Chicago Blackhawks primed to sign coach Joel Quenneville to three-year extension


JoelQuennevilleecstatic.jpgI’ve long been a proponent (but also a naysayer) when it comes to the psychological impact of a contract year on an athlete, but let’s not forget that coaches and general managers aren’t immune to that either. When it comes to bargaining power, you cannot get much better than winning a Stanley Cup.

Joel Quenneville clearly got that memo. TSN reports that the Blackhawks are primed to announce Coach Q’s contract extension and Mike Brophy reports that Chicago will wrap him up for the next three years.

This follows the trend of the club rewarding front office people for the Cup run, coming on the heels of GM Stan Bowman adding vice president to his title earlier this summer.

Much like Bowman, this season should present a bigger challenge than last season for Coach Q. It’s never easy to defend a championship, but as many will tell you, the Blackhawks lost valuable pieces such as goalie Antti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg among others. Sure, Chicago still boasts Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, but they won’t bombard people with wave after wave of talent like they did last season.

It’s a smart move overall for Chicago, but the club faces some fascinating hurdles in the future. Quenneville is competent-to-outstanding coach, so I think the team is in good hands. After all, his mustache alone probably earns him at least a two year grace period.

Start the Carr: Habs recall another player from the minors

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There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.

This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.

Carr has no prior NHL experience.

The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.

In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.

This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.

Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.