Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Flip Bondy of the New York Daily News,
“Their big boys put on the big-boy pants,” Vigneault said, after the Pittsburgh Penguins had badly beaten the Rangers. “I need mine to do that.”
If ever Vigneault needs his big boys to put on their extra-extra-large pants, it is now heading into Game 3 in Tampa Bay, after a rare, systemic collapse during Game 2 at the Garden, a 6-2 disaster. The Rangers hadn’t been beaten by four goals in the playoffs since 2009, and the team’s biggest stars are simply not producing at an adequate level — while Ben Bishop, Tyler Johnson, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman have been at the top of their games for Tampa Bay.
Not everyone is guilty here. Ryan McDonagh has had a great run and has done the right thing, calling out his teammates for “stupid, selfish penalties,” for “shooting ourselves in the foot.” Henrik Lundqvist had a lousy game on Monday, but he is excused because of his other recent performances. The others don’t get a pass. They get an ultimatum: Finish your chances, and stop taking dumb penalties, or this series will end with a very disappointing handshake line.
Rick Nash and Marty St. Louis have combined for two goals in the playoffs, despite plenty of power-play time.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
... But the No. 1 candidate remains Sweeney. He played 1,052 games as a Bruin. He is Neely’s former teammate. He was one of Chiarelli’s first hires in June of 2006, a year before Neely joined the front office. He is familiar with every niche of the organization, from the draft, prospects, personnel, and contract negotiations.
Sweeney is similar to Chiarelli, his ex-Harvard teammate: smart, patient, objective, and thorough in his actions.
John Ferguson, the Bruins’ executive director of player personnel, would take Sweeney’s position. Scott Bradley, the other assistant GM, would keep his title.
If Sweeney lands the promotion, he will have to make a decision on Claude Julien. The coach’s extension activates in 2015-16, and the Bruins would be responsible for Julien’s contract if they let him go.
Bruce Cassidy, Providence’s head coach the last four seasons, would be a candidate to replace Julien. Sweeney holds Cassidy in high regard.
Chances are that Sweeney, with Neely’s input, has already been thinking about Julien’s future, just as he has been studying the roster. This is the luxury of promoting a GM from within. Sweeney is familiar with everything. Daily activities will not change abruptly once he lands the job. The Bruins do not need disruption.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli viewed former San Jose coach Todd McLellan as a prize free-agent catch when he and the Sharks said goodbye a month ago.
Chiarelli wasn’t going to take it slow and easy in his pursuit, so he jumped in, swimming furiously, even knowing Mike Babcock might come free.
“I thought the fit was right with Todd with our personnel and the fit was right with how I manage and, in this business, if you want to get a top coach, you have to act quickly,” said Chiarelli, who didn’t know McLellan well personally, but found some instant chemistry after talking with him for about four hours in Prague, Czech Republic, at the world hockey championship.
“It’s almost like free agency for players. If you’re not in there first, you probably won’t get the guy. I knew we had to get in there first and go in hard,” he added.
Chiarelli had some history with Babcock on the 2014 Canadian Olympic team — the Detroit Red Wings coach was behind the bench and Chiarelli was part of the management group when he was the Boston Bruins GM — so he fully knows what Babcock brings to the table. He just didn’t ask for permission to talk to him.
“I got to know Mike a little bit at the Olympics and before that at the world championship and he’s a really impressive coach and an impressive person, but Todd was at the top of my list for a number of reasons. That doesn’t mean Mike’s not a great coach,” Chiarelli said.
I think any team that relies on free agents to fix their problems, that’s a bad place to be. I think they can definitely help if you find the right one, but you have to build from within, that’s where the strength is going to come from.
I think in a perfect world, you’d go golfing on July 1 (the first day of NHL free agency). I’m not sure if we’re in that spot yet, but I can tell you I like our team and where we’re going.
As a rule of thumb, you’re going to pay too much or give too much term to get a free agent. I think it’s more likely that we would be more involved in trade talk to tinker with the makeup of our team. But I’m not uncomfortable starting next season with pretty much what we ended this season with.
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
An epic playoff series needs a memorable contest to start earning that definition, and Game 2 of the Western Conference finals took care of that. The unheralded Marcus Kruger applied the dramatic ending.
A fourth-line grinder and penalty-killer by trade, Kruger put in a loose puck at 16:12 of the third overtime to cap the longest game in the 21-year-old history of Honda Center and lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Ducks and even the best-of-7 series.
An overflow crowd of 17,234 mostly decked in the Ducks' orange, black and white colors was left stunned when Kruger sent Chicago home with a series split, batting the puck past Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen after Andersen didn't make a clean stick save on a point shot by defenseman Brent Seabrook.
Kruger had just seven goals during the regular season and his other score in these playoffs came in Game 1 of the Blackhawks' second-round sweep of Minnesota. The checking center put himself in position for the winner, pulling his team even heading into Game 3 on Thursday in Chicago.
Watch the game highlights below...
How Babcock would do in Buffalo with a team that just tanked a season only to miss out on its reason for tanking is a topic for another day, but let’s just say he wouldn’t be leaving Detroit to improve on the weather. The Sabres’ problems may not be half as intractable as Toronto’s, but the coach could forget about winning championships for a while, even with Boston University’s Jack Eichel on the way.
-Cam Cole at the National Post. Read on for Cole's views on the Oilers hiring Todd McLellan.
The game starts around 9:15pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.,
The Ducks want to head to Chicago up 2-0 while the Blackhawks want to grab home ice advantage.
Feel free to discuss the game.
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
The organization is also going about its search in an unconventional manner at the urging of Shanahan, content to hire coach before general manager if need be. There’s also the prospect of the front office (save the general manager) already in place and the looming voice of Shanahan above whatever power said general manager will hold.
These are huge hires that need to align with Shanahan, his unconventional methods and philosophy and the patient build he intends for the club moving forward.
Such a future may or may not include the team’s current captain, long-time leading scorer and a flawed and financially-inflated core that flamed out once again in 2014-15. What will the Leafs opt to do with Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel, both of whom have pricey long-term contracts extending beyond 2020? And maybe more curiously, what can the club reap in potential trades involving the pair, not to mention other core assets like Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul?
Beyond the current roster lie future pieces. The Leafs have two first round selections – including the fourth overall pick – at the second draft of the Shanahan era next month. Last year the team selected promising Swedish talent William Nylander with the eighth overall pick. These two days in June are critical to an organization seeking to rebuild internally.
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have appointed Todd McLellan as the club’s new Head Coach. McLellan becomes the 14th Head Coach in Oilers franchise history.
Most recently, McLellan was the Head Coach of Team Canada at the 2015 World Hockey Championship, leading Canada to their first gold medal since 2007 with an undefeated record of 10-0 and an impressive 6-1 win over Team Russia in the gold medal final.
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.
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