This week Stan Fischler checks in with his thoughts on the Blue Jackets’ new coach, the Steven Stamkos’ contract dispute, fighting, and more.
* Here’s the best reason for John Tortorella success prospect in Columbus from my pal Alan Greenberg. “He reminds me of my Army drill sergeant. I hated the S.O.B. but he made a better soldier of me!”
* I love Steven Stamkos but he should get it over with and sign already. This delay on his part is totally unnecessary and downright annoying.
* Put this in your ‘Guaranteed to Happen’ notebook: By April 9th Vladimir Tarasenko will have out-goaled and out-pointed Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
* Lou Lamoriello distributes some of the best bromides. My favorite is “Do what’s right and do it now!”
* If it wasn’t for Donald Fehr’s union, I’d bet the NHL would go to four-on-four skaters in regulation within the next five years.
* Since ownership won’t opt for wider rinks, the only way to delete gridlock from The Game is to follow up on the brilliant three-on-three overtime, the perfect ice-opener.
* By the way, Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden told me about the four-on-four plan a decade ago and I like the idea better now than ever.
* NHL On-Ice Supervisor Rob Shick started a nifty new trend; meeting with media in an informal setting. Witty and articulate, the ex-ref told me that there are three reasons why players take penalties: “One, they’re tired. Two, they just got beaten. And three, they panic.”
* Coaches tell me that their cohorts among the bench boss brigade cheat on line changes during the three-on-three OTs. Shick tells me: “We’ll be watching.”
* Let’s face it, Don Cherry belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder. As a matter of fact, Cherry has done more for hockey interest than two dozen of the enshrined “builders.”
* When Joe Thornton visited Newark recently Ken Daneyko reminded the Jumbo Shark that Mister Devil was Joe’s foe in Thornton’s first NHL fight. Daneyko: “I remember it (January 1, 2000) because Joe gave me a heckuva fight. But, then again, I was getting old.”
* Carey Price may be the better goaltender of the moment but Henrik Lundqvist remains the best goalie interview of the decade. Matter of fact, King Henrik is to the Rangers what Derek Jeter was to the Yankees.
* Jaromir Jagr on Max Domi: “He’s unbelievable. Why isn’t anyone talking about him?” They are Jags; they are. And about you, too, you unbelievable man, you.
* The annual Canadian Association of New York annual hockey dinners were delightful because lifetime NHL fan and former Ambassador Ken Taylor was there to regale us with stories. We mourn his passing and should never forget Taylor’s role during the Iranian hostage crisis.
* My Weekly New Hockey Book Recommendation: “Of Myths & Sticks” by Kevin Gibson, published by Douglas & McIntyre. Worth it for the pics alone.
* Paul Maurice on Nikolaj Ehlers: “When he came to camp we weren’t worried about his skill level, it was whether he could pick up his defensive game.” So far, so good.
* No NHLer is funnier after a win than Jagr. And he’s even three-times funnier than that if he’s scored a goal or two. After a loss, fuhgedaboutit.
* Did Ya Know Department: Every NHL rink now has two “Concussion Spotters” at every game.
* The ice is too crowded with zebras. Solution: yank a linesman and put him between the benches.
* There never should be a ban on a legitimate, non-goon, one-on-one fight whether Nervous Nellies like it or not. During the last Rangers-Devils game both New Jersey’s Mike Palmieri and New York’s Kevin Klein had a serious disagreement and settled it with fists. Klein won the fight but Devs rallied to win the game. To a man NJ’s players insisted that Mike was the game-turner with his game battle with a better fighter.