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.

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

Here’s the goal:

Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.