Monday, February 16, 2009

Michel Therrien Fired! Tom Renney....Next?

1) The Pittsburgh Penguins FINALLY made a big shakeup behind the bench, firing head coach Michel Therrien yesterday. The move comes less than a year after Therrien guided the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup final since 1992. Dan Bylsma previously the head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, will take over as interim head coach. The Penguins have a 27-25-5 record this season and are struggling to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, sitting five points out.

2) We can't say we're shocked by this move. It probably is LONG overdue. From what we've been told it probably would have come MUCH sooner had the Pens not advanced within 2 games of the Cup last summer. Shero would have probably relieved Therrian last summer had they lost in the first two rounds. There had been rumblings of discontent and the team appeared rudderless from almost the opening game. While key injuries were early on a possible factor, other teams with equally bad injury issues were able to muddle through.(Like the Pens were able to do last season) Shero, fearing a possible non-playoff season, despite another great season from Geno Malkin felt it was either now or wait till after the season. Enough time remains for a new face/approach could significantly turn things around.

3) Some might recall that new coach Dan Bylsma played nine NHL seasons with Los Angeles and Anaheim from 1995-2004. He played 429 NHL regular season games and also played in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final with the runner-up Ducks. This season under Bylsma, the Baby Penguins are 35-16-1-2. He takes a similar path of the fired Therrien. We feel that this might be the key to getting things on the right track in Steel town. What appeared to be a lost season might now be saved. We'd wager that we see the Penguins in the playoffs, and if we were one of the other 7 teams, we wouldn't want to face them(assuming they are healthy)

4) Meanwhile on Broadway the Rangers, although still technically still in a playoff position, appear to not want to play beyond mid April. Going a putrid 1-5-2 in their last 8 the team appears to be totally lost. Last week they were thoroughly embarrassed by the Stars, 10-2. Many, including us, felt that Sather would use that game as a reason/exclamation point, of why Renney needs to be replaced. Perhaps Sather figures that IF he replaces Renney the pressure will then be deservedly on him. After all he is the one responsible for the awful contracts of Gomez, Redden. Rozival, Drury, etc that have handcuffed their salary cap number so that changes would be/are going to be difficult if not impossible to make.

5) As of today the Rangers find themselves generally safe in playoff position (6 points ahead of Carolina Hurricane, thanks in large part to a fast start, and a very good extra frame/shootout record. If not for those, the Blue Shirts would probably find themselves in the Penguins' precarious playoff position. Despite their playoff position anyone who has watched this team play the past 2-3 months can tell you they are not a tough team to play against. Not a team that we'd consider a real threat to win in the post season. At this point even the possible addition of Sean Avery would be enough to stem this tide. It may take the more drastic step of bringing in new blood behind the bench. Jim Schoenfeld anyone?

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