Even though yesterday we reported that the Blue Jackets would be
offering Ken Hitchcock a front-office position, you knew his name would
come up in the conversation for the vacant coaching position in New
Jersey. After all, when you think of what coach best personifies the
system the Devils have been using for years and years you keep coming
back to Ken Hitchcock.
It could, in fact, be a perfect fit. Hitchcock’s coaching philosophy
is not unlike that which the Devils have adopted for over a decade. He
is respected and won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999, where
he coached current Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner.
It’s important to note that Lou Lamoriello has stated he has not come
anywhere near starting his coaching search, although it’s entirely
possible that the job finally goes to AHL coach John MacLean.
“No question John would be a candidate,” Lamoriello said. “No
he did an exceptional job in Lowell this year.
“It was the right decision for him to go there and have a team and
see what it’s like to make certain decisions rather than recommend or
support. There is no question, with his maturity and growth as a coach,
Lowell was very good for him.”
As much as a great fit that Hitchcock may or may not be in New
Jersey, you just get the feeling that perhaps it’s time for some new
blood in the coaching ranks. Should the Devils stick with these old
school coaches who have struggles with success in the post-lockout NHL,
or go with a younger coach with new ideas and goals?
Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers
McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.
With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:
1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP
As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.
Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.
The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.
Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.
Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)
Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.
Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.
McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).
The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.
They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.
Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.
The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.
The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style