Work in Sports
Q&A with Pierre McGuire
CNNSI.com spoke with Sports Illustrated NHL analyst Pierre McGuire about the goings-on in the league as training camps get into full swing:
CNNSI.com: The NHL has hit the ice but there is turbulence throughout the league. Several teams are missing key players -- what is going on?
Pierre McGuire: The NHL has decided to draw a firm line in the sand and get their fiscal house in order. If you look in Boston, there's no Joe Thornton, no Sergei Samsonov, no Anson Carter. Then just go down the New England Thruway a little bit -- guess what happens in New Jersey? Two key components of the Devils, Jason Arnott and Scott Niedermayer, are missing and that's with a team that has just been purchased by the big dollar Yankees/Nets organization. So you can see there is a firm line in the sand, teams are not going to overpay anymore. Go out to San Jose and see eight unsigned players already in training camp -- that is a pretty scary sight.
CNNSI.com: San Jose is probably the team with the most questions surrounding it. What's happening with center Owen Nolan ?
Pierre McGuire: Well, Owen Nolan is a player who really sees his market value in the range of $7.5 million a year, that's what he would like to get from the team. He had an offer on the table for $5 million a year so he and the Sharks are not even in the same stratosphere. Meanwhile, Steve Shields left the San Jose area Tuesday. He had a bit of a confrontation with general manager Dean Lombardi and decided to go back to Michigan. That doesn'tt bode well for San Jose because their depth is not in the goaltending position. Shields is the guy who engineered the upset of the St. Louis Blues last year, if you remember.
CNNSI.com: The Detroit Red Wings' mean age is very old. Many people are writing them off as too old, is that justified?
Pierre McGuire: I don't think that's justified at all. As a matter of fact, I look at the Red Wings and see them seasoning up, getting better and getting ready. Look at Scotty Bowman: I know he is a little bit older, but he is still the best coach in the NHL. You look up front with Steve Yzerman - he's probably the slickest two-way centerman left in the game. Sergei Fedorov had a great summer and is going great guns in training camp. On defense Nicklas Lidstrom is a Norris Trophy candidate and Chris Chelios is still a mean hombre. Up front Darren McCarty is healthy, Martin LaPointe is healthy; Brendan Shanahan is one of the most consistent scorers in the NHL. They've got a lot of key components. But the biggest thing is Kenny Holland knows he is going to have to be proactive and add another quality defenseman with some young legs. I think they will do that. I think the Red Wings will be around come playoff time.
Sports Illustrated hockey analyst Pierre McGuire is a regular contributor to CNNSI.com.