What's Doing in Toronto, Phoenix, and with Scott Gomez, Tom Renney, Ron Wilson?
What's going on here?
There's no lack of news around the NHL as it heads into the homestretch. Here are The Maven's thoughts on a few topics:
The Phoenix Coyotes continues to be a story. How will it end? Quebec as a destination? A sugar-daddy keeps 'em in Phoenix?
In Toronto, things have not improved with new Coach Randy Carlyle, while Ron Wilson might not wait long to land a new gig.
We'll examine those and a few more hot topics...
For those fans of "I Love A Mystery," nothing beats the Coyotes melodrama.
The NHL official line is that Gary Bettman is still working on finding a sugar-daddy for Phoenix. Yet the silence in Arizona remains deafening, and time is running out in terms of scheduling for next season.
If not Phoenix, where? My bet is Quebec City, where it's just possible that the Yotes-to-Quebec silence could just be that the QC folks have been told by Bettman, Inc. just what the chaps in Winnipeg were warned at this time last year. SILENCE, PLEASE!
Toronto Maple Leafs
Barring the miracle of all Ontario miracles, the Maple Leafs are destined for their usual subterranean level next month. Randy Carlyle has been no more a winning coach so far than Ron Wilson.
Does this mean that Brian Burke goes bye-bye? Not a chance. Why should he be fired? No matter what happens, Air Canada Centre will be filled; fans will watch the team in first place or last.
Burke has become the face of the franchise and, if he ever finds a good goaltender, all will be well in Downtown, T.O.
Ask any smart hockey man and he'll tell you that Wilson is as good a coach as you'll find these days. And that's The Maven's view as well.
So, where does he go from here?
Washington is a likely spot, since Dale Hunter's one-year deal is unlikely to be renewed—barring a sensational finish and good playoff run.
Either way, Wilson should wind up with a good deal by September.
Can Gomer ever find the game that propelled him to stardom and two Stanley Cups as a Devil?
Doubtful, and that means that the Canadiens are stuck with the one-time dipsy-doodle dandy.
Then again, since the Habs were sadly mistaken unloading Ryan McDonagh in the Gomez deal, maybe—just maybe—some GM out there will take a gamble on Scotty.
Unfortunately, I cannot think of anyone who might, short of Scott Howson.
The Edmonton high command has not committed to renewing the contract of one of my favorite—and most literate—coaches.
I don't know what Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe are thinking in their general staff offices, but I submit that Renney rates at least a two-year renewal to get the Kiddie Korps going toward a playoff berth.