Paul Maurice’s 35-game cameo was enough to warrant a long-term extension in Winnipeg — on Wednesday, the Jets re-upped with their bench boss on a four year deal, per the Free Press.
Maurice, who took the Jets gig in January after Claude Noel was fired, went 18-12-5 in his half-season behind the bench, good for an .586 winning percentage. That included the Jets winning 11 of 13 immediately following Noel’s dismissal, briefly clawing their way back into the Western Conference playoff picture before a swoon in March essentially eliminated them from contention.
Regardless, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was pleased with how the team responded to Maurice.
“Obviously very impressed,” Cheveldayoff said of Maurice, per NHL.com. “He’s a quality, quality person as we’ve all known. Certainly he came into a difficult situation and has helped our group perform admirably.”
With Maurice now locked in, eyes will turn to Evander Kane and his future in Winnipeg. A talented power forward that just wrapped the second of a six-year, $31.5 million deal, Kane seemingly ran afoul of Maurice at the end of the season, getting parked as a healthy scratch for breaking a team rule.
Prior to the healthy scratch, news broke that Kane was facing a civil lawsuit pertaining to an alleged assault in Vancouver last summer. It was the latest in a series of transgressions — granted, some minor — that have dotted Kane’s tenure in Winnipeg.
Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.
Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.
As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being spanked in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.
Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.
“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”
Commodore wasn’t done there:
And there was much, much more.
To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.
Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.
Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.
The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.
“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.
Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.
The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.
“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”