Tag: controversies

Alain Vigneault

The NHL’s new coach’s challenge and timeouts


For better or worse, NFL coaches often get critiqued for the way they challenge plays, with a big reason being that they may waste potentially precious timeouts.

NHL coaches only have one to work with per game, and with the new challenge system in mind, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks points out how that is changing a subtle-if-important coaching strategy.

How many bench bosses will take a time out earlier in a game, knowing that doing so will mean they lose their challenge option? Specifically, this comes into question when a coach would otherwise rest winded players on an icing call.

“You’d have to have five guys out there for such an extended period of time to call one, and even then, it would be an extremely difficult call,” Alain Vigneault told Brooks. “If you know that they have nothing in the tank, then you might have no other choice. … But I don’t know. … You don’t want to lose that [ability to] challenge.”

There’s already an example or two of coaches being thrifty with their single timeout per contest.

Brooks poses a fairly simple and logical tweak, then:

The league could — and I would suggest probably should — amend the rule so each team is given one challenge opportunity plus one timeout. Yes this likely would add another 1:30 or so to the game, but chances are icings will be followed by delaying tactics that only will frustrate everyone.

What do you think? Should the NHL stick with the current setup or adjust it based on Brooks’ suggestion?

Mason Raymond’s ‘show-off move’ helps Canucks beat Islanders in shootout


In his first NHL game, Edmonton Oilers forward Linus Omark made an impact on the hockey world as well as the scoreboard with a controversial spin move and shootout goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yet the one thing people couldn’t gripe about was the fact that Omark’s goal helped his team win.

Tuesday night’s Vancouver Canucks-New York Islanders game will add to the 2010-11 season’s slate of shootout spin moves that helped one team win while the opposition’s goalie was left smoldering. This time around, Canucks forward Mason Raymond spun left and then shot right past Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin.

Chris Botta quotes Poulin, who called it a “show-off move.” Too bad these two teams won’t be able settle this beef until next season, though. Check out video of the goalie at the bottom of this post.

Vancouver 4, NY Islanders 3 (SO)

This win pushes Vancouver to 14-0-3 in its last 17 games, marking the Canucks as the clear No. 1 team in the NHL right now. Luongo made 38 saves while Ryan Kesler scored one goal in the game and one goal in the shootout to help Vancouver squeak by a pesky Islanders team tonight.

The Canucks’ 62 standings points gives them a three-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings for first in the West and an identical lead over the Philadelphia Flyers for the top spot in the entire league. The Islanders are still well ahead of the Devils to avoid the bottom rank in the NHL, with 33 points to New Jersey’s pitiful 24.

Agent Allan Walsh complains about how the Wild are using Martin Havlat


It’s a double-edged sword, really. On one hand, sports writers/bloggers/snark merchants wish that hockey players and people around the game would cease the endless use of cliches and stock answers. On the other hand, it’s hard to avoid criticizing people whose off-the-beaten-path comments end up being ill-advised.

That’s the basic situation between Martin Havlat, his agent Allan Walsh and the Minnesota Wild.

Walsh is no stranger to making waves with his comments – whether they come via Twitter or, in this case, an e-mail – something he certainly did yesterday with these comments about the way the team is handling his client. Here are the boldest statements from Walsh, via great beat reporter Michael Russo.

“When Chuck reached out to Marty Havlat two summers ago after he led Chicago to the conference finals while leading the team in points in the regular season and playoffs, he shared a vision of building an up-tempo offensive team with Marty as a pillar to this strategy,” Walsh said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. “That’s why he signed with the Wild.

“Since that time, Marty has been used in a purely secondary role. Look at this season, he’s played four straight games at about 14 minutes of ice time, he’s used on the second power-play unit, he sits for long stretches, he’s not used in the shootouts. At a certain point in time, one has to ask, ‘Why is he here?’ One has to ask, ‘Why pay this guy $30 million to not play?'”

Well, OK then. My instinct is to think that this is just aimless whining. After all, if Havlat truly brings as much to the table as Walsh claims, why would the Wild ignore his scoring prowess? Could it be that the team should be upset that Havlat has been unable to live up to his contract, rather than the player airing his grievances with his employer?

Still, it’s better to get an expert’s opinion, which in this case seems to concur with mine. Here is what Bryan Reynolds of the SB Nation blog Hockey Wilderness wrote about the situation (the full post is worth a read, as well).

As anyone who is a regular around here knows, I’m a sucker for when someone opens their mouth and firmly implants their foot. The stats, and the facts, simply do not back up what Walsh is saying this time. This isn’t Price vs Halak, this Walsh vs the truth. Havlat is doing his job, and he is performing fairly well for a team that is not playing all that great right now.

However, the fury needs to not be on the coach or the GM for “underusing” Havlat. Maybe the fury needs to be directed at Havlat’s teammates for not keeping the penalty box door from hitting them in the butt on their way out.

That won’t happen though. After all. Those players are his potential clients.

So, how do you feel about the situation? Do you think Walsh is right in saying that the team isn’t using Havlat properly or should they just keep their mouths shut and collect those hefty checks? Let us know in the comments.