This is what happens when you're busy
I have to be honest- HF has taken up a lot of my hockey-writing energy...thus, the blog has suffered. It's been more than a year since I started writing for them, and I guess when I look back, there's so much that I've learned. With the impending draft, things are busier than ever.
Anyway, it's a relief to have a GM in order. Even if we have to wait until mid-July to truly have him on board. I think they made a good choice in Chiarelli- (despite the fact that he seemed a bit nervous during the press conference)- he appears to be well spoken and level-headed. His next order of business will be to decide Mike Sullivan's fate.
I honestly believe that Mike Sullivan did the best considering the circumstances. Very few players returned from the 2003-04 season, the roster was injury riddled, and they really didn't have the depth to make up for that. Patrice Bergeron got off to a slow start; when Zhamnov was healthy, he was certainly not the player he was expected to be; once Thornton was traded, they put together the Sturm, Bergeron & Boyes line, which went on to do the majority of scoring the second half of the year- unfortunately they did not have a comparable (or even adequate) second line to spread the scoring around. Plenty of high class, high character players, but not enough skill. None of these things are excuses on their own, of course, but you combine them, and it only makes your chance of success that much smaller.
That said, I'm not entirely convinced Sullivan is the right coach for this team. There was a lot of dump & chase, a lot of defensive style hockey, not enough aggression on offense; I've heard the claim that he doesn't like physical play, but I'm not sure I buy that; some of his line combinations and pairings were questionable at times, but again, I think a good part of that was due to the fact that he had very few players available to choose from.
I wouldn't mind seeing him get another chance- he took the team far as a rookie coach, and i don't remember hearing the same complaints about him as I heard this season. next season may very well be a transition year anyway, and I'd rather stick with Sullivan than just bring someone new in for the sake of change. Unless, miraculously, the perfect coach appears magically in the next few days, maybe it is better not to make a change like that yet. Overall, a tough call.
Posted by firestarter1010
at 10:15 AM EDT