BillyMoores

Getting the band back together: Ex-assistant Moores rejoins Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers brought another familiar face back into the fold on Tuesday, announcing that former assistant coach Billy Moores has been named Director of Coaching Development and Special Projects.

Moores, who first worked with Oilers GM Craig MacTavish on the New York Rangers’ coaching staff, served as MacTavish’s assistant in Edmonton from 2000-09, helping the club advance to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006.

The Moores hire (or, re-hire) is consistent with Edmonton’s “reaching out to our past” philosophy. Last June, MacTavish was brought back into the organization and, in April, named the eighth general manager in club history.

Also in April, the Oilers named Scott Howson their senior VP of hockey operations. Prior to his six-year stint as the GM in Columbus, Howson worked in various capacities within the Edmonton organization, including a spell as an assistant to GM Kevin Lowe.

Lowe, of course, is now the Oilers’ president of hockey operations.

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    Slumping Wild want ‘a little home cooking’ from ‘restless’ fan base

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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    The Minnesota Wild are in a funk right now.

    They’re 3-10-3 in their last 16 games, three points back of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference and just put key blueliner Jonas Brodin on IR with a broken foot.

    So, clearly, the team and head coach Mike Yeo are hoping for better times ahead, and Yeo hopes they begin tonight when the Wild kick off a three-game homestand with a date against Central Division rivals Dallas.

    It’s interesting that Yeo’s addressing the Xcel faithful, while also acknowledging fans are irked by the team’s recent play. The timing of these remarks comes with the Wild boasting a good record at home (14-8-3) but having really struggled on the road — Minnesota has just nine away wins this year, the fewest among all Central teams.

    Of course, there could be other reasons Yeo’s trying to get fans pumped for the upcoming home swing.

    The next three games at Xcel are of the measuring stick variety. Dallas currently sits third overall in the NHL and boasts the league’s highest scoring offense (the Stars have also beat the Wild three out of four times this season already).

    After the Dallas game, there’s another big one — the NHL’s top team, Washington, comes to town on Thursday.

    After the Caps game, Boston — 7-2-1 in its last 10 — takes on the Wild in a Saturday matinee.

    Foley is ‘9.5’ out of 10 confident that NHL will expand to Vegas

    LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 10:  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (L) and Fidelity National Financial Inc. Chairman and President of Hockey Vision Las Vegas Bill Foley pose during a news conference at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino announcing the launch of a season ticket drive to try to gauge if there is enough interest in Las Vegas to support an NHL team on February 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A Las Vegas franchise would play in a USD 375 million, 20,000-seat arena being built on the Strip by MGM Resorts International and AEG that is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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    On a scale of 1 to 10, Bill Foley is “9.5” confident that the NHL will grant him an expansion team for Las Vegas.

    That was the main takeaway from an interview Foley did with KSNV NBC in Las Vegas.

    At the same time, despite his high level of confidence, Foley would appreciate an answer sooner rather than later — especially if the team is to start playing in 2017-18.

    ” I don’t want to give the league too much time,” he said, smiling. “They’re doing their job, they’re doing their process and so on. We would really like to have the word by June.”

    Foley was asked what he believed to be the biggest “concern” the NHL had about expansion. He replied that it was a matter of whether the league expanded by one team or two (Quebec City has also applied for a franchise), but also the expansion draft.

    “Who’s available in the draft? Are players with no-trade clauses…are they going to be part of the draft or not part of the draft?” Foley wondered. “So the owners and the league have a lot of things to do and to figure out.”

    Full video of the interview can be found here.

    Related: Bettman rejects notion that the NHL is waiting for Seattle

    Goalie nods: Backup extraordinaire Montoya gets the call versus Wings

    Florida Panthers goalie Al Montoya watches game action against the New Jersey Devils' during the second period of a NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
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    The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.

    Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.

    The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).

    “They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”

    Beyond Montoya, other NHL backups with particularly good numbers include the Flyers’ Michal Neuvirth (.933), the Kings’ Jhonas Enroth (.931), the Blues’ Brian Elliott (.930), the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss (.929), and the Wild’s Darcy Kuemper (.928).

    Petr Mrazek will start for the Red Wings. He used to be Detroit’s backup, but he’s since surpassed Jimmy Howard for the starting job.

    Elsewhere…

    Cory Schneider for the Devils at MSG, versus Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers.

    John Gibson for the Ducks in Pittsburgh, versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

    — Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning in Ottawa, versus Craig Anderson for the Sens.

    Blues put Pietrangelo on IR with knee injury

    Pietrangelo-Coyle
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    Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.

    Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.

    Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.

    The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.

    The first day of the playoffs is April 13.

    Update:

    Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made