All three finalists for the 2012 General Manager of the Year Award that were announced today have at least two things in common. First, they haven’t been given the resources to spend to the salary cap. Second, their teams are still alive in the playoffs.
Ladies and gentleman, we present David Poile of the Nashville Predators, Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues, and Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers.
If we had to pick a favorite, it would be Poile. With all due respect to Armstrong and Tallon, this is the most important season in franchise history for the Preds, and the GM’s done everything he can to build a winner in hopes of convincing defensemen Ryan Suter and Shea Weber to make long-term commitments to the club.
In November, Poile made a strong statement when he signed goalie Pekka Rinne to a seven-year, $49 million extension.
Later on, the GM pulled the trigger on three trades, bringing aboard Paul Gaustad, Hal Gill, and Andrei Kostitsyn.
He also brought Alexander Radulov back to Nashville just before the playoffs in a transaction that was anything but simple.
Granted, Suter could still walk away this summer. And if that happens, Weber could follow the next year. But if Suter’s sincere when he says winning will take care of everything, then Poile’s done his job.
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: