So who should coach the Devils?

Earlier today, Brandon posted about how there’s some seemingly logical scuttlebutt about how Ken Hitchcock makes sense as the successor to Jacques Lemaire in New Jersey as head coach. The comparisons are easy to make as Hitchcock’s defense-oriented system mimics that of what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in New Jersey the last 15 years or so.

Larry Brooks, while not antagonizing John Tortorella, took some time out to make the case for former Devils player John MacLean.

Lamoriello should reach into another winning organization for the Devils’ next head coach.

And that would be his own.

For the timing is right and the time is now to promote John MacLean, who guided the AHL Lowell Devils to the playoffs in his first year running the show behind the bench after seven seasons as an assistant in New Jersey.

In strangely impassioned words, Brooks makes a nice speech for MacLean lauding him as one of the greatest forwards in Devils history (along with Patrik Elias). Luckily for Lamoriello, there’s already precedent for success in making a move that’s bold like this. If you take a look at what Joe Sacco did in Denver after being a coach in the AHL for only a short tenure and leading an Avalanche team that everyone expected to be awful into the playoffs this year.

Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger compiled a short list of coaches to look at who also might be a good fit with the Devils outside of MacLean. Aside from Hitchcock and MacLean, Chere mentions Scott Stevens as a possibility and he could be the scariest head coach in the league. After all, would you cross Scott Stevens when he gives out an order? No way. I’d also be terrified to be on the ice with him at practice.

The other names are yawn-inducing and beyond questionable: Former Habs head coach Mario Tremblay and former Devils head coaches Larry Robinson and Robbie Ftorek. If other re-tread coaches are your thing, the name Michel Therrien has been halfheartedly thrown around as a dark horse possibility and given what Dan Bylsma has done in Pittsburgh, you could say that Therrien was more of a road block to success than a builder of it.

Of course, given the amount of burgeoning offensive talent on the Devils, one has to wonder if looking for a coach to plug in and continue playing the same system is the right move. After all, it wasn’t defense and goaltending that lead to the downfall of the Devils this year.

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    Rangers’ Klein exits with muscle strain, won’t return

    Kevin Klein

    The New York Rangers lost versatile d-man Kevin Klein early in the first period of their game against Carolina and, shortly after, announced he was done for the night.

    Klein played just 2:22 before leaving with a muscle strain. The injury forced the Blueshirts to use just five defensemen for the remainder of the evening — Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Dan Boyle, Keith Yandle and Dan Girardi.

    While it’s unclear how the injury occurred or how significant it is, Klein’s absence could be costly if it’s long-term. The 30-year-old was having a good year, with six points in 24 games, and saw his ice time go up to 21:03 per game from 18:29 last year.

    If Klein is out moving forward, it would present an opportunity for Dylan McIlrath to take up a bigger role on the New York defense.


    ‘It was a scary incident’: Colaiacovo returns to Sabres practice after dented trachea

    Carlo Colaiacovo
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    Carlo Colaiacovo‘s remarkably quick recovery from what appeared to be a serious injury continued on Monday, as he returned to practice roughly 48 hours after suffering a dented trachea.

    Colaicovo, who was hospitalized after taking a Viktor Arvidsson cross-check to the throat on Saturday, skated with his Buffalo teammates on Monday in advance of tomorrow’s game against Detroit.

    “I feel good,” Colaiacovo said, per the Sabres’ website. “Obviously it was a scary incident and at the time it was pretty painful but it is what it is.

    “Right now, it’s not really stopping me from doing much.”

    Though he said he’s still feeling pain in and around his throat, Colaiacovo is eligible to return to the Sabres’ lineup tomorrow.

    The 32-year-old, who has appeared in 15 games this season, would no doubt like to play tomorrow. It’d put him up against the same Detroit team that employed him during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, only to buy out his contract at the end of the year.

    Couture (fractured fibula) continues skating with Sharks, says return is on schedule

    Logan Couture
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    Some good news at Sharks practice today — Logan Couture continued to skate with teammates, just one week after returning to the ice from a broken leg suffered on Oct. 17.

    What’s more, Couture says he’s on schedule to meet the 4-6 week timetable for return.

    “[I’m] where I thought I would be at this point in time,” Couture said, per CSN Bay Area.

    While the 26-year-old wouldn’t put an exact date on his return, it’s clear both he and the Sharks are anxious for him to get back in the lineup — especially with the club surging, and Couture having only played in three regular-season contests this year.

    Looking ahead, there are some dates worth circling on the ol’ calendar.

    The Sharks have a relatively light week. After beating Calgary 5-2 on Saturday, they play just once in five days — Tuesday’s home tilt against the Penguins — before a weekend back-to-back set against the Ducks on Friday and Lightning on Saturday.

    The Ducks game is in Anaheim, but the following night’s contest against the Bolts is at the friendly confines of SAP. So that could be a potential date to watch for — but it is worth noting Couture said he’s still hesitant about getting into game action until his first step is back.

    “Until then, I’m not going to force my way out there and put myself in a bad spot,” he explained.

    Kesler believes Ducks are ‘too good to not be in the playoffs’

    Shane Doan, Ryan Kesler

    It’s been 24 games for the Anaheim Ducks, more than a quarter of the season, and still they’re having trouble winning.

    Friday against Chicago, they surrendered two goals in the last two minutes of regulation and lost in overtime.

    Currently, the Ducks sit five points out of a playoff spot with a record of 8-11-5.

    Still, forward Ryan Kesler is confident they’ll find a way into the postseason.

    “If we keep playing like we are, we’re going to get into the playoffs — this team is too good to not be in the playoffs,” Kesler told The Province ahead of tonight’s home game versus Vancouver.

    “We had a bad start and, to be honest, some guys weren’t ready to start the season. There’s a lot of hockey to be played and we’re ready for the challenge.”

    To match the 45-30-7 record the Flames squeaked into the playoffs with last year, the Ducks would need to go 37-19-2 over their next 58 games.




    Depends who you ask.

    Anaheim’s playoff chances will depend a lot on how Pacific Division teams like San Jose, Arizona, and Vancouver finish. The Ducks may need to leapfrog two of those three to get in.

    Yes, there’s always the chance four teams from the Pacific qualify, because it’s not like Colorado, Winnipeg, and Minnesota don’t have their problems. Even Nashville you have to wonder about lately. Heck, even Chicago isn’t assured of anything yet.

    Bottom line, though, the Ducks have dug themselves a hole, and it’s starting to look a lot like the one the Kings dug last year.

    In the NHL, even good teams don’t always climb out.

    Related: Boudreau does the playoff math, and it’s no ‘easy task’ for Ducks