Schneider will start seventh straight, but is it a controversy?

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“Who’s calling it that? Well, again, who cares? That’s not being said in this room. We had two good goalies last year and it helped us in a lot of games. I don’t know why it’s being spun into a bad thing.”

Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa on Vancouver’s “goaltending controversy“.

Cory Schneider will start his seventh straight tonight while Roberto Luongo backs him up (for the fifth straight time). It looks and feels like a hot story. Yet somehow, it’s not the hot story.

The hot story is how to classify the story.

Or, if it should be classified at all.

At the moment there are two predominant opinions about Schneider, Luonogo and the current state of Vancouver’s goaltending. The first is that it’s a full-blown controversy. The other is move along, nothing to see here.

Those of the first opinion are ink-stained, coffee-breathed pencil pushers from mainstream media (or sweatpants-wearing, Doritos-munching basement dwellers from the blogosphere).

They’re churning out headlines like:

Is there a ‘goalie controversy?’ The Canucks don’t think so

Cory Schneider’s play keeping Luongo on the bench

Daily Debate: Best net option for Canucks?

Would the Canucks have won Tuesday with Roberto Luongo in net?

Canucks goalie controversy: Schneider has won five straight

It’s not like the controversy theme has been pulled out of thin air. Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault acknowledged the potential uneasiness looming with every Schneider start (and Luongo non-start.)

“I understand how unpleasant it could become,” Vigneault told the Vancouver Province. “But at the end of the day, he’s [Luongo’s] a professional, it’s part of his responsibilities and knowing him, he wants to win, and the team is winning right now.

That said, there are plenty of people holding opinion No. 2 — that there is no goalie controversy.

Bieksa is one of those people. So too is GM Mike Gillis, who told TEAM 1040 radio in Vancouver that “there’s no controversy,” and that “the controversy is in the media.”

Put Schneider and Luongo in this category as well.

“We just do what we normally do,” Schneider said. “It’s not awkward.”

“He never complained and was always 100-per-cent behind me,” Luongo said of Schneider. “The same thing goes for me. He deserves what he’s getting right now. There’s no doubt that he could be a starter in this league. It’s about the Vancouver Canucks winning games.”

WATCH LIVE: Game 1 for Penguins – Capitals, Rangers – Senators

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It’s really happening.

For all the griping about having the Penguins and Capitals meet in the second round (again), it’s easy to forget the bright side: upsets didn’t dislodge this juicy matchup from taking place.

The West’s duo of Game 1 matchups kicked into gear last night, and now the East provides that battle between Sidney Crosby‘s squad and Alex Ovechkin‘s loaded team. Don’t sleep on Rangers – Senators, either, though; there should be plenty of intrigue in seeing superhuman Swedes Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson try to one-up each other.

Here’s what you need to know to follow the action:

New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Network: CNBC (Stream online here)

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Sutter won’t retire from coaching, willing to join a rebuild

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Given he turns 59 this summer, has won a pair of Stanley Cups and coached over 1,000 NHL games, Darryl Sutter probably could’ve called it a career after getting fired by the Kings earlier this month, and done so comfortably.

But that’s not happening.

In speaking with TSN’s Gary Lawless, Sutter said he has no plans to retire from coaching. What’s more — and, perhaps more interesting — is that Sutter said he wouldn’t limit his next job solely to a contending team.

Currently, there are just two vacant coaching gigs in Buffalo and Florida. We wrote about the Panthers’ search earlier today (more on that here). The situation in Buffalo is more complex, as the Sabres need to hire a new general manager and coach. Logic suggests the GM will be hired first, then spearhead the new bench boss hire.

In that regard, Buffalo is pretty intriguing.

Though the Kings have yet to be contacted for an interview request, ex-GM Dean Lombardi has been tied to the Sabres gig. And Lombardi, of course, is forever tied to Sutter — he was the one that hired Sutter after a five-year coaching exodus to join the Kings, and the pair went on to achieve great success together.

That five-year coaching exodus does need to be mentioned, though.

History suggests that Sutter isn’t joking when he says he’ll be picky about the situation and won’t rush to find the right fit. After being dismissed in Calgary in 2006, he returned to work on the family farm in Viking, Alberta and seemed fairly content doing so.

That said, hockey always seems to draw him back.

“The game has given us everything,” Sutter told Lawless. “We still have lots to give.”

Coyotes fire assistant coach Newell Brown

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The Arizona Coyotes have parted ways with some personnel.

Assistant coach Newell Brown has been fired, along with Doug Soetaert, who was the general manager of their AHL affiliate in Tuscon.

Pro scouts David MacLean and Jim Roque won’t be back either. Their contracts will not be renewed.

“I’d like to thank Newell, Doug, David and Jim for their contributions to the club,” said GM John Chayka. “They are all good people but we believe these changes are necessary in order to improve our organization. We wish them the best in the future.”

A longtime NHL assistant coach, Brown is perhaps the most prominent of the four men. He joined the Coyotes in the summer of 2013 and received high praise for his work with their power play.

But Arizona’s power play slipped to 26th this past season, converting at a rate of just 16.2 percent.

As for Soetaert, he was only named GM of the Roadrunners last summer. The former NHL goalie had previously been a scout.

Plenty of seats available for tonight’s game in Ottawa

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The Ottawa Senators say they’re still expecting a full house, but Ticketmaster’s website shows plenty of available seats for tonight’s second-round opener with the New York Rangers.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

Many of the available tickets for Thursday’s game were in the corners of the upper bowl, seats that carry a $96 price tag.

The Senators sold out all three games in the opening round of the playoffs against Boston. Game 1 drew a crowd of 18,702, while 18,629 showed up for Game 2 and 19,209 were in the seats for Game 5.

Attendance has been an issue in Ottawa — or, more specifically, suburban Kanata — all season, to the point owner Eugene Melnyk expressed great frustration with the lack of sellouts at Canadian Tire Centre.

Poor attendance also led to friction behind the scenes. At least, it sure sounded that way in the lawsuit that was filed against the team by its former chief marketing officer.

Poor attendance is why the Sens are trying to get a new downtown arena built. They believe that a more central location is the key to bigger crowds.

But regardless of the arena’s location, it won’t be a good look if there are empty seats tonight. This is the playoffs, and the Senators are one of eight remaining teams in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. The building should be full.

Related: Melnyk thinks Sens can make deep playoff run