Jarmo Kekalainen

Finland names Kekalainen asst. Olympic GM

Finland has added to its managerial group for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, naming Columbus Blue Jackets GM general manager Jarmo Kekalainen as an assistant to GM Jari Kurri.

“Being involved in the Olympics is anyone’s dream in ice hockey.” Kekelainen told IIHF.com. “I didn’t have to think much about my answer when Erkka [Westerlund, head coach] called me.”

The Finns, who captured silver in 2006 and bronze in 2010, are once again expected to challenge for a medal and will benefit from Kekalainen’s keen eye. He’s already blazed trail as the first European GM in NHL history and has gained a reputation throughout the league as a tremendous scout and talent evaluator.

According to NHL European scouting director Goran Stubb, Kekalainen will be responsible for scouting Finns in the NHL before joining the team in Sochi.

“I have watched most of the current players since they were drafted, except the 2011 and 2012 draft years, when I only followed players coming out of Finland. Players like [Chicago prospect] Teuvo Teräväinen,” Kekalainen explained. “Of course the players have matured as players and as people, but at least I have some knowledge of their fundamental character traits,”

Loaded with talent in goal (Tuukka Rask, Antti Niemi, Pekka Rinne, Kari Lehtonen, Niklas Backstrom), the Finns will need to find some depth on defense as veterans Toni Lydman (concussion) and Joni Pitkanen (heel) are currently out of action and won’t be ready to play.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)

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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…

Two-for-two: Another successful coach’s challenge as Sens reverse Kane’s goal

Dave Cameron
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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.