The Mack Report

Mack’s Mailbag for May 20, 2013

What’s going on with Bigos? Did he sign or waiting out the end of the school year?
He did not sign with Edmonton and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. According to someone within the Oilers’ organization, the team will likely extend him an invitation to NHL training camp if he does not sign with another NHL franchise before the start of camp.

Does Mike Cavanaugh being hired at UConn clear the path for Greg Brown to take over when Jerry York retires?
I’m sure there will be a search with a lot of qualified candidates involved, but people over at BC have nothing but great things to say about Greg Brown.

For some reason I thought Plevy and Gustafsson were both due in next year, but it looks like it’s actually the year after. I don’t see a lot of scoring help coming from the 2013 arrivals. But then again what do I know?
Plevy is now a 2014. The biggest reason is that he enjoys playing in Chilliwack and his younger brother also looks like he’ll be on the team next year, which is an opportunity few could pass up. New NLI rules — I believe you’re now allowed to sign a NLI up to two years before enrolling, not just one — make it easier for kids to play an extra year of junior hockey without the program running the risk of losing them to bigger programs. As for next year, it does open a spot for them to move up a forward — maybe Gustafsson — if they feel he’s ready and the player wants to come in a year early.

Who do you think gets hired at Maine?
Funny you ask. I’ll have a column going up on CHN soon and I’ll post a link. They seem to be down to three candidates, but most thought they would have announced a hiring two weeks ago.

Who do you think gets hired as the new assistant at BU?
Former Merrimack assistant coach (current Harvard assistant) Albie O’Connell is very interested in the job, according to sources. O’Connell is a former Terrier.

Of all the turnover this year in coaching, which firing surprised you the most?
If we’re talking firings, that has to take Jack Parker out of the mix (though I was surprised at his announcement, as most were) and George Gwozdecky, who it seems left on his own, albeit with some other institutional factors in play. I’d say the biggest shock when it comes to firings has to be Mark Osiecki out at Ohio State. He was really turning the program around. Their recruiting classes, though riddled with some decommits since the Osiecki announcement — was slated to be excellent the next few seasons and he was getting all of that done despite very little institutional support when compared to the way OSU supports some other programs at the school and just the other Big 10 hockey schools.

Saw your column on another website about Chael Sonnen and how you said he was the most marketable fighter in UFC? The guy has never won a title and is nothing more than a trash talker. That’s marketable? Stick to hockey.
Of course it’s marketable. Here’s a guy who has lost three of his last five fights, and two of them have been for championships. He talked his way into a title fight with Anderson Silva, almost beat him, and then earned another one from that. Did he honestly deserve a light heavyweight title shot against Jon Jones? It was his first fight since returning to the division! Please. But he had been ripping Jones for almost a year after Jones refused to fight him on five days notice last August and Dana White isn’t stupid, bad blood = money and he booked the fight. Now he’s going after Wanderlei Silva, for no apparent reason, and the talking has gotten to a point where that fight might be the main event for the Boston card this summer.
And again, this is a guy who has lost three of his last five fights.
Chael’s smart. He doesn’t shut up, he’s fine playing the bad guy that everyone hates — he’s obviously doing a great job at it — and he’s happy collecting big-fight paychecks that, if you really just analyzed what happens inside the cage, he probably hasn’t deserved since UFC 148 last year.
We can debate whether or not he actually deserves the fights he’s been getting, but the reason he’s getting them is because he’s marketable.