Scolari Sacked by Chelsea

February 9, 2009


Today’s stunning announcement of the sacking of Chelsea boss Luiz Scolari is just the latest in the blow-for-blow contest between the English Premier League and the National Hockey League for most coaches fired in a single season. Scolari follows in the hallowed footsteps of Juande Ramos (Tottenham), Roy Keane (Sunderland), Paul Ince (Blackburn), Kevin Keegan (Newcastle) and Gareth Southgate (Middlesbrough) nearing his own demise. Scolari, Ramos and Ince did not even get a full season before suffering the ax.

Update: Portsmouth today confirmed their firing of Tony Adams. Adams lasted less than four months having become manager when Harry Redknapp left Pompey when Tottenham sacked Juande Ramos.

Of course the NHL hasn’t been much better with Denis Savard (Blackhawks), Peter Laviolette (Hurricanes), Barry Melrose (Lightning) and Craig Hartsburg (Senators) all losing their jobs during this season. Laviolette was replaced by his predacessor Paul Maurice and Hartsburg didn’t even last 50 games. Melrose only got 16 and Savard just 4!

It’s not like these leagues are the only ones that are really bad about firing coaches mid-season but they seem to be the ones most likely to replaced the canned bosses with coaches from the same re-tread pile. Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp, both men of many Premier League clubs, are two of the replacements so far this season. There is talk of Avram Grant returning to Chelsea, he who was sacked in order to bring in Scolari in the first place.

It’s got to be disheartening to be a fan of any of those teams and see your coach get fired in the middle of the year. That’s basically a white flag, isn’t it?

What’s the Deal with NHL Contracts?

January 28, 2009

Are we really at the point now where people care so little about professional hockey that one of the more outrageous occurances in sports don’t even get covered any more?

It’s being reported that Henrik Zetterberg, the 28-year old Detroit Red Wings player is going to sign a 12-year $72 million contract. Zetterberg was last year’s Conn Smythe winner (for those who don’t know, that’s Playoffs MVP) and is generally a fantastic player. But really, 12 years??

In 2006 the Islanders signed goalie Rick DiPietro to a 15-year $67.5 million contract! And in 2001 the Islanders signed Alexei Yashin to a 10-year $87.5 million deal. I don’t know enough about or follow hockey closely enough to know more examples.

Can you imagine a 10 to 15-year contract in any other sport? It’s hilarious and fantastic at the same time. It could also be devastating if that player either doesn’t pan out or gets injured. But why isn’t this looked on with more fascination around the sports media world? I guess A-Rod (or should we say A-Fraud now?) got a 10-year deal, but that is super rare.

Toronto Two-Step

October 22, 2008

In recent days there have been rumors circulating that the NHL is considering expanding the league to include a second team in Toronto. Now, the Maple Leafs (and by the way, great point by Morgen the other day, why aren’t they the Maple Leaves?) have been in Toronto since 1917 and are an original club in the National Hockey League. No problem with adding a second team to an historic city (see the New York Jets, LA Clippers or New York Mets) but doesn’t it seem like there are some cities more deserving of having a team than giving Toronto a second one? Namely:

Quebec lost the Nordiques after twenty-three years when they became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.
Winnipeg lost the Jets after twenty-four years when they became the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996.
Hartford lost the Whalers after after twenty-five years when they became the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997.

Each of those three cities deserve to have a team returned to them, with Hartford leading that list, in my opinion. Thankfully Minneapolis was returned a team in the form of the expansion Wild in 2000 after having lost the North Stars to Dallas in 1993 after twenty-six years.

The other point worth noting is that the NHL probably isn’t really in an expanding situation anyway. Check out Trey’s (lengthy) breakdown of how the league could use contraction and relegation to make the game better.

Strange News on the Hockey Uniform Front

October 9, 2008


Traditionally, hockey unis look like this, this or this. Relatively basic. Logo on the front, rarely words, never numbers. Even in the new manifestations (ie, the horrible Reebok takeover last year) they can look kind of ‘normal.’ But this Thrashers look is way out there. It’s just about as bad as the Dallas Stars’ new look from last year, which was along the same lines (though possibly more boring).

Last year, Vancouver put out a uni with a large (or at least long) wordmark across the front of their shirts. To my knowledge, there are not any other clubs with similar traits (though a few have added strange number placements on theirs).

Don’t expect tons of hockey coverage from us, but this is very odd and worthy of mention. (And thanks to Uni Watch for pointing these out for those of us who care about such things)