More stops? More confrontations? Less flow in overtime? These are all topics of conversation that will be brought up again in March, when CEOs meet for three days and have more data-driven discussions. But this was brought to my attention in the mail last week and as it was discussed I wanted to provide the update.
You can read more about this in my history of general managers meetings on tuesday.
Will the NHL ever move away from shootouts? — @RangerProud
Or at least stop giving points to a losing team? — @martmonk
The shooting was not a topic of conversation at general managers’ meetings. As I mentioned above, the overtime game was discussed, but NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said there were no issues with the format and /or the barrage. Several years ago, the NHL marginalized a shootout victory by reducing its value in tiebreaking procedures in the standings.
Here are the tiebreaker procedures taken directly from the rankings page, and note that shootout wins are only valued at #4:
1. Fewer games played (i.e., higher points percentage).
2. Most games won, excluding games won in overtime or shootouts (i.e. “regulation wins”). This figure is reflected in the RW column.
3. Most games won, excluding games won by Shootout. This figure is reflected in the ROW column.
4. The greatest number of games won by the Club in any way (i.e. “Total Wins”). This figure is reflected in column W.
Additionally, since the launch of the 3-on-3 overtime format in 2015-16, the number of games that ended in shootouts has decreased significantly. Through Wednesday, 34.4 percent of games that went into overtime required shootouts since 2015-16 (761 out of 2,212), including an eight-season low of 31.4 percent the last season. From 2005 to 2015, this figure was 56.7 percent (1,583 out of 2,789).