Thursday, March 20, 2008


Thursday's Tardy Thoughts

by Jes

Ted Nolan is a great motivator, without a doubt. If I were hiring a coach and had a team of gritty, blue-collar players, Nolan would be near the top of my list of coaching hires.

That said, how should we evaluate his actual coaching ability?

Ignoring their late-season swoon, the Isles had no business being in or around the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference, as they were for most of the season. The Isles were clearly paying above their Pythagorean record for most of the season, so we know Ted's boys were getting bang for their buck.

For one thing, the Isles STILL don't have anyone with 50 or more points! Mike Comrie, he of the celeb girlfriend, leads the squad with 49 points in 74 games.

One reason why the Isles are screwed? Rick DiPietro, and his constant hip problems.

As highlighted over at FanHouse, DiPietro will be going into for his second straight summer of surgery, and you know his hip problems won't just *POOF* go away any day soon. The Isles are stuck with another decade+ of this ...

Now, on the negative side for Ted Nolan is how his star scorers seem to be underperforming. Sure, age plays a factor, but some of these players ought to be scoring much more than they are.

Name Pos GP G A Pts PIM +/-

Mike Comrie C 74 21 28 49 83 -22

Bill Guerin R 73 22 18 40 56 -17

Trent Hunter R 74 10 28 38 39 -16

Miro Satan L 72 14 23 37 30 -9

Now, I realize the Isles' roster sucks worse than Ron Paul,
but it's clear that some players are performing well below their career norms. Miro Satan with barely over a point every two games?

Does Ted Nolan deserve kudos for getting a decent record out of a crappy roster, or does he deserve to be knocked because he can't get anything out of his scorers?


Another term we never hear anymore: "Put up your dukes!"


How sad are our Canadian Armed Forces? So sad that they got beaten up by a bunch of retired NHL players.


OK, so it was just a hockey game. Chill. Bible-thumping Mike Gartner and a bunch of the old boys won an exhibition game 9-2. Good on the alumni to go overseas and give a morale boost to the fighting forces.

The score indicated a defeat for Canadian soldiers, but their sweaty smiles said otherwise.

Hundreds of spectators turned out today to watch Canadian troops grapple with a team of visiting former NHLers in spirited game of ball hockey at Kandahar Airfield.

With the Stanley Cup on display, Team Canada routed the soldiers 9 to 2, but there were no long faces when it was over as the two teams exchanged back-slaps and autographs.

The team of NHL old-timers included former Toronto Maple Leafs Chris Hutchison and Mike Gartner, two-time Cup winner Mark Napier and notorious enforcer Bob Probert.


Years ago, I always poo-pooed the idea that the police should get involved in violent incidents on the ice. Players, I thought, go into any hockey game knowing that it is a physical sport and that injuries, rough stuff, fights, hits, etc... happen during the course of the game. Don't play contact hockey if you value perfect health and a bruise-free body.

As time has gone on, I wonder why we allow special protection for hockey players. Does simply being in a sporting environment enable one to commit a gross act of violence?

Here's a comment from over at, from a fellow named 'henwood' that perpetrates the typical line of 'let them play'

Of course, a case could be made that the cowardly act is certainly vile enough for a ride downtown in the back seat of a squad car wearing silver bracelets, but the question is where do you draw the line when it comes to sports?

Case in point, if you took the time to review weekly tape of every game from the junior ranks right up to the NHL, you could certainly find more than a handful of instances, if you looked hard enough, that warrant a criminal charge.

But should Chris Pronger be charged? How about Steve Downie? Heck, should Chris Simon be thrown into the pokey with no chance for parole?

Quite simply, unless the offense is so flagrant that it crosses the bounds from sheer stupidity to an outright criminal act on the ice, the law should stay out of it. That is why league commissioners and similar suits earn a check.

When you think about it, every time a player commits an infraction on the ice, is he or she not risking a date before the judge? Try punching someone in the face down at the local watering hole. Rest assured, the cops will be showing up. May as well send your suit to the cleaners once you get home. You'll need it for your court date.

No, not every player committing an infraction would ever face a court date. Sheesh! Talk about overreacting.

If we had to accept law enforcement getting involved, perhaps all leagues need to draw up clear guidelines, with the collaboration of the police, on what is acceptable and what is not.

Bertuzzi on Moore? Clearly unacceptable, dangerous, premeditated, and an assault. A slash on the wrist or an elbow on a borderline hit? No, that's clearly within the realm of typical hockey roughness.

I don't expect the NHL would take such an initiative, but perhaps someone within the league's head office should look into setting up some guidelines for what would clearly constitute law enforcement getting involved.

Think about it. Hockey isn't populated by gross acts of violence, but those who commit such acts get away with very little in terms of punishment. Do you really think Chris Simon or Todd Bertuzzi paid a fair price for their actions? No. Give them some normal treatment under the law and they would certainly learn a real lesson.

Still, I'm still wary of (corrupt) law enforcement wading into the territory of hockey. It would be very hard to discern what is 'borderline and acceptable' and what is illegal. Hockey has always been a rough game, and players are willingly accepting of a face-wash or punch in the face over the course of their careers. The more law enforcement would get involved, the more players would be afraid to do much anything physical. It's a fine line to walk and I don't have confidence that any side can do it well.

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Can`t be any worse than the corrupt NHL enforcement and their inconsistant "sentences".

If the NHL got better and more serious about punishments for serious acts on the ice, then we wouldn`t need to be arresting players, eh? They would be expelled, fined, whatever better than the wussy sentences criminal court offers.

I would think that the NHL would WANT this crap off the ice since it generates negative publicity ("see, hockey is fulla thugs!"). But it doesn`t seem that way.
Now, I realize the Isles' roster sucks worse than Ron Paul...

He may not live long enough to see it, but there will come a day when Ron Paul's ideas are vindicated.

Not to get all political, but what sucks is an electoral system where the choice is Sh!t Sandwich v Giant Douche. That's a South Park reference, not euphemisms for the actual candidates in the Donkey Party.
I totally agree with your assessment of the Islanders roster, as an Islander fan. However, I think calling any of those guys a "scorer" is using the term loosely. On any other team, they'd be ancillary players. It's unfortunate that the Isles are in the position of making Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin the centerpieces of the offense.

Satan, though, just blows this year. Blows. Blows so hard.
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