Best and worst of painful season
The Year of the Headshot will not go down as a fabulous hockey season, at least by most metrics.
Midway thought the final week of an NHL campaign in which blindside hits left us as dizzy as the success of the wards-of-the-state Coyotes, there still is no 50 goal-scorer and only three 100-point men. The playoff slots have been decided in the Western Conference and the turtle race for the last three Eastern spots has been a joke. (Since 2003-04, no playoff team has had fewer than 90 points. The East could have as many as three.)
Our guess is that 2009-10 will look better in an historical context than it has in real time -- this season likely will be the dividing line of a seismic generational shift with the emergence of Tampa Bay's
Anyway, here's a free-form list of highs and lows from October to early April, a season in shorthand:
Forget his playing Henrik and
Under the circumstances, Gustafsson's was an all-time low percentage play.
There have been two European head coaches in the NHL:
Futility can lead to championships in some cases. (See Pittsburgh and maybe Washington, which restocked with high draft picks.) But the formula does not come with a money-back guarantee. (See Florida and the New York Islanders.)
On the other hand, we are less red-faced for touting Maple Leafs goalie
Given the timing, the Molson group had no choice but an orderly succession, which essentially meant that Gainey was passing the job to assistant GM