You had to think that with Columbus’ 2-11-1 start and after getting blown out by Philadelphia 9-2 on Saturday night that changes were coming. Instead of firing the GM or the coach, Scott Arniel is going to do something even more drastic behind the bench. Instead of the Jackets bringing back one old friend in Ken Hitchcock, they’ll bring back another one in the form of good old defensive minded hockey.
“It isn’t a gigantic, major overhaul,” Arniel said. “But we have gone back and put a lot of emphasis on the guys without the puck, on clogging the center of the ice.”
Clogging the center of the ice? This sounds a little bit like the 90s and 2000s with the trap, dead-puck era and for fans that are already getting tortured by bad hockey, now they’ll get bad hockey and the trap.
Arniel tips his hand in explaining why he’s making the change.
“Prior to (now) we probably were playing a high-risk game,” Arniel said. “Ultimately it’s the way I’ve coached and played. It’s the most exciting hockey. Players love to play that style. Coaches love to coach that style. But it’s also one that can give you fits when you don’t have good goaltending or you don’t have the defense that can sustain that.”
That’s right Jackets fans, you want someone to blame for having to watching boring hockey you can blame Steve Mason. In truth, this is a move that should help out Mason in a big way. After all, Mason had his best success when Hitchcock and his defense-first philosophy ran the show there.
If it doesn’t help Mason, however, the only answer left might be a full-on housecleaning.
With training camp and the preseason now in full swing, it appears the Bruins are bringing in a veteran blue liner — at least on a professional tryout.
On Friday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that unrestricted free agent blue liner Christian Ehrhoff is about to join Boston on a PTO following his showing at the World Cup of Hockey.
In six games with Team Europe, Ehrhoff had three assists — all at even strength — and nine shots on goal.
Ehrhoff is now 34 years old, and the Bruins already have a pair of seasoned defenders in Zdeno Chara (39 years old) and John-Michael Liles (35 years old) on their roster. Adam McQuaid turns 30 years old in October.
He was most productive during two seasons in Vancouver, a puck-moving defenseman that could effectively skate the puck out of trouble and move the attack that way if need be. But that was from 2009 to 2011. His production has dipped, especially over the last three years.
He was also pivotal to Vancouver’s power play, especially in 2011 when the Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy and made it to the Stanley Cup Final — against Boston.
Again, that was five years ago.
Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.