The domino effect from the Babcock firing is still ongoing with a few more stories emerging this week and a new stern message from Bettman and the league. Not all firings are abuse related this week as proven by recently dismissed coach Peter DeBoer. Without further introductions, let’s look at today’s most important news around the league.
- Peter DeBoer: after a shaky start to the season, the San Jose Sharks looked to have regained some ground with a string of wins and even climbed themselves to a wildcard spot. It seems that surge was only temporary and after losing five games, coach DeBoer’s four plus tenure with the Sharks came to an end. It was clearly stated that this dismissal was purely for hockey reasons and without any other controversy. Under DeBoer, the Sharks hadn’t missed the post season as well as managed to reach the Cup finals in 2016. Unfortunately, when a team cannot succeed with a lineup made up of Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Joe Thornton (even the older version of him) as well as often troublesome Evander Kane, the coach will get the blame. Bob Boughner has been named interim coach and you have to assume that the job will be permanently his should the Sharks turn their season around.
- Not all coaches are being dismissed for poor performance though, on Tuesday the Dallas Stars announced that Jim Montgomery is dismissed for unprofessional conduct. General manager Jim Nill was apparently made aware of a situation that he assessed as unacceptable. It seems the entire league is on notice now and this could be the beginning of a culture change that is much needed in this league and in professional hockey overall.
- It seems the misconduct stories have not been limited to coaches, yet another Akim Aliu story surfaced during his time with the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles. During a Halloween party, equipment manager Tony Deynzer decided to wear Aliu’s jersey with blackface as well as an Afro wig. If that wasn’t bad enough, Aliu was forced to take photos with the trainer as the rest of the team and staff laughed at what they saw a hilarious costume. People may think it’s just a costume but very few fathom the damage these actions have on the victims, especially coming from your someone as close as your teammates and supporting staff. Akim Aliu is on a mission to hold everyone who has ever harmed him accountable and considering what he has been through, I think he should just let all his stories out without fear of any consequence because he shouldn’t face any.
- Gary Bettman seems set on his opinion on NHL players going to the Olympics and is trying everything in his power to shut all questions on the topic. The World Cup however, is definitely on his mind and while playing a World Cup tournament in 2021 will be unattainable, look for the World Cup tournament to make a return during the 2021-2022 season. Bettman can control the World Cup tournament, they can control its timing and its location, but the Olympics are not his to own. Most players asked said they would much rather go to the Olympics so it will be interesting to see if the NHLPA will fight Bettman on the topic in any way. The last World Cup tournament was played in 2016 and while fans did enjoy it, there is no side tournament that will make up for the Olympics glory.