Former Canucks goalie Kirk McLean lands job as Avalanche goalie coach

If there’s a random joy in hockey that I like it’s seeing players that I grew up watching get coaching jobs. Sure, it’s got that special side effect of saying, “Dude, you’re getting so old now,” but seeing names and faces from your formidable years as a hockey fan is great. Case in point, the Colorado Avalanche have hired one of the big names of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals to be their new goaltending coach

The Avalanche today confirmed the hiring of Kirk McLean, who won 245 games in an NHL career that spanned 16 seasons, as the team’s goaltending consultant.

McLean, 44, tended goal for New Jersey, Vancouver, Carolina, Florida, and the New York Rangers, and was best known for his nearly 11 full seasons with the Canucks from 1987-88 until his January 1998 trade to the Hurricanes.

McLean, of course, lost out to Mike Richter and the New York Rangers in seven games in that 1994 Final. Without McLean, however, the Vancouver Canucks don’t even make it that far as he played out of his mind all throughout those playoffs. Considering that McLean is replacing Jocelyn Thibault in Colorado as goalie coach, I think our fill for former 90s goaltenders has been met.

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    Goalie nods: Backup extraordinaire Montoya gets the call versus Wings

    Florida Panthers goalie Al Montoya watches game action against the New Jersey Devils' during the second period of a NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
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    The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.

    Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.

    The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).

    “They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”

    Beyond Montoya, other NHL backups with particularly good numbers include the Flyers’ Michal Neuvirth (.933), the Kings’ Jhonas Enroth (.931), the Blues’ Brian Elliott (.930), the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss (.929), and the Wild’s Darcy Kuemper (.928).

    Petr Mrazek will start for the Red Wings. He used to be Detroit’s backup, but he’s since surpassed Jimmy Howard for the starting job.

    Elsewhere…

    Cory Schneider for the Devils at MSG, versus Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers.

    John Gibson for the Ducks in Pittsburgh, versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

    — Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning in Ottawa, versus Craig Anderson for the Sens.

    Blues put Pietrangelo on IR with knee injury

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    Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.

    Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.

    Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.

    The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.

    The first day of the playoffs is April 13.

    Update:

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

    “I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

    Alain Vigneault
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    Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.

    This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.

    “An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”

    Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.

    Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.

    Vigneault felt the hit was late.

    “I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.

    Beleskey was not suspended.

    Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week

    Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

    From the NHL:

    Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.

    Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.

    Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.

    Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse