Blue Jackets offer Hamilton Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher head coaching job

It’s been a while since we discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets at Pro Hockey Talk, and really, it’s with good reason. They stunk up the joint during the 2009-10 season, causing Ken Hitchcock to get canned and Steve Mason to wonder if he really belongs in the NHL.

The team is trying to bounce back and one of the first calls to action is hiring a new coach. TSN reports that GM Scott Howson extended an offer for the head coaching gig to Hamilton Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher. They’re still waiting for a decision from Boucher as of this time.

NHL sources told the Dispatch that Boucher is sitting on the offer this weekend with plans to give his response to Blue Jackets’ general manager Scott Howson sometime next week.

In his first year in the AHL, Boucher guided the Bulldogs to a first place finish in the Western Conference with 115 points. The team was upset by the Texas Stars in the Conference Finals last month.

If Boucher accepts, it will continue a growing trend of NHL teams hiring successful AHL coaches rather than going for retreads such as Mike Keenan. For instance, Bruce Boudreau helped the Washington Capitals go from frustrating to explosive while Dan Bylsma won a Stanley Cup during his first half-season coaching the Pittsburgh Penguins. While I believe that it’s good to give people a second chance – especially if they were working in a hopeless pit of puck despair like Florida – there’s also a point where you know someone cannot “cut it.”

One interesting tidbit is that Howson was once the general manager of the Hamilton Bulldogs when the team was an Edmonton Oilers affiliate (right now, they’re an affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens). One can assume that Howson still has some ties with that organization, and only heard good things about Boucher.

Again, Boucher is still mulling the offer over, so this is far from a done deal. We’ll let you know when (or if) it is.

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    Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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    This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

    On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

    William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

    Hnnngmgghh indeed.

    That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

    Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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    Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

    So far, it shows, too.

    The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

    There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

    Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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    The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

    Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

    There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

    With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

    Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.

    WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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    A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.

    As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.

    While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.

    Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.

    It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

    Click here for the livestream.