Evgeni Malkin

Get your game notes: Ducks at Penguins

10 Comments

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the Anaheim Ducks starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Two former 50-goal scorers who are meeting in tonight’s game are enduring lengthy goal droughts. The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin has gone a career-high 13 games without a goal (last goal: Oct. 17), while the Ducks’ Teemu Selanne has gone 10 games (last goal: Oct. 20). The only other NHL player with a 50-goal season who has a goal drought of 10+ games in 2013-14 is the Wild’s Dany Heatley (10 games).

• Since the Consol Energy Center opened in Pittsburgh before the 2010-11 season, the Penguins have the most home wins of any team in the NHL, with 80. The Ducks are one of only four teams (Sharks, Wild, Blues) that the Penguins have not defeated at home during that span. (Note: each of the four unbeaten teams has played one game.)

• Despite their solid 7-5-2 record away from the Honda Center this season, the Ducks’ special teams rank worst in the NHL in both road power-play and road penalty-kill categories. They have converted only three of 46 power-play opportunities (6.5%), and stopped only 29 of their opposition’s 44 opportunities (65.9%). They have scored a PPG in three of 14 games, but allowed a PPG in 11 of 14.

• Since the 2011-12 season, Malkin has assisted on 42 goals by James Neal. No NHL player has set up a particular teammate’s goals more often during that span. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Three Ducks players, Francois Beauchemin (+17), Dustin Penner (+15) and Hampus Lindholm (+14) are currently ranked 1-2-3 in the NHL in plus/minus rating. This season, Penner has been on the ice for 25 “goals-for” for the Ducks (20 even-strength, five power-play), and only five “goals-against.”

• In 11 home games this season, the Penguins have killed off 21 of 23 power-play opportunities (91.3%), the third-best home-ice penalty-kill efficiency in the NHL. In the two games where the Pens allowed a PPG this season, they lost (Oct. 25 vs. N.Y. Islanders and Nov. 13 vs. Philadelphia). The last time they allowed a PPG but won the game was Mar. 24, 2013, vs. Philadelphia.

• The Penguins’ Dan Bylsma (213-100-25, .667 points percentage) and the Ducks’ Bruce Boudreau (273-128-56, .659 points percentage) rank 1-2 among all active head coaches in points percentage (minimum 20 games).

• Tonight, the Penguins’ Jussi Jokinen is slated to become the 19th Finnish-born player (18 skaters, one goaltender – Miikka Kiprusoff) to suit up in 600 NHL games. Two current Ducks players, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, as well as a one-time Duck, Hockey Hall of Famer Jari Kurri, are among six Finns who have played in at least 1,000 NHL games.

To be young: Coyotes to hire 26-year-old as GM, give Tippett more say

Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett watches his team play the Detroit Red Wings during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015.  (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)
AP
1 Comment

It sounds like the Arizona Coyotes’ youth movement won’t merely be seen on the ice.

ESPN’s Craig Custance reports that the Coyotes will promote 26-year-old assistant GM John Chayka to GM. The team teased a major press conference for Thursday, when that news is likely to be made official.

The presser could be useful for more than the usual quotes and mission statements, as the Coyotes seem like they may parallel the Toronto Maple Leafs in combining an experienced executive, a young up-and-coming thinker and a more empowered head coach.

Dave Tippett is expected to have more of a say in personnel decisions while the Coyotes hope to bring in a Lou Lamoriello-type to assist Chayka, according to Custance.

(Custance’s ESPN Insider article [subscription required] goes in much greater depth, including a comparison to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors rather than the Maple Leafs.)

It’s possible that Dallas Stars assistant GM Les Jackson might come in to help Chayka, although an earlier report suggests that Jackson might stay in Dallas.

Multiple reporters including Puck Daddy’s Josh Cooper back up Custance’s report.

Considering Chayka’s age – he’s primed to become the youngest GM in NHL history – it’s no surprise that people are churning out jokes.

(This post’s author comes with six more years of [life] experience and a resume stacked with impressive video game and fantasy hockey team-building, by the way.)

