Pittsburgh Penguins make minor league coach Todd Reirden an assistant

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they hired Todd Reirden as their assistant coach. Reirden was the head coach of the Penguins’ AHL team in Wilkes Barrie/Scranton before GM Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma decided to give him a promotion.

Here’s more from the team.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Todd Reirden, who spent the previous year and a half coaching the Baby Penguins following Bylsma’s promotion to Pittsburgh on Feb. 15, 2009, was hired by Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero on Saturday to fill the void that opened earlier this summer when Mike Yeo left to become the head coach of the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.

“We interviewed between 10 and 15 candidates and conducted an extensive search, and the most qualified coach was in our organization the whole time,” Bylsma said. “Todd and I have developed a strong working relationship, which started when we played college hockey together at Bowling Green and continued in our time together in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He’s a valuable asset to our coaching staff.”

For Reirden, this promotion marks his first National Hockey League coaching assignment. The 38-year-old Deerfield, Illinois native began his coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Bowling Green, in 2007-08, before spending the past two seasons in WBS, where posted a head coaching record of 55-43-8 in 106 games.

One reason the Penguins promoted Reirden was to help manage their young defensive group. He played five seasons at the NHL level with high-end guys like Chris Pronger but – most importantly – worked with many of the young D-guys in training camp and at the AHL level.

Of the Penguins’ projected top-five defenseman, Reirden has worked with Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang in Pittsburgh, while Alex Goligoski was Reirden’s top defenseman in WBS in ’08-09. Reirden is also familiar with newcomer Zbynek Michalek after the two spent the ’04-05 lockout season playing together with Houston in the AHL.

[snip]

“The only defenseman among those who will be competing for roster spots that I haven’t been around is Paul Martin, but I’ve seen him play at a high level for a while. He makes our group that much better and makes it a core that I can’t wait to get to work with.”

Reirden definitely held the familiarity advantage over other candidates. Who knows how much of a difference that will actually make, but at least Penguins fans won’t be able to blame everything on former assistant coach Mike Yeo anymore.

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    Bolts lose ‘minute-munching defenseman’ Garrison for 3-5 weeks

    during Game Two of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 6, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.
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    The Tampa Bay Lightning expect defenseman Jason Garrison to miss 3-5 weeks with a lower-body injury.

    Garrison was hurt in Monday’s 5-1 loss to Ottawa. The 31-year-old played just 4:10 of that game, missing the final two periods.

    “That’s a tough one too, because he’s a big minute-munching defenseman for us,” coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “A big body and size.”

    Garrison has just four goals and three assists in 52 games, but he’s third on the Bolts in average ice time (18:23), second in blocked shots (76), and third in hits (69).

    Matt Carle replaced Garrison for Tuesday’s 4-2 loss in Montreal.

    Kadri fined $5K for throat slash gesture at Giordano

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    Nazem Kadri‘s “inappropriate gestures” on Tuesday night have left him lighter in the wallet.

    On Thursday, the NHL announced that Kadri has been fined $5,000 — the maximum allowable under the CBA — for making a throat slash gesture at Mark Giordano during Calgary’s 4-3 win over the Leafs two nights ago.

    The incident occurred after Kadri took exception to a heavy Giordano check. While on the bench, the Leafs forward made the gesture, one the NHL has been cracking down on since 2000.

    Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.

    Report: Detroit interested in Columbus d-man Tyutin

    Fedor Tyutin, Ryan White
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    From the Columbus Dispatch:

    The Red Wings had much brass in the building on Tuesday to watch the Blue Jackets play the Islanders in Nationwide.

    GM Ken Holland was there, along with special assistant to the GM Kris Draper, and pro scout Kirk Maltby.

    It’s believed the Red Wings were taking a close look at Fedor Tyutin, who is likely to be dealt by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

    Tyutin, 32, has this and two more years remaining on a six-year, $27 million deal with a $4.5M average annual cap hit. One of the longest-tenured players in Columbus franchise history — he’s spent eight years with the Jackets, and played in both of the teams’ playoff appearances — Tyutin has fallen on hard times this year, and has been made a healthy scratch on a few occasions by head coach John Tortorella.

    Unsurprisingly, Tyutin’s numbers are way down. He’s goalless with just two points through 43 games, and is averaging just 17:47 TOI per night — the lowest total of his career.

    It’s not surprising Detroit’s kicking the tires on Tyutin. D-men Niklas Kronwall and Mike Green are both out of the lineup with knee and groin injuries and, last night versus Ottawa, Danny DeKeyser took a Dion Phaneuf shot to the knee.

     

    All eyes on Schwartz ahead of return to sputtering Blues lineup

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    The St. Louis Blues have not played particularly well since around Christmas.

    It’s a story that hasn’t received much attention league-wide, because the Blues’ goaltending has been good enough to cover up a lot of their problems. Brian Elliott had a .937 save percentage in January. He’s up to .958 in February.

    But there’s a reason the return of Jaden Schwartz, likely Friday in Florida, has the Blues players so excited.

    “He’s a guy that brings a lot of energy to our lineup,” captain David Backes told the Post-Dispatch. “He’s a relentless forechecker who hounds the puck and that’s exactly what we could use right now.”

    Backes has clearly been listening to head coach Ken Hitchcock, who’s been growing increasingly frustrated at his team’s inability to play in the opposition’s end. In their past five games, the Blues have managed shot totals of 25, 23, 27, 24, and 22, which isn’t very many at all.

    “We’ve needed the power play the last two games, thank God, but we just don’t, we don’t compete when we get checked in the scoring areas near as hard as we have to,” Hitchcock told reporters.

    Once Schwartz gets back up to speed, he should help. Last year, he finished second on the team in goals (28) and fourth in shots (184).

    But he won’t solve everything, particularly with Alex Pietrangelo sidelined now.

    In their 20 games since Christmas, the Blues are in the bottom 10 in score-adjusted Corsi (a measure of puck possession), and that isn’t like them at all.

    Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made