Random Robot Hockey Thoughts – 04/20/2017
Welcome to my random thoughts series where I touch on a few different topics from around the league and the San Jose Sharks franchise, in general.
The Sharks won Game 4 to tie their series at two games each. Yes, they got power play goals and, yes, Martin Jones got a shutout. The real hero of Game 4 though is the Rally Mohawk. It is scientifically proven that mohawks make you tougher provided you are not fighting Ninja Turtles and this was the real key to the Sharks 7-0 victory.
Barracuda vs. Heat
If you missed it, it is never too late to catch up on the latest Teal Tinted Glasses. Last night, we broke down the first round series in great detail. The panel gave the edge in almost every category to the Barracuda. The one point of contention for the panel was who to give the edge to in goaltending. Troy Grosenick is obviously the superior goalie, head-to-head. Stockton has the benefit of the better tandem however and, although you never want to see your starter go down, the Barracuda would be in far more trouble with Armalis or Saunders taking the reigns. Remember, unless there is a Sharks game conflict, we will go on air after every Barracuda game on YouTube.
Jack Eichel, Noted Coach Killer
We will never know for sure what really happened with Jack Eichel. My personal feeling is that it was something said off the record or out of context and the media ran with it. Young players, especially a generational talent like Jack Eichel, are media trained from a young age. They simply don’t make these kind of mistakes. The immediate firing of Dan Bylsma and Tim Murray certainly does not cast Eichel in a favorable light though. It should be at least noted the number of management changes that have taken place since Terry Pegula has taken over the team.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) April 20, 2017
For the sake of argument, let’s take the Eichel story completely at face value. What is Pegula really to do at this point? Coaches and GMs are hired to be fired. That is just the reality of business in the NHL. Jack Eichel is a generational talent who, as unsavory as his comments might be, would never get you fair value in a trade. If there is a GM to ask about this fact, start with Peter Chiarelli. In fact, ask him twice since he traded both Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall for less than value. So while I understand the sentiment that you don’t want to give a 20-year-old that much power, you can’t exactly replace him either.
Draisaitl Spear and Fine
When an incident like this happens, social media is at its finest. There are endless arguments through the lens of teal tinted glasses and the idea that you can’t set a precedence in the playoffs. Worse, the idea that if player X got away with it, then so should player Y. My stance has always been simple. Dangerous infractions should get the appropriate penalty. It shouldn’t matter if it’s Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton, or fringe NHLer on the fourth line. If the NHL is serious about player safety, they need to do a better job enforcing penalties and punishments. Unfortunately, the Matt Calvert incident kind of set the tone for the playoffs and the reasoning behind the one game suspension was laughable.
It’s not all on the league, however, the players have to take their share of the blame. Like everything else in the NHL, supplemental discipline is ruled by the CBA. The players union is left with the daunting task of protecting their membership. On one hand, they want to make sure the game is as safe for their members as possible. On the other hand, they need to balance that with not squeezing guys out of their lineups. Until the players and the league can come together and partner to clean up the game, do not expect much in the way of change.
So Long Flames We Hardly Knew Thee
The Calgary Flames were the first playoff casualty of the season, being swept by the Anaheim Ducks. It will be interesting to see what they do this summer and if there are any front office shake ups. Personally, I think all the Flames need is a goaltender so a major shakeup is unnecessary. With a decent goaltender pipeline of possible future goalies, a guy like Ben Bishop could be an excellent stopgap to let other players develop. The unfortunate thing for the Flames, and any other team not named Chicago going out in the first round, is that the west may be more wide open this year than ever before. You can’t take anything for granted in the playoffs but there is no team left as a heavy favorite.