Hockey News: Feaster last among GMs
The Hockey News, in its current issue, ranked the NHL's GMs, and Tampa Bay's Jay Feaster was 30th out of 30, down from sixth last year.
The magazine pointed out the bad goaltending decisions, tying up what it said was too much money in Vinny Lecavalier, Brad Richards an Marty St. Louis, and poor drafting, which certainly is a valid criticism.
I like the Hockey News. I even contribute as a freelancer. But 30th? Sorry, don't see it.
The best thing about these rankings is they are a great jumping off point for discussions. So here are the circumstances The Hockey News apparently didn't include in its evaluation of Feaster. You tell me why or why not these factors should mitigate some of what went wrong this season.
The magazine said the rankings were done by primarily analyzing the past year and what happened at the trade deadline. If that is true, the following should have been in the mix:
Ownership's mandate of a $44-million payroll that may or may not have stopped the team from acquiring goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov in a cheap trade.
The team has been sold twice since August and current owner Palace Sports & Entertainment apparently has abdicated some of its ownership responsibility to Hollywood producer Oren Koules, who has provided no indication he is closing the deal.
The loss of Dan Boyle to a freak skate accident.
This year's trade deadline: Feaster should get high marks for getting goalie Mike Smith, defenseman Alex Picard and forwards Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern for Vinny Prospal and Brad Richards
Could Feaster have done some things things differently? Sure and he will tell you so. But if as The Hockey News says, "A GM's career body of work carries significant weight,'' you would think that a Stanley Cup and four straight playoff seasons would count for something. Guess not.
Other stuff from this morning: As expected, Mike Smith gets the call in net. ... With Smith back in the lineup, Marc Denis, who was called up on an emergency basis, had to be returned to AHL Norfolk. ... The Lightning penalty kill is 52 of 58 in its past 15 games. Coach John Tortorella gave credit to associate coach Mike Sullivan for devising a system that more quickly confronts opponents when they try to cross the blue line. Better goaltending helps as well. ... One thing you can say about the Lightning. The players haven't stopped trying, a feather in their caps considering how far out of the playoffs they have been and for how long. Nothing special there,Tortorella said. "You play hard all the way through. That's what we're paid to do. That's what we're supposed to do.'' ... Sullivan, who will be Tortorella's assistant at the world championship and who was head coach of the United State's 2007 world championship team, said people might be surprised at the level of U.S.-born talent in the league, including players such as Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Patrick Kane, Peter Mueller, Phil Kessel, Zach Parise. Even Paul Stastny, who has dual citizenship with Canada, played last year for the United States. "I don't think there were a lot of people that thought we would have any sort of competitive edge,'' Sullivan said last year, "and I thought our guys played extremely well,'' losing in a quarterfinal shootout. The lack of buzz, Sullivan agreed, was because it was the first year USA Hockey went without mainstays such as Bill Guerin, Mike Modano, Derian Hatcher. He said the lack of name recognition hurt. "I think there's a volume of American-born players across the NHL right now who are having success and making contributions on their respective teams. This is the best league in the world and that is indicative of how far American players have come.'' ... Tortorella, a candidate to coach the United States at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, said Sullivan also should be up for that job and any NHL job that opens up. "That's how much respect I have for him,'' Tortorella said. ... The trade with the Flyers for Alex Picard is looking better and better as time goes by. With Paul Ranger out, Picard might be Tampa Bay's No. 2 defenseman. ... Center Ryan Craig (knee) skated for 45 minutes Monday in sweats. "It's good to know I can still skate,'' he said.