Greetings Phoenix Coyotes fans. This week the Five for Howling staff answers questions about Brendan Shanahan's performance as discipline czar, NHL realignment, as well as the ongoing drama known as "La propriété des Coyotes".
Jordan: I think he's done a fantastic job, if just in terms of the openness with which he has made his determinations. I personally love his video breakdowns of the hits and how he applies the various issues regarding past player behavior and what you can determine of intent. I think that perhaps there is too much focus still on whether there was an injury on the play and what the victim of the hit did to put himself into a dangerous position, but at this point that is a quibble. This is much better than the Wheel of Justice Colin Campbell approach and I think the game will only benefit from it in the long term.
Carl: I love the transparency. No one is ever going to agree 100% with every ruling Shanahan makes, but now fans, players, coaches, and front office staff get a rationale behind rulings and players get visual examples of what they can and cannot do on a regular basis. Overall, the rulings have been consistent for the most part. It's the hardest job in the sport and he'll never satisfy everyone. As long as things stay transparent and he's fairly consistent I'm happy.
Travis: I'm not sure that every ruling has been exactly right, but what has been nice is the transparency in the process. The way that he announces each one, on video really puts him out there as the face of the disciplinary system is a great change of pace from the Colin Campbell era where things were really just seemingly spun on the wheel of justice. Some of the ruling have seemed harsh, but they've been fairly consistent. .
Do you have a favorite among the various NHL Realignment scenario's that have been bandied about in the media?
Jordan: I don't know that I've been too familiar with the various scenarios, but I think moving Detroit to the East shouldn't be the move ahead of Columbus who is clearly the more easterly team. I know that there is some desire to help out the Central Division teams regarding the travel schedules, but they don't get hit nearly as bad as Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary generally, so I'm not sure what the beef is there. While it might be a shame to move Pittsburgh into a different division (which I would support), I think moving Boston into the Atlantic with the Rangers, Isles, Devils and Flyers would be awesome. Those historic rivalries with Boston-Montreal and Philly-Pitt would still have plenty of match-ups each year and they could be even more important then.
Carl: I'm a fan of the plan Elliotte Friedman claimed on the Hotstove a week and a half ago is the one the NHL brass are pushing. I would move Columbus to the East. They need the time zone switch more than the Wings do. One of the biggest pluses of the plan is the return of divisional playoffs. Hopefully down the road the league will expand by adding two teams in the Midwest/West and then Detroit and Nashville can move to the East where they really belong.
Travis: I'd rather just keep it simple and swap Winnipeg out for whoever the Eastern most team is. I'm a fan of geography, so I want these things to actually make sense. Maybe there can be some other tweaking. I know Dallas would love to change divisions simply because the time zone changes within the division gets to be a pain, Detroit would love to switch conferences, which likely won't happen, but they are pretty powerful and might be able to make it happen. More likely though is Columbus (who could really use the boost) or Nashville moving to the SE. That at least makes geographic sense to me with how close it is to the other teams.
With Matthew Hulsizer having signed a purchase agreement to buy the St. Louis Blues, are you more pessimistic about the Coyotes ownership situation than you were this past summer?
Jordan :I don't think so. It's been pretty quiet on the ownership front and as we move towards the end of 2011, I think that is certainly cause for concern. But at the same time, with how terribly inaccurate our news has been from the media, I think that maybe no news is good news. Hopefully we will hear soon that an ownership group has been approved by the NHL and a deal is close to being signed by all interested parties. But until it is anything short of the parties putting ink to paper, I'm going to be a bit pessimistic.
Carl: Means nothing either way. Hopefully, as Jordan stated, the silence surrounding the ownership situation lately is because the league and city have learned from the past. While there may not be a drop dead date one has to assume the league can't wait much later than the early Spring given that realignment is going on at the same time. AT this point, given how long this drama has gone on I'm done reading tea leaves.
Travis: Unaffected. Though it does speak to how much of a pain getting through the muck surrounding the situation is. If he can walk in the St. Louis and get things done relatively quickly but had to go 12 rounds with Glendale and the NHL here it just shows what a process it is to buy this team. I still think either the Jameson group or Reinsdorf get the team and it'll be fine, but man is this a tedious process.