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.
By Marian Gaborik‘s often-fragile standards, he’s been relatively sturdy as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
Still, few should be shocked when they hear of a lower-body injury for the veteran winger. In this case, it’s serious enough to land him on injured reserve, as the team announced on Saturday.
Gaborik had a bumpy time with zero points from Jan. 9-23, but he’s been more productive lately, scoring five points in his past seven contests.
And, again, it was an unusually healthy run for Gaborik:
LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen indicates that Gaborik was placed on IR in part so that the Kings could make room for Peter Budaj.
Update: The Minnesota Wild made it official. Still no word yet on a replacement.
It looks like the Minnesota Wild have no love left for Mike Yeo on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Apparently an eighth consecutive loss (falling to the Boston Bruins) was the final straw, as Yeo has been fired, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Yeo confirmed as much via text (pauses for comment about this being a strange time for us all) to Russo:
The Wild haven’t made an official announcement yet. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall with Graff reporting that there were especially long meetings between Minnesota management and Yeo after today’s loss to Boston.
Yeo mentioned that he wouldn’t quit following the game.
One big question remains: is GM Chuck Fletcher safe to work the trade deadline or will there be sweeping changes for the struggling Wild?
Also: who coaches them going forward? Will an assistant be bumped up to interim head coach or will the franchise go to someone looking for a gig? Perhaps this option …
Who knows, really. PHT will keep you up to date either way.
/paging Jacques Lemaire …
The Carolina Hurricanes probably can save a few ice buckets tonight, as the New York Islanders will be without winger Cal Clutterbuck.
The Isles announced that Clutterbuck won’t play on Saturday because of an illness. Their next game is against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and then they don’t suit up again until Thursday, so Clutterbuck’s sickness may not be too much of a nuisance.
According to Yahoo’s numbers, the amusingly named forward has delivered 55 hits in 14 career games against the Canes (not to mention a solid five points).
Matt Martin‘s among the most frequent hitters in the league, too, so it’s not like the Hurricanes will leave tonight’s game totally unscathed.
Here are the Islanders’ tweaked forward lines:
If the Minnesota Wild want to make a coaching change, it sounds like Mike Yeo won’t make it easy for them by stepping down.
“I’m not freaking quitting here,” Yeo said to reporters including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.
It also sounds like Yeo realizes that Minnesota’s morbid losing streak – now at a worrisome eight games – may very well cost him his job.
The scene sounded pretty somber after today’s loss to the Boston Bruins, and not in your usual way.
Firing Yeo would be a big step for the Wild, even more than usual, as he began his coaching stint in 2011. GM Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, so the two have been attached at the hip since then.
(And they got to know each other well in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.)
Will one or both be gone, possibly in the near future? Even Yeo admits big changes can happen.
Wild players, meanwhile, just seem beaten down … and maybe ambivalent about Yeo?