Who would have thought a year ago we'd be sorry to see him go?
A slightly different tack today in the Nuggets, but something struck me as I was compiling the stories today: How quickly opinions on players, coaches and general managers can change in the eyes of fans, media and the NHL community. So today, for something different, I thought I would look at some people who have had their "image" changed in the last few years.
Dean Lombardi: Even partway through this season, Lombardi was on the chopping block. He had a team seemingly loaded with talent, but unable to do anything with it. The last few years he's been chastised for being unable to lure Ilya Kovalchuk, Brad Richards and others to LA, and now he's being praised for his work in putting together a (likely) Stanley Cup winner.
Bryan Murray: Went from old man who had let the game pass him by, who was signing past their prime stars and making bad trades to being mentioned when people were voting for GM of the year. He changed his philosophy and made some trades at the end of last year and now people are singing his praises again and using Ottawa as a rebuild model.
Ken Hitchcock: Was too old school to coach the young players of today just a couple years ago. Now he's likely coach of the year coaching a very young St. Louis team to a division title.
M.A Fleury: In one series went from clutch Stanley Cup winning goalie to goat, to the point where Ray Shero went out and picked up Thomas Vokoun for insurance.
Tim Thomas: was the feel-good story journeyman with easy smiles and funny quotes, with a weird style that brought him awards. Now he's a weirdo, a dressing room cancer and media target.
Sorry about the disjointed post, its just interesting to think of all the examples. If you have any, throw them in the comments.
Links after the jump.
- Amelia takes an excellent look at the poor performance by Ottawa shooters historically in the shootout. Have to wonder (as is being discussed in the comments) if we will start to see specialists making teams to help close out games like we've seen face-off men and fighters in the past. [SSS]
- Scanlan writes that Bryan Murray has indicated that he will not be bringing Filip Kuba back into the fold. While Murray figures someone will pay him what he was making this year, Murray doesn't want to be that guy. [SensExtra]
- Couple that story about Kuba with the rumours that the Senators are shopping Sergei Gonchar prior to the draft, one has to wonder who will be playing defence for the Senators next season. And by one, I mean Nichols. [6thSens]
- As an aside, many people are all over the Jason Garrison train, but I wouldn't mind Murray going after Matt Carle, who is a UFA on a Flyers team tight to the cap. I think he fills Kuba's role but is younger, and he has proven he can play big minutes. There's no link here, just a thought.
- This is a story about what a great guy Matt Carkner is. Also, he hasn't had contract talks yet. If Ottawa doesn't sign him, does another team give him a 1-way? [SensExtra]
- Bad news for the Washington Capitals as prized prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov will be staying another two years in the KHL. This is how a team like the Caps gets to draft players as talented as Evgeny late in the first round, other teams are afraid of this happening. [QMI]
- Have really been impressed with all of the moves that new Habs GM Marc Bergevin has made up until this one. Hiring Michel Therrien is stupid and proves that at the end of the day, they limited themselves to French speakers, and as a result didn't get the best coach available. [NHL]
- Finals Stuff: if you missed it last night, LA showed their dominance once more, crushing the Devils 4-0. Recap here [NHL]
- Lastly, Wyshynski is probably right when he says that Jonathan Quick likely has the Conn Smythe locked up, especially with another shutout last night. [PuckDaddy]