The Curious Case of John Scott

hockey fights

Like all of the major sports in the USA, hockey is trying to move away from some of the violence that many fans go to games to see. This is mostly due to former players having mental issues that are attributed to head injuries sustained during their careers. With the NHL cutting down on some of the violence there has been less need for teams to carry an enforcer. This was once a position that was celebrated by the league for adding a certain level of spice to the game that other sports did not have, fighting. In fact two great franchises had teams that were celebrated for their enforcers in the 1970’s. The Boston Bruins with their “Big Bad Bruins” and the Philadelphia Flyers with their ” Broad Street Bullies” both enjoyed success during a time when the game allowed teams to have the luxury of having players who did not possess the technical abilities to assist his team on the score sheet. Since the lockout in 2004 many teams have opted not to carry an enforcer because the game has changed so that there is more scoring and the play is faster than it ever was before.

John Scott

To try and spice things up for the 2016 All-Star game, the NHL let the fans vote on the captains of the four teams. The first three players that were chosen, Patrick Kane Jaromir Jagr and Alex Ovechkin, to be captains were voted in because they have had great seasons and are more or less well respected players, although that really depends how you feel about Patrick Kane at any given moment. That brings me to Coyotes grinder John Scott, the fans vote for the Pacific division captain. He was part of the Arizona Coyotes organization until he was traded to the Montreal Canadians on January 15th and subsequently was placed on the Canadians AHL team. Scott really hasn’t had much of a year in terms stats putting up no goals and only one assist in 11 games this season. That being said, he has not ever been expected to produce points with only 5 goals and 6 assists to his name in 285 career NHL games. In the All-Star game he will be representing a nearly extinct species of player in the NHL and it will be good to have a real player on the ice with all the skill players for once. That is why I am glad the NHL is allowing him to continue to be the Pacific captain even though he is not with the Canadians organization  who are in the Atlantic division.

The Head Coach Rush of 2016

The end of the NFL season sees many teams fire their coaches and start fresh. This season there have been seven open head coaching jobs and there is still one, Detroit, that could become open in the near future.

The Miami Dolphins job was the first to be filled. The organization worked hard to sell Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase on the opportunity to coach the Dolphins. In the end Gase was given offensive play calling abilities and control over the 53-man roster. If anyone would be able to help QB Ryan Tannehill grow as a player it would be Gase.

The next domino to fall was the Cleveland Browns Head Coaching position. They hired former Oakland Raiders HC and Current Cincinnati  Bengals OC Hue Jackson. He becomes only the 2nd Browns HC since their rebirth franchise began play in 1999 to come in with at least a full season as head coach under their belt, the first was Eric Mangini.

The next HC to be announced happened early afternoon on Thursday (1/14/16) was former Eagles HC Chip Kelly. He landed the job of rebuilding a San Francisco team that was decimated last off-season by retirements.

Shortly after Kelly was announced by the 49ers, the Giants announced their new HC. They promoted Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo to fill the role left by former head coach Tom Coughlin after he resigned.

In the early evening on Thursday, the Buccaneers hired their OC Dirk Koetter as their new HC. If rumors are to be believed, the reason they fired Lovie Smith in the first place was becasue they were scared to lose Koetter, who they believed was their future HC, to another team. In the end they got their guy.

A little later on Thursday, the Eagles were reported to have an agreement with Kansas City OC Doug Pederson to be their next HC. We will have to wait until the Chiefs have played their final game before we get the official confirmation.

-Sushi

Is This The End?

spurs

As the All-Star Break draws closer in the NBA there is one thought that keeps coming into my head. Is this season the last time the the three big aging stars for the San Antonio Spurs play together? I believe it will be.

One of those stars, whose decline has been going on longest is Manu Ginobili. The Shooting Guard has spent the past few off seasons enveloped in speculation that he will retire. The 38 year old still has two manumore years left on his salary, but he has played around 7 minutes per game
(mpg) less this season than his career average. That is really saying something because for the past 8 or so seasons he has been coming off the bench more than starting. One thing that cold keep him going is that he has had a better shooting percentage this season than every season since the 2011-2012 season. However, that could be more of a product of the rest he is getting and the fewer amount of shots that he takes per game. At the end of the season it would not be surprising if he decides that it is time for retirement.

