2010 NHL free agency: Hurricanes sign forward Patrick O'Sullivan

patrickosullivan1.jpgThe Carolina Hurricanes have made a late addition to their roster that could help figure out their dearth of talent up the middle. Former Kings and Oilers centerman Patrick O’Sullivan has signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 with the Hurricanes. Chip Alexander of Canes Now grabs some quotes.

“He can win a spot,” Rutherford said of O’Sullivan. “Last year was not one of his best but he’s still a young guy who has had a 20-goal season in the NHL. He has a very good skill level.”

O’Sullivan played center for the Oilers but Rutherford said he is capable of playing all three forward positions and the Canes believe he may be best on the wing.

In discussing the contract, Rutherford said, “We want to keep it a two-way so as not to close the door on a (roster) spot. It will make camp even more competitive.”

O’Sullivan has some history with Carolina as he was part of the three-way deal between Edmonton, Carolina and Los Angeles that sent Erik Cole back to Carolina, Justin Williams to Los Angeles and O’Sullivan to Edmonton. Some fans of Patrick O’Sullivan, however, are worried that O’Sullivan could have some problems playing in Raleigh although we’d guess that if he’s signing a contract there, any issues that may have existed before have been resolved.

O’Sullivan immediately slots in as one of the better centers on the team. With Eric Staal leading the way, Brandon Sutter was slated to be the #2 center on the team. If O’Sullivan can bounce back after a miserable season in Edmonton, he’ll provide an immediate return to the Hurricanes. If he continues to struggle, they can send him to the AHL after going through waivers first. The Hurricanes could certainly use an experienced boost at the center position, however.

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    Boudreau wants a new job right away, and it sure looks like he’ll get one

    Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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    Bruce Boudreau doesn’t like being unemployed.

    “I’ve always worked,” Boudreau said this week, per the O.C. Register. “Since I was 17 years old, there was never a time I never had a job. In the hockey jobs when I’ve gotten fired, I’ve tried to get back into work right away.”

    You don’t say.

    Back in 2011, Boudreau was out of a job for 48 hours when — after getting fired by the Caps on a Monday — Anaheim hired him that Wednesday.

    Now he’s looking at a similar situation.

    Last Friday, Boudreau was fired after Anaheim’s disappointing opening-round playoff exit to Nashville.

    Today, the Ottawa Sun reported the Senators have officially received permission to speak with Boudreau about their vacant head coaching gig.

    Oh, and guess what else happened today? Calgary fired Bob Hartley, just one year after Hartley captured the Jack Adams as NHL coach of the year.

    Almost immediately, Boudreau was floated as a potential replacement in Calgary — or, depending how you look at it, part of the reason GM Brad Treliving decided to turf Hartley.

    There’s another team believed to be interested in Boudreau’s services as well — Minnesota.

    Sportsnet reported that Wild GM Chuck Fletcher reached out to Anaheim about interviewing Boudreau. But the Minnesota situation seems to be on hold, until all discussions have wrapped with interim bench boss John Torchetti.

    There’s little surprise teams are clamoring to get Boudreau on board.

    Playoff failures aside, his resume is stacked. He won eight division titles in nine years with Washington and Anaheim, boasts a 409-192-80 career record, and won the 2008 Jack Adams Award.

    In firing Boudreau, Ducks GM Bob Murray lauded him as a “good coach” and “very passionate hockey guy.” Boudreau’s also earned the reputation as a player’s coach, largely because of his communication skills — he comes by that “Gabby” nickname honestly — and open door policy.

    “He was a friend, you could talk to him at any point and time,” Corey Perry said following Boudreau’s dismissal, per the Ducks website. “The door was always open. He coached this team, and I can’t say enough about him.

    “He did a lot for my game.”

    So yeah, all signs certainly point to Boudreau being back behind a bench next year.

    Unless he’s not.

    The coaching world is fluid, and constantly changing. Ottawa’s got a lengthy list of candidates aside from Boudreau, Minnesota could easily stick with Torchetti and, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Calgary’s decision to turf Hartley wasn’t about who’s available, but rather about getting a new voice behind the bench.

    So it’s probably too early to say what the Flames want to do next.

    Boudreau, though, knows exactly what he wants to do next.

    “I love the game,” Boudreau said. “I love the people involved in the game. There’s no place I’d rather be than a hockey arena.

    “I just know that’s me.”

