Hockey Blog Beat – December 17, 2011.

Reaction to the Canadiens firing head coach Jacques Martin…Time for the Maple Leafs to address their prime need…Flyers must be proactive to address defense issue…Six stages of dealing with news of Mike Milbury’s assault charge…A brief (funny) history of Teemu Selanne.

PUCK DADDY/HABS EYES ON THE PRIZE/BLEACHER REPORT: offer up their respective takes on the Montreal Canadiens firing Jacques Martin as head coach, replacing him on an interim basis with assistant Randy Cunneyworth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While I’m surprised this move came now, I was expecting it perhaps in the New Year. This could also be seen as GM Pierre Gauthier trying to save his own job in the process, hoping Cunneyworth can reverse the club’s fortunes. The perception is the Canadiens are a team lacking depth up front, with an uneven defense, being bailed out by an all-star goaltender. Hey, did we just flash back to the Canadiens, circa 1993-94? Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how the club responds to the change behind the bench. Some observers feel it should’ve come a month or two ago, and that it’s “too late” to turn their season around, but the Habs are currently only two points out of a playoff berth in a tight Eastern Conference, and only five points out of fourth overall. If they string together a few wins, they could rise quickly in the standings. It remains to be seen if they can do so under Cunneyworth, but this will be a great opportunity for him to prove his worth at the NHL level. If he turns around the Canadiens season, the job will be his full-time after this season.

THE HOCKEY WRITERS: Alex Mamalis believes the time for the Toronto Maple Leafs to add a quality center is now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And by now, that means after December 27th, as GM Brian Burke has his self-imposed trade freeze currently in place. I agree the Leafs need to bolster their depth at center, especially the first or second line, but it’s not an easy task to find what they’re looking for right now. Perhaps something might open up near the trade deadline, provided the Leafs are still in the playoff chase by that point. For now, I don’t see what moves Burke could make. Then again, he’s caught us by surprise before, so we shouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility. Just don’t expect it to be Eric Staal.

THE HOCKEY GUYS: Tyler J. Altemose believes Flyers GM Paul Holmgren must be proactive in bolstering his blueline depth now that Chris Pronger is out for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Holmgren will keep his eyes and ears open for options, but I don’t see him racing out to make a move before the holiday trade freeze is implemented, and if his team keeps playing well, he won’t rush into anything after it.

LIGHTHOUSE HOCKEY: presents: 6 Stages of Dealing with News of Mike Milbury being charged with assault.

DOWN GOES BROWN: A brief, hilarious history of Teemu Selanne.


  1. -How is the Leaf’s biggest need not goaltending?

    -Mike Milbury: Pure Bruin.

  2. the leaf’s biggest need is to fire ron wilson no trade will help with wilson leading the way he had his 3 yr chance time for a change i think the the players would even pay his moving bill lol

  3. I agree with you Andy i am a diehard leafs fan and i think Ron Wilson has had his chance and can’t prove to be the right coach for them. I want to see them in the playoffs this year and with him its not going to happen.

  4. I agree with andy and Mike. Wilson is holding this team back. Worst PK in the league for how many years? If they could kill a penalty they would have at least 50% of those losses back as wins and still be leading the conference if not the league. Bring up Zigomanis, stop playing Gardiner on the PK, get rid of Dupuis, Bozak and Lombardi (if possible), bring up Kadri finally. So many things that I would like to see happen. Still, I am happy with what I am seeing, just not Wilson….

  5. Yes the leafs seem to be regressing now, I am a habs fan but I watch a lot of TO games and to me at the start of the year they were playing a very agressive style of game now they seem to be sitting back more less forcheck and if you need a new coach Jacques Martin is available, actually he could probably be successful with the Leaf personal. They are much bigger than the habs and have to play better defence to win close games, He could probaby get their PK working too.
    My habs have finally fired their coach but I am like the leafs just seem to be missing that incredient to make them a winning team, The leafs need our defensive system especially our PK and we need your goal scoring abilities especially your charging the net and creating opportunities in the crease. Habs only have about two players that do that and therefore we get very few goals. If it was not for Price we would have few points than the Islanders and Hurricanes. One well one of these days one of our teams will start winning and maybe we will once again see a cup in Canada.

  6. I have never been Burke fan but I have to give him credit for building a competitive team, All the leafs lack is someone to to create a PK system that works, I think you have the personel but where are defensive coaches to design a PK system. Likewise my habs need a better PP. Kaberla seems to be helping in that area, he has played better than I expected and so far he has not cost us too may goals. So the trade seems to be working?? Of course Markov would really help but who knows if he will every play again. Anyways it is Christmas so best of luck to all you leafs fans and hope to see both of us in the playoff come April.