NHL's Most Dysfunctional Teams

Spencer CallaghanAnalyst IJuly 14, 2008

With the free agent frenzy largely over, the direction of many teams has been decided.

Some teams are clearly rebuilding, others are making a run at the postseason and a select group are re-arming themselves for a chance at the Stanley Cup.

But there are several teams, probably a few too many in a 30 team league, that are in various states of disarray.

Much like any family, the NHL has some dysfunctional members, but which is the craziest, most mind-bogglingly backwards team in the NHL?

Tampa Bay Lightning

Coming off a last place finish, the Lightning are clearly in rebuild mode, but perhaps the new ownership group is taking it a little too far, skipping some important steps along the way.

Now-departed coach John Tortorella and GM Jay Feaster were rumoured to be on their way out the door weeks before the actual deed was done, hardly a decent way to run a franchise.

Leaving people twisting in the wind is just not classy (see Toronto Maple Leafs and John Ferguson Jr.), and going over their heads to marginalize them and push them out is even worse.

Add to that a roster that now boasts an astounding 19 forwards on NHL contracts, a weakened defence due to the loss of Dan Boyle, who was traded to San Jose, and questions between the pipes and it is easy to see how things in Tampa might be a little loopy.

Toronto Maple Leafs

There might actually be surprise at what is going on in Hogtown if it weren't for the fact that chaos and dysfunction is pretty much the norm.

While it looks like the Leafs might be taking a run at the John Tavares Sweepstakes, there is still confusion in Toronto.

Will Mats Sundin come back or won't he? This has been a consistant question for a few years now. As loyal as Sundin has been, the uncertainty of this situation has not been good for the franchise.

Cliff Fletcher remains as GM despite being initially installed as a temporary replacement. The Canadian media won't let Brian Burke go to the bathroom without trying to decipher what it means for his chances of taking over the Leafs job.

The Ron Wilson situation is bizarre as well. Even though Fletcher justified Paul Maurice's dismissal as cleaning the deck for a new GM to hire "his guy," Wilson was hired anyways, even though the GM position has yet to be filled. Again there are rumours of Brian Burke involvement, but nonetheless it reeks of confusion and a inconsistent message.

Buyouts are also a sign of mass confusion as the likes of Tucker and Raycroft were shown the door, and word is that pressure is being exerted to force more Leafs out the door, including Brian McCabe.

Getting the contracts off the books seems like a smart move until you consider some strange signings such as $3.5 million for Jeff Finger.

Finally there is the most recent blunder, the invalidated contract handed out to Swedish defenceman Jonas Frogren. The NHL shot down the deal and it remains to be seen whether or not it can be resolved in order to get the Swede under contract.

New York Islanders

Just when it looked like the Isles might be straightening things out...BAM! They fire their coach without warning.

It appears as though the Isles owner Charles Wang has some trouble getting along with his employees because this is the second time (allegedly) someone has been spontaneously fired for "philosophical differences".

Previously, Neil Smith was fired for similar reasons after having only been with the team for a little over a month and without having overseen a single NHL game.

When Smith was replaced by Garth Snow many thought Wang was nuts putting in a GM without a single day of NHL managerial experience.

Now there is talk that Alexei Yashin, who was bought out from his absurdly long and rich contract a couple of years ago, might be brought back.

The Islanders, it seems, do not learn from their mistakes.

Honourable Mentions

Ottawa Senators: Are they rebuilding or reloading? Will Melnyk have another conniption at the inability of Brian Murray to sign Gary Roberts? Are the purse strings being held too tight or is Murray just too gun-shy to make a deal?

Edmonton Oilers: They have a new owner, but the problems of the Oilers are still rooted in their previous ownership group and it's inability to give the team the resources it needed to ice a competitive team. This led to Kevin Lowe losing his mind, throwing out offer sheets like a madman and trying his darnedest to get people to like Edmonton.

Los Angeles Kings: Honestly I don't really know what is going on down there but I know that team has been dead in the water for a decade now.

Vancouver Canucks: They go from offensive powerhouse to defensive snooze-fest in a span of two years. New ownership hires a GM with no experience who has so far failed to address any of the team's problems. Not good in a town with a short attention span like Vancouver.

The common thread most dysfunctional team is meddling owners.

Whenever an owner thinks that owning the team gives them some sort of advanced hockey knowledge it rarely ends well for the products on the ice.

What sports owners need to realize is that because you are essentially a fan with lots of money it doesn't make you an expert.

Bill Gates could buy Starbucks tomorrow but I doubt he'd be down on the line teaching the baristas to pull a better espresso.

So what do you think? Which is the looniest, most ass-backwards team in the NHL?


    Vancouver Canucks: 3 Things to be excited for next season: Part 1

    Vancouver Canucks logo
    Vancouver Canucks

    Vancouver Canucks: 3 Things to be excited for next season: Part 1

    The Canuck Way
    via The Canuck Way

    CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: A lot of Elias Pettersson Questions, and Some Other Stuff!

    Vancouver Canucks logo
    Vancouver Canucks

    CanucksArmy Monday Mailbag: A lot of Elias Pettersson Questions, and Some Other Stuff!

    J.D. Burke
    via Canucksarmy

    Vancouver Canucks: Where they stand in the Pacific Division

    Vancouver Canucks logo
    Vancouver Canucks

    Vancouver Canucks: Where they stand in the Pacific Division

    The Canuck Way
    via The Canuck Way

    Monday Mailbag – Should the Oilers start negotiating a Talbot extension?

    Edmonton Oilers logo
    Edmonton Oilers

    Monday Mailbag – Should the Oilers start negotiating a Talbot extension?