The Pittsburgh Penguins’ core players were wrapped up in different deals years ago. Now it seems like the team is taking measures to keep their coaching staff together, so why not add an old friend who can bridge the gap between players and front office as well?
Just two years after being a part of the Penguins’ 2009 Stanley Cup-winning squad, Bill Guerin was named Pittsburgh’s player development coach today. The team explains that Guerin will work with prospects throughout the Penguins’ organization, including minor league, junior-level and college hockey players.
This follows the team’s decision to hand multi-year contract extensions to much of their coaching staff. The Penguins gave extensions to assistant coaches Tony Granato, Todd Reirden and Gilles Meloche as well as conditioning coach Mike Kadar. They also wrapped up Wilkes-Barre Scranton head coach John Hynes and Alain Nasreddine, his assistant coach.
Perhaps most importantly, the team also signed GM Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma to contract extensions in recent times. When you consider the fact that they have their essential young forwards, defensemen and franchise goalie wrapped up for the near-future, the Penguins simply need to focus on getting healthy and playing their best hockey rather than worrying about sweeping changes from year to year.
Few franchises enjoy the kind of stability the Penguins are putting themselves in position to enjoy. Beyond more obvious questions about the health of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the biggest issue might just be motivation. Will key figures go stagnant with the security that comes with long-term extensions?
With those injury issues and big chunk of role players at the forward position primed for free agency this summer, the Penguins should be interesting to watch in July and 2011-12. If nothing else, they can be confident about having a stable front office in place to try to make decisions that are in the franchise’s best interest.
Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing
The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?
Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.
Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.
A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:
Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”
He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.
Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.
"I don't think the Kings look at Doughty differently…Muzzin to back down from that fight on 1st shift is an embarrassment." – Keith Jones https://t.co/KI9dx8Rirx
For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.
Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.
OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.
It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.
In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.
It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.
The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?
“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”