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Fiddler's Facts: Gerard Gallant wins Jack Adams as NHL's best coach

Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant speaks during a news conference Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant speaks during a news conference Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Las Vegas. - Associated Press

Washington allows head coach Barry Trotz to walk

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The NHL awards were handed out Wednesday night in Las Vegas and to nobody's surprise Goldne Knights head coach Gerard Gallant captured the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL's top coach. 

Allowing that to sink in is a great way to start your Saturday morning especially here on Prince Edward Island. 

In typical Gallant fashion, Gerard found time in his acceptance comments to congratulate the Stanley Cup winning Washington Capitols pulling away from the spotlight that he so richly deserves. 

If Gerard were here this morning, he'd likely say move on to another topic. So from all Islanders, congratulations.

Meanwhile back at the NHL ranch, there's a lot happening. 

The stunning announcement that Washington has allowed head coach Barry Trotz to walk after their surprising Stanley Cup victory tells me that the management group of that franchise is no better than those that operate Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators or Montreal Canadians.

Washington should have treated Trotz in a more dignified manner and fitting for a Stanley Cup winning coach. 

He had no contract at the start of the playoffs and was only guaranteed work if they won the Stanley Cup, which means they intended to fire him unless he won. 

Had he stayed he still would have been paid only a fraction, 20 per cent, of many of the top coaches whose resumes do not compare to Barry Trotz. Washington's handling of Trotz is shameful.

But Washington is not alone in the failure to appreciate department. 

The Florida Panthers are best remembered for its 2016 notoriously stupid and ill-advised firing of Gerard Gallant, who plucked Jonathan Marchessault and Rielly Smith from the Panthers roster in last summer's expansion draft and took them to the Stanley Cup finals. 

Also in that failure to appreciate department, let's not forget, the Ottawa Senators and owner Gerry Melnyk who appeared on national television and bad-mouthed head coach David Cameron after the Kinkora native took the Senators to the playoffs the previous year with a torrid stretch run. The Ottawa club is now a franchise in big, big trouble.

When it comes to outright management-ownership stupidity, nobody tops the Montreal Canadians. 

Geoff Molson, who obviously has more money than brains, hired Marc Bergevin and this duo have buried the Habs in the NHL dungeon. 

This week Bergevin tried to justify trading a 30-plus goal scorer in Alexander Galchenyuk for a light scoring Max Domi who scored 18 in his rookie season and notched nine in each of the last two seasons. 

It's like trading a battleship for a lobster boat. 

Bergevin also dispatched P.K. Subban and Alexei Emelin to Nashville turning that club into a perennial Stanley Cup contender. 

The dangerous duo of Molson and Bergevin would like us to forget the trade that sent talented puck moving and young defenceman Mikhail Sergachev to Tampa Bay for Jonathan Drouin, another terrible Habs swap.

Bergevin also allowed Alexander Radulov who was their best player in 2016-17, to slip through their fingers for nothing, and the same GM traded away Lars Eller and Devante Smith-Pelly to Washington where both contributed greatly in the Stanley Cup run.

Montreal fans are banking on this weekend's NHL draft but from what we've shown above, don't expect much.

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On the local sports scene, it's been a tough week. 

We lost Dave Nicholson, a hockey and rugby standout here in the city. He starred with the 1954 Maritime rugby champion Charlottetown Nomads and with the 1960 Maritime intermediate A hockey champs, the Fredericton Caps, along with Billy Hughes and Bev Baun. 

Nicholson, a former assistant deputy minister in Indian Affairs, was the son of Ivan (Hickey) Nicholson, the first P.E.I. native to score a goal in the National Hockey League. 

To his wife Paula, daughter Karen and sons Jeff and Scott and all connected to this gentleman, our condolences.

Also this week we lost another good friend in Mike MacDonald, who was a regular at Blue Bonnets from 1970-2009. 

MacDonald was one of the greatest individual supporters of the Gold Cup and Saucer and indeed Old Home Week. 

He helped build the race into one of the great harness racing spectacles in North America and when he wasn't in it, he has always worked towards recruiting horses for Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park’s signature race. 

He won his first Gold Cup and Saucer with Ventall Rainbow in 1975 for his long-time owner Glenn Elliott of Amherst, N.S., and was back again in 1977 with the same horse. 

MacDonald won again in 1984 with Perle's Falcon and followed that Winners Accolade in 1985. His last Gold Cup and Saucer victory came aboard one of his favourite horses Sandy Hanover in 1995.

Not only was he a top notch horseman, he was a great teacher. 

Brothers Mark MacDonald and Anthony MacDonald, today significant players in the American and Canadian scene, will tell you they graduated from Mike U. 

They just didn't work for Mike, they loved him. Read Anthony’s piece on his brother’s passing at www.thestable.ca. I believe it captures what Mike was all about. 

To his wife Judy, daughters Angie and Laura and all connected to this gentleman, our condolences.

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Live harness racing continues this morning at 11 a.m. with the annual baby races, one of the highlights of the young season. The Future Stars program has just five races and with warm weather, expect a big crowd. 

Tonight's 6 p.m. card is a dandy featuring the $5,000 Cecil Ladner Memorial with Ontario invader In Spades against horses like Euchred, Czar Seelster and five others. 

The aged mares $2,350 class has Sodwana Bay on the rail and the Blaine MacPherson and Wayne MacRae-owned speedster will be to tough especially after that sharp 1:55 and change win at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway.

Mickey Gallant and Bill MacKinnon's Cut Rate has the rail in the $2,600 junior invitational and from the rail this closer should be well placed.

At Mohawk tonight, there two divisions of OSS Gold colts at $98,000 and two Gold fillies at $125,000. Percy Blue Chip has the 10-hole in her group which includes Shower Play, Kendell Seelster and a number of others that are capable. One colt division has Jimmy Freight and St Lads Neptune hooked up together.

In milestone races at the city track, aside from Marc Campbell's 2,000th, young Johnny MacKenzie posted his first win in his first lifetime drive aboard Saulsbrook Bailey for co-owners Reg MacPherson and David and Aaron MacKenzie last Thursday.

At Pocono tonight, a big card with many of the top Grand Circuit type colts and aged horses in action.

And let's not forget the Summerside Sunday card at 1 p.m. where Do Over Hanover makes his 2018 debut.

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