It’s been over five months of waiting for Devils fans, but they’ll finally get to see Zach Parise back on the ice once again. While the Devils are essentially out of the playoff race, getting Parise back in the lineup is a big thrill for both Devils fans and for American hockey fans that fell in love with him during the Olympics.
Parise is coming back from a torn meniscus suffered back in November and while he’s been out the Devils were on a roller coaster fun slide to hell and back both reaching the absolute bottom of the standings and rebounding to get back into the playoff picture only to come up short.
One thing Devils fans can keep an eye out for is seeing Parise end up on the same line with old running mate Travis Zajac. Not for nothing Fire & Ice’s Tom Gulitti might just be the guy to thank for that.
When I asked Lemaire if Parise would play with Zajac, he replied, “What do you think?”
I thought Lemaire was asking what I thought he would do, so I said, “Yes.”
“Yeah. OK, he’ll be with him,” Lemaire said laughing.
“Because I said so?” I asked.
“Yeah.” Lemaire said. “Anything else you want?”
Jacques the jokester. How do you not love that?
Devils fans will get an idea of what could’ve been tonight on Hockey Night in Canada as the Devils get to deal with the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal will be looking to keep the heat off from the Sabres and Rangers who each trail them by two points in the East. We’re pretty sure Lemaire and the Devils would like to close out their season being the monkey wrench in everyone’s playoff plans and expect this one to be as low scoring as possible as both Lemaire and Jacques Martin aren’t exactly gung ho with the offensive game plans.
As for Parise, we’ll be excited to see him back out there and to see if he can help prove to the Devils that he’s more than worth a major contract at the end of the season. Parise is an impending restricted free agent and the Devils will need to figure out what a superstar coming off a major knee injury is worth. Oh, the eventual drama.
Travis Green seems to be gaining increased attention for available head coaching jobs in the NHL, and the Anaheim Ducks, who fired Bruce Boudreau after a first-round playoff loss, are reportedly interested.
That’s according to a report from Elliotte Friedman during Thursday’s broadcast of Game 4 between the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars.
Green helped guide the Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, to an appearance in the Calder Cup final a year ago. The Comets were, however, eliminated in the opening round of the post-season this year.
“I think I’m ready,” Green, who has spent the last three seasons in Utica, said recently. “Every job in the NHL is worth its weight in gold, and I would have 100 per cent interest at options with every team in the league. You hope all your qualities are enticing for one of them.”
Related: With four vacancies, the NHL coaching carousel is ‘spinning out of control’
Vladimir Tarasenko can be elusive to the opposition at five-on-five. Apparently that also applies to when the opposition has six skaters on the ice and their goalie still in the crease.
Tarasenko opened the scoring for the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 on Thursday, sneaking in behind the Stars defense for a breakaway goal on Kari Lehtonen. The Stars, by the way, had six skaters on the ice as the puck was turned over in the St. Louis zone.
Despite Dallas clearly having too many skaters, the play wasn’t blown down and Tarasenko found himself in the one-on-one situation. He made no mistake.
(Here’s a screen grab of the turnover inside the St. Louis end, leading to the breakaway. Six Dallas skaters.)
The Nashville Predators have a chance before the home crowd to even up their second-round series with the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. You can catch Game 4 between these teams on CNBC (9 p.m. ET) or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for this game:
Ribeiro likely scratched, again, as Preds look to even series with Sharks
Predators smash Sharks to get back in series
The list of finalists for the Jack Adams Award has been released. Gerard Gallant (Florida Panthers), Lindy Ruff (Dallas Stars) and Barry Trotz (Washington Capitals) are the three nominees for the award, which goes to the head coach that “contributed the most to his team’s success.”
The winners will be announced June 22 during the 2016 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
Gallant was behind the bench for a Panthers team that included an interesting blend of youth (Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov) and experience (Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo), locked into a franchise-record 12-game winning streak and took the Atlantic Division with a 47-26-9 record — another new standard for the franchise. The Panthers’ season ended with an opening-round playoff loss to the New York Islanders.
After missing the playoffs last season, Ruff coached the Stars to top spot in the Western Conference standings with a 50-23-9 record and a team that includes top-end talent from the likes of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and John Klingberg, playing a game of speed and skill. The Stars led the league in goals for (265) and goals-for per game (3.23).
Trotz, in his second season in Washington, helped the Capitals to a Presidents’ Trophy for the 2015-16 regular season, besting the second-best team, the Stars, by 11 points. The Capitals finished the season with a record of 56-18-8, setting them up as Stanley Cup contenders when the playoffs began last month. Armed with 50-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals also finished second in the league in goals for (248).
This is Gallant’s first nomination for the award. Ruff and Trotz are each three-time award finalists, with Ruff winning in 2006, as per NHL.com.
Last season’s winner, Bob Hartley, was fired by the Calgary Flames earlier this week. He’s not the first Jack Adams Award winner to be dismissed from his job the following year.