Columbus’ Letestu the latest locked-out NHLer to join coaching ranks

Say this about the work stoppage — it might have kickstarted a few coaching careers.

That was the word out of Edmonton on Wednesday as 630 CHED Sports radio host Dan Tencer spoke with Mark Letestu, the Columbus Blue Jackets forward that’s currently serving as an assistant coach with Bonnyville of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Letestu, an Alberta native, spent three years playing for Bonnyville before joining Western Michigan University for one season. Pittsburgh signed him as a undrafted free agent in 2007 and, after making his way to the NHL and posting an impressive 2010-11 campaign (14G-13A in 64 games), he was acquired by Columbus last November.

The 27-year-old thrived with the Blue Jackets — scoring 11G-13A-24 points in just 51 games, averaging a career-high 16:15 minutes per game — and now has plenty to offer the Bonnyville team, currently playing in Canada’s second-highest junior hockey tier.

“Hopefully I can [the players] with some of the lessons I had to learn,” Letestu explained. “Some of the trials and tribulations I went through — maybe help them avoid some of them and make their progression a little quicker.”

As mentioned above, Letestu isn’t the only locked-out NHLers to have taken a coaching gig:

— Florida’s Kris Versteeg is behind the bench for the University of Lethbridge. (link)

– Columbus’ RJ Umberger is doing volunteer work at his alma mater, Ohio State. (link)

– Colorado’s Ryan O’Byrne joined the staff of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. (link)

– Toronto’s John-Michael Liles is behind the bench at Culver Academy in Indiana. (link)

In a similar vein, veteran goalie Dwayne Roloson was reportedly offered the goaile coaching gig in Toronto, but turned it down to continue his playing career.

Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth

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Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.

With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.

Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.

The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth.

Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around

Gleason ends tryout with ‘Canes

Tim Gleason, David Desharnais
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Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.

“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”

Gleason started last season with Carolina before he was traded to Washington in February.

In his career, he’s played 727 NHL games, plus 32 more in the playoffs.

Isles call Strome back up

Ryan Strome, Johnny Boychuk
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Ryan Strome has been called back to the New York Islanders, the club announced this morning.

The 22-year-old returns to the NHL after eight games with AHL Bridgeport Sound. He had been sent there three weeks ago, after a tough start to the season.

Strome had two goals and two assists during his stint with the Tigers.

The Isles’ next game is Friday at Florida.

McLellan on Oilers’ loss to ‘Canes: ‘That’s a really disappointing effort from our hockey club’

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With the addition of Connor McDavid, 2015-16 was supposed to be the year Edmonton showed significant progress on the ice.

We’re less than two months into the season, McDavid’s out because of a broken clavicle, and the so-called progress just hasn’t been there.

On Wednesday, the Oilers hit a new low, as they were handed their fifth loss in their last six games at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring in the first period, but Carolina answered with four unanswered goals by Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm, Jeff Skinner and Andrej Nestrasil to win 4-1.

“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”

As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupov to injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.

After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:

Edmonton collected 14 points in the first 22 games of the 2014-15 season and after the same amount of games this year, they have just one more point.

They’re currently alone in last place.