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Member Since 01 Jul 2005
Offline Last Active Aug 10 2005 07:28 PM

Topics I've Started

Coach for Devils

13 July 2005 - 09:32 AM

Doesn't sound like Robinson is the guy or Lou isn't talking, yet.


Robinson, Lewis left out of Devils' plans?

GM Lamoriello has direction in mind

Published in the Asbury Park Press 07/13/05

If Larry Robinson is going to be introduced as the next head coach of the Devils, it's news to him.

If Dave Lewis is going to be offered the keys to New Jersey, nobody's bothered to tell him.

Robinson said Tuesday afternoon that New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello had not contacted him to inquire if the former Devils head coach was interested in returning to lead his old team. Lewis said he had not heard from Lamoriello either.

"I tend to think Lou has somebody in mind," Lewis said. "I haven't heard anything."

Robinson and Lewis, the recently deposed head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, were believed to be the top two candidates to fill the void created when a second bout with cancer forced Pat Burns off the Devils' bench. Now it sounds possible that neither one will take the reins in New Jersey if and when the NHL returns for the 2005-06 season.

"I think we know what direction we're going to go," Lamoriello said.

Lamoriello said he will not necessarily wait until the official completion of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before making a decision.

"We might still do something this week," Lamoriello said.

If not Robinson or Lewis, then who? Maybe Bobby Carpenter, a former Devils forward who was Burns' top assistant in New Jersey. Carpenter has no NHL head coaching experience, but was the head coach of New Jersey's AHL affiliate, the Albany River Rats, during the 2001-02 season.

Lamoriello has been known to pull off surprises. He stunned just about everyone when he hired Kevin Constantine in January of 2002. At the time, Constantine was the general manager of the Pittsburgh Forge.

Robinson led New Jersey to the Stanley Cup in 2000, then took the Devils back to the Finals in 2001. He was fired in January of the following season.

Now a special assignment coach with the Devils, Robinson said he last talked to Lamoriello a few weeks ago, but not about returning as coach.

"I think if the opportunity came about and I was asked to do it, I probably would certainly think about it," Robinson said.

Lewis, a player for those terrible Devils teams from the early 80s, went 96-41-21-6 in two seasons as Detroit's head coach. Early playoff exits hastened his departure.

"I'll put it this way," Lewis said, "I still have coaching in my blood."

Lewis leaves for Stockholm, Sweden, Sunday for a fantasy hockey program. He said he has nothing but fond recollections of his tenure in Jersey.

"We loved New Jersey," Lewis said. "We lived in Morris Plains. My wife and I just absolutely loved the town. Our kids went to school there. We had nothing but great memories of New Jersey."

Three former NHL coaches unlikely to get the job are Mike Babcock, Paul Maurice and Robbie Ftorek. Babcock is expected to be the guy to replace Lewis in Detroit. Maurice, former coach of the Carolina Hurricanes team that knocked the Devils out of the playoffs in 2002, recently signed on to coach Toronto's top minor league affiliate. Ftorek, one Devils insider said, may not even be back coaching Albany next season.

Hartford Wolfpack general manager Jim Schoenfeld, another potential candidate, is more likely to be named the next head coach in Hartford sometime this summer. Schoenfeld was head coach of the first Devils team to make the playoffs back in 1988.

Stakes are frighteningly high

08 July 2005 - 02:00 PM


Updated: July 7, 2005, 4:19 PM ET
NHL gets one chance to do it rightBy Scott Burnside
Special to ESPN.com

The NHL lockout may have been painfully pointless, but in the end it remains the easy part of the journey.

Now, on the eve of a historic new accord that will bring an end to the longest labor stoppage in the history of pro sports, comes the hard part -- restoring a once-great game to its place in the sporting universe. More to the point now comes the challenge of trusting the owners and players that ran this historic game into the ground to revive it.

So much work to do, so little faith in those who must do it.

"If we make a mistake here we're sunk," one NHL coach told ESPN.com this week.

It's always easier to tear something down, to smash something to smithereens, than it is to build, to create from nothing. Look at the ease with which players and owners allowed a dispute over how to divvy up $2.1 billion in revenues to swallow an entire season and jeopardize the future of a league that's been in operation for the better part of a century.

