Hey, everyone. It’s Dan Mount again with another edition of the Three Periods blog. This week I talk about the Minnesota Wild firing head coach Mike Yeo after a disappointing season. I discuss why the Montreal Canadiens even thinking about trading P.K. Subban is one of the most insane ideas and I wrap up this week’s blog with the Dennis Wideman mess.
If you have a topic that you want me to touch one, just tweet me @DanMountSports or the show @SpadoraOnSports. I’ll answer any and all comments, concerns or violent disagreements.
Let’s get started…
The hammer finally dropped in the Twin Cities as the Minnesota Wild fired Mike Yeo after a lengthy losing streak that has the team sitting outside of one of the two Western Conference wild card spots. The Wild have sank to sixth place in the ultra-competitive Central Division and fired the embattled bench boss. John Torchetti was installed as interim coach until the end of the season.
Minnesota encountered the same struggles last season before the acquisition of DevanDubnyk and a few meltdowns by Yeo. The Wild managed to make the playoffs and upset perennial playoff-strugglers St. Louis in the first round before losing to Chicago in the next round.
Many thought Minnesota would be a contender for the division title, but a lack of scoring on the power play and Dubnyk wearing down has hindered a repeat of last year’s surge. The Wild have also struggled mightily at the Xcel Energy Center. All of those ingredients meant the end of Yeo’s tenure.
It’s going to take a hot streak for Minnesota to make a run at the postseason, but the team has responded under Torchetti with three straight wins. If Minnesota can score and Dubnyk can rebound, it can catch Colorado or Nashville for one of the last playoff spots in the West.
The wheels have fallen off for the Montreal Canadiens. (Much to the dismay of our NHL analyst and Habs fan Jim Hynes.) Montreal started off the season so well, but has not been the same team since the injury to all-star goalie Carey Price. I thought the Canadiens would be a threat to make the Stanley Cup final and possibly break the drought that has not seen a team from north of the border with the coveted chalice for the first time since 1993.
However, the team is nowhere near a playoff spot and there’s talk of general manager Marc Bergevin blowing the whole thing up and starting over. One of the more recent rumors has been talk of trading one of the faces of the franchise in defenseman P.K. Subban.
The trouble started bubbling up Thursday night when coach Michel Therrien benched his star defender after a turnover led to a goal by the Colorado Avalanche. The media has run amok over the last day or so saying that teams have taken an interest in acquiring Subban. One team that would love to have him is the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, who cleared out a bunch of salary cap space after trading Dion Phaneuf last week.
Subbandoes lead the league in giveaways with 85 as of Feb. 19, but he is a dynamic playmaker and has been one of the bright spots for the Habs. Therrien throwing his star under the bus is going to cause a lot of headaches and it will probably cost the coach his job. PK has a large contract that will make it hard for him to move, and he’s done plenty of charity work in the Montreal area including giving a ton of money to children’s hospitals.
Trading a superstar is something Montreal has done before. The last time that happened was when the Canadiens dealt Patrick Roy to the Colorado Avalanche. Go ahead and ask Habs fans how that one worked out.
Lastly, the NHL upheld Calgary Flames’ defenseman Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension after cross-checking linesman Don Henderson right before the All-Star Break. Wideman argued that he was still feeling the effects of a hard hit dealt to him by Nashville Predators’ winger MiikkaSalomaki. However, Commissioner Gary Bettman rejected the appeal and upheld the suspension.
Wideman had never been in trouble with the league before, but his actions clearly crossed the line. He argued that he was concussed, but he did not go to the league-mandated “Quiet Room” that skaters go to when taking a head shot and did not seem woozy when talking to reporters after the game.
The other damning piece of evidence was Wideman texting a teammate saying “The only reason I was here is because of the stupid refs and the media.” If he wanted to get some sympathy, he would have shown some contrition instead of complaining about it.
The NHL Players Association is appealing the ban, but I was hoping they’d let it go. I understand sticking up for a players, but sometimes you have to take punishment for mistakes. The whole thing has been one giant mess.
Henderson is still out with concussion-like symptoms and is the start of a string of misfortune that has fallen on the refs. Let’s hope Henderson can get back on the ice sooner rather than later.
Tweet of the week: I’m a big fan of goalie masks, (I own Jim Hynes’ book about goalie masks), and this one courtesy of @uppercornerhock celebrates the awesomeness of the NHLPA 93 video game. The old EA Sports NHL games for SEGA Genesis are still my favorite games to this day, and I love seeing throwbacks to my teenage years.
That’s it for this week. I’ll speculate about the upcoming trade deadline in the next edition of Three Periods. Take care.
Dan Mount is a producer for Spadora on Sports. He’s also a writer for NHL on the Ice and is the Nashville Predators beat reporter for The Hockey Writers. He can be found on Twitter @DanMountSports.