Welcome to the fifth episode of the Hockey Graphs podcast, where Rhys Jessop (of Canucks Army and That’s Offside) and Garret Hohl (of Jets Nation and Hockey-Graphs) continue talking about hockey while learning how to podcast. Join us as we talk about fixing the Oilers and Leafs in one swoop, the Canucks BIG pick-up, and the Sabres-Jets trade. Continue reading
If you’re a fan of a Central Division team that doesn’t employ Ondrej Pavelec, you’re probably feeling optimistic as we approach the upcoming season. And you should: this is clearly the best division in the NHL, and all six of its non-Manitoban clubs have legitimate playoff hopes.
Of course, not all six will reach that milestone; at least one will join Winnipeg on the outside looking in. At this time, however, few can agree on how the standings will shake out. The Stars have been projected anywhere from second to fifth; the Avalanche have been slotted everywhere but last. Some are high on the Blues, others are sick of them constantly disappointing.
This uncertainty should make for an exciting year in “Conference III.” Below is a team-by-team breakdown of the league’s toughest division:
Photo by “Krazytea” via Wikimedia Commons
Mark Chipman, Kevin Cheveldayoff, & Co. took a huge step yesterday, firing their first choice in the new Winnipeg Jets coaching history, Claude Noel. Noel has the unfortunate (no, scratch that, earned) legacy of mediocre results, questionable lineup decisions, and the uncanny ability to look like nothing’s going on while standing in a tire fire. Whatever the case, the Jets decided to turn away from the new-coach idea towards a very-seasoned veteran in Paul Maurice. With 1,137 NHL games of coaching experience, and one trip to the Cup Finals (with Carolna in 2002), Maurice is definitely a smart choice if a team’s trying to find itself and build up from the relocation identity.
It’s also significant that Maurice has already endured the relocation process. First breaking into the league at the helm of the Hartford Whalers, he helped that team build up from a series of dismal years and a move from Hartford to North Carolina. Though he’d be fired before he could enjoy the ultimate prize of those efforts (the ‘Canes would win the Cup the year after he left), there is little doubt he has the experience for those that prize that sort of thing.
But that leaves a few hanging questions: is he a good coach? Can he make this a better team? Is there any way we can find answers to those questions?
We can, and we will.