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Michel Therrien Fired, Claude Julien Hired

MONTREAL (February 14, 2017) - Montreal Canadiens general manager, Marc Bergevin announced Tuesday the appointment of Claude Julien as the Club's new head coach. Michel Therrien has been relieved of his duties.

"I would like to sincerely thank Michel for his relentless work with the Montreal Canadiens over his eight seasons behind the bench, including the last five seasons when we worked together. The decision to remove Michel from his coaching duties was a difficult one because I have lots of respect for him. I came to the conclusion that our team needed a new energy, a new voice, a new direction. Claude Julien is an experienced and well respected coach with a good knowledge of the Montreal market. Claude has been very successful as an NHL coach and he won the Stanley Cup. Today we hired the best available coach, and one of the league's best. I am convinced that he has the capabilities to get our team back on the winning track," said Canadiens general manager, Marc Bergevin.

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  Tags: claude+julien, michel+therrien

The Playoff Format In The NHL

from Travis Yost of TSN,

The NHL’s current postseason system – which dates back to realignment back in 2013-14 – guarantees playoff berths to three teams per division, with two wild-card teams. The weaker wild-card team plays the divisional winner with the strongest record; the stronger wild-card team plays the divisional winner with the weakest record.

What this has done, more than anything, is create inefficiencies for the league. Think about the criteria that’s sorting this stuff out right now. 

First, there’s a conference split – despite the fact there are 16 teams in one conference, and 14 (15 when Vegas begins play next season) in the other. Then there’s the fact that divisional winners are guaranteed home ice, despite the very real possibility of those four teams not being the four best teams in the league. Add in other restrictions – you can’t have more than five teams from a division make the playoffs, as one example – and you have a system that’s frustrating if you believe that the postseason should be designed to bring forward best-versus-best scenarios.

I would argue that the NHL’s current playoff format only works when you have a perfect or near-perfect conference balance, and perfect or near-perfect divisional balance. Guess what? That hasn’t happened yet. We are headed for the same issues in 2016-17.

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32 Thoughts Today

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- During Saturday’s Headlines, Nick Kypreos brought up the possibility of Pittsburgh getting Duchene. Prior to that, Rutherford shrugged off the idea the club could not add anyone with term. “I’ll do anything to win,” he said Friday. “If we have to fix our cap situation, we can do it after the season.”

I could see Gabriel Landeskog being a fit here, too. The organization does have Trevor Daley, Patric Hornqvist and Chris Kunitz — all of whom make at least $3.3 million — coming off the books in the next two summers. Nick mentioned Derrick Pouliot as bait for a Colorado trade, but if this does happen, a more likely suspect would be Olli Maatta. Rutherford added it is his “preference to keep Marc-Andre Fleury as insurance for Matt Murray. But I recognize he wants to play.”

- It’ll be interesting to see what kind of interest comes GM Tim Murray’s way for Dmitry Kulikov. The defenceman has had a nightmare year since suffering a back injury when pushed into an open bench door during the pre-season.

“I’ve never been through anything like this,” Kulikov said last weekend. “But I really don’t want to talk much about it.” Are you healthy now? “Yes,” he answered, although coach Dan Bylsma says Kulikov won’t practice every day. He’s also a free agent, but teams don’t really have a handle on where his game is.

-  Another UFA to watch is Tampa Bay’s Brian Boyle. You can see why playoff teams would be interested. Edmonton’s Peter Chiarelli went to see him in Minnesota last Friday. Columbus and Toronto are believed to be among other potential suitors. (The Maple Leafs tried to sign him as a free agent in 2014, although it was a different regime.)

Some tweeters were surprised I said during a radio interview he may fetch a first-rounder in return. It comes down to how much of a demand there is, but teams are not married to those picks in 2017. If one executive ever hears me getting wishy-washy on the topic, he texts a reminder: “How many times do I have to tell you that teams are going to trade their firsts? This draft is terrible!” I hope someone does so he stops yelling at me.

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A Bad Night For Johnny Gaudreau And The Calgary Flames

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

In the midst of a second period in which the Flames fell behind 4-0 to the second-worst team in hockey, Johnny Gaudreau found himself on Matt Stajan’s checking line with Grindin’ Garnet Hathaway.

When asked what the Flames former leading scorer did to earn the punishment coach Glen Gultzan was short.

“He turned the puck over in the neutral zone there,” said Gulutzan, clearly unhappy with no. 13’s play.

“We’re trying to play direct when it was 1-0.”

With word he had a meeting with Gaudreau earlier in the day, Gulutzan was asked if such a turnover was discussed with him.

“We’ve talked to all our guys about playing a certain way.”

Asked if such a move seemed extreme for a play-making forward whose forte is creativity and taking chances, he bristled.

“I don’t think it’s extreme,” he said.

