The Press Box February 20, 2013
Lindy Ruff Fired!
The Buffalo Sabres will see a new Head Coach behind the bench for the first time in 16 years as the Sabres relieved Ruff of his duties after a slow start to this season. Buffalo was booed off home ice after losing to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. After the game the outspoken Ryan Miller had these comments “We are not playing the caliber of hockey that this city deserves" and "Yeah, we deserve to get booed."
Perhaps those comments were the last straw for the Sabres.
This is not the first time Miller has publicly criticized his team. Miller was very outspoken after the Lucic collision and lack of response from his teammates. While Millers play is not the cause of Buffalo's poor performance this season, ya have to wonder if his act is wearing thin. Would the dressing room be better off without Miller? Could Ryan Miller be the next to go?
The Colorado Avalanche are shopping young O’Reilly and expect him to go to a team in the East. Popular rumored destinations include Florida, Ottawa, and of course Toronto.
Florida is struggling this season and is potentially losing their top centre Stephen Weiss who is scheduled to be a UFA on July first. O’Reilly could inherit the top pivot position there.
Ottawa has lost their top centre Jason Spezza for the season to a back injury…again. If Ottawa acquires O’Reilly it would send of huge alarm bells for me if I owned Spezza in a keeper league as the Sens do have Kyle Turris.
Toronto has long been searching for an upgrade in the centre ice position and O’Reilly while not the dream solution they are seeking (That is Ryan Getzlaf) would be an upgrade over Tyler Bozak who is rumored to be part of the Leafs offer.
Whitney and Smyth, too old for Oilers?
Ryan Whitney and Ryan Smyth, two of Edmonton's veteran leaders and highest paid players have booth spent time in the press box recently as healthy scratches. Are their days in Edmonton over? Both were unhappy with the situation and Whitney was the more outspoken of the two about it. I believe Whitney will be moved. While his comments were not as disparaging as Sheldon Sourays were, Souray showed what happens when you make negative comments to the media. I see Ryan Smyth playing out his career as an Oiler, he will have to redefine his role and embrace that, even if it means occasionally watching from the Press Box.
Anaheim off to a Fasth start
The surprise team of the season so far has been the Anaheim Ducks, no question. With Perry and Getzlaf set to become UFA’s this summer, the Ducks great start has silenced any trade talk surrounding their two stars despite Perry having a slow start. A big part of their success has been the play of net minder Viktor Fasth who has come out of the gates like gang busters and has knocked Hiller out as the starting goalie. The Ducks signed Fasth to a one year deal last summer for $1 million. After his 8-0-0 start the Ducks had seen enough and signed him to a two year extension at $5.8 million ($2.4 in the first year, and $3.4 in the next) Too much too soon? I think so. While Fasth is not a young goalie at 30 years of age, he has not shown he can do it consistently. At $5.8 million over two years, the risk is small, however I think the Ducks jumped the gun on this one. It is a long, long list of goalies that have come in and impressed early in their careers, only to fail to maintain after their weakness is broken down and shooters become familiar with where their weakness may be.
Follow me on Twitter: @pharling