My roots in Brooklyn go back a long way. My great grandfather came over from Lancashire by way of Liverpool and Ellis Island in 1893 and settled in Brooklyn where he worked as a stableman and fathered two boys. He fell from a hayloft, broke his back and died from an abscess, leaving my great grandmother to raise two boys and a fair share of foster children on her own. Another branch of the family, originally from East Prussia, moved east from Cleveland and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan before settling on Rogers Avenue in Flatbush.
My East Prussian great grandfather was one of the last blacksmiths in New York City. His grandson turned that into a welding business that his sons still operate. My mother grew up on Rogers Avenue with her siblings and cousins as one big extended family in a way we cannot imagine now. They lived and died with Leo, Jackie, Pee Wee and the rest of the Bums. Her brother Freddy walked a beat in Brooklyn for 25 years, retired and bought a bar named after him that briefly became famous in a TV series called Brooklyn South.
This is by way of saying that, although it's a shame things did not work out to stay in Uniondale, I am not unhappy with this result. The relocation will intensify the rivalry with the Rags and the ability to access all three local NHL arenas by mass transit will recall the glory days of baseball in New York.
Looking ahead to next year, not much should change. Apparently Coach Cappuccino (aptly renamed by Grapes) has the confidence of the Room. That being so, he should stay at least for next year. Garth should have a discussion with Cappy about why the team fell in a ditch in the second half and how he proposes to avoid it. Plans for fixing the power play and expectations for the 2015-16 campaign should also be made clear.
One issue to be addressed is whether Michal Neuvirth will re-sign as a backup for backup money. If he will not, Garth Snow will need to look at a trade or free agent signing. I had badly wanted him to draft Robin Lehner in 2009. With the Hamburglar seemingly a fixture in Ottawa, maybe Garth and Bryan Murray can work something out.
Other than that, free agent signings or trades seem unlikely. Lubo should retire. He has had one too many concussions. Garth can offer him an assistant coach position perhaps helping Dougie out getting the power play in order. That way when the team wins the Cup, he can be part of it and get his name on it. Boults and CMAC should get two way deals and go to Bridgeport. Tyler Kennedy will be gone and Grabs [ed: This refers to Grabner] is probably untradeable. Re-sign Donovan and let him and Strait fight it out for the #7 defender spot.
Other than that, the two main changes for next year will amount to promoting from within. Michael Dal Colle, whose selection thrilled me, has more than proven himself in juniors. A roster spot and probably a slot alongside JT on the top line should be his to lose. Likewise Scott Mayfield, another pick I loved, should have the inside track on a third pairing slot alongside Thomas Hickey.
As Johnny Rocket sagely noted from his own hard experience, a painful loss like this can be just the thing to put fire in the bones and motivate the boys to another level next year. Looking forward to raising a Stanley Cup banner to the Barclay rafters soon.
See you in Brooklyn!