Florida coach Kevin Dineen still hasn’t announced his starting goalie for tonight’s game against the Devils, but if it’s Scott Clemmensen, you can bet there will be a motivated player between the pipes.
And not just because it’s the playoffs.
As the Star-Ledger reminds us, Clemmensen wasn’t exactly buddy-buddy with current Devils coach Pete DeBoer when DeBoer was coaching in Florida. And for that matter, nor were many of the other Panthers.
“There was friction between (DeBoer) and a lot of players. I just think that was his coaching style,” Clemmensen said. “There’s the pat on the back coach and the kick (butt) coach. I think he was the latter.”
DeBoer didn’t deny there was friction, though he rationalized it with the fact the Panthers were a losing team.
“We pushed people maybe beyond what they were capable of doing,” he said. “There was friction there. Not personal.”
Another player that had a tumultuous relationship with DeBoer was defenseman Keith Ballard, now with the Canucks.
“He was trying to push me, get more out of me and I’m the first guy to say he should have done so,’’ Ballard said after being traded to Vancouver two years ago. “We raised our voices behind closed doors. We’re competitive people. I’m not the first player to get into a shouting match with a coach and I sure won’t be the last.”
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
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“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.