One star whose decline has been a little slower is that of 39 year old Center, Tim Duncan. For 18 years he has been the face of this franchise and has helped lead them to five NBA titles. Many wonder tim duncanif this could be his final season. He has been averaging 26.2 mpg, which is 8 mpg less than his career average, and is only taking around 7 shots per game. On January 2nd against the Houston Rockets he played a game and for the first time in his career he did not score in that game. As shocking as that sounds he did contribute to the game with 4 rebounds and 2 assists in his 14 minutes on the floor. With potentially another deep playoff run looming for the early summer, I feel this is likely to be his final season in the NBA as well.

The youngest out of the Spurs “Big 3” is 33 year old Point Gaurd Tony Parker. It is more likely that we will see him again for a few more years before he rides off into the sunset. He, like Duncan and Ginobili, has beentony parker given less minutes this season in hopes that they will be more fresh when it comes time to make a playoff run. Despite being on the court less, he is holding closer to his career average in assists per game, 5.2 so far this year and 5.9 for his career. Parker is taking around 4 less shots per game, 9.6, than his career average of 13.5, however he is making 53.1% of those shots. If he can continue that shooting throughout the rest of the season he would finish with his second highest shooting percentage of his career. Unlike his two longtime teammates, it would seem that he has more time left in the NBA.

Black Monday

The NFL regular season ends after the final play of week 17. The next morning begins the day known as Black Monday. Many Head Coaches and General Managers will walk out of their end of season meetings no longer employed by their current teams. There are some teams who did not even wait until Monday to make changes.

The Eagles fired their GM/ Head Coach Chip Kelly with a week left in the season after the team failed to make the playoffs. They turned around and have already interviewed former running back and current running backs coach Duce Staley, although with his lack of experience and the lack of General Manager in place, it is unlikely that his interview is anything more than the Eagles fulfilling their required minority interview.

The Titans fired Coach Ken Whisenhunt at the beginning of November and finished the season with Mike Mularkey as their Interm Head Coach. It is unlikely that he will have the interm tag dropped after the team finished the seaon with a 3-13 record and secured the #1 overall pick in the draft. Add in that they drafted Marcus Mariota last year this could be a very attractive job.

The Dolphins fired Coach Joe Philbin at the beginning of October and finished the season with the Dan Campbell as the Interm Head Coach. Like Mularkey, Campbell is unlikely to be retained as the coach of the Dolphins. The Dolphins also mutually parted ways, fired, Dennis Hickey on Saturday. Sunday morning the Dolphins announced that Chris Grier will be their next General Manager. This will help their search for a new Head Coach start faster than other teams.

The Browns did not even wait until the late afternoon games were finished on Sunday before they fired General Manager Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine. Now for the third time in the Haslam’s four seasons as owners the coaching/ GM search is underway with the hopes that the next tandem can last more than two years in their positions.

Those are all of the firings that have already happened. Now the rest are based on pure speculation.

The 49ers will likely fire their Head Coach Jim Tomsula after the team flopped to a 5-11 season. Trent Balke will likely remain in his position as the GM despite failing to provide the coaching staff with enough talent to win more games. With Tomsula out it will signal that the 49ers made a mistake last off-season when they fired Jim Harbaugh.

The Lions will end up with a new Head Coach after they hire a new GM. This has nothing to do with the job that Jim Caldwell has done, well maybe a little, with the team finishing with a 7-9 record, rather with the fact that a GM will want to bring in his own guy to coach the team. That is unfortunate, however with the likely abundance of jobs open this off-season he is sure to find a job somewhere, either as a Head Coach or a Coordinator.

The Giants Head coach Tom Coughlin is likely going to retire Monday after leading the team to their 4th straight post-season of watching on the couch. He has had a great run in his time with the Giants including two Super Bowl victories over the Patriots. He is going to walk into the sunset having been one of the most successful coaches in Giants history.

The Saints have a dilemma on their hands. Head Coach Sean Payton will be highly sought after this offseason and is still under contract next year, however he has not led the team to the playoffs in the past two seasons and has expressed his dislike with a rebuild. With an aging Quarterback in Drew Brees and a weak roster it seems unlikely he will return to the Big Easy.

The Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano is likely to be out in Indy. He is out of contract and has been unable to agree with management on an extension. On top of that the Colts were unable to make the playoffs this year despite the division being as week as it was. The Colts may also elect to fire GM Ryan Grigson, as he has failed to bring in enough talent to help the Coaching staff win games.

A big wildcard this year could be the Bills job. Despite only being hired last off-season, there is a chance that Rex Ryan could be fired. There were thoughts before week 17 that the team had begun to give up on their coach. A week 17 win seems to have alleviated some of the pressure on Ryan, although the step backwards that the defense took is not a good sign especially with Ryan being a defensive coach. Because of that his tenure with the Bills could come to a quick end.