When a new collective bargaining agreement is unveiled in the coming days, the owners will emerge having ground the players' association into dust, imposing a salary cap significantly lower than the one offered on the eve of the season's cancellation in mid-February. The players' shocking offer of a 24 percent rollback on existing contracts will also be part of the new deal, as will restrictive entry-level salaries and a revamped arbitration process. Yet anyone who claims victory in the wake of the lockout is a fool -- pure and simple.

It's believed the new salary cap will peg player salaries at 54 percent of league revenues, assuming $1.7 billion in revenues for the coming season. But that's merely an educated guess. The truth is the damage to the sport is somewhere between a lot and incalculable. Similarly, the work needed to be done to undo or mitigate that damage exists somewhere between those two poles.

The league has been forced to give away its product to NBC in a manner more befitting a common streetwalker. And that's the good news on the television front, where ESPN's decision to walk away from the league leaves the NHL without any national cable presence in the United States. Finding a way to beam its new and improved product into American homes will be just one of a series of crucial tasks facing the league, its players and its owners in the coming weeks.

The media across most of the United States have for weeks treated the league and its lockout as an elephant might consider a gnat -- small, buzzing, mildly annoying, but ultimately inconsequential.

How will the league restore interest on Web sites, in newspapers and in magazines, many of which have already decided the NHL doesn't warrant coverage provided other major sporting leagues?

Sponsors will expect cut-rate deals to come back, assuming they can be convinced to hang around for the new show.

Teams must reach out to fans and make their buildings welcoming places in a way they have never done before -- starting with reduced ticket prices.

The product itself must be better, the rule changes dramatic and enticing.

So much work to do. And it has been encouraging to hear that players, owners and managers finally appear to be on the same page in repairing the product itself.

Shootouts to break tie games, a more exciting overtime format, smaller goalie equipment, the elimination of the red line, wider blue lines and restrictions on goaltenders' handling of the puck are all solid ideas.

But this is a league that has a long history of seeing great ideas unraveled by inertia and selfishness.

Check the history books.

As recently as the fall of 2002, the league hosted a rules "summit" in Toronto, after which claims of a golden age of scoring were made. The promises of a more exciting game yielded nothing but more clutching and grabbing as the season lurched toward the playoffs when all bets were off. And when calls were made, coaches and general managers complained that officials were idiots and their teams treated unfairly.

Even the new competition committee made up of four active players, four general managers and one owner (Philadelphia's Ed Snider), has been quietly ripped because coaches and on-ice officials have been excluded.

In the past few days there have been signs the hockey world is creaking and shuddering back to life:

NHL forms new committee

02 July 2005 - 07:27 AM


While I think it is good to have a mix of players, Owners and GMs instead of all GMs because it's the spirit of cooperation, players input and for the betterment of the game. But if this is what is coming out of the talks, I am dissappointed. Time will tell. Maybe a better product will hit the ice finally. They need more offense for excitement to get the old fans back or a percentage they won't get 100% and to see if there is any interest for new fans accepting hockey.

Report: NHL forms new competition committee

July 1, 2005

TORONTO (Ticker) - Despite the inability to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, the NHL and the Players Association apparently have found one thing in which they can agree on.

According to a report on TSN of Canada's website Friday, the league and the union have formed a competition committee, which will convene to discuss and recommend all rule changes for the betterment of the game.

Citing undisclosed sources, TSN is reporting the committee will consist of four active players, four general managers and one team owner. The players are believed to be union president Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks, Brendan Shanahan of the Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Rob Blake and Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

David Poile of the Nashville Predators, Bob Gainey of the Montreal Canadiens, Kevin Lowe of the Edmonton Oilers and Don Waddell of the Atlanta Thrashers reportedly will be the general managers on the committee, while Ed Snider of the Philadelphia Flyers is the representative of the owners.

The nine-man committee will assume the duties formerly held by the group consisting of the NHL's 30 general managers.

The NHL and the Players Association met for four days this week before taking a break on Friday, which is a national holiday in Canada known as Canada Day. The sides are expected to resume labor discussions next week.