Captain Fortunato and I talked and came to the realization that "Morning Notes" is a snoozer of a name for this daily morning cup o' hockey Joe. So what was Fortunato's suggested change? Bantering Points! I like it. We want to depart a bit from straight links and bring you a bit more. But could we do better than that name? Maybe. Maybe we could. Suggest a name in the comments and I will run a Thanksgiving poll to rename the Morning Notes to something more snazzy.
The NHL lost a legend yesterday when Pat Quinn passed away at the age of 71. The Big Irishman left an impression everywhere he coached. He coached an amazing 35 game winning streak with the Flyers and many winning seasons across all his stops. He helped rehabilitate the image and organizational attitude of teams like the Vancouver Canucks, who were perpetual whipping boys until his tenure propelled them to a 1994 Stanley Cup Finals appearance against the New York Rangers. He also coached the rival Flyers and brought the Toronto Maple Leafs as much respectability as they had had in years with a punishing brand of physical hockey and six straight playoff appearances in the late 90s into the 2000s.
Quinn's path often crossed the Rangers. I've linked takes from all over the league, including this video obiturary tribute from the NHL. Some great stories about a memorable and respected character in the sport. RIP. [Nucks Misconduct] [Broad Street Hockey] [Pension Plan Puppets] [Maple Leafs Hot Stove] [Five Mole] [Maple Leaf Memories] [Courier Post] [Inquirer] [Philly.com] [The Globe and Mail] [Vancouver Sun]
The New York Post ran an interesting article yesterday, quoting former GM Neil Smith as saying that his first choice for a head coach to replace Colin Campbell during the 1997-98 campaign was Pat Quinn. Quinn ultimately declined, and John Muckler was hired for several very unsuccessful seasons. Would things have been different for that club, which boasted Wayne Gretzky, Brian Leetch, Mike Richter, Adam Graves, Ulf Samuelsson, and Kevin Stevens, amongst others? [NY Post]
The NHL lost another legendary coach in former Soviet/Russian national team bench boss Victor Tikhonov. Tikhonov was synonymous with the dynastic run of the Red Army teams, who perpetually beat up North American and International competition for years under his watch. He amassed three Olympic Gold Medals and eight World Championships (back when that tournament actually meant something and wasn't a throwaway). Americans may remember him most as the coach who replaced Viacheslav Tretiak in the 1980 Miracle on Ice Game. But his legacy to the sport was much greater than that. [NHL] [SI] [NY Daily News] [Yahoo]
Tikhonov was ahead of his time. He preached a lot of the puck possession systems and modes of thinking that are valued in today's game. He was viewed as a villain because of his "Red Machine's" punishing success against Canadian and U.S. teams, and his punishing training regimen for his own players. But he influenced and shaped world-wide hockey as we know it as much as anyone. [Yahoo]
The Rangers conspicuously signed veteran Henrik Tallinder to an AHL PTO. Should he return to form following a string of injuries, he could provide much needed depth. I don't hate this at all, actually. [Blueshirt Banter] [Pro Hockey Talk - NBC] [Newsday]
Kevin Klein has been a lone bright spot on the Rangers' defense this season, consistently performing at or above his expected contribution.
He's also a genuinely good guy with solid facial hair, so that's cool. He was asked to prom by a fan...and accepted. Awwwwwwww! The Hockey Writers]
The Rangers may finally be starting to show that they are better team than their early record indicates. Alain Vigneault says that the upcoming Wednesday night game at Tampa Bay is a measuring stick for this Rangers club. [NY Daily News] [Bleacher Report]
Martin St. Louis returns to Tampa with a shot at 1,000 career points in a familiar environment for most of them. [Newsday]