Tag Archives: dave tippett

After a Week on the Road, Some Thoughts and Observations

TAMPA, Fla. — We’ve been out watching hockey, baseball and golf for a week.

Here are some things we’ve heard and a whole lot of things we’ve seen.

1) Sure, just about everyone you talk to in the NHL these days believes Phoenix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett will easily win the Jack Adams Coach of the Year Award. But could it be that Tippett is merely the illustration we’ve been given to show that Wayne Gretzky was a horrible coach? Could it be that Tippett is a good coach (there are plenty of good coaches) who just happened to inherit a very good hockey team that got plenty of help at the trade deadline?

This past Saturday night, the Nashville Predators locked up a playoff berth with a brilliant 4-3 win over the Red Wings in Detroit. Tippet is worthy, but Barry Trotz is the best coach in hockey. Nashville — with a lineup of no-names, has-beens, never-weres and Shea Weber — is now 46-29-6 and will play either Vancouver or San Jose in the opening round of the playoffs.

For a guy who has never won a major coaching award and only coached our national team on one occasion, he’s the most outstanding coach that nobody really knows. And this year, frankly, he’s the Coach of the Year.

2) Watched Tiger in the opening round of the Masters on Thursday. What an incredible performance. Say what you will, Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer in history.

Considering that after all the crap he went through — some of it of his own making, most of it the media’s making (he didn’t do anything that hundreds who have gone before him didn’t do) — Woods went out and shot a first round 68 at the Masters. It was his finest opening ever at the Masters. The first time he ever had two eagles in the same round. It doesn’t matter what happens the rest of the way. Nobody plays the game better than Tiger Woods. Period.

And golf is better off now that it has him back.

3) See the Bombers lost $1.2 million in 2009. See the Winnipeg mainstream media wants to blame Mike Kelly for it.

Talk about a one trick pony. The Winnipeg mainstream media either hasn’t got the cojones or the intelligence to point the finger at the people responsible. Wonder how long this will last? In 2016, when the Bombers go 4-14, it won’t matter who’s coaching, it will be Mike Kelly’s fault. Nice deal for Paul LaPolice, though. If he goes 0-18 as head coach this season, the local media will blame Mike Kelly.

If  the coach is the guy who single-handedly lost $1.2 million, why wasn’t he fired a helluva lot sooner? In fact, why wasn’t the guy who hired him fired? And why weren’t the people who hired the guy who hired Mike Kelly all fired? When a football organization loses $1.2 million, the responsibility lands a lot higher up than the head coach. The local media in Winnipeg did a lot more to help the Bombers lose $1.2 million than Mike Kelly did. When you keep telling people to stop buying tickets, a lot of them will eventually stop buying tickets.

By the way, I see that the CFL sent $150,000 less than it did a year earlier to each of its eight teams. That means the CFL raised $1.2 million less in corporate sponsorships in 2009 than it did in 2010. How did that happen? How did the CFL lose $150,000 per team in revenue when the league’s popularity has never, ever been greater.

Wonder where Tom Wright went?

4) The Stanley Cup playoffs start next week. After this past week in Tampa, I can’t wait. Too bad Steven Stamkos doesn’t play in a city where people actually care about hockey.

Speaking of which, my people in Phoenix tell me that the chances of the league still owning the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night after Glendale city council votes on that sweetheart rental deal for Jerry Reinsdorf at jobing.com Arena, is better than 50-50.

Winnipeg might not be dead yet.

Things to Consider With Three Weeks to Go.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — While the general managers and the league’s other tall foreheads try to come to terms with illegal checks to the head (sorry, boys, but the rulebook is full of rules that would get headshots out of the game), the rest of the NHL is just playing hockey.

So with about three weeks to play before the Stanley Cup playoffs are upon us, let’s take a look at the league from a Winnipeg perspective:

1) Although he says he has not completely made up his mind, it appears that after 18 seasons, former Winnipeg Jets captain Keith Tkachuk is nearing the end of his brilliant career.

Saying his future in St. Louis is now, Tkachuk wouldn’t admit whether or not he was retiring at the end of the season, but he did say, “I often think about this being the end.” No doubt, the Hall of Fame awaits.

2) Remember when the San Jose Sharks had a very comfortable 12-point lead in the Pacific Division? Well, not anymore. That’s because the Phoenix Coyotes have won seven straight and have moved to within three points (at the beginning of the weekend) of the heavily favored and quite talented division leaders.

The 44-22-5 Coyotes have all but assured themselves of a spot in the post-season for the first time since 2002. Now, however, they are closing in on home ice advantage in the West. This should be a great finish.

3) By now, it has to be official. There is no better coach in the NHL than Dauphin’s Barry Trotz (OK, maybe Dave Tippett in Phoenix, but nobody else). Trotz, the only coach the Nashville Predators have ever had, has the no-name, star-less Predators in seventh place five points ahead up on eight-place Detroit (at the start of the weekend).

That shouldn’t happen. The Preds just don’t have the personnel. But Trotz has made them a playoff contender – they beat L.A. on the road this week and have won four straight — and that says more about his brilliance than anything else.

4) Calling it “a retaliatory hit to the head,” the National Hockey League suspended Anaheim Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski for eight games without pay for that terrible hit to the face and head of Brent Seabrook on Wednesday night.

Wisniewski definitely gave Seabrook a cheap shot, but an eight-game suspension after giving Alexander Ovechkin only two? The NHL justice department is completely nonsensical.

5) The Montreal Canadiens have looked very good at times this season. They’ve had two four-game winning streaks. But not until the Olympic break, have the Habs put together so many outstanding games in succession. In fact, with six straight wins heading into the weekend, Montreal has moved into the playoff driver’s seat in the East.

After Tuesday night’s game, a 3-1 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, the Habs moved past Philly and into sixth place in the Eastern Conference (later in the week they fell back into seventh). The Bruins are eighth with 74 points, four points back, while ninth-place Atlanta and the Rangers are seven points back. With only 12 to play, the red-hot Habs are in control of their own playoff destiny.

6) Perhaps no one has noticed, but Winnipeg’s Travis Zajac is having a season to remember. Zajac, the 24-year-old rightwinger out of the University of North Dakota has moved into the Top 35 in NHL scoring with 21 goals and 38 assists.

Perhaps more importantly, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, is a terrific plus-14. By the time the next Olympics roll around, he’ll be one of the best players in the game, if he isn’t already.