NJ Devils promote from within, name John MacLean head coach

After mulling over a few other coaching options, the New Jersey Devils announced that they decided to hire from within and therefore promoted Lowell Devils coach John MacLean to the big club’s head job.

MacLean (not to be confused with Bruce Willis’ star-making “Die Hard” character John McClane) has been a fixture in the franchise for nearly 30 years. He was the Devils first choice in the 1983 draft, scored an overtime goal that sent to the team to the playoffs for the first time ever and holds various individual franchise records (including the all-time lead for goals and playoff points). The Devils forward also was an alternate captain when the team won its first Stanley Cup in 1995.

He was a Devils assistant coach from the 2002-03 season through 2008-09 campaign before taking over as the Lowell Devils head coach last season. MacLean ended up with a 39-31 record in his one year behind an AHL bench. Here’s how MacLean described his coaching style.

“I’m whatever is called for that day,” MacLean said last season when asked about his coaching style. “If it calls for teaching and being nice or if it calls for breaking a stick and yelling and screaming, then that’s what it calls for that day.”

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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.