Anaheim Ducks v Nashville Predators - Game Six

What went wrong: Anaheim Ducks

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In the hockey world, that battle turned out to be sport imitating life as Nashville disposed of Anaheim in six games after winning 4-2 in Game 6. When you drop a playoff series there’s a host of things that could’ve gone wrong for Anaheim, we’ll take a look at four things that made the Ducks fly south for the rest of the season.

1. Defensive nightmare
Anaheim was a chic pick for some to get through the first round and cause trouble later on in the playoffs. One part of their game that was a bit too overlooked, however, was how questionable their defense was. With Ray Emery and Dan Ellis having to hold down the fort in goal, the Ducks D had to be on top of their game in a big way. They weren’t.

Taking a peek at the team’s plus/minus ratings in the playoffs (yes it’s a flawed in its ways, bear with us) you’ll see that the Ducks blue line didn’t fare too well. Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin were the only two players on the plus side with a +1 each. Regular season plus/minus monster Toni Lydman was a -2, Luca Sbisa was a -4, and Lubomir Visnovsky was a -2 as well. That ain’t getting it done and Emery and Ellis paid for the loose defensive coverage with their goals against average. Emery’s was a 3.23 while Ellis’ in limited duty was 5.85.

2. Power play goals or bust
It’s no wonder that Ducks GM Bob Murray was campaigning for more calls against Nashville earlier in the series. The Ducks power play was their one consistent source of offense. Of the 20 goals scored in the playoffs by Anaheim, eight came with the man advantage. They also had one empty net goal and a shorthanded goal. The point being here: Anaheim got killed at even strength. Nashville outscored Anaheim 16-10 at even strength in the series. If you’re not keeping up with your opponent when there’s the same number of players on the ice you’re going to have problems.

3. Face off failure
We’re going to point the finger squarely at Ryan Getzlaf who finished the series winning draws at 48%. For the guy who’s the top line center he has to be better at winning the puck to his teammates. On Shea Weber’s late game-tying goal in Game 5 it was Saku Koivu who was unable to beat Mike Fisher to win the puck. Those kinds of failures shouldn’t happen considering the class of player we’re talking about with both of them.

4. No supporting help at all
We love what the line of Bobby Ryan-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry brings to the table and they answered the bell in a huge way. As for the rest of the lines, things fall off a quickly fast. While Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu got their points, guys on the third and fourth lines struggled to get any offense going consistently. The Ducks lack in depth scoring and it showed in a big way throughout this series as Nashville kept bringing wave after wave of pressure from all their lines. Most of Nashville’s players might not be well known but they showed the Ducks the blueprint of how to succeed in the NHL without even trying.

The Ducks have some moves to consider in the offseason as well as getting Jonas Hiller back and healthy. They’ll be tough again next year but we can’t help but wonder how much tougher this series could’ve been if they’d adopted a handful of some of those old 2007 Stanley Cup winning  tactics.

To be young: Coyotes to hire 26-year-old as GM, give Tippett more say

Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett watches his team play the Detroit Red Wings during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015.  (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)
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It sounds like the Arizona Coyotes’ youth movement won’t merely be seen on the ice.

ESPN’s Craig Custance reports that the Coyotes will promote 26-year-old assistant GM John Chayka to GM. The team teased a major press conference for Thursday, when that news is likely to be made official.

The presser could be useful for more than the usual quotes and mission statements, as the Coyotes seem like they may parallel the Toronto Maple Leafs in combining an experienced executive, a young up-and-coming thinker and a more empowered head coach.

Dave Tippett is expected to have more of a say in personnel decisions while the Coyotes hope to bring in a Lou Lamoriello-type to assist Chayka, according to Custance.

(Custance’s ESPN Insider article [subscription required] goes in much greater depth, including a comparison to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors rather than the Maple Leafs.)

It’s possible that Dallas Stars assistant GM Les Jackson might come in to help Chayka, although an earlier report suggests that Jackson might stay in Dallas.

Multiple reporters including Puck Daddy’s Josh Cooper back up Custance’s report.

Considering Chayka’s age – he’s primed to become the youngest GM in NHL history – it’s no surprise that people are churning out jokes.

