Sporting News names Tippett and Maloney Coach and Executive of the Year.

In what is likely a precursor for the winner of the Jack Adams and
the newly minted GM of the Year awards, Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett and GM Don Maloney
have been named by the Sporting News as the 2009-10 Coach of the
Year and the 2009-0 Executive of the Year, respectively.

For the player awards, which were handed out to Henrik Sedin (top
player), Ryan Miller (best goaltender) and Tyler Myers (top rookie), Sporting
News
polled 363 NHL players, coaches and executives. It’s tough to
say that these player awards will reflect the Hart, Calder and Vezina
winners since a different pool of voters take part in the NHL awards,
but for the coach and executive awards it’s nearly the exact same voters
casting their picks.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Tippett and Maloney won, as both
did an incredible job in turning around a disorganized and mediocre
Phoenix Coyotes team. From the team press release:

Maloney, in his third season as General Manager of the
Coyotes, hired head coach Dave Tippett prior to the season and together
they guided the Coyotes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time
since 2002 by posting a 50-25-7 record for 107 points while setting
franchise records for wins, points and home wins (29) in a season.

Hired
nine days before the start of the regular season, Tippett helped the
Coyotes post an NHL-best 28-point gain over its 2008-09 total, edging
Colorado’s 26-point improvement. The Coyotes ranked third in the NHL in
team defense (2.39 goals per game), up from 24th in 2008-09 (3.04), and
were sixth in the League in penalty killing (84.5%).

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    After 11-game absence, Savard (oblique) back for Columbus

    David Savard
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    These are pretty decent times for the Blue Jackets.

    The team is 7-3-2 in its last 12, recently re-upped with Ryan Murray on a two-year deal and, on Friday, announced that blueliner David Savard has been activated from IR after missing the last 11 games to an oblique strain.

    Savard, 25, was a pretty integral part of John Tortorella’s defense when healthy. He averaged over 24 minutes per night and had 15 points through 39 games prior to being sidelined by the ailment.

    He’ll presumably draw back into the lineup when the Jackets take on Ottawa on Saturday. No word yet on a corresponding roster move.

    Who’s got the best/worst combined special teams?

    The Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, (8), of Russia, leaps in the air in celebration after scoring his 500th career NHL goal during the second period of a hockey game against the Ottawa Senators in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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    Recently, the Washington Capitals went five whole games without scoring a power-play goal.

    It was a real nightmare for those guys.

    Despite the fact Washington went 3-1-1 over those five games, one headline called it a “troubling power-play drought” — which tells you how few “troubling” things the Caps have had to deal with this season.

    Overall, special teams have been a boon for Washington, which ranks first on the power play and fifth on the penalty kill.

    Compare that to, say, Calgary, which ranks 29th and 29th, respectively. Now that’s troubling.

    Anyway, here’s how all 30 teams rank when their special teams are combined:

    Rankings

    Not surprisingly, there’s a strong correlation between good special teams and winning hockey games.

    In the left column, 12 of the 15 teams are currently in a playoff spot. New Jersey, Buffalo, and Montreal are the exceptions.

    On the right, only four teams — Colorado, Detroit, Nashville and the Rangers — are in a playoff spot.

    John Scott to return to Habs’ AHL team this weekend

    Pacific Division forward John Scott (28) is lifted up by teammates Mark Giordano (5), of the Calgary Flames, Joe Pavelski (8), and Brent Burns (88), of the San Jose Sharks after they defeated the Atlantic Division team 1-0 at an NHL hockey All-Star championship game, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. The Pacific Division won 1-0. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
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    John Scott’s had enough time off following his All-Star Game MVP award.

    Now, he wants to get back to work.

    Scott, who made major headlines at the end of January thanks to his unforgettable All-Star performance in Nashville, will return to Montreal’s AHL affiliate in St. John’s this weekend, as the IceCaps play a pair of games against the Toronto Marlies.

    “It’ll be nice to [be] back playing hockey and doing my thing. I’m actually really excited for it,” Scott said, per ESPN. “This has been the longest break I’ve had, ever. But I play like 7-8 minutes, I won’t be too out of shape, I’ll be able to keep up.”

    Scott, 33, hasn’t played since his Pacific Division team won the annual ASG 3-on-3 tournament on Jan. 31. Following that whirlwind weekend, the Montreal organization allowed him to take a leave to be with his wife, Danielle, who gave birth to twin girls on Feb. 5.

    Scott only appeared in four games for St. John’s prior to the All-Star Game, going pointless with six penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating.

    Related:

    The John Scott story, coming to a theater near you?

    Therrien on Habs recalling Scott: ‘You never know’

     

    Goalie nods: Budaj set to make Kings debut

    during a preseason game at Staples Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
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    Journeyman Peter Budaj looks as though he’ll make his first regular-season NHL appearance since April of 2014, when the Kings take on the Rangers at MSG.

    Recalled from AHL Ontario due to an injury to Jonathan Quick, Budaj gets the nod tonight after Quick’s backup, Jhonas Enroth, was beat for four goals on 29 shots in last night’s loss to the Islanders.

    Budaj, 33, has certainly earned another crack at the big leagues. After catching on with the Kings through a PTO in training camp, he’s been terrific in Ontario, going 26-9-3 with a 1.58 GAA and .935 save percentage. The Slovakian netminder also has eight shutouts this year.

    For the Rangers, Antti Raanta gets the start in goal, giving Henrik Lundqvist a night off.

    Elsewhere…

    Ben Scrivens, who appears to be the new No. 1 in Montreal, will go for his fourth straight win when the Habs visit Buffalo. Chad Johnson is in goal for the Sabres, who’ve really struggled of late.

    Marc-Andre Fleury goes for the Penguins, while it looks like Cam Ward is in for Carolina.

    — Really good matchup in Detroit as Semyon Varlamov goes up against Petr Mrazek who, according to Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, has “crashed Braden Holtby’s Vezina party.”

    — Battle of All-Star netminders in Tampa Bay, as Ben Bishop goes for the Bolts while Pekka Rinne starts for Nashville.

    The red-hot Brian Elliott will continue to roll as St. Louis’ No. 1 in Florida. The Panthers will go with their old reliable, Roberto Luongo.

    Now that Karri Ramo’s on IR, it’s Jonas Hiller time for the Flames. He’ll start tonight in Arizona, against Louis Domingue.