Philadelphia Flyers fans finally got their wish on Monday: Ron Hextall is back.
OK, he won’t be making slick passes, nasty slashes, dramatic saves and naked interviews as the team’s goalie, but savvy fans should still be intrigued that he’s accepted an assistant GM gig. The team notes that he’ll begin on August 1.
Without context, the decision might seem like a lateral move in Hextall’s career as an executive. He’s been an assistant GM for the Los Angeles Kings since 2005-06, helping them build one of the best team structures in the NHL. (The Kings wished Hextall good luck, for what it’s worth.)
While the Flyers haven’t said as much, there’s reason to believe that Hextall, 49, could be groomed to eventually take over the GM role for current general manager Paul Holmgren.
Few would deny that Holmgren’s had some struggles, as two expensive buyouts and various dramatic organizational 180’s can attest. Holmgren’s been in the GM role since 2006-07, so one must wonder if the franchise is looking toward the future with this move.
Even in a vacuum, it’s a nice move for the Flyers, especially if Hextall can help them improve a farm system that’s ranked second-worst in the league (according to Hockey Prospectus).
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.