Safe to say Waddell was no one's preseason pick for the
Recognizing that the players were chafing under Hartley's demanding style, Waddell came in with a different approach, one that takes advantage of their strengths rather than forcing them into an unforgiving mold that was better suited to last season's veteran-heavy lineup.
Waddell has not only increased the confidence and effectiveness of youngsters such as
That's not to say that Waddell has found all the answers. Special teams remain a concern. The power play is puttering along at 15.4 percent, 20th in the league. The penalty kill is dead last at an abysmal 73.1 percent. Considering the talent on hand there's really no excuse for either group to be that ineffective. Team defense is also an issue, although rookie netminder
At least Waddell has some time to work through the kinks. He announced last week that he was calling off the search for an outside coaching replacement and, barring a decision to hand over the reins to assistant
Of course, it would take a stunningly incompetent GM to remove a coach who's getting these kinds of results.
If you think
As one baseball writer told me, "You guys stole a good one."
McDonough was introduced on Tuesday as the new president of the Blackhawks by team chairman
For a team that's struggling to re-establish its footing in a market that thinks the Blackhawks are as fashionable as a Rubik's Cube, McDonough looks like a dream hire.
The Cubs may own a license to print money today, but it wasn't always that way. When McDonough joined the team in 1983 it was averaging around 18,000 per game and less than 1.5 million per season. Thanks to his clever marketing -- including turning the cheapseat bleachers into the hottest tickets in the city -- the Cubs averaged 42,000 per game and 3.2 million for the 2007 season. Of course, fans don't care about full stadiums any more than they worry that the team is not getting a big enough cut from each $7 beer. All that matters to the great unwashed is winning, or at the very least, the promise that winning is just around the corner.
McDonough can't make that happen by himself. But it takes more than just good players to deliver those wins. A team needs the strongest front office possible, and with the moves the Hawks have made since Wirtz's death, they're building a very strong group with a real chance to return this franchise to glory.
Hey, it's a good time to be a Hawks fan.
After just one game, it's a little early to proclaim a winner in the June 2006 deal that sent
Smart move by Anaheim GM
Things are going along so well for the Blues on the ice -- winners of four straight -- that a little bit of organizational turmoil is easy to brush off. But it's worth noting that their goaltending depth -- something they've relied upon heavily during the past few seasons -- took a hit over the weekend with the defection of
The Blues signed the Finnish vet, 31, over the summer with the thought that he might be able to push for a job, as