Hands up if you’d heard the name Glen Gulutzan a month ago.
Check that. Hands up if you’d heard the name Glen Gulutzan before you read that sentence.
Gulutzan, if your hand is down, is the new head coach of the Dallas Stars. He was hired in June to replace Marc Crawford.
The Star-Telegram’s Mac Engel spoke with the first-year bench boss about the team’s 11-3-0 start that has it sitting first overall in the NHL.
Gulutzan is quick to give all the credit to the players.
“I don’t think it’s me,” he said. “It’s the players that we brought in; there really is a lot of character. I think it’s the perfect storm. New younger players, seven of them, that want to make an impression. There is no better way to do that than on the ice. The older guys who have been here, this is a little new so it’s exciting. I really think, though, that this is a team with good characters of people who really want to win.”
Gulutzan also has high praise for Jamie Benn, the big winger who leads the Stars with 18 points in 14 games.
“He’s 22 and he’s so tough, and he plays both ways,” said Gulutzan. “I know people want the team to go out and get big names, but he’s that guy. We have one of those guys right here.”
The Stars continue their four-game trip in Pittsburgh tonight. They’ve already beaten Carolina and Washington. Tomorrow they’re in Detroit to play the Red Wings.
Tough trip. But so far, so good.
If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.
The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.
After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.
If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.
Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.
If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:
“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”
The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.
Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:
With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.
Measuring stick stretch begins
Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.
This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.
It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.
In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.
Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.
It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.
His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:
These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”
Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.
Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.
Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.
It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.
Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.