TSN Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger, Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun joined host Glenn Schiiler to discuss whether or not Connor McDavid’s patience is running thin in Edmonton, the prospects of Taylor Hall returning this season and the future of Jeff Blashill with the Red Wings sitting near the bottom of the league.
If Edmonton continues to struggle, might McDavid want out?
If the Oilers miss the playoffs once again, could we see Connor McDavid ask out of Edmonton in the near future?
LeBrun: Well not any time soon, if ever, really. But I can tell you this. My understanding is Connor McDavid is fully invested in seeing this franchise turn things around. Obviously the general manager hire looms large and so does the coaching decision. He’s part of wanting this to go right. He’s not looking for reasons to look elsewhere so that’s important. It’s not surprising. If you know Connor McDavid you know he’s not looking for any copouts. But I will say this and this is just my own opinion. If this is still the way things are in Edmonton in three years, who knows. I mean he signed a long-term deal but at this point it’s silly for anyone to think that he would want out.
Will Hall be back this year?
Since Taylor Hall hasn’t played since Dec. 23, is there any chance we’ll see last year’s Hart Trophy winner in the lineup again this season?
McKenzie: Well I just assume that because he hasn’t played since late December and he had his knee scoped to clean out some debris in late February that there was no chance we would see him play again this year. That’s not necessarily the case. Now, a decision will be made next week on whether Taylor Hall plays any of the Devils’ remaining games and obviously the fact they’re not going to be a playoff team could come to factor into that decision, but he is healing and he is getting better and he’s getting closer to being able to return. And as I say next week they’ll make a call on that. He’d like to get in games if he possibly could. The bigger question that will be asked will be in the off-season because Taylor Hall of course is one year away from unrestricted free agency. The Devils are obviously going to want to extend him. He likes it in New Jersey, he liked it better when he was a Hart Trophy winner on a playoff team as opposed to what’s happened to his game and that of the Devils, but that’s something for general manager Ray Shero and him to deal with in the off-season and I’m sure it will be one of those dominant storylines come the summer.
Rule changes coming?
Late in Wednesday’s Leafs/Blackhawks game, Collin Delia’s net came off its moorings and prompted a whistle. Leafs forward John Tavares said he would like to see this be subject [to] a coaches’ challenge if done intentionally. Is the league looking at something like that?
Dreger: Well, they’ve looked at it because it happens once every two games in the National Hockey League. That’s the reality given the fact that the NHL has charted this over the past year. Are they looking at adding an additional coaches’ challenge? I would say no that’s not on the radar. But it was talked about recently at the NHL General Managers’ Meetings and there are some things that are being considered and will likely be part of the clean-up process before the start of next season. If it’s accidental, it could be as simple as taking away a line change from the defending team. If it’s believed to be intentional the officials on the ice could call a penalty on the play or award a goal. But know this, John Tavares – the National Hockey League will look after this in some fashion in time for next year.
A look at the Jack Adams race
There are several candidates for this year’s coach of the year award, but who might have the upper-hand in the race thus far according to one NHL coach?
LeBrun: Speaking to Barry Trotz, who I think a lot of people think will win given the turnaround with the Islanders, but he was very clear. He said listen if the Tampa Bay Lightning keep going at their pace, he doesn’t know how Jon Cooper can’t win. That would be his pick. And he says part of what he finds amazing as far as a coaching job is that he has been in those shoes. Remember he coached some of those Washington teams that would get into the month of March with a double-digit lead and suddenly it was hard to keep that rhythm. Not Tampa. So far, mid-way through March the Lightning are still winning, winning and winning. That’s the choice for Barry Trotz but he doesn’t have a vote.
Blashill’s future in Motown
The Detroit Red Wings enter play Thursday tied for the second-lowest point total in the league. Could Jeff Blashill pay the price, or is the organization encouraged by the job he’s done?
McKenzie: The Detroit Red Wings don’t like being at or near the bottom of the league, but that won’t negatively impact head coach Jeff Blashill who’s on the final year of his contract. The expectation is the Red Wings, even before the end of this season, may begin extension negotiations with Blashill. So even though the Wings are 30th place overall right now, they’ve liked the way Blashill’s handled the young kids and that they’ve continued to develop. And in spite of the fact that they don’t have nearly as many points as they’d like, the Wings have been very competitive, well-structured and well-coached over the course of this season. So the fault of the Detroit Red Wings’ season is not being laid at the feet of the head coach.