“We need points. It was 1-0.”

read on

Below are the game highlights of Calgary's 5-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

MONDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
NY Rangers 3, COLUMBUS 2
Arizona 5, CALGARY 0
 
RANGERS CREATE LOG JAM IN TIGHT EASTERN CONFERENCE
Columbus tied the game in the third period, but Jimmy Vesey netted the game-winner just 1:35 later as the Rangers earned their sixth straight victory and improved to 8-1-0 in their last nine road contests.
 

 

 
* New York (37-18-1, 75 points) moved into a tie – in terms of points – with Pittsburgh (34-13-7, 75 points) and Columbus (35-15-5, 75 points) for second place in the Eastern Conference.
 
* Vesey’s goal was his fourth game-winning goal of the season, tied for second among rookies with Patrik Laine and Mitchell Marner. Only Auston Matthews (6) has more such tallies.
 
J.T. Miller earned an assist to extend his point streak to seven games (2-9—11), matching his career-high set earlier this season from Dec. 29 – Jan. 14 (5-5—10 in 7 GP). Miller leads the Rangers with 18-28—46 this season, establishing career highs in both assists and points.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Who Is It?

Jonas Siegel of the CP at the Globe and Mail has numerous NHL topics including stats on a current NHL goaltender- 

save percentage by month for (???)

October: .954

November: .944

December: .899

January: .906

February: .879

read on for the answer plus the other NHL topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Mike Babcock Pushing His Team To Be Better

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

“We’re through two-thirds of the season and we’re in a good spot right now, but the league gets better and better,” said Babcock. “So if we want to continue to be in a good spot we have to get better.

“We haven’t been as good night in, night out as we’re capable of being so let’s find a way to get a little better.”

The NHL’s highest-paid coach remains, above all, a student.

He is constantly reading up on leadership and successful figures in sports – looking to glean inspiration from wherever he can find it. The 53-year-old takes pleasure in the daily grind of trying to get better and makes no secret of the fact that the biggest goal laying in front of his young team is finding its way into the playoffs this spring.

“April 12 is when the real season starts and you want to have an opportunity to be in that,” said Babcock.

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The NHL On Wes McCauley’s Call

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

I was curious the morning after if the NHL would share everyone else's enthusiasm with McCauley's emotional call, complete with his "put up your dukes" gesture. I mean, the days of NHL on-ice officials showing a lot of flair or personality or individualism appear to be long gone. No one is suggesting the guys in stripes should become the show, but there's no reason they can't genuinely contribute to it either.

So it was gratifying to hear NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom say he had no issue with it, since McCauley's call was an accurate and true reflection of who he is and how he officiates a game. He has a passion and a feel for it; that's who Wes McCauley is.

More importantly, at least in terms of the "put up your dukes" fight signal, McCauley was actually following a directive from his superior.

"I loved that part because I used to do that and I've been telling the guys if they're signalling a fight, use it," Walkom said. "The funny thing is there has never been an actual signal for fighting in the NHL. We have always had an official signal for every other infraction but we have never had one for fighting.

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If you haven't seen it, you can watch McCauley's call below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: wes+mccauley

Keep It In The Room Boys

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

What is said in the locker room should stay there.

That was a message Blue Jackets' players delivered Monday morning in wake of a weekend report on Hockey Night In Canada that players had asked coach John Tortorella to tone down his criticism in recent weeks.

"We had another (meeting among player) today to make sure we button our mouths and keep everything in house," veteran winger Scott Hartnell told the Dispatch.

Captain Nick Foligno hopes the Saturday night report from Sportsnet Insiders Nick Kypreos and Elliotte Friedman serves as a valuable lesson of what can happen when team information gets out of the room.

"It's a good learning curve for a lot of guys on how we are going to move forward as a team," Foligno said.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Coming This Saturday, Hockey Day In Canada

TORONTO (February 13, 2017) Sportsnet is heading to the shores of the Lake of the Woods this Saturday to celebrate the 17th annual Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada – Canada’s biggest single-day hockey celebration. Hosted live from Kenora, ON, the 13.5-hour marathon broadcast features four must-see matchups with all seven of Canada’s NHL teams in action, beginning at Noon ET / 9 a.m. PT on SportsnetCBCRogers NHL GameCentre LIVE and Sportsnet NOW.

Celebrating the spirit of tradition and history, Ron MacLean will be on the ground in Kenora to host the day’s festivities alongside several guests, including Don Cherry and NHL alumni Wendel Clark, Lanny McDonald, Mark Napier, Mike Richards, Rick St. Croix, Bryan Trottier and Darcy Tucker. Winnipeg Jets chairman Mark Chipman, two-time Olympic gold medallist Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Sportsnet Central’s Ken Reid will also make appearances throughout the day.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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