It's hockey season, which means a lot of "insiders" are now sprinkling their wisdom about how to run a hockey team across the media. But there's a problem for those who work here in the center of the hockey universe: a man known primarily by his Twitter handle, "@Hope_Smoke".
@Hope_Smoke's Twitter feed is one of my favourite things about hockey; it maintains a neat and tidy resource demonstrating how little thought is put into the speculative discussions that clog up TSN1050 and FAN590's airwaves through the hockey season.
One of the most prominent and frequent sources of that lack of thought are the radio spots featuring Darren Dreger.
This morning, Dreger was on air in his usual weekday morning slot on The Mike Richards Show discussing the early season woes of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and whether or not it spelled trouble for Jackets' head coach Todd Richards.
Dreger on TSN Radio "if you're firing a guy like Todd Richards who are you replacing him with? Been different if Julien would be available"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) October 15, 2015
Never shy to defend a front office doing an inept job (see: Nonis era), Dreger put forth a rhetorical question as to whether the Jackets could be able to find a replacement.
I have three thoughts on this:
First: Dreger's raising the issue himself by using a rhetorical question that doesn't provide the insight an insider or an analyst (Dreger's arguably the former, and definitely not the latter) is expected to bring when addressing whether Richards should keep his job. Considering Dreger's raised the issue about whether Columbus should consider a coaching change, it would be nice if he actually discussed what makes Richards a viable coach, or a coach in need of being replaced.
Second: the point of considering a coaching change isn't necessarily that you know someone is waiting out there who would be an immediate improvement, but that you think the person currently in the job isn't doing a good enough job, and that he must be replaced.
Third: it's bad enough that Dreger has copy and pasted this line of thinking from the numerous discussions last season about whether the Maple Leafs should fire Randy Carlyle, but he also used the exact same reasoning earlier this week when discussing the Boston Bruins' poor start to this season and Claude Julien's job status.
Dreger "when you're firing a coach with the winning pedigree Claude Julien has, who are you replacing him with?"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) October 14, 2015
Dreger "how do you replace a man like Carlyle? Is there anyone better out there than Carlyle? Are Trotz or Laviolette better than him?"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) March 31, 2014
Is it a lot to expect of someone paid a lot of money to talk about hockey for a living to put some thought into his job?
It's worth asking: should TSN be looking at replacing Darren Dreger? It's a tough question. How do you find somebody better at provoking rumours without reasoning?