Sunday, June 19, 2011

Vancouver, post-SCF; Saying 'Yo' to Yeo; One week until the Draft

OK, folks. I really don't have a lot this time around. I'll admit that straight out. But since it's been nearly two weeks since I sat down with my blog, time to get a few more things off my mind...

Stanley Cup Final: The Bruins actually stopped the Canucks' juggernaut. Now all of North America knows what a bunch of whining, crying, diving babies the Canucks are. When the heat was finally put on the Canucks, they wilted like so much lettuce. The Sedins were the ultimate non-factor in the Finals, while Boston goaltender Tim Thomas couldn't have done more to earn the cup, save for making it himself. While Vancouver thought the way to the cup was to fake injuries in order to draw penalties, the referees were having none of it. Play on.

Post-Cup Vancouver Riot: There has been so much said about this already, blaming anarchists and misguided youth. Sorry, Vancouver. You have no one but yourselves (and your lousy hockey team, the guys who couldn't seal the deal) to blame for the destruction which occurred after Wednesday night's Game Seven. Like your hockey franchise, you blame everyone but yourselves for the troubles. Look in the mirror, British Columbia. Don't like what you see? Do something about it. Start with your hockey team. Work on being a better community, one which doesn't tolerate violence every time things don't go your way. Will the Queen's Bench let the guilty off, like they did Todd Bertuzzi?

My guess is yeah, they will. After all, this is Vancouver, where anything goes. We all saw it again last week.

Saying 'Yo' to Mike Yeo: Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher now knows, after two seasons in the front office, just what a disaster he inherited from the remnants of the Risebrough administration. And, after the team tuned out Todd Richards at the end of last season (precipitating the disasterous 'March to Hell' stretch drive) that first and foremost, he had to find someone to get thru to the team's younger talent. The fact that they promoted from within speaks volumes as to where the ownership wants this team to go. This team will progressively get younger as time goes on. The fact that players like Antti Miettinen and (probably) Chuck Kobasew have played their last games in Iron Range Red should actually please the fan base, as there will be room for the kids who Yeo coached to within one game of the AHL Calder Cup at the NHL level this fall. Now if the Wild would buy out Cam Barker, so as to remove him from the roster, there would be two spots available on the blue line for Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella.

One thing Yeo said in his press conference Friday morning stood out: that the Wild will be a more competitive team, night in, night out. Hopefully that will mean the end of the 8-1 home blowouts, followed by two equally embarrassing home losses, all in the same week. Only time will tell.

NHL Draft: By this time next week, we will know who the Wild have selected in the 2011 Draft, coming this Friday and Saturday at the 'X' in St. Paul. As Fletcher and Co., continue to re-stock the larder of talent, the quality of 18-year-olds looks pretty good...on paper. Only time will tell if the decisions made next weekend will pan out. For the young players, it's their second-to-last step to getting paid for all those 6 AM practices in forlorn hockey rinks around the world. For their parents, another one leaves the nest to go out and seek his fortune. For the teams, it's taking a risk on a kid who has talent, but does he have the intangibles needed to survive at the highest level of the sport?

As I said, only time will tell...

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