While the 2011 Stanley Cup finals heat up, inactive NHL teams hope to gear up for the 2011-12 season. That means making signings both big and small, from locking up prospects, pending free agents and tweaking their front office.
The Carolina Hurricanes – or at least their president and general manager Jim Rutherford – seem to make many of their decisions based on previous loyalties. They brought current head coach Paul Maurice back into the fold after firing him once and re-acquired players such as Erik Cole, Cory Stillman and Anton Babchuk after they departed one or more times.
Even when it comes to retired players, the Hurricanes organization seems to be most comfortable with familiar faces. The team made four notable changes to their front office staff today, with two of the parties being obvious bedrocks of the team during their playing days.
- First, let’s get to one familiar face to the hockey world who isn’t as obvious a choice for Carolina. Former Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins head coach Dave Lewis was added as an assistant coach, according to the team’s release. The team didn’t elaborate on which specific duties Lewis will have, though.
- Now, onto the first of two very familiar faces for Hurricanes fans. The team gave former longtime captain Rod Brind’Amour a more formal title of assistant coach and development coach. As you may remember, he received a rather unusual title of “director of forwards development” during the 2010-11 season.
- Speaking of former Canes captains, revered figure Ron Francis was promoted to director of hockey operations. The well-respected Hall of Famer was an associate coach for the team since December 2008 and also worked as a director of player personnel, director of player development and assistant general manager at different points in his post-retirement career.
- Finally, the team added Tom Rowe to their scouting department. Rowe served as an assistant coach in Carolina for three seasons, so he’s a familiar face to many even if he probably isn’t immediately identifiable to fans.
It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Again, there were three fast goals overall, with Boston getting two of them. Here’s the Red Wings goal, which narrowly survived a review:
Things didn’t really slow down that much after that, as Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 for the Bruins.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
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As cool as it was at the time for many, Patrice Bergeron‘s fight against Blake Wheeler is … honestly, a good reminder why players like Bergeron rarely drop the gloves.
Multiple outlets including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty report that Bergeron will miss Sunday afternoon’s game against the Detroit Red Wings (which you can watch on NBC).
We don’t know a ton about the injury aside from the fact that the multiple Selke-winner is considered day-to-day.
People don’t seem overly concerned about this issue, but you have to wonder if Bergeron made a bad choice, especially considering his history of concussion issues.
You can watch the bout that may or may not have left him injured in the video above.