Welcome to this week’s edition of “This Week in NHL Stupid”, where we track the silly, the ugly, and the just plain stupid in the world of hockey. And there was lots of stupidity this week in the NHL.
We start in Raleigh, where the Panthers decided to fire head coach Gerard Gallant after a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. I get it, this is a classic analytics vs. “hockey guys” discussion. And while the timing of the firing was odd, I see the argument that this was the only time it could get done. So while it seems ridiculous to me to fire a coach who led a team to their best season in almost 20 years, firing Gallant 21 games in is at least arguable.
What isn’t arguable is leaving your coach on the side of the road in a visiting city without so much as calling him a cab.
The image of the Panthers firing Gerard Gallant and leaving him behind on the road is going to linger over that franchise for a while. pic.twitter.com/U7z6aJlLtF
— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) November 28, 2016
I’m sorry, but this is inexcusable.
Update: The Panthers, to be fair, Tom Rowe said that they offered Gallant a car ride, and that they wanted him to get away from the locker room because of the optics. (Gallant rejected the ride.) But they’re really talking about optics? Perhaps firing a coach that you have obviously been targeting on the first game of a long road trip was also a set of bad optics, no? Right after a game? The guy who led the team to the playoffs last year? How about those optics?
Now let’s analyze a play that lost a game for Calgary. Watch Michael Frolik (67) in white, as he had his stick broken earlier in the overtime.
Frolik leaves the ice with the Flames still pinned in the Islanders zone during the 3-on-3. He dashes off to be replaced by a player with a stick (Troy Brouwer), but the man Frolik would have taken, in this case some guy named Tavares, dashed on the ice undeterred, and made the play towards the net that was tipped in by Patrick Hickey to win the game. In regulation, with more players on the ice, you can get away with it. But in a 3-on-3 while trapped in your defensive zone, a player change for any reason is a terrible idea. Even without a stick Frolik could have given John Tavares some problems. But in overtime, with the long change, that was an incredibly stupid move by Frolik, and it cost them a point.
But what might top that was Islanders color guy Butch Goring saying that play was a good idea?
It gets cut off on the video above, but Goring’s “that was a good idea” was referring to Frolik dashing off to leave Tavares open to make the winning play. I’m baffled.
Finally, I feel like I complain about this every day, but can we get some consistency in refereeing? Flyers rookie Travis Konecny got ten minutes for standing up for his teammate after he got shoved from behind by the Rangers’ Brandon Pirri, while Pirri got a minor penalty:
Fine. But this happened after a few days after the exact same scenario unfolded with Ryan McDonagh making the shove, and Sidney Crosby defending his teammate:
Except that Crosby only got a minor, while McDonagh got a five minute major for boarding. What seemed to be the difference between the two plays?