Marc Crawford coaching in Detroit? Hey, could happen…

Marc Crawford
Getty Images
1 Comment

Former Avs bench boss Marc Crawford was one of the central figures in the legendary Detroit-Colorado rivalry of the 90s, largely remembered for his screaming match with (well, more like screaming match at) Scotty Bowman.

With that in mind, consider what MLive wrote on Wednesday with regards to Detroit’s search for a new assistant coach.

GM Ken Holland declined to reveal which candidates he and Jeff Blashill have contacted about replacing Tony Granato, who left the Wings for the University of Wisconsin job.

But Holland did say “we lost a guy with a lot of experience in [Granato],” adding, “we want to replace him with someone with a lot of experience.”

MLive then went on to publish a list of potential candidates… starting with Crawford.

Based on the criteria Holland wants, Crawford makes a lot of sense. He’s got a truckload of experience — 15 years in the NHL, to be exact — won a Cup with the Avs, and his 549 wins put him 18th all time.

Crawford also wants back in the NHL.

He left Swiss League club Zurich this offseason after a successful four-year stint — which included the 2014 league title — to try and land a gig. Per the Ottawa Sun, he’s already interviewed for the vacant Sens position.

And per MLive, Crawford said he’s willing to take an assistant’s position if he can’t become a head coach.

That last bit of information is key. The coaching market is flush right now as Bruce Boudreau, Mike Yeo, Bob Hartley, Travis Green, Paul MacLean , Randy Carlyle and Kevin Dineen are all considered viable and quality candidates.

Thing is, there are only a handful of jobs available.

Calgary, Anaheim and Ottawa are entirely vacant, while Minnesota is still unclear with what it wants to do with interim bench boss John Torchetti.

Add it all up, and Crawford’s NHL return might have to come by way of an assistant’s position.

But in Detroit?

Sure, it might look weird.

It also might fit the bill.

Report: AHL’s Portland Pirates moving to Springfield

Portland Pirates goalie Mark Visentin makes a save during an AHL hockey game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (AP Photo/The Citizens' Voice, Andrew Krech) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
2 Comments

Looks like the AHL isn’t finished shuffling around teams.

From the Portland Press Herald:

The Portland Pirates are leaving Maine.

Mitch Berkowitz, chair of the board of trustees for county-owned Cross Insurance Arena, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that “the Pirates will be headed to Springfield” Massachusetts, but that he did not know further details.

The city of Springfield has been searching for a team to replace the AHL Falcons, sold last month – although yet to be approved – to the parent Arizona Coyotes, who announced plans to move the franchise to Tucson.

The Pirates are the AHL affiliates of the Florida Panthers. They’ve been in Portland since 1993, when they started out as the Capitals’ farm team and were coached for a number of years by Barry Trotz.

Travis Green: ‘I think I’m ready’ to coach in the NHL

AP
AP
1 Comment

Travis Green has never coached in the NHL, not even as an assistant.

But a lengthy career as a player, followed by success as a head coach in the WHL and AHL, has left him feeling prepared to take the next step.

“I think I’m ready,” Green told Postmedia yesterday. “Every job in the NHL is worth its weight in gold, and I would have 100 per cent interest at options with every team in the league. You hope all your qualities are enticing for one of them.”

After the Flames fired Bob Hartley yesterday, many are wondering if Green could be a candidate to take over in Calgary. Other head-coaching vacancies exist in Anaheim and Ottawa, and potentially Minnesota.

For the past three seasons, Green has been the head coach of the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. Last year, the Comets made it all the way to the Calder Cup finals, an accomplishment that Green found particularly rewarding since “it wasn’t like we had an all-star team.”

While some GMs won’t risk hiring a coach without any NHL experience — they’d prefer a guy who’s been there before and knows what to expect — it’s worth noting that Jon Cooper didn’t have an NHL track record before he took over in Tampa Bay, and he’s done OK. Heck, Dave Hastol hadn’t even coached professionals before he landed the job in Philadelphia, and the Flyers seem pretty happy with him.

Green is under contract for one more season in Utica, but reportedly has an out-clause to pursue an NHL job.

Related: Will the Sens take a run at Kevin Dineen?