The Anaheim Ducks have done plenty to try and snap No. 1 goalie Jonas Hiller from his ongoing funk, but nothing seems to be working.
After losing to the lowly Oilers on Sunday — a game in which Hiller allowed three second-period goals en route to a 4-2 defeat — Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau all but confirmed Hiller was struggling with the mental side of the game.
“I think [Hiller’s] really lacking in confidence,” Boudreau said, per the L.A. Times. “Once the first one went in, he was worried until he regained his composure.”
The Swiss ‘tender is 6-9-3 in his last 18 outings and dropped his last three decisions — two of them to Edmonton — while allowing 11 goals on 67 shots, an .836 save percentage. Boudreau, who noticed Hiller was showing signs of fatigue recently, gave his goalie three consecutive games off from Mar. 29-Apr. 2 in the hopes of providing Hiller a mental refresher…but all it seems to have done is further muddle the situation.
Frederik Andersen, who’s been outstanding for Anaheim this year, played well in Hiller’s absence but suffered an injury on Friday versus Nashville, and didn’t travel with the Ducks on their current two-game roadie (Anaheim plays in Vancouver tonight). That forced the club to bring up 20-year-old phenom John Gibson — you can read more about him here, and here and here — and, given Hiller’s latest setback, it’s very possible Gibson could make his Ducks and NHL debut tonight against the Canucks.
“I’ll talk to the coaches and people and we’ll see what we’re doing,” Boudreau said.
Hiller, who acknowledged his recent struggles, said he’s not getting any puck luck at the moment.
“Seems like now I can’t get a break, like things find a way to hit me and go in,” Hiller said. “Those bounces happen when you don’t work enough.”
The ‘Canes made a fairly big coaching splash on Tuesday, announcing they hired New York Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson to become the new bench boss in AHL Charlotte.
“Ulf has built a very strong coaching resume during a decade behind the bench in the AHL, NHL and Swedish league,” Carolina GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He has a proven history of helping to develop young players and understands the organizational culture that we are building here.”
Samuelsson, who won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Francis in Pittsburgh during the 90s, has spent the last three seasons as Alain Vigneault’s right-hand man in New York, helping the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final in ’14 and the Eastern Conference Final last season.
Prior to joining the Rangers, he spent two seasons as head coach for Modo of the Swedish Hockey League.
Samuelsson will replace Mark Morris in Charlotte, after Morris accepted the head coaching gig at St. Lawrence University. Morris had only been on the job for one year, having inherited the position from former ‘Cane Jeff Daniels.
It sounds like Patrick Marleau won’t be suspended for his hit on Penguins forward Bryan Rust (top) in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
After the game, Marleau told reporters that he was pretty confident he wouldn’t be suspended and it sounds like he’s right.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan didn’t see things the same way.
“It’s a blindside hit to the head,” he said. “[Marleau] gets a penalty and I’m sure the league will look at it.”
Marleau was given a two-minute penalty for an illegal hit to the head on the play.
Rust played a single shift after taking the hit, but he went to the locker room after that and didn’t return. Sullivan said he’s day-to-day. It’s unclear if Rust will practice with the team on Tuesday.
Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Rick MacLeish passed away on Monday night. He was 66-years-old. The organization confirmed the news early Tuesday morning. MacLeish was battling meningitis as well as kidney and liver problems, per Philly.com.
“With the passing of Rick MacLeish, the Flyers have lost one of their legends,” Flyers President Paul Holmgren said in a release. “A good father, grandfather, teammate and friend, Rick will be missed by all who were fortunate to come and know him over the years. His happy and friendly demeanor was front and center everywhere Rick went. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Rick’s wife, Charlene, his daughters, Danielle and Brianna along with his grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”
MacLeish first put on a Flyers jersey during the 1970-71 season. He would go on to score 349 goals and 759 points in 846 NHL games with Philadelphia, Hartford, Pittsburgh and Detroit. MacLeish also scored what is considered to be the most important goal in Flyers history when he netted the opening goal in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final against Boston. The Flyers would clinch their first Stanley Cup that night.
He won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Flyers and was named an NHL All-Star three times in his career.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
—Pascal Dupuis wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune.
—Matt Cullen also wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune called “Hockey Dad”.
—Dainius Zubrus is making his third trip to the cup final, but he still hasn’t won one. (Puck Daddy)
–Watch the highlights from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Top)
–Here’s the Punjabi call of Nick Bonino‘s game-winning goal. (Streamable)
–Speaking of Bonino, he’s been pretty clutch this postseason:
–The NHL still wants to play an outdoor game on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Ottawa Sun)