AirMail – Janurary 5, 2017

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Here at Jets Nation, we were once asked for the answer to life, the universe and everything and our super computer came back with the answer “Patrik Laine” which of course we didn’t argue with at all.

Other people asked us questions and since our computer didn’t want to answer anything else, we left the answers up to myself (I’m @GameTimeArt on Twitter by the way), Garret Hohl (Find him on Twitter at @GarretHohl) and Dustin Mymko (He’s @JetsObsessed on the Twitters)

Our answers are below..

Mattie asks: Why does Charlie Huddy still have Job? 5 years and no defensive improvement.
Garret: I find it extremely difficult to isolate the variables enough to confidently evaluate coaching statistical or qualitatively, and so I tend to not to judge too much. I mean there are the obvious things you can point out, but that only covers one section of the many roles a coach covers. What is Charlie Huddy’s fault versus Paul Maurice’s versus the roster (and therefore Kevin Cheveldayoff)? I can tell you that Maurice’s rosters tend to be average relative to their expectations in WAR, so by that measure he seems neither exceptional nor terrible. I can also say that personally I think that coaches tend to have some duties that do not exactly play to their strengths, and feel that coaching in hockey should be revolutionized and changed… but that’s for a different day.
Dustin: I’m not privy to the details of what are and what are not Charlie Huddy’s specific responsibilities on the coaching staff, so I don’t feel comfortable commenting on him individually, but the coaching staff as a whole is overseen by Paul Maurice. As much heat as he has taken in recent weeks, I feel that Maurice’s job is safe, not just currently but well into the future. If/when his head coaching seat gets hotter, I think you’ll see guys like Charlie Huddy and Wade Flaherty (who pre-date Paul Maurice) be replaced by guys that Maurice has a say in choosing, similar to the replacement of Pascal Vincent by Jamie Kompon.
Art: Garret kinda hit the nail on the head there… How much of the play style of the defense falls on Huddy and how much of it is Paul Maurice and what he wants his team to do? I will say this, before 2011 I was a Dallas Stars fan and Charlie Huddy was an assistant coach there from 2009 to 2011 and there were times I wondered aloud about the poor defense Dallas had and how much of that was Huddy’s fault as that was kind of his role there also. I question how good he actually is as a coach, but again it’s not something we can truly measure because most of us don’t know how much of it is his responsibility.
Kyle asks: Was Maurice right not to play and ultimately force Burmistrov out of town? Why waive Burmi and not someone like Thorburn?
Garret: As someone who consistently pointed out how useful Alex Burmistrov was through 2011-13 despite playing unorthodox and chaotic, it is unfortunate to admit he wasn’t the same player and he wasn’t garnering the same results since his adventure in the KHL. His on-ice results were trending similar to Chris Thorburn; it was second worst and worst player. I think people way overvalue the impact of intangibles (like leadership and being good in the room) but if you have two players of similar on-ice value you might as well keep the guy who will be a positive influence in the pressbox.
Dustin: I don’t have Garret’s insight into the numbers but from my viewpoint Alex Burmistrov appeared to be a guy who had the talent but wasn’t able to conform to the system and play the way the coaching staff was asking. We’ve all seen the play against Buffalo where he tried to dipsy-doodle around four guys and then failed to get the puck deep and lazily sauntered to the bench, leading directly to a goal going the other way. To me, that play sums up Burmistrov’s time in the NHL since returning from the K. I believe it’s that type of coachability that led the management team to waive Burmi over a guy like Chris Thorburn.
Art: Yeah that time in the KHL didn’t seem to do Burmistrov any favors at all, but even before then I was always a bit skeptical of what he could do offensively, but I also felt he was needlessly rushed into the NHL. As for why you keep a guy like Thorburn and not Burmi? I think it’s two-fold.. For one Thorburn seems to be loved in that dressing room and he hasn’t been all that bad this season when kept to fourth line duty (I’ll maintain he wasn’t even that bad on the PK with Wheeler) but maybe more important, you do it as a favor for a young player like Burmi. The Jets likely tried to get something in return for him but had no takers, so you waive him and either hope another team sees value in him and is willing to give him a shot (like the Coyotes) or at the very worst he clears and he gets a lot more playing time in the AHL. A player like Thorburn is who he is and isn’t going to get better or find a new opportunity with a new team, Burmi though might.
Lynn asks: What is the one rule the NHL has you’d like to see changed?
Garret: From a purely chaos loving experimental value, I sort of want to see what hockey would be like without offsides…
Dustin: Personally, I’m super tired of seeing staged fights (like the ones we’ve seen time and again from Chris Thorburn this year). I don’t have an issue with fights that develop out of testy situations or a scrum that gets carried away, but I think if two guy discuss it prior to the faceoff and then drop the gloves and circle one another for sometime before bear-hugging and falling to the ice, they should be ejected, and possibly suspended. It adds nothing to the game and slows things down.
Art: I’m going to cheat a bit and actually change two rules, but they are kind of tied together. First off, no more stupid trapezoid. I always felt like that was a straight up penalty on goalies talented enough to handle the puck (Broduer, Turco) and other teams whined because two or three teams had a distinct advantage. That done, the other rule change I make is I make goalies fair game the moment they step out of their crease to play the puck. They become a player the moment they step out so why can’t they get hit off the puck if they happen to be playing it? Give goalies their freedom back, but make sure their are consequences.
BONUS QUESTION: Who wins the gold medal game later tonight? USA or Canada?
Garret: Canada…………………… if they get goaltending.
Dustin: Canada wins 5-3 with an empty netter, after coming back from a 3-1 deficit.
Art: USA wins. Admittedly I haven’t seen much of this tournament at all, but what I have seen from Canada I haven’t been impressed with at all.