GMs couldn't give less of a s***. It's all about winning.
I'd like to think it's both winning, and entertainment.
I'd say the vast majority of Detroit Red Wing fans (including those who don't visit this site) would agree that the Cup winning teams from the 90's were much more entertaining than what we had in 2008.
I can't even remember seeing many big hits this year. For or against the Wings. I can literally recall maybe only two or three for the Wings this whole season. Granted I know the Wings aren't the team to watch for hits but still.
So the league leader in points this year was Jamie Benn, with a whopping 87 points. Ovechkin led the league in goals with 53. Only two other players even hit 40 goals! Only 15 players hit 30 goals.
I know this is the era of butterfly, oversized pad goaltending, but this can't be what Bettman and company want to see. You'd think all the top players in the league spent the season overseas when you look at these stats atop the leaderboards.
Oh and only 16 players hit 100+ PIM, with only 4 of those players hitting 150+ PIM. I can't imagine that happening any other time in a full season in the modern era.
To sum up, this "new NHL" has no scoring and no fighting. I guess if you're a fan of big goalies swallowing up pucks, you'll love today's game.
Oh I almost forgot. There's parity, so that makes everything more fun to watch, despite the fact that nobody scores, hits or fights. Parity is what really counts here folks.
Well said RedWingsReign. Finally someone with a level head on the Smith situation. I haven't wanted to comment in here because the hate the kid is getting is beyond ridiculous and everyone knows how I feel about Smith. But I will say one thing, Smith has had a decent season with quite a few miscues along the way. He is still learning to play solid defense at the NHL level and I'm sure it will come. He's made mistakes over the past few weeks (since the slide) but so have every other defenseman on the team. It's just that Smith's f*** ups get much more focus because, well he's the new LGW whipping boy... The play while he was sitting on the bench, sure it was stupid, but it was a split second decision (obviously the wrong one) that could have happened to anyone. But alas it didn't, it was our whipping boy, so let's make a thread about how stupid / brain dead he is... and how he will never amount to anything... and how we should trade him for anything to any team that is willing to take this sieve...
In saying all that, I don't hate the decision to scratch him last game, and I don't think it would be the worst decision to scratch him for game one against Tampa to get his head on straight. And although I don't think that is confirmed yet, I do think it's likely that he will be the odd man out next game. But make no mistake, we will see Smith in at some point this series, and he will be ready to go.
Here's the thing. For your first point, it couldn't have and hasn't happened to anyone. Zetterberg has never reached out into the play while on the bench to play the puck. Kronwall, DK, Cleary, Tatar, Andersson, or anyone else either for that matter. It wasn't a split second decision that could have happened to anyone because every other NHL player I've ever seen isn't stupid enough to think "Oh, I'm on the bench. Oh look a flying puck! I should try to grab it." It's a play a 6 year old makes. It's the equivalent of a defensive football player running off the sidelines midplay to make a tackle and thinking he'll get away with it. There's no words to describe it. It wouldn't happen to anyone else because other hockey players have the ability to think and follow the rules. And yes, the thread was made about Smith because it's not the first time he's done something utterly asinine. It's becoming a repetitive problem and it's no longer excusable.
For your second two points that I bolded, I have actually been saying these things since I watched him play in GR several years ago. I gave him a small benefit of the doubt but he made 6 or 7 terrible reads and two of them ended up in the back of his net. I watched him a couple more times after that and that's been my position ever since. His play at the NHL level has only confirmed it.
Also I'll say this. The ability to think the game is the most important ability a prospect can have. It's not so much about physical ability or talent because those can be taught and developed. It's about ability to make the right read and react and have it be instinctive and fast. It's why Ericsson never developed into a top 2 dman despite his physical stature. It's why Ouellet will be better than Sproul. It's why DeKeyser is better than Smith. Given their physical attributes it's no doubt that Smith should be the stronger, faster, more athletic player than DeKeyser, Ouellet or Marchenko but Dekeyser and Ouellet and probably Marchenko will all be better because they have the mental side of the game that can't be taught. Smith doesn't have it. He never has and he probably never will. "A good player plays where the puck is, a great player plays where the puck is going to be." Smith usually plays where the puck was, because he probably just turned it over.