Well Kris, I wish I could say that the Chicago Wolves had a better season then the Rockford IceHogs, but I'd be living in a fantasy if I believed that. It was only the second time in franchise history that the Wolves were shutout of the post-season. I think, compared to the previous time this happened, that the team was trying, but was being poorly led.
Yep, I'm specifically laying the blame for the Wolves failure on the coach. Now granted the 2007-8 Wolves, who won the Calder Cup, lost a coaching staff to the Atlanta Thrashers and key players such as Jason Krog and Darren Haydar. Still, I felt that the team had the talent to get into the post-season but was unable to energize the guys enough to get it done.
Looking back at my posts, I had a serious loss of faith in this team in late winter, about the time that the team had to have all its cylinders firing in able to make it to the post-season. There was the usual late December/ early January loss of focus, which combined with the long road trips at that time of the year, create a deadly combination that saps the team.
That seems to happen every year. This year it never stopped. There wasn't any excitement out there. I couldn't see players developing, couldn't see team cohesion improving, it was a huge blow.
And I lost interest.
The team moved blue liner Chad Denny to the wings. They over played Ondrej Pavelec in goal. I never had any faith or love for the backup goaltenders on the team. There were a number of blue liners who seemed to develop, but there isn't a lot here that I can say, “yep, he's headed to Atlanta.”
I don't think Denny will get to Atlanta. I think he needs more development, because they blew it with him this year. Disappointing is how I'd describe this situation.
On the other hand, watching the Blackhawks and the IceHogs, I was happy and enjoying the ride. How many of the guys on that Blackhawk team were from the Hogs? Nine I think? Whatever they are doing in Rockford is working for the Hawks. Young guys go there, get developed and move on.
That isn't happening in Chicago right now. We need fresh talent from the bench to the ice.
I hear that the Atlanta Spirit will be clarifying the management situation this summer. That should help the Wolves find some direction. I've liked John Anderson here. I still think he'll do well in Atlanta. Maybe the Thrashers need a new GM?