AP's Coaches Blog; Welcome To Miami

Does anyone else remember the hit 1990's song "Miami" by Will Smith? Well, it was the first thing that came to my mind when Ted Purcell was traded to the Florida Panthers for a 3rd round pick this past weekend.

Purcell returns to Florida after spending two seasons in Oil country. The 30 year old thrived as a complimentary player alongside Draisaitl and Hall this season, posting 32 points in 61 games. Ted adds scoring depth to a Panthers team who improved their roster at the trade deadline, adding Jiri Hudler and Jakob Kindl to the mix as well. Speaking of the trade deadline.....

The average fan was left wondering who was traded during trade deadline 2016; in essence, very few players of any significance changed jerseys. Eric Staal is now a Ranger, which gives the blue shirts another chance at winning the wide open Eastern Conference. Boston added veteran Lee Stempniak and held onto Loui Eriksson; a sign that they are pushing their chips into the middle this year. But the real trade deadline winner was the Chicago Blackhawks. The rich got even richer at the deadline, adding depth centreman Dale Weise and skilled veteran Andrew Ladd to an already loaded lineup. While many other teams made moves to bolster their depth and obtain draft picks, Chicago made a statement to the rest of the league that they want the Stanley Cup back at the Madhouse on Madison come June.

To me, the real losers here are (as usual) the Edmonton Oilers. While the Oilers parted ways with some guys that were not going to be part of the clubs future, why does this team continue to restore faith in players who just aren't getting the job done? This isn't a team full of rookies any more; Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle are 6 year pros now. RNH is in his 5th. They've tried young coaches, veteran coaches, interim coaches, and everything in between. However, the results always seem to be the same; losses. Lots of them. While I am the first to admit that the Oilers desperately need a bona fide number 1 defenceman, I would be ridding myself of Hall, RNH, Eberle and especially Yakupov tout suit if I were the GM. Hall cares more about his personal stats than he does about W's. Eberle is a minus player who I wouldn't want to rely on in a playoff series against any of the powers of the Western Conference. RNH is a buck sixty soaken wet, and Yakupov has zero vision on the ice. Zero.

I attended two Peewee AAA playoff games over the weekend, and would like to congratulate the TriCom Thunder on winning the Provincial League. While the league format is bizarre (even though TriCom won, they still have to win the provincial playdowns to advance to the Atlantics. This renders the entire regular season and playoffs obsolete), TriCom bossed the city slickers around in the two game sweep. St. John's played like they were entitled to something, while the Thunder showed a level of desire that is needed to win when the snow melts.....

Congratulations to all of the HPP coaches that were selected for positions in 2016. For a full list of coaches, please click here http://www.hockeynl.ca/hockey-nl-high-performance-... . A special congratulations has to go out to one of our own, Marek Benda. Having Benda and Ryan Mior (U16) helping with the goaltenders is great for the province of Newfoundland in their quest for gold in future tournaments. I will still go on the record in saying that Mior was the best goaltender to ever play here; unfortunately, his desire to play was not nearly as high as his talent level was during his teenage years.

Until next time,