    IIHF president is pessimistic that NHLers will go to the 2018 Olympics

    Gary Bettman, Rene Fasel, Don Fehr
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    IIHF president Rene Fasel puts the chances of NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics at just 40 percent.

    Fasel’s pessimism is a result of the IOC’s decision not to cover millions of dollars in transportation and insurance costs for the NHL players that would’ve been headed to Pyeongchang, South Korea.

    “It’s always difficult to get (to) the Olympics, the games,” Fasel told the Associated Press. “And now with some problems on our side, 50-50 is very positive. I would be more 60 percent that they are not coming.”

    But Fasel is not giving up. His plan now is to go “do some begging” from the national Olympic committees of the hockey-playing countries.

    Just don’t count on the NHL to cover any shortfall. The owners already don’t like shutting down the league to risk their star players’ health. If there’s no Olympic participation in 2018, they won’t be devastated.

    Related:

    Bettman unsure if Beijing Olympics represents ‘an opportunity to grow the game in China’

    Fehr: Players want to be in both Olympics, World Cup

    Ovechkin will ‘definitely’ go to South Korea for 2018 Winter Olympics

    For Blues, Pietrangelo is playing ‘heavy minutes,’ and a lot of them

    St. Louis Blues' Alex Pietrangelo (27) skates against the Chicago Blackhawks' in an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
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    ST. LOUIS (AP) Alex Pietrangelo is used to playing a lot – especially this time of year. The St. Louis Blues linchpin defenseman plays with a high motor and appears to have no issues piling up the ice time.

    Pietrangelo is fourth overall in the playoffs averaging 30 minutes, 34 seconds, including more than 35 minutes in the Blues’ overtime victory in Game 2 in Dallas on Sunday. Among the surviving eight teams, he’s at the top of the list.

    “The more you play him, the better he plays,” coach Ken Hitchcock said Monday, a day ahead of Game 3 against the Stars (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) in a series knotted at a game apiece. “I think he keeps his focus razor-sharp, and when he’s like that, he’s going to help us.”

    A key to Pietrangelo’s success is channeling attention deficit disorder and putting excess energy to good use. He’s constantly talking, compensating for soft-spoken defensive partner Jay Bouwmeester.

    “He is go, go, go and guys sometimes wish he had a muzzle on him at times,” Backes said. “He’s a big reason why we’re still playing.”

    Pietrangelo leads the rush at times and has a goal and five assists in the playoffs for a team savoring its first victory in the second round since 2002.

    Several teammates believe Pietrangelo, the fourth overall pick in 2008, was the Blues’ MVP in the first round. He was instrumental in holding down Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

    “I like having the opportunity to play on a big stage,” Pietrangelo said. “Sometimes it’s hard minutes, but I’ll take that as long as it’s going to help us.”

    All of the minutes leaders still in the playoffs are defensemen, with Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang right behind Pietrangelo at 29:24 per game. The Islanders have two players getting heavy rotation, Nick Leddy (28:33) and Travis Hamonic (27:03). Nashville’s Roman Josi (27:22) and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman (27:02) also are high on the list.

    Two mainstays are watching now, Chicago’s Duncan Keith (31:27) and Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty (30:49).

    Pietrangelo’s minutes stand out even more given he’s not on the first power play unit, duty that’s not usually as taxing as regular shifts.

    “You have to recognize that those are heavy minutes he’s playing,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He’s getting challenged, he’s playing against top players, he’s killing all the penalties.”

    The odds of Pietrangelo getting more extremely heavy duty would seem to be high, given the Stars and Blues have met seven times with four going to overtime and one decided in a shootout. He can be a calming influence, although inside he’s going 100 mph.

    “I’m still amped up, you can ask my teammates,” Pietrangelo said. “I’m always on the go.”

    Flames fire head coach Bob Hartley

    Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley gives instructions during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 5, 2016. The Flames won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
    Associated Press
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    The Calgary Flames have decided to move on from head coach Bob Hartley. The team made the announcement via their Twitter account on Tuesday morning. Associate coach Jacques Cloutier has also been informed that he won’t be back next season.

    Hartley and the Flames surprised many last year when they won 45 games and made the postseason. Hartley was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy as the league’s top coach.

    What a difference a year makes. Unfortunately for the Flames, they won just 35 games in 2015-16 and finished 26th in the overall standings. They were also the NHL’s worst defensive team, and that doesn’t reflect well on the coaching staff.

    The Flames have called a press conference at noon ET.

    More details to come.