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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    Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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    The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

    San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

    The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

    Here’s the goal:

    Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

    Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

    Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

    Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

    The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

    Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

    The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

    Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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    It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

    After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

    In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

    You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

    It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

    Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

    It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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    You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

    After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

    “Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

    “I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

    After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

    “We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

    And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

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    Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

    Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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    Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

    Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

    Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

    “Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

    To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

    This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.