Lindy Ruff

Ruff reportedly in Dallas today for second interview

Former Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff is believed to be in Frisco, TX. today for a second interview regarding Dallas’ vacant head coaching gig, the Morning News reports.

Ruff is a frontrunner for the position, which Stars GM Jim Nill is expected to fill in the near future. It’s believed the organization would like a coach in place prior to the NHL Entry Draft (set to go on June 30) and the start of free agency (July 5) — and recent developments suggest Dallas is getting close to a decision.

One of its candidates, Alain Vigneault, already accepted the Rangers job. Dave Tippett sounds as though he’s close to re-upping with the Coyotes, and Dallas Eakins has agreed to take the Oilers’ head coaching gig.

But there is another candidate to consider — AHL Grand Rapids head coach Jeff Blashil.

Blashill had previously unavailable for interviews as he was in the midst of the Calder Cup Playoffs — the Griffins captured the championship on Tuesday — but is believed to be on Nill’s wish list.

Part of Nill’s duties as the assistant GM in Detroit was to oversee Grand Rapids, so he has an extensive relationship with Blashill, who served one year as an assistant under Mike Babcock with the Red Wings before taking the Griffins’ head coaching gig.

That said, Nill also has a relationship with Ruff — the two worked together with Hockey Canada on a number of entries at the World Hockey Championships.

One final name to consider is that of AHL Texas head coach Willie Desjardins.

He’s already employed by the Dallas organization and recently won the American League Coach of the Year award after leading the Stars to a 43-22-11 regular-season mark.

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    Trotz wasn’t happy with Capitals top line for penalty trouble versus Lightning

    NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 29:  Head Coach Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals speaks during Media Day for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena on January 29, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Naturally, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz would prefer his top line, which includes star Alex Ovechkin, score goals instead of glide to the penalty box.

    On Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ovechkin took two minor penalties, while Nicklas Backstrom had another.

    Tampa Bay’s power play struck once in three opportunities, as the Lightning prevailed 2-1 in the shootout.

    The Capitals did manage to score — a power play goal from Backstrom — to end their recent goal drought. But the issue of penalties — Ovechkin has a team-leading 10 minor penalties — is something Trotz plans to address.

    “I wasn’t happy with that. Our top line took three of the penalties today. They needed to score a power play for us,” he told reporters. “They’ve got to stay out of the box. I need them on the ice. So yeah, we’ll talk about it for sure.”

    The Capitals have now lost three in a row.

    They sit in the first Wild Card spot in the East, alongside the Lightning, while the Philadelphia Flyers are right there, too.

    “From my standpoint, we’ll take a good point on the road. Obviously we’re disappointed we didn’t get two. But the effort and the mindset was correct,” said Trotz.

    “When you’re not winning, it doesn’t do anything for your confidence.”

    Video: Oh, just another spectacular Patrik Laine goal . . .

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 13: Patrik Laine #29, playing his first NHL game, of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates scoring his first NHL goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during NHL action on October 22, 2016 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At top is Mathieu Perreault #85 of the Winnipeg Jets. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    He’s done it before. He’ll do it again.

    Patrik Laine scored another beautiful goal for the Winnipeg Jets, as he beat Carter Hutton with a wrist shot Saturday. But it was how he got into position for the goal that is so much fun to watch.

    Laine dished the puck to Bryan Little in the neutral zone, then, after shaking off a St. Louis Blues defender, he knocked the give-and-go pass out of the air and immediately ripped his shot past Hutton.

    That’s goal No. 16 for the rookie Laine.

    That goal also tied him with Sidney Crosby for the league lead in that category. Not bad — for a rookie.

    And then Laine did this in OT, setting up Little for the winner. He can pass, too.

    Related:

    Video: Laine’s goal was the game-winner (and mind-blower)

    Video: Nothing lucky about Laine’s seventh goal of the season

    Video: Gudbranson and Martin drop the gloves in spirited scrap

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    We asked earlier tonight if the bad blood between the Canucks and Leafs would spill over into tonight’s rematch. It had been pretty tame — unlike what occurred last month.

    But there were some fireworks and, as expected following the events of Nov. 5, the combatants were Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson and Maple Leafs tough guy Matt Martin.

    The two dropped the gloves for a heavyweight scrap during the second period, with both landing some major shots.

     

    Avalanche captain Landeskog (lower-body injury) could make upcoming road trip

    DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche awaits a face off against the Anaheim Ducks at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. the Ducks defeated the Avalanche 5-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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    Placed on injured reserve earlier this week, Gabriel Landeskog may be close to returning to the Colorado Avalanche lineup.

    Out with a lower-body injury for the past eight games, including tonight’s home contest against the Dallas Stars, Landeskog reportedly skated briefly with his teammates on Saturday. Head coach Jared Bednar provided more reason for optimism on the condition of the Colorado captain when he spoke to the media.

    “He’s been working in the gym the last couple of days,” Bednar told the Denver Post.

    “He’s been progressing. He feels better again today. He skated slightly on his own there for a few minutes, and that seemed to go well. I’ve already talked to (trainer Matt Sokolowski) about that. I would expect he’s a guy who’s going to continue to move forward here and probably be on the road trip with us.”

    The Avalanche could certainly use their leader in the lineup.

    They sit tied for last in the West with the Arizona Coyotes and Bednar, earlier this week, ripped his team for a lack of intensity following a 5-3 loss to Nashville on Tuesday.

    The Avalanche begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday, as they face the Predators.