Stan’s Java Jive: 1/28/21
Rutherford resigns in Pitt, NHL making sure all clubs are financially sound; Kraken get their voice, and Matt Moulson gets a surprise in Hershey
HEADLINE: RUTHERFORD RESIGNS AS PENGUINS G.M.
THE JIVE: Gentleman Jim says it's for "personal reasons" and we'll know more about that later. The Pens (now former) boss allows that "It's unusual to have this happen during the season but I felt this was the right time to step away." Wow! At 71, James is secure in the knowledge that his club won a pair of Cups and was a model NHL franchise. Patrik Allvin will fill in and report to owner Mario Lemiux. Meanwhile the line forms on the left as Lemieux & Company will consider interviewing replacements. Conceivably, Allvin could keep the job through the season and thereafter. (But don't bet on it.)
HEADLINE: PUNDITS QUESTION 'THE REAL REASON' FOR RUTHERFORD'S WALK OUT.
THE JIVE: A respected hockey man like Rutherford does not walk away from a gig like this and at this moment without a reason. Jim's made it clear it has nothing to do with health. Matter of fact he says -- healthy-wise -- he hasn't felt better in years. What's more, he insists that he very well could be managing a team next season. Considering Rutherford's vast experience and the fact that he's respected throughout the hockey world, I can see an NHL team considering him for a future g.m. job.
HEADLINE: WHY DIDN'T RUTHERFORD WAIT UNTIL THE SEASON ENDED?.
THE JIVE: Jim's contract runs out this season. He could have waited until then before quitting the franchise. When pointedly asked that question -- "Why now?" -- by Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, Rutherford replied, "I'm not going to get into that!" Now that tells you the mystery will be solved when that "Why Now?" question is answered. And since Jim won't tell, it leaves it all up to conjecture.
HEADLINE: PETE DEBOER TAKES BLAME FOR TUCH'S ICE TIME.
THE JIVE: Alex Tuch is one of my favorite "Lower Echelon" players who could be better. His Knights coach Peter DeBoer must think the same way as I do but Pistol Pete can't quite figure out how best to play the big guy. As a result, Coach DeBoer did an unusual thing; he publicly apologized. "I take the blame for Tuch's 'fluctuating' ice time. I'd like to do more." (If Tuch, a Syracuse, New York, product ever gets on track, look out!) All things considered, Alex's five points in six games is not too bad.
HEADLINE: NHL HAS DOUGH FOR THE NEEDY
THE JIVE: In these bizarre, Pandemic times just about everyone and every organization is taking some kind of hit; the NHL being no exception. According to the Sports Business Journal's Boston Business Journal, if there's a team in need, the NHL may have the moolah for it, "We've made some financial adjustments," Commissioner Bettman told the Business Jounral, "that make sure our cash flow is where it needs to be, although not found money, that's debt."
HEADLINE: FORSLUND GETS KRAKEN GIG
THE JIVE: If any play-by-play broadcaster has paid his dues in the yakity-yak business it's John Forslund. His mike work dates back to those pre-historic years when the Whalers were in Hartford and later to Carolina when a Whale became a Cane. His sage, dulcet tones also got him work with NBC and now he'll be re-united in Seattle with his former Carolina chum, Ron Francis. Conclusion: With Forslund doing the word business for the next NHL team in the Pacific Northwest, the baby sextet will be in good hands and great voice.
HEADLINE: LAFONTAINE COMES THROUGH IN THE CLUTCH, AGAIN!
THE JIVE: Scott Levy of Long Island is a hockey fan who watched nearly every Isles game on tv with his wife, Tracie. Their romantic bond was broken when Mrs. Levy died of Coronavirus. Scott revealed his sadness in a post which was read by sportswriter Hillel Kuttler who hosts a sports podcast during the crisis. Hillel contacted Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, who had been Levy's idol and asked the Isles icon to surprise Scott on the air. Typically kind, Pat agreed and Levy couldn't believe he was talking to a player he once met at a team practice 30 years ago. They talked hockey but, more importantly, LaFontaine offered heartfelt words of solace, faith and encouragement. Levy said it well at the end: "Hockey players are different when something is not right. They then go out of their way to help!"
HEADLINE: BEST EUROPEAN TEAM NAMED
THE JIVE: When I asked my USA Hockey buddy Lou Vairo,about experts on the European ice scene he mentioned Gillian Kemmerer, who knows more about the KHL than just about anyone. I e-mailed Gillian with a simple request: which is the best team in Europe? She picked Ak Bars Kazan. "That's the team to beat," she tells me. "They have a core group of players that have been together for a long time. The coaching is excellent; they are aggressive and have speed. They will contend for the Gagarin Trophy."
HEADLINE: MATT MOULSON HONORED
THE JIVE: When he was scoring goals for the Nassaumen, Matt Moulson was one of the most popular players on Long Island. Matty has since moved on from the NHL and has lately been starring for the Hershey Bears. He led the AHL club in scoring last season. As they say, "Genius will out," and in Moulson's case he's been named the 44th captain in the Bears' rich history. P.S. He's played in more than 1,000 pro games and when he was on the ice for a practice and the announcement was made on the message board, he quietly wept for joy.
* NASHVILLE OVER CHICAGO, 2-1. Matt Duchene wins it with Shootout goal while Juuse Saros comes up with 29 saves.
* VANCOUVER OVER OTTAWA, 5-1. That's two wins out of two for the Canucks vs. the Sens. Travis Green's club can produce a sweep against Ottawa tonight. J.T. Miller had a pair of red lights and Elias Pettersson has awakened. He got his second goal.
YAY TO THE PANTHERS for their superior start and awakening hockey interest in South Florida.
GREAT LINES FROM YESTERYEAR: Gordie Howe on Bobby Hull's strength: "The Golden Jet is so strong, he doesn't call the cattle in. He carries them in!"