Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur rips Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty, the latest on the Canucks search for a new coach, Michael Hutchinson could have a chance with the Jets next season, and Don Cherry complains about the lack of Canadians on the Leafs and Senators.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur criticized the playoff performance of current Habs Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty. He had harsher criticism for Vanek, but feels Pacioretty will learn from this year’s playoff experience and expects he’ll be better next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Lafleur’s criticism of Vanek, but not about Pacioretty. While Pacioretty is a streaky scorer, for much of this year’s playoffs he was clearly working hard, driving to the net, getting shots and trying to score. Yes, he didn’t have a good final game against the Rangers in the Conference Final, but then all but Dustin Tokarski seemed to have mentally checked out of that game. Vanek won’t be back, but Pacioretty will get better as he enters his playing prime.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford believes there’s plenty of good reasons for the Canucks to bring back former bench boss Marc Crawford, who’s had contact with the club about the job.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Crawford won a championship this season in the Swiss “A” League, I think the Canucks should look elsewhere for a new head coach. Time for a new approach, not a blast from the past.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets promising goalie Michael Hutchinson has carried their farm team (St. John’s Ice Caps) to the AHL’s Calder Cup Final. His performance could earn him a shot with the Jets next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If they intend on sticking with Ondrej Pavelec as their starter, they might as well promote from within for a backup and give Hutchinson a shot.
CANOE SPORTS: Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry ripped into the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators for lacking Canadian talent on their teams. He pointed out the LA Kings have 15 Canadians while the NY Rangers have 12, and accused the Senators of being in love with Europeans while the Leafs favor Americans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You know who else loves Europeans and favors Americans? The Kings and Rangers. The playoffs points-leader is Kings forward Anze Kopitar (Slovenia) and the playoff goals leader is Kings forward Marian Gaborik (Slovakia). The Kings starting goalie is Jonathan Quick (USA) and their captain is Dustin Brown (USA). Two of their defensemen are Alec Martinez and Matt Greene (USA), another is Slava Voynov (Russia). The top goalie in the playoffs is Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden). The Rangers playoff points leader is Ryan McDonagh (USA). Four of their top forwards are Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan (USA), Mats Zuccarello (Norway) and Carl Hagelin (Sweden). Another key Rangers defenseman is Anton Stralman (Sweden). One of their checking line regulars is Brian Boyle (USA).
It’s the quality of your talent, not where they’re from, which determines success, as well as how well you develop and coach that talent. When Cherry owned the OHL’s Mississauga Ice Dog back in the 1990s he tried drafted only North Americans. They won a total of 16 games in three years under that formula. When it comes to Europeans and Americans, Cherry’s mindset is still stuck in the 1970s.