One Lousy Team Should Fire Their GM, Another Lousy Team Should Keep Theirs
When it comes to evaluating hockey, people generally get caught up too much in goals and points, and in winning and losing.
They, in almost all cases, eschew nuance and intelligent analysis in favor of the easy answer.
William Nylander not scoring? He must be playing crappy, I don't care if he is generating offense like a superstar, if the puck isn't going in he sucks.
Did the Capitals win one of the luckiest Stanley Cups of all time? Don't worry about it, they were a powerhouse the last few years, so analysis is not wanted.
Did a power forward have a career year? Don't look at why, just give Clarkson seven years and 49 million dollars.
I could go on and on - this happens in the NHL (and everywhere) constantly, and its the reason we have longform investigative reporting, and why all sports have doubled down on advanced statistical analysis.
The trolls might have the loudest voice, but if you go beyond their surface screaming, you can start to get somewhere.
Which brings me to the Coyotes and the Oilers.
Both teams suck and have sucked for years.
But there is a difference.
Coyotes GM John Chayka is good at his job, and Peter Chiarelli is terrible at his.
The Oilers owner needs to fire Bob Nicholson and Peter Chiarelli. Ideally they'd hire me, but realistically, if they hired a beaver, a mere-cat, or a spiritual being to run their organization, they'd do better.
The problem with the Oilers is that all their moves: Trading for Chiarelli (a second), trading for Reinhart, trading Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, or whatever in the sweet blue hell they did last week, were all moves any random twitter account halfway up to date on advanced stats could have, nee did, tell them not to do.
We are talking about trades that every smart hockey twitter account instantly declared garbage and time proved them right.
Hiring Peter Chiarelli to run a team in today's NHL would be like a cable company hiring the world's foremost payphone expert to run their fiber optics division.
It'd be like getting together a Nirvana reunion, but getting Adam Lavigne to be the frontman.
The guy has to go and letting him try to make the playoffs is incredibly stupid, although, who, in their right mind, would expect anything else from the Oilers at this point?
The Coyotes are different. Their problem was Don Maloney and his (quite literally) insane plan to build a team around the sons of former NHL players.
Had Maloney not been of a Peter Chiarellian quality, John Chayka's already hard job (competing on half the resources of every other team) wouldn't be so f'n hard.
Either way, he's done a great job - except with Strome, which he'll eventually regret, but that's another column - and can't be blamed for yet another garbage season.
Fact is, in both of the last two years, the Coyotes have suffered from the worst injury luck in the NHL. Starting goalie, #2 and #3 defenseman, virtually every winger they signed this summer, and now Schmaltz......and on and on.....the only think you can do is laugh because it's so preposterous.
So he deserves a pass. In fact, if the Coyotes were dumb enough to fire him, I'd say he'd be the perfect choice to take over a team with a real budget and resources superior to your average AHL team.
But as I said at the start: people don't really care about nuance. This article will have at least ten comments saying how injuries aren't an excuse, even though the championship of every major sport is decided by who is and isn't injured every single year.
There is 100% nonnegotiable concrete proof that injuries are the biggest factor in who wins, so when you see those comments, you'll know what I'm talking about when I say that people aren't generally interested in finding out why teams are losing and are only concerned that the are.
Oilers should fire Peter Chiarelli, but the Coyotes should not fire John Chayka.