John Stevens Getty

Stevens might not be long-term solution in L.A.

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Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider isn’t convinced John Stevens is the answer in L.A.

Reacting to news that the Kings parted ways with Terry Murray, Hammond writes that — from what he understands — the organization doesn’t see Stevens as a long-term solution.

Guess who might be, though?

Keep an eye on the whereabouts of Darryl Sutter in the next few days. Dean Lombardi is very close with Sutter and, as GM in San Jose, hired Sutter in 1997.

Sutter left the coaching ranks after the 2005-06 season, as he went from coach/GM to GM, and he left that role last December.

I’ll never forget the exchange I had with Lombardi, at the press conference to announce his hiring as Kings’ GM in 2006. It went like this…

Question: “In terms of qualities, what will you be looking for in a coach?”

Lombardi: “Darryl.”

Sutter’s been out of hockey since 2010 and hasn’t been behind an NHL bench since 2005-06. While the Sutter-to-L.A. theory looks great on paper, one has to wonder if the dysfunctional, acrimonious way he left the Calgary organization burned him out.

If that’s the case, Lombardi will have to look elsewhere for a coach….so here are some “types” to keep an eye on. (Note: I’m straying away from current assistant coaches because of contractual red tape, even though the likes of Mike Haviland, Lane Lambert, Tony Granato and Kevin McCarthy are highly thought of.)

The Recently Departed

Paul Maurice, Randy Carlyle, Davis Payne, Marc Crawford, Cory Clouston, Rick Tocchet.

A few intriguing names here. From the “story writes itself” angle, Carlyle is a money hire given the L.A.-Anaheim rivalry. He also talked about how hard moving would be on his family, especially his 15-year-old daughter.

Should note that Clouston is coaching the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) while Crawford/Tocchet have jobs — they’re currently doing TV work. Tocchet’s kind of interesting because he used to play for the Kings. There’s no way L.A. is going to hire Crawford again, but I wanted to mention him so I could play this clip:

Names That Get Mentioned Every Time A Job Comes Up

Craig MacTavish, Michel Therrien, Gerard Gallant.

Guys That Used to Coach The Kings

Robbie Ftorek, Andy Murray, Crawford.

Don’t laugh! Ftorek has reinvented himself with the OHL’s Erie Otters (and the Capitals just hired a junior coach in Dale Hunter). Plus, the NHL could always use a good bench tossing:

OK, now you can laugh.

AHL Guys

Dallas Eakins (Toronto), Kurt Kleindorst (Binghamton/Ottawa), David Quinn (Lake Erie/Colorado).

In light of what Glen Gulutzan’s done in Dallas and Mike Yeo in Minnesota, hiring from the AHL is tempting. Eakins has been a hot coaching commodity for a while, but the Leafs likely want him as an insurance policy should things go south with Ron Wilson. Kleindorst took Bingo to the Calder Cup final last year and Quinn has groomed many Avalanche youngsters in Lake Erie, so they could be options as well.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

***

Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.