Joe Sacco

Colorado Avalanche promote Adam Deadmarsh to assistant coach

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There are plenty of teams who reward former stars (and beloved role players) from former eras with the chance to work their way into the front office. The Carolina Hurricanes already have Ron Francis and Rod Brind’Amour wearing suits for them just a few years removed from their impressive playing days.

The Colorado Avalanche seem like they’re following that trend as well. They attempted to bring in Patrick Roy as their head coach before Joe Sacco (featured in this post’s main photo) eventually got the job. Joe Sakic is already a member of their front office, while they promoted another memorable piece of their glory days today. The team announced that former player Adam Deadmarsh has been promoted to assistant coach. One cannot help but wonder if recently retired defenseman Adam Foote might be next in line.

Deadmarsh spent two seasons as a video/development coach for Colorado, so it’s not like he was rushed to the top ranks on name recognition alone. Perhaps the most stunning thing – something that underscores a career cut short by injuries – is the fact that Deadmarsh is only 36 years old.

Deadmarsh, 36, joined the Avalanche coaching staff in the summer of 2009 and has spent the last two seasons as Colorado’s Video/Development Coach.  The Trail, B.C., native enjoyed a nine-year stint as a player in the NHL, appearing in 567 career games with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.  He totaled 184 goals and 373 points with 819 penalty minutes.  Deadmarsh was part of the Avalanche’s first Stanley Cup championship team in 1996.

“Adam certainly deserves this opportunity,” said Avalanche Head Coach Joe Sacco.  “With his background, we feel he will be successful in his new role.”

The team also announced that Tim Army was named the new assistant coach (focusing on video analysis).

Army, 48, has spent the last six seasons as the head coach of his alma mater, Providence College (Hockey East).  Prior to joining the Friars, Army served as head coach of the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League for three years from 2002-03 to 2004-05.  Army was an assistant coach in the NHL for nine seasons, spending four years with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1993-94 to 1996-97) and five years with the Washington Capitals (1997-98 to 2001-02).

The Providence, R.I., native was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the ninth round (171st overall) of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft.  He played three seasons at Providence College and then two years of pro hockey before returning to the Friars as an assistant coach in 1988.

“Tim has coached at all levels of hockey,” said Sacco.  “His experience and passion will complete our staff very well.”

One other interesting bit: Steve Konowalchuk – another familiar name to hockey fans from the ’90s – will leave the Avalanche coaching staff to become the head coach for the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL. There is no word on whether or not he will receive a Ford Thunderbird for his troubles.

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

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As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.