There are a few people in the media that I really dislike and Pierre McGuire is one of them. It’s not that I don’t think he is knowledgable about the game of hockey (like Steve Simmons who I aslo dislike) but just that he often everexaggerates everything and/or he panders to his audience. For example, when he is on Ottawa radio he often puts down the Leafs because that plays well in Ottawa. He does that much less so on Toronto radio. But some things he has said in the past 2 days really has me wondering about his sanity.
1. On Friday he said he thought that the Chicago Blackhawks have a chance to be in the playoff race. That’s a pretty bold statement for a team that finished with 65 and 71 points the past two seasons and will likely need closer to 95 points to make the playoffs. It’s even more bold when you consider that the only moves of significance they made was signing Robert Lang and Yanick Perreault and trading Adrian Aucoin for Andrei Zyuzin and picking up Sergei Samsonov for a couple of fringe players. I am sorry Pierre but those moves plus the addition of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews is not going to be enough to turn the blackhawks around unless you think both Kane and Toews will be the next Sidney Crosby next season. But even Sidney Crosby didn’t turn the Penguins around in year one. The Blackhawks have next to zero chance of making the playoffs.
2. This morning he stated (in the context of how difficult it will be for the Leafs and Canadiens to make the playoffs) that Washington will also be in the playoff fight. Now I think this is a bit more viable than the Blackhawks prediction because I think the Capitals added more this off season (Nylander, Kozlov, Poti, and top rookie Backstrom) but I don’t think even that is enough to move them from 70 points to the 90+ points it will take to make the playoffs.
3. In the context of how tough it will be for Toskala to play for the Leafs he mentioned that he will be playing for a team with a weak defense and for a team that will struggle to score. Now, as you all might know, I don’t think the Leafs have a weak defense (and goaltending was their problem) but at least McGuire has the team goals against average to use to back up that statement. But a weak offense? This is a team that finished 8th and 7th in goals scored the past 2 seasons and just added a 40 goal scorer and should get more games played by Wellwood and Tucker this year. The Leafs are not an offensively challenged team.
I am going to be interested to see where he predicts the Blackhawks, Capitals and Leafs will be when TSN has their season preview show in a few weeks. Any bets that he says that Washington and Chicago have little chance at the playoffs and the Leafs have a chance?