– No surprise from anyone that Dustin Penner got benched by Craig MacTavish. The $4.25m man never lived up to expectations and probably never well. Brian Burke felt that the massive overpayment would have ramifications on the free agent market, but it didn’t, but regardless Burke gets the last laugh because now the Oilers are stuck with Penner for a long time. Except the hockey gods are giving Penner another chance, now with Fernando Pisani is sidelined with a broken ankle.
– Craig Hartsburg is once again going to re-unite the Pizza Line. I never understood the fascination with breaking them up in the first place, it never went anywhere and the only good thing that ever came out of it was the fact that now everyone knows the Big Three can’t be separated. The Sens have been plagued with a lack of secondary scoring, and they’ve failed every summer to bring in that player, but you have to wonder if spreading around the talent is even an answer to that. Mike Fisher and Antoine Vermette need to step up their game for them to be competitive. However, the Sens will continue to have problems if 1) they don’t replace players lost and 2) the players refuse to listen.
– Speaking of linemates, a lot of fans in Vancouver have been frustrated by Steve Bernier‘s lack of production with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, but is it really his fault? I think the problem with that line is that the Sedins refuse to play to Bernier’s strengths. That’s not to say they should change their puck-cycling game, but too often we hear “I’m still trying to figure out the twins’ tendencies” rather than “we’re still trying to figure out Bernier’s tendencies.” Canucks management, throughout the years of its revolving door of right wingers, have cemented in their heads that there is a player out there that can perfectly compliment their game. I say that will never happen unless the Sedins do something about it.
– There’s been a clear lack of respect on all fronts in the game, on and off the ice. Off the ice, we’re seeing insubordination and a lack of respect for coaches. Case in point, Barry Melrose. Players have complained about his lack of preparation, but I really feel the players weren’t ready to listen to him since day one, and the writing was on the wall for him. There are grumblings from Ottawa that the same thing is happening. When the players dictate how management and coaches handle their duties, that’s when you know you have a problem. On the ice, I don’t think there’s been more head shots, hits from behind, puck-chasing, and board-crashing related injuries in a span of a month.