Sunday, June 25, 2006

I would love to see the naked pictures-

-of the Jacobs family that current Boston Bruins coach Mike Sullivan is in possession of.

I mean, Christ- what does this son of a bitch have to do to get fired?

According to today's Globe , Mike Sullivan is one of five coaching candidates on the short list of the new sorta functioning GM, Peter Chiarelli.

By the way, that list also includes Pat Quinn.

Pat Quinn?

Bruins fans are supposed to be rooting for Pat Quinn?

The same Pat Quinn who is famous for his dirty hit on not only the best Bruin of all time, but the best to ever play the game?

The same Pat Quinn who was paid back for his treachery by getting his ass kicked in this, the second best photograph in NHL history?

I just don't think the best way to honor your history is to hire a guy best known for his bitter rivalry with the face of your franchise back when it was at it's greatest. I mean, for Christ's sake! Look at the picture! Pat Quinn is getting the crap pounded out of him by Bobby Orr, and even an old lady is cheering him on!

That guy just can't be the coach.

I won't allow it.

Still, anything would be an improvement over Mike Sullivan, whose presence on Chiarelli's short list is nothing short of a total mystery to me.

Throughout Sullivan's tenure as head coach, the problem was always that they never played all 60 minutes. They would start strong, get a few great bids, and then seem to decide, "screw it- we did our best." Then they'd coast around, get lucky occasionally, but usually come up one or two goals short. When they had Joe Thornton on the team, they would usually either lose by one or manage to squeak a tie out of a losing effort, but in this league, you can't not skate for half the game and expect to win, you know, unless you're the 2002 Red Wings.

Those guys could pretty much do whatever they wanted and still win.

Of course, the 2002 Red Wings were coached by Scotty Bowman.

The Bruins problems for the last few seasons, as much as they would like to blame it on (League MVP) Joe Thornton has always been leadership and coaching. And if Joe wasn't a great leader, well, maybe you should have paid Jason Allison or Bill Guerin to stick around. But let's leave leadership out of it for now, and see if we can't fix the coaching.

The problem was coaching when the Bruins blew a 3 games to 1 lead in the first round of the 2004 playoffs versus Montreal, and yes, Joe Thornton was hurt, but if you have a 3 games to 1 lead, it's a coach's responsibility to get at least one of those victories in three tries for you. Coaching alone can't get you 3 wins in a row, but good coaching should get you one out of three.

Case in point?

The Hurricanes were on the verge of blowing a 3-1 lead in the Finals this year, and say what you want about Peter Laviolette, but that Hurricanes squad came out ready to play in game seven, ran their system, and won the Cup. Sure, Bruins management loved to blame Thornton, but if your star player can't go anymore, it's the job of the coach to tell him so. Ask Grady Little about that one.

If your team can't finish, can't beat guys, has shitty goaltending, can't play D, or can't kill or set up a power play, you can argue that the GM isn't bringing in the right talent.

And yes, the Bruins GM sucked last season too, but that's not the greater problem.

Glen Murray, Marco Sturm, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Boyes can all score and have some moves. Tim Thomas and Hannu Toivonen have both proven they can play goal in this league, PJ Axelsson is one of the best penalty killers in the game, Brad Stewart is one of the finest young defensemen in the league, and Hall Gill (even with his occasional lapses in judgment) is so fucking big that he'd be an asset to any team in the NHL.

Could they use a superstar? Sure- but even without one, the Bruins shouldn't have been a last place team, at least talentwise. To illustrate my point, I bring you back to one of the very few Bruins games I actually watched down the stretch last season, an agonizing loss to the Rangers, in which Brian Leetch made his return to Madison Square Garden ice, and the Bruins lost, bad.

Leetch, who undeniably has lost a step or two, still has great instincts on the blueline during a power play, but was on the ice for at least two goals, one of which came shorthanded. In case you didn't read that recap, this is a direct quote from that Leetch after that game:

"I skated around in a fog out there," Leetch said in the visitors' locker room that he never entered before Monday. "Unfortunately it showed and our team played that way, too. "It's hard to play a hockey game when your mind is like that."

You know what solves that problem?

Oh yeah- coaching.

That is a clear-cut example of when it was Sullivan's job to pull Leetch aside before the game, tell him he knows it's a big night for him, and to enjoy the applause in the pregame warmups. Then, after he had his moment, Sullivan should have slapped him in the face, reminded him that he is on a team without veteran leadership that is 6 points out of the playoffs, and they needed a fucking point. On that night, they needed Brian Leetch to step it up.

Mark Messier would never have let a teammate play "in a fog" and that motherfucker went back to both Edmonton as a Ranger AND New York as a Canuck.

Leetch was practically in tears in the pregame interview, and while I am sympathetic to his situation, there is a hockey game to be played, and it's Sullivan's fucking job to notice if his quarterback on the powerplay is weeping all over his sundress.

Bottom line, if the coach can't motivate players to fucking skate- they suck at their job.

Mike Sullivan, man- he's gotta go, even- even if it means Pat Quinn.

I can't believe I just wrote that.

And why doesn't Robbie Ftorek have a job in this league?

I mean, really?

I don't know, man- the Bruins-

They vex me, man- they fucking vex me.

And don't get me started on this trading the rookie of the year for an unknown prospect.


Jes GÅ‘lbez said...

Mark Messier would never have let a teammate play "in a fog" and that motherfucker went back to both Edmonton as a Ranger AND New York as a Canuck

I'm guess you never saw Messier as a member of the Canucks. He played most of his games as if his head was in the fog or he just didn't give a shit.

Ritch said...

"I'm guess you never saw Messier as a member of the Canucks. He played most of his games as if his head was in the fog or he just didn't give a shit."

Yeah, I'd buy that-

The whole "Messier on the Canucks" thing is one of those regrettable hockey incidents that everybody remembers but we try to overlook- kind of like Gretzky in St. Louis, Bobby Orr in Chicago or Keanu Reeves' performance in that "come and get it boys" Stanley Cup ad.

Come to think of it, I'm going to expand that to Keanu Reeves' performance in anything.

Still, if Messier is on a team with Leetch in that same situation, I think he would have coached him through that better than Sullivan. Fuck that, Keanu Reeves could have coached him through that better than Sullivan.

Squig said...

As much as I remember the notorious spat between Orr and Quinn, I don't remember Quinn ever wearing no. 23... I believe that was the one-and-only Eddie Shack. Didn't Quinn wear no. 3?