(This post’s author comes with six more years of [life] experience and a resume stacked with impressive video game and fantasy hockey team-building, by the way.)

Marc Crawford coaching in Detroit? Hey, could happen…

Marc Crawford
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Former Avs bench boss Marc Crawford was one of the central figures in the legendary Detroit-Colorado rivalry of the 90s, largely remembered for his screaming match with (well, more like screaming match at) Scotty Bowman.

With that in mind, consider what MLive wrote on Wednesday with regards to Detroit’s search for a new assistant coach.

GM Ken Holland declined to reveal which candidates he and Jeff Blashill have contacted about replacing Tony Granato, who left the Wings for the University of Wisconsin job.

But Holland did say “we lost a guy with a lot of experience in [Granato],” adding, “we want to replace him with someone with a lot of experience.”

MLive then went on to publish a list of potential candidates… starting with Crawford.

Based on the criteria Holland wants, Crawford makes a lot of sense. He’s got a truckload of experience — 15 years in the NHL, to be exact — won a Cup with the Avs, and his 549 wins put him 18th all time.

Crawford also wants back in the NHL.

He left Swiss League club Zurich this offseason after a successful four-year stint — which included the 2014 league title — to try and land a gig. Per the Ottawa Sun, he’s already interviewed for the vacant Sens position.

And per MLive, Crawford said he’s willing to take an assistant’s position if he can’t become a head coach.

That last bit of information is key. The coaching market is flush right now as Bruce Boudreau, Mike Yeo, Bob Hartley, Travis Green, Paul MacLean , Randy Carlyle and Kevin Dineen are all considered viable and quality candidates.

Thing is, there are only a handful of jobs available.

Calgary, Anaheim and Ottawa are entirely vacant, while Minnesota is still unclear with what it wants to do with interim bench boss John Torchetti.

Add it all up, and Crawford’s NHL return might have to come by way of an assistant’s position.

But in Detroit?

Sure, it might look weird.

It also might fit the bill.

Report: AHL’s Portland Pirates moving to Springfield

Portland Pirates goalie Mark Visentin makes a save during an AHL hockey game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (AP Photo/The Citizens' Voice, Andrew Krech) MANDATORY CREDIT
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Looks like the AHL isn’t finished shuffling around teams.

From the Portland Press Herald:

The Portland Pirates are leaving Maine.

Mitch Berkowitz, chair of the board of trustees for county-owned Cross Insurance Arena, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that “the Pirates will be headed to Springfield” Massachusetts, but that he did not know further details.

The city of Springfield has been searching for a team to replace the AHL Falcons, sold last month – although yet to be approved – to the parent Arizona Coyotes, who announced plans to move the franchise to Tucson.

The Pirates are the AHL affiliates of the Florida Panthers. They’ve been in Portland since 1993, when they started out as the Capitals’ farm team and were coached for a number of years by Barry Trotz.

Travis Green: ‘I think I’m ready’ to coach in the NHL

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Travis Green has never coached in the NHL, not even as an assistant.

But a lengthy career as a player, followed by success as a head coach in the WHL and AHL, has left him feeling prepared to take the next step.

“I think I’m ready,” Green told Postmedia yesterday. “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.”

After the Flames fired Bob Hartley yesterday, many are wondering if Green could be a candidate to take over in Calgary. Other head-coaching vacancies exist in Anaheim and Ottawa, and potentially Minnesota.

For the past three seasons, Green has been the head coach of the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. Last year, the Comets made it all the way to the Calder Cup finals, an accomplishment that Green found particularly rewarding since “it wasn’t like we had an all-star team.”

While some GMs won’t risk hiring a coach without any NHL experience — they’d prefer a guy who’s been there before and knows what to expect — it’s worth noting that Jon Cooper didn’t have an NHL track record before he took over in Tampa Bay, and he’s done OK. Heck, Dave Hastol hadn’t even coached professionals before he landed the job in Philadelphia, and the Flyers seem pretty happy with him.

Green is under contract for one more season in Utica, but reportedly has an out-clause to pursue an NHL job.

Related: Will the Sens take a run at Kevin Dineen?