We begin this edition of Odds & Ends with the NHL expanding yet again,this time to the Pacific Northwest as Seattle is awarded the league’s 32nd franchise. The Board of Governors made it a unanimous vote for the city’s bid for the franchise to be approved.
“Today is an exciting and historic day for our League as we expand to one of North America’s most innovative, beautiful and fastest-growing cities,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
“We are delighted to add David Bonderman, Tod Leiweke and the entire NHL Seattle group to the National Hockey League family. And we are thrilled that Seattle, a city with a proud hockey history that includes being the home for the first American team ever to win the Stanley Cup, is finally joining the NHL.”
The league’s newest team will make it’s debut in the 2021-22 season and will play in the Pacific Division (The Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division). The team will also play at KeyArena,which is currently being renovated at press time and should be complete by 2020. They will also participate in acquiring talent via an expansion draft,which will take place in 2021. The Vegas Golden Knights,however,are exempt from this draft.
The name has also to be decided. In a recent fan survey, the name Sockeyes was the most chosen,while other names such as Totems,Cougars,Emeralds,and Kraken (my personal favorite,just pluralize it),are also under consideration.
I think this is great news for Seattle,who haven’t had a wintertime sport to cheer for since the SuperSonics were still around and swiped away from them. This city is clearly ready for an NHL team and it’s shown by the support they’ve received from the fans and the interest in season tickets for the new team. It should also be a fun rivalry between that team and the Vancouver Canucks,who are 2½ hours north of them. With the success of the Golden Knights,the league is hoping to make another splash in a market that hasn’t had much to cheer for during the baseball and football offseason. In three years,they will for sure.
Moving to basketball and the 76ers are still not adjusted to playing with Jimmy Butler,well,at least one player hasn’t,and he’s frustrated with it.
Joel Embiid has had a miniature slump lately where he’s averaged 13.3 points per game and only shooting 33-percent from the field,which led to him being rested on Friday against Detroit.
“I haven’t been myself lately,” Embiid said in an interview with philly.com. “I think it’s mainly because of the way I’ve been used, which is I’m being used as a spacer, I guess, a stretch five, which [is why] I’m only shooting  percent” from three-point range.”
“Since the trade, it’s been really down,” Embiid said of his success ratio. “I tend to get triple-teamed a lot. I was in the flow of the offense. I feel like I’m not anymore. There’s not a lot of possessions on the block. I don’t know. We got to figure it out.”
Philadelphia is 9-3 since acquiring Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 12,including Friday night’s 117-111 victory over the Detroit Pistons in which Butler accounted for 38 points.
While it doesn’t make me question why the 76ers got Butler, I get Embiid’s frustration. He was the go-to guy on the offense before Butler came aboard and now that’s not exactly the case. I do,however,think that he and Butler as well as the rest of the team will figure it out by the time the playoffs roll around.
Finally this week,Mike McCarthy was fired by the Green Bay Packers after 13 seasons with the team in which he compiled a 125-77-2 record in his career there along with guiding the Packers to Super Bowl XLV in 2010,beating the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also took his team to the postseason nine times.
“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers. As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately,” Packers CEO Mark Murphy said in the statement.
“Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field. We want to thank Mike, his wife, Jessica, and the rest of the McCarthy family for all that they have done for the Packers and the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. We will immediately begin the process of selecting the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers.”
The end in Green Bay came for McCarthy following a very disappointing loss to the now 3-9 Arizona Cardinals at home on Sunday 20-17 just hours after said loss,which dropped them to 4-7-1 on the season. Green Bay was a 14-point favorite heading into the match-up with Arizona. Offensive coordinator and former Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin,will serve as interim head coach for the rest of the season.
Some are supportive of the move,others not so much. Let’s start with the latter as Browns safety Demarious Randall,who once played for McCarthy in Geeen Bay,was confused by the move.
“I don’t know,’’ Randall said when asked if the game has passed McCarthy by. “They traded away all their good players and they expect Aaron Rodgers to just be magical. The magic hasn’t been so magical lately. But other than that, I don’t know.’’
“Mike McCarthy is a great, great coach,’’ said Randall, “I’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for him. I just wish him the best. I don’t know why they fired him. He’s definitely a good, good guy, and he’s a great coach.’’
Others,such as NBC Sports’ own Rodney Harrison opined that McCarthy had lost the locker room and that it was time for a change.
I’m with Harrison to an extent. I think it was a matter of time before McCarthy either resigned or was let go by the team. This is not the team they once were. They have some very good pieces on offense,but not like it used to be. Jordy Nelson is gone, their running game is far from decent,and the defense has been very underwhelming for a very long time. I was talking with one of my best friends,a longtime Packers fan,about the move and he told me that it was frustrating that McCarthy wouldn’t let Rodgers be himself,especially in the fourth quarter in the manner that Patriots coach Bill Belichick does with Tom Brady,and I agree. If Rodgers was let loose to call his own plays and command his offense at free will,I think McCarthy would’ve kept his job and the team would maybe be better than they are right now.
Now,having said this,I think McCarthy will be an NFL head coach again. I could see him in a place like Cleveland next season. They have a young squad that could benefit from a successful head coach such as McCarthy and with the good things they have brewing over there,he may be the missing puzzle piece in their quest to get back to better days.
That’s all for Odds & Ends this time,have a great weekend,everybody!