By Rob Ficiur
As students brought their report cards home recently, (yes parents don’t let them tell you there are no more report cards), it is time for report cards for the sporting world.
A – Calgary Flames new coach – After nearly two months of searches and interviews the Calgary Flames found the ideal coach to take their team to the next level. Glenn Gullutzan brings two years of NHL head coaching (Dallas), eight years of minor league coaching and three years as an NHL assistant in Vancouver.
Six of the 30 NHL teams will start the new season with a different coach – even though in all cases the coach they previously hired was the A+ number one choice.
B – Rogie Vachon was selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Many wondered at his selection. Rogie retired in 1982, and has waited nearly 30 years to be elected into the Hall, why this year? Did he get in this time because there were not elite stars awaiting admission?
Rogie Vachon played 755 NHL games. His 355 wins rank him 19th overall in victories. There are goalies with fewer wins who have been in the Hall of Fame for years. There are goalies with more wins than Rogie who are still not in the Hockey Hall of Fame. As an outsider it seems that the Hockey Hall of Fame committee has vague criteria from which to select their inductees.
Hall of famers with fewer wins than Rogie Vachon include Gump Worsley (335 games won, entered Hall in 1980; and Billy Smith 305 wins but he had four Stanley Cups to his resume. Above Rogie on the all times win list are six NHL goalies with more regular season wins than Rogie. This are: Curtis Joseph (454 wins), (Chris Osgood 401 wins and 2 Stanley Cups), Mike Vernon (385 wins 2 Stanley cups); John VanBiesebrook (374 wins) and Andy Moog (372 wins) and Tom Barrasso (369 wins and two Stanley Cups).
Despite the years of waiting, despite whoever is not in the Hockey Hall of Fames, Rogie Vachon was thrilled to get the call from the hall.
B – The 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors set an all-time NBA record by winning 73 regular season games while losing only nine times. The Warriors set many records during this amazing season. They were the first professional team (in any sport) to start a season with 24 straight wins. They clinched a playoff spot on February 27, which is earlier than any NBA team has ever done. Going back to last season they set an all-time home winning streak of 45 straight games.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers won Game #7 and wrestled the NBA championship away from Golden State, the shine of this season’s records were tarnished. The Warriors records may never be beaten, yet losing the championship means the season was not successful.
This is more true for Golden State because, as the defending NBA champions, they are the victims of another NBA record. The Golden State Warriors are the first team in NBA history to lose a championship series after taking a three games to one lead. It was a great season, but just one win shy of what they needed to make it a perfect season. That one win they did not get will forever change how the year is remembered.
F (or A) – The Rio Brazil Olympics could be the worst ever. Reports are running rampant that the athlete’s facilities won’t be ready; that the roads and stadiums are not up to standard. So in other words, Rio is just like every other Olympic city in the weeks and months prior to the games. The reports might be exaggerated and last minute work might bring all the infrastructure needs together, just like every other Olympics.
This year, the banning of the Russian Olympic federation has been banned from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics. This severe penalty was slapped on the entire country because of wide spread, state sponsored doping and cover up. The IOC found it easier to ban the entire country rather than single out the doped up players. Last report some sixty seven Russian athletes have applied to go to the Olympics in spite of the team ban. The ruling on this will happen next month. No matter which Russians come or don’t come – their participation or ban will mar the Olympics. This is partly because we will miss some great athletes. The country wide ban makes fans wonder what other countries are doping and covering up the results for their teams.