Blackhawks add Mike Kitchen to coaching staff

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.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.