Who gets the credit for this team? Here’s a quick list. Missing tons I know. Just trying to frame things a bit.
Charles Wang: First in command, sets the deck the GM is forced to play from. Every dollar spent or not spent comes from him.
Garth Snow: Extremely limited budget for signing strong free agents in their prime, lady luck shines in 2012-2013 as he uses waiver wire to secure 4 players in the week before the season started, allowing some high draft picks to mature. Older home grown players starting to mature – Bailey, Hamonic, Martin. He’s had a bunch of bad pickups in the past (Rolston, Pandolpho, Jurcina, Eaton, Mottau, etc…). No more DP. Reasoner finally sitting. The team is finally doing the right thing for the team, and the players have responded.
Coach Jack: Had a good run at the end of the 2010-2011 season when they were all but eliminated. Their winless stretch in November that season cost Scott Gordon his job. The team gelled for the final third of this year, catapulting them into the playoffs. On ice dollar for on ice dollar, he’s taken a team that was projected to be a lottery team into contention for 5th place in the conference.
The Players: Despite the team on ice payroll, they’ve stepped up and had a hell of a final third of this season.
My take: All but Wang deserve partial credit. Despite his financial mandate, the players deserve a lot of credit for getting the job done, and you have to give Capuano the most credit. If this team failed it would be accepted that he wasn’t given a strong hand, but this team has not failed. He’d be the one getting the axe, just like Gordon before them if they were terrible so he deserves the praise for the team’s play. I can’t tell if Garth Snow, with his hands tied, has been lucky or deft. Either way, they are going to the playoffs. Cheapo or not the team will be fighting for the Stanley Cup.