While the Chicago Blackhawks headlines have been dominated by players leaving via trade or getting signed to offer sheets, the job that head coach Joel Quenneville has to do continues to get tougher having to coach a group of essentially new players and defend the Stanley Cup. After former assistant John Torchetti left Chicago to join the Atlanta coaching staff (he should be pretty familiar with half the team there at least) the job got a lot harder but help is on the way as Chris Kuc from the Chicago Tribune tells us.
The Blackhawks said Monday they have hired Mike Kitchen as assistant coach to replace the departed John Torchetti on head coach Joel Quenneville’s staff.
Kitchen is a former head coach of the St. Louis Blues after taking over for Quenneville in 2004 and had been an assistant for the Florida Panthers the last three seasons.
The Hawks also have re-signed assistant coach Mike Haviland to remain with the team.
Retaining one of your own and bringing in a veteran guy helps to ease the pressure that will be on Joel Quenneville for sure. Kitchen’s past as an NHL assistant is a pretty storied one. Aside from his work as Blues head man and assistant coach and as a Panthers assistant, he was a Maple Leafs assistant coach for eight seasons in the 1990s.
For Quenneville, getting this new set of players to blend together well will be the biggest test, especially when filling out ranks will be one of the biggest questions facing the Blackhawks throughout the summer and into the start of the new season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.
Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.
The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?
Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:
If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.
Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.
An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.
After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.
You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.
Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.
Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.
Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.
Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.
Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.
Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.
Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:
Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.
Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.
“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”
Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”
People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.