Pat Quinn and me: Remembering a legend

Pat Quinn (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

When I think of Pat Quinn, I harken back to the dark days of February, 1999. Quinn was just months into his tenure as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and I was equally green as the Maple Leafs beat reporter with The Toronto Star covering him.

I had found out not long before that my father was dying of cancer. Word somehow got to Quinn and one day during a post-practice scrum when I think he could see I was smiling on the outside and dying on the inside and was being cajoled by my colleagues, he pulled me into him with his big right arm and held me close for just a second. He never mentioned a word of it ever again, and neither did I. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Edmonton desperately seeking deal to right ship

Chicago Blackhawks v Edmonton Oilers

Things are getting ugly very quickly for the Edmonton Oilers. After overcoming an 0-4-1 start to finish October 4-5-1, the Oilers enter the final week of November having won only 2 of their last 12 games. With a record of 6-13-2, they’re mired in dead last in the Western Conference. Once again, this club is in danger of having their playoff hopes dashed before the New Year.

The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson called upon Oilers GM Craig MacTavish to make a trade to help embattled coach Dallas Eakins, who’s become a focal point of criticism. Matheson points out they need a second-line center and it could mean trading a winger to get one. He also notes the Oilers need better goaltending and defense, as well as players willing to compete hard for 60 minutes every game. Read more

Martin St-Louis: still crazy for goals after all these years

Adam Proteau
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Martin St-Louis may be 39 years old, but the reason he’s headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame when his career is over is because he’s never stopped playing with the hunger of a rookie. You could see that on display Sunday night when St-Louis‘ New York Rangers hosted the Montreal Canadiens and the right winger scored a beautiful goal that was all about extra effort.

The Blueshirts were already up 2-0 on the Habs late in the second period when St-Louis turned on the jets chasing a puck into Montreal’s zone, then picked the pocket of defenseman Alexei Emelin before flipping the puck up and past goalie Dustin Tokarski for his eighth goal of the season: Read more

Oilers legends were impeccable in Edmonton, but since they’ve moved on? Peccable. Very Peccable.

Adam Proteau
Kevin Lowe (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

When you consider what the glory-days Edmonton Oilers accomplished as players, you have to stand back in awe. Few teams were ever as ferocious. Fewer could boast of the stunning depth and breadth of their talent. From Wayne Gretzky to Mark Messier to Paul Coffey to Jari Kurri to Grant Fuhr and so many more, the franchise was like a Hockey Hall of Fame Factory that churned out legends the way potato chip companies now churn out preposterous flavors (coming soon: butterscotch pine blueberry guacamole mortadella cheese omelette), and their fans were treated to nightly exhibitions of the best the sport had to offer.

But since the Oilers won the last of their five Stanley Cups nearly a quarter-century ago, things rarely have gone the Oilers’ way. In fact, things have usually gone out of their way to avoid going the Oilers’ way. And if you look at the exploits of Edmonton’s key figures from those peak years after they left Edmonton – as coaches, as GMs – it becomes readily apparent that on-ice success doesn’t translate to the management suite.

In Phoenix, Gretzky had a slew of different titles (including alternate governor, managing partner, head of hockey operations and head coach), but he was unable to steer that team to any success before departing in 2009. In Manhattan, former Oilers coach and GM Glen Sather has been a success if you judge success by Eastern Conference championships (one in 13 seasons) and perpetual roster turnover, but not by any other metric. And of course, In Edmonton, Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish have been at or near the Oilers’ reins of power since Sather left the organization in 2000, yet they’ve proven utterly incapable of pushing the franchise back into relevance.

And quite frankly, it’s shocking owner Daryl Katz continues to operate as if they’ve got the answers.

It may have felt great for Katz to bank on Lowe and MacTavish when he bought the team in 2008, and it’s easy to see why: Katz is an Edmonton native who was in his early twenties when the duo were playing integral roles in the Oilers’ dynasty, and bringing them aboard was always going to play well in the press. Lowe and MacTavish are confident, intelligent men who could inspire many who count themselves as hardened cynics. These weren’t snake oil salesmen.

The only problem with hiring former stars as management figures to deliver you a Cup is this: it doesn’t work.

Take a look through the list of Cup champions, and you will find few, if any who were being led by former star players for the franchise. Read more

An NHL player’s guide to not looking like an idiot on the internet

Evander Kane (via Twitter)

Being an NHL player has its rewards, but also its dangers. And I’m not just talking about on-ice pitfalls. I refer to social media – which, as this issue’s editor-in-chief has shown, can be a wonderful place but can also create a massive public relations disaster. With that in mind, here are some tips to help NHLers navigate the tricky landscape of Twitter, Facebook and the social media world: Read more

Jay Bouwmeester’s ironman streak snapped after 737 games

Jared Clinton
St. Louis Blues v Edmonton Oilers

The last time Jay Bouwmeester missed a game, soccer superstar Lionel Messi had just played his first contest, Steve Bartman was still fresh in the minds of the Chicago Cubs and their fans, and neither Anchorman nor Napoleon Dynamite had hit theatres.

Now, 737 games later, Bouwmeester’s streak is coming to an end. It was the longest streak in North American pro sports. Read more

Peter Holland earning Carlyle’s confidence with defensive play and offensive upside

The Hockey News
Holland Featured

By Craig Hagerman

Peter Holland scored his fifth goal of the season Saturday night in the Maple Leafs 4-1 win over the Red Wings, and it was a beauty.

Holland was able to fight off Gustav Nyquist after stripping the winger of the puck and roofing a perfectly placed wrist shot over the blocker of Jimmy Howard.

“I was able to strip the puck and drive the net and I saw at the corner of my eye it looked like he dropped a little bit,” said Holland, reflecting on his goal Saturday night. “I definitely wanted to get it on net and wanted to get it up I was just happy to see it go in.”

For Leafs coach Randy Carlyle the skill Holland showed on the play was not something he was surprised